Town of Webster, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-8-1988 ATM, Art. 98, as Sec. 160.1 of the General Bylaws]
[Added 5-13-2019 ATM by Art. 19[1]]
All dogs shall be duly licensed as required by law on or before August 1 of every calendar year.
[1]
Editor's Note: This article also redesignated former §§ 313-1 through 313-7 as §§ 313-2 through 313-8.
No person shall permit a dog owned or kept by him beyond the confines of the property of the owner or keeper unless the dog is held firmly on a leash. The length of a leash shall not exceed six feet when off the property of the owner or keeper. An owner or keeper may use a leash of a greater length to restrain a dog on the property of an owner or keeper, provided the dog is securely confined to the premises of the owner or keeper. This does not apply to working dogs.
[Amended 5-12-2008 ATM, Art. 11]
A. 
No person shall own or keep with the Town any dog which by biting, barking, howling or in any other manner disturbs the peace and quiet of any neighborhood or endangers the safety of any person or domesticated or farm animal.
B. 
No person owning or having the care, custody or control of any dog shall permit such dog to deposit fecal matter, soil, defile or commit any nuisance upon any sidewalk, street, thoroughfare, beach or wetland, in or upon any public property, or in or upon the property of persons other than the owner or persons having the care, custody or control of such dog, unless said person picks up such waste and disposes of it in a sanitary manner. This section shall not apply to physically handicapped persons in sole custody or control of said dog. Violations for this section may be enforced by the Animal Control Officers, Webster Health Department or the Webster Police Department.
[Amended 6-29-1989 ATM, Art. 20]
The animal control officer is hereby authorized to seek a complaint against the owner or keeper of a dog who is found to have violated the provisions of §§ 313-1 and 313-2 of this bylaw for which the penalties in Chapter 85, Enforcement; Noncriminal Disposition, of the Code of the Town of Webster shall be imposed.
A. 
In addition to the foregoing penalties, the animal control officer is authorized and empowered to muzzle, restrain or order the owner or keeper of a dog to muzzle or retrain a dog pending a hearing before the Board of Selectmen as herein provided when the animal control officer finds that a dog has:
(1) 
Bitten or threatened any person domesticated or farm animal.
(2) 
Chased any vehicle upon any way open to public travel in the Town.
(3) 
The owner had violated the provisions of §§ 313-1 and/or 313-2 for more than three times in any calendar year.
B. 
The owner or keeper of any dog that has been ordered to be restrained or muzzled under the provision of this Chapter may request the animal control officer, in writing, to vacate such order. If such order is not vacated, the owner or keeper of such dog may bring a petition in the district court within the judicial District of Worcester County praying that the order or restraint may be reviewed by the Court as provided in MGL c. 140, § 157, as amended.
In addition to any other statutory authority contained in MGL c. 140, the animal control officer may, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, enter a complaint before the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of obtaining an order with respect to the control or disposition of a dog found to be uncontrollable or whose owner or keeper is unresponsive to any other penalties contained in this bylaw.
[Amended 6-29-1989 ATM, Art. 20]
In addition to the requirement that a dog shall be duly licensed as required by law, the owner of a dog which is not licensed on or before April 30th in any year shall be subject to a fine as set in Chapter 85, Enforcement; Noncriminal Disposition, of the Code of the Town of Webster in addition to the license fee upon the complaint of the animal control officer. The owner of any unspayed and unleashed female dog found by the animal control officer roaming at large in season (heat) off the premises of the owner or keeper shall be subject to a fine as set in Chapter 85, Enforcement; Noncriminal Disposition, of the Code of the Town of Webster and shall be deemed to only the one penalty.
[Amended 5-13-2019 ATM by Art. 19]
A. 
Any animal picked up by animal control is subject to a twenty-dollar ($20) pickup fee. Pound fees will be incurred at a rate of ten dollars ($10) per day. Owner may reclaim dog or cat by reimbursing the animal control officer for expenses, fines, fees, and charges per MGL c. 140, § 151A(a) by money order or bank check in the full amount of expenses, fines, fees and charges incurred by animal control made payable to Town of Webster Animal Control. Proper documentation of current rabies vaccination and proof of current licensing are required prior to release of impounded animal. Any animal not vaccinated for rabies as required by MGL c. 140, §§ 140, 137, and 145B shall be vaccinated for rabies at the owner's expense by a licensed vet arranged for by the animal control officer/animal inspector and if not licensed, shall be licensed prior to release.
B. 
Any animal requested to be picked up by animal control by police department or other first responder for the animal's temporary safety and well being, will be held for seven days at the animal shelter. The owner/keeper shall be responsible for making arrangements to reclaim the animal within seven days of the animal's arrival at the shelter unless other arrangements are made with animal control.
C. 
Any animal not reclaimed by an owner/keeper within seven days of being taken into possession by animal control shall be deemed to be abandoned and subject to be vetted, spayed or neutered, and placed up for adoption. If the animal is deemed to be unadoptable due to behavioral issues, animal control reserves the right to euthanize the animal. The animal may be transferred to another shelter or rescue for adoption.
[Added 5-13-2019 ATM by Art. 19]
A. 
