[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Marlborough as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 8-16-2004 by Ord. No. 02/04-9616C]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 85 of the 1986 Code, Dogs, adopted 3-6-1967 by Ord. No. 7352, as amended.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ANIMAL CONTROL CENTER
- Any facility operated by or for the City of Marlborough or the authorizing agents thereof for the purpose of impounding or caring for animals held under the authority of this article or Massachusetts General Laws.
- ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
- Any person designated by the City, including representatives of any private contractor or its successor, to handle and manage issues dealing with domestic animals.
- DOMESTIC ANIMAL
- Any dog, cat, horse, cow, sheep, goat, pig or domestic fowl.
- LICENSING AUTHORITY
- The City Clerk as provided by the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- Device placed around mouth of dog so as not to injure dog but prevent it from biting any person or animal.
- Any person, firm, corporation, organization or department owning, keeping, having an interest in, or having care, custody or control of, or harboring one or more animals. An animal shall be deemed to be harbored if it is fed or sheltered for 14 consecutive days or more.
- PHYSICAL RESTRAINT
- On a leash and controlled by a person physically capable of controlling such dog.
- POTENTIALLY VICIOUS DOG
- Includes, but is not limited to, any dog that:
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Includes, but is not limited to, any animal which, as determined by the Animal Control Officer or a police officer:
- A. Molests or threatens passersby or passing vehicles.
- B. Is repeatedly at large three or more times.
- C. Damages private or public property.
- D. Barks, yelps, whines, howls or makes any noise natural to its species in an excessive, continuous or untimely fashion so as to disturb the peace in excess of 30 minutes.
- E. Creates excessive offensive odor.
- Any leash, lead or other physical restraint.
- SECURE ENCLOSURE
- Escapeproof enclosure which is locked and secured on all six sides. Enclosure shall conform to MGL c. 272, § 77 (Cruelty to animals). *Subject to inspection and approval of the Animal Control Officer.
- SERIOUS BODILY INJURY
- Bodily injury which involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
- That the animal was not hit, kicked or struck by a person with any object or part of a person's body nor was any part of the animal's body pulled, pinched or squeezed by a person nor was the animal verbally or physically taunted in any way whether there be physical contact or not.
- VICIOUS DOG
- Any dog that has:
- A. Without provocation, killed or inflicted serious bodily injury on a human being or other domestic animal on public or private property.
- B. Been found to be potentially vicious, and after the owner has notice that the dog is potentially vicious, the dog bites, attacks or endangers the safety of humans or domestic animals.
Any person who owns, keeps, harbors or has control over any dog over the age of six months shall annually obtain a license for said dog from the licensing authority.
Such dog shall have a current rabies vaccination at time of licensing. The owner of said dog must provide written proof of vaccination.
Any owner or keeper of a dog not being a resident of the City but remaining in the City and keeping a dog within the City for a period of more than 30 days shall become subject to the provisions of this article.
March 1 is established as the deadline date for the purchase of dog licenses. After that date, a penalty charge of $10 will be added to the licensing fee.
If a dog is moved into the City after the March 1 deadline, the owner shall have 14 days to license such dog.
A copy of these regulations as well as literature regarding responsible pet ownership and care shall be disseminated with every dog license sold in the City.
All outstanding dog-related fines must be paid before a license will be issued.
Any person who owns, keeps, harbors or has control over any dog over the age of six months who does not comply with the licensing requirements set forth in this article shall be subject to a fine of $50.
No dog owner shall permit such dog, whether licensed or unlicensed, to become a public nuisance, as defined in this article and MGL c. 140 § 157, within the City of Marlborough.
Any unspayed female dog in heat shall be deemed a public nuisance unless confined in a building or enclosure in such a manner that such female dog cannot come in contact with a male dog except for planned breeding.
To consider declaring a dog a public nuisance, an Animal Control Officer, Board of Health employee, or any humane officer or any police officer, or upon a signed complaint by a member of the public, may request of the Chief of Police or designee that an investigation be conducted to collect any evidence which can be used to determine whether or not a dog should be declared a public nuisance.
If after investigation, the Chief of Police or designee declares a dog is a public nuisance, he shall notify the owner by certified mail return receipt requested of such declaration and may issue an order concerning the restraint or disposal of such dog as may be deemed necessary, authorized under MGL c. 140, § 57, against the dog. Under the provisions provided in MGL c. 140, § 157, within 10 days after such order, the owner or keeper of such dog may bring a petition in the district court asking the order be reviewed by the court or magistrate thereof.
Any dog owner who fails to comply with any order of the Chief of Police or district court may be punished by a fine or imprisonment as set forth in MGL. c. 140, § 157.
No person owning or keeping a dog within the City shall permit such dog to be at large, loose or unattended within the City at any time, except on the premises of the owner or keeper, or on the premises of another person with the knowledge and permission of such other person.
All dogs must be under actual physical restraint by way of a leash when on any property within the City, whether public or private, except on the premises of the owner or keeper, or on the premises of another person with the knowledge and permission of such other person.
In any prosecution hereunder, the presence of such dog at large, loose or unattended upon the premises other than the owner or keeper of such dog shall be prima facie evidence that such knowledge and permission was not had.
Any dog found at large in violation of this section shall be caught and confined at the Animal Control Center by the Dog Officer, who shall notify forthwith the owner or keeper of such dog in writing giving the owner or keeper a period of 10 days within which to recover the dog. If the owner is unknown, then no notification shall be necessary. If the dog is unlicensed at time of impoundment, the owner must comply with all the licensing requirements as provided by this article prior to the release of the dog. If the owner does not claim the dog during such period, the dog shall be disposed of in a humane manner to be determined by the Dog Officer, but no dog shall be turned over to a medical or research center for the purpose of experimentation.