All dogs and cats owned by a resident of the Town of Webster shall be properly vaccinated in accordance with MGL c. 145B. Unvaccinated dogs and cats acquired or moved into the Town of Webster shall be vaccinated within 30 days or upon reaching the age of six months, whichever comes first.
B. 
Those dog owners found in violation of the rabies requirement of MGL c. 140, § 145(B), shall, at the owner's expense, have their dogs properly vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of said violations and will receive a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25) for first offense.
C. 
Any animal that is quarantined and requires vaccination shall be vaccinated at the owner's expense. Notification of such vaccination shall be sent to the Animal Inspector within 10 days of said vaccination.
D. 
Any dog or cat that is under quarantine for biting or scratching a person or another animal, shall be quarantined for the required period of time set forth by the Animal Inspector and/or Massachusetts Department of Agriculture at the owner's home unless the animal is deemed to be unvaccinated at which time the dog or cat would be required to be humanely euthanized and tested for rabies, or confined in an approved, adequate boarding facility for a period of not less than 10 days. An animal is deemed to be unvaccinated if the animal never received a vaccination for rabies.
E. 
Any veterinarian bills incurred for vaccinating or preparing any animal for rabies testing shall be at the owner's expense.
F. 
Any owner or keeper moving an animal subject to quarantine shall notify the Animal Inspector and Board of Health Director in writing prior to the animal being moved, subject to approval. The names, address, and phone number(s) as to where the animal is being moved to must be identified in the written notification.
G. 
Any owner or keeper of any animal in The Town of Webster who has received a written notice of quarantine and does not comply with said order, or if the quarantined animal is found outside the approved enclosure of its owner or keeper and not under his/her immediate control and/or care, shall be subject to an immediate order to be euthanized or ordered to be housed at an approved boarding facility at the owner or keeper's expense.
[Added 5-13-2019 ATM by Art. 19]
A. 
Dogs found to be roaming at large will be subjected to be picked up and transported to the animal control shelter for safe keeping till owner can be contacted or owner presents, if unknown.
B. 
Any animal found injured with no immediate known owner will be brought for medical care as deemed necessary. If an owner becomes identified, any and all necessary vet care expenses will be reimbursed to the Town of Webster prior to release back to the owner along with any and all other fines, fees, and charges.
C. 
Any animal showing evidence of being abused, neglected, or abandoned or an animal requiring vet care that is being denied by the owner/keeper of said animal will be brought for medical care as deemed necessary. If an owner becomes identified, any and all necessary vet care expenses will be reimbursed to the Town of Webster prior to release back to the owner along with any and all other fines, fees, and charges.
D. 
Any dog found to be unvaccinated for rabies and/or unlicensed will be vaccinated and/or licensed. If an owner becomes identified, any and all expenses will be reimbursed to the Town of Webster prior to release back to the owner along with any and all other fines, fees, and charges.
E. 
The Animal Control Officer will respond to any animal requested to be picked up by the police department or other first responders to ensure the temporary safety and well being of the animal due to circumstance and situation that poses a threat to the animal's safety and well being.
[Added 5-13-2019 ATM by Art. 19]
A. 
Any dog, except service or support dogs within the meaning of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, found in a posted area restricting dogs from trespassing, will be subject to a fine. This includes, but is not limited to, Memorial Beach and surrounding area and Town owned public parks and property.
B. 
No person owning or keeping a dog shall chain or tether a dog to a stationary object, including but not limited to, a structure, dog house, pole, or tree for longer than 24 consecutive hours. Owner/keeper must abide by all other requirements and prohibitions as to restraint, access to clean water, and appropriate shelter and other matters addressed in MGL c. 140, § 174E. As specified in § 174E, any person who violates same shall, for first offense, be issued a written warning or punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50); for a second offense, be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) and for a third or subsequent offense, to be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars ($300) and be subject to impoundment of the dog in a local shelter at the owner's or keeper's expense pending compliance with this section, or loss of ownership of the dog.
[Added 5-13-2019 ATM by Art. 19]
A. 
Any owner or keeper of more than three dogs must acquire a residential kennel license and is subject to a yearly licensing fee of fifty dollars ($50).
B. 
Commercial kennels must be fully licensed pursuant to the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140 and subject to Webster Zoning By-Laws at a yearly licensing fee of seventy-five dollars ($75).
C. 
Each residential kennel and commercial kennel shall be available by inspection by the Animal Control officer, Animal Inspector, Police Officer, Board of Health Director or Massachusetts Department of Agriculture.
[Added 5-13-2019 ATM by Art. 19]
Any owner or keeper found in violation of these bylaws shall be subject to a fine according to the following schedule, unless the fine for a violation is otherwise established by state law.
A. 
First offense: twenty-five dollars ($25).
B. 
Second offense: thirty-five dollars ($35).
C. 
Third offense: fifty dollars ($50).
D. 
Fourth offense: seventy-five dollars ($75).
E. 
Fifth and each subsequent offense (within a calendar year): one hundred dollars ($100).
F. 
Failure to vaccinate for rabies: fifty dollars ($50).
G. 
Failure to obtain dog license: fifty dollars ($50).