This order shall be deemed an order under MGL c. 140, § 167.
The owner is liable for all expenses related to the impoundment and care of the dog at a rate of $12.50 for each day the dog has been held, plus the following penalties: first offense, a warning; second or third offense, $30; fourth and subsequent offenses: $50.
Removal; disposal. The owner of any dog or any person who possesses or controls a dog shall be responsible for the removal of any fecal matter deposited by the dog on any sidewalk, gutter, street, park or other public area or on any private property neither owned nor occupied by said person. No person shall appear with such dog on any sidewalk, gutter, street, park or other public area or on any private property neither owned nor occupied by said person without the means of removal of any feces left by such dog. For the purpose of this article, the means of removal shall include any tool, implement or other device carried for the purpose of picking up and containing such fecal matter so that it shall be unexposed to the public. Disposal shall be accomplished by transporting such feces to a place suitable and regularly reserved for the disposal of human or animal fecal matter or otherwise designed as appropriate by the Board of Health.
Fecal matter placed in a plastic bag and securely tied or knotted may be disposed of in public trash containers.
Violations and penalties. Any owner or person who possesses or controls the dog and violates the provisions of this section or permits a violation shall be subject to a warning on the first offense and subject to a noncriminal ticket in the amount of $50 for each violation thereafter.
Authorized enforcement personnel. The following positions shall be authorized enforcement personnel for this section:
To consider declaring a dog or other animal vicious or potentially vicious, an Animal Control Officer, health and human services employee, or any humane officer or any police officer, or upon a signed complaint by a member of the public, may request of the Chief of Police or designee that an investigation be conducted to collect any evidence which can be used to determine whether or not a dog should be declared vicious or potentially vicious. No dog shall be declared vicious or potentially vicious if the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person committing a crime or was provoked by a person or animal cruelly abusing the dog or other animal.
If after investigation the Chief of Police or designee declares that the dog is either a vicious dog or potentially vicious, he shall notify the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, of such declaration and issue a restraining order, authorized under MGL c. 140, § 157, against the dog.
The Chief of Police or designee, at his discretion, may order one or more of, but not limited to, the following corrective plans of action against a dog which has been declared vicious or potentially vicious:
That upon the owner's property the dog must be so restrained or controlled so as to prevent the dog from leaving the property. A radio-fence alone will not constitute restraint on an owner's property.
That upon the owner's property the dog be so restrained or controlled as to prevent the dog from assaulting or threatening any person upon a public way or upon abutting public or private property.
When not on the owner's property, the dog must be under actual physical restraint and control by way of a leash and muzzle as defined in this article.
Enrollment and successful completion of a behavioral modification training course from a qualified instructor.
Construction of a secure enclosure to house the dog while on the owner's property.
Banish the dog from the City of Marlborough.
Euthanize the dog.
If the owner is found violating the requirements of a previously issued order or corrective action, or the dog is found on property not owned or controlled by its owner or not restrained in the secure area, an order that the dog or other animal be euthanized may be issued. Immediate public impoundment of the dog(s) by the Animal Control Officer shall occur when a violation is found to exist; the owner shall bear the cost for such public impoundment. The said fine for such violation shall be $200 per day or part of the day the violation is allowed to exist. Violation of the order may result in criminal proceedings against the owner as provided in MGL c. 140, § 157.
The owner of any dog declared vicious shall post his/her property with a sign which is clearly visible to the street that reads "WARNING, VICIOUS DOG."
Ownership of a vicious dog cannot be transferred to another person residing within the City of Marlborough.
If a vicious or potentially vicious dog bites or attacks a person or other domestic animal, the dog shall be impounded and quarantined for the proper length of time for rabies observation. Confinement of the animal may be accomplished at an animal shelter or at a private veterinary hospital and any charges incurred shall be the responsibility of the owner. A summons shall be issued to the owner of such animal. The dog or other animal may be euthanized within 90 days unless an appeal is taken by the owner involved to the district court within 30 days of the impoundment.
If a dog has been declared vicious or potentially vicious, notification to the abutting and across-the-street property owners shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the expense of the owner. In addition, notification to the closest 100 homes by way of the Reverse 911 System shall made by the Chief of Police or designee.
If a vicious dog is removed from the City limits to reside in another community, the owner must notify the Chief of Police in writing, who shall notify the Chief of Police or the person duly authorized to handle issues regarding dogs in the new community of the dog's new address.
Owners of a vicious or potentially vicious dog found within the City of Marlborough and not properly licensed shall be subject to a fine of $100.
Any dog which has been impounded and has not been reclaimed by the owner within 10 days shall be disposed of as provided by MGL Chapter 140, unless otherwise provided by this article. If the owner does not claim the dog during such period, the dog shall be disposed of in a humane manner to be determined by the Animal Control Officer, but no dog shall be turned over to a medical or research center for the purpose of experimentation.
The City of Marlborough shall not be liable for any disposition of such dogs in accordance with this article.
It is the intent that all costs, including medical care, associated with the impoundment of a dog for any reason in accordance with this article and Massachusetts General Laws shall be the sole responsibility of the owner of the dog.
A violation or breach of any portion of this article shall be punishable as outlined or provided in MGL c. 140, § 173a, unless otherwise specified by this article.
Each day or part of a day there exists a violation of any of the provisions of this article shall constitute and be punishable as a separate offense.
Failure to comply with any provision set forth in this article could result in a criminal offense.
The sums collected pursuant to the provisions of this article shall be accounted for and paid over to the City Treasurer.
The following employees of the City of Marlborough shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this article: