Town of Vernon, WI
Waukesha County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Vernon 1-7-1999 by Ord. No. 59 (Ch. 11 of the Town Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Licenses and permits — See Ch. 206.
Nuisances — See Ch. 230.
Parks and recreation — See Ch. 239.
Peace and good order — See Ch. 244.
It is declared to be in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare that keeping animals within the Town be regulated in order to prevent the animals from becoming a public nuisance, injuring people and property, and spreading disease. This chapter is enacted pursuant to town and village powers. Chapters 172, 173 and 174, Wis. Stats., are adopted and made a part of this chapter as if fully set forth herein. Any future additions, amendments, revisions, or modifications of the current or future statutes incorporated herein are intended to be made part of this chapter in order to secure uniform statewide regulation of animals.
[Amended 3-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-05]
A. 
Animals running at large. It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any animal to permit the animal to run at large any place within the Town unless accompanied by, and under the control of, the owner or keeper of said animal. This chapter shall not prohibit any animal running at large upon premises owned or occupied by the owner or keeper of the animal. Penalties for the violation of this subsection shall be as provided by § 117-9 of this chapter.
B. 
Vicious animals. It shall be unlawful for the owner, keeper, or licensee of any animal to permit an animal that is vicious to be off a premises owned or occupied by the owner, keeper, or licensee of the animal unless the animal is (1) muzzled and (2) either caged or on a leash that is no longer than six feet in length and is of sufficient strength to restrain the animal and (3) is overseen and controlled by such owner, keeper or licensee at all times. Proof that an animal has bitten, scratched, attacked or injured any person shall constitute a prima facie showing that such animal is vicious. Proof that an animal that has wounded or worried any horses, cattle, sheep, lambs or other animals while running at large off the premises owned or occupied by the owner, keeper, or licensee of the animal is also a prima facie showing that such animal is vicious. Vicious animals are a declared public nuisance. A judgment that the nuisance be abated may include a provision that the animal be destroyed by a public officer in a humane manner. Penalties for the violation of this subsection shall be as provided by § 117-9 of this chapter, in addition to such other penalties and remedies as may be available, including the remedies of Chapter 230 of this Code.
[Amended 7-7-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
[Amended 3-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-05]
The keeping or harboring of any animal that frequently or habitually howls, yelps, barks, or makes other noises that greatly annoy or disturb a neighborhood or any considerable number of persons within the Town shall be prohibited. Abatement of said animal shall be as outlined in Chapter 230, Nuisances, §§ 230-9, 230-10 and 230-11. Penalties shall be as provided in § 117-9 of this chapter.
Every owner of a dog more than five months of age on January 1 of any year must pay the dog license tax and obtain a license.
A. 
License year. The license year commences on January 1 and ends the following December 31.
B. 
License tax. A license tax shall be established by resolution.
C. 
Late fees. If the owner fails to obtain a license prior to April 1 of each year or within 30 days of acquiring ownership of a licensable dog, a late fee shall be charged. The collecting official shall collect the late fee established by resolution.
D. 
Rabies shots required. No dog license shall be issued unless the dog has received a rabies vaccination as required by law and the owner has provided the Town with adequate proof thereof.
A. 
Term and salary. The position of the Humane Officer(s) shall be filled by the appointment of the Town Chairperson subject to confirmation by the Town Board for a one-year period. The Humane Officer(s) shall receive such compensation as established by motion of the Town Board.
B. 
Duties of the Humane Officer(s). The Humane Officer(s) shall have the power and authority to apprehend and confine animals in a shelter as provided in this chapter, and such Humane Officer(s) shall have the power and authority to enforce this chapter, including the right to commence actions for the collection of any forfeiture imposed by this chapter. The Humane Officer(s) shall have the animal control duties assigned to him or her by motion of the Town Board.
A. 
Confinement. It shall be the duty of the Humane Officer(s) appointed by the Town Board to apprehend any animal running at large within the Town of Vernon, if such animal is not on the premises of its owner or keeper and is not accompanied by or under the control of its owner or keeper. Confinement of the animal shall take place in the area provided by the Humane Officer(s).
B. 
Disposition of unclaimed animals. The Humane Officer(s) shall keep all apprehended animals for a period of seven days at a pound to be provided by the Humane Officer(s) for that purpose. If any animal is not reclaimed by the rightful owner within such time, it may be sold for the amount incurred in the keeping of said animal or may be destroyed in such humane manner as the Humane Officer(s) shall direct.
C. 
Treatment of injured or diseased animals and disposal. The designated Humane Officer(s) may, in his or her discretion, treat a diseased or injured animal in the Humane Officer's possession, as a preventive measure, considering the health of the animal and health of other animals in the pound. The Humane Officer(s) may destroy, in a humane manner, at any time, an animal in the Humane Officer's possession provided that such animal is so injured or diseased that, in the opinion of the Humane Officer(s) or veterinarian(s) consulted by the Humane Officer(s), the animal is suffering to a great extent or will not survive such injury or disease.
A. 
Unclaimed animals. The Town shall pay to the designated Humane Officer(s) the following amounts established by motion of the Town Board:
(1) 
Reasonable compensation to board and care for any animal apprehended and confined. The Town shall not pay for boarding of the animal in excess of seven days.
(2) 
All veterinarian and medication costs reasonably incurred by the Humane Officer(s) for the services provided exclusively to the Town as a Town agent.
(3) 
Reasonable compensation to apprehend any animal.
(4) 
The reasonable costs of the destruction and disposal of the animal.
B. 
Reclaimed animals. The owner, keeper, or licensee of any animal so confined may reclaim the animal any time before the same is disposed of as hereinbefore provided upon payment of all costs and charges incurred in the apprehension, keeping and care of the animal plus an administrative fee established by resolution. All fees shall be paid to the designated Humane Officer(s) before the animal is released. If the animal is a dog or cat, the Humane Officer(s) shall require proof of licensing and payment of other Town fees, and proof that the animal is currently immunized against rabies, or presentation of a prepaid receipt from a veterinary clinic before the release of an animal to its owner, keeper, or licensee.
C. 
Referral to the Town Board. In the event a person claiming an animal refuses or is unable to pay the foregoing amount, the Humane Officer(s) shall forthwith refer the matter to the Town Chairperson. The Town Chairperson and one Town Supervisor shall direct the Humane Officer(s) in the manner that he should proceed to resolve the matter. The Town Chairperson and the one Supervisor have the authority to direct the Humane Officer(s) to dispose of the animal as if unclaimed, return the animal to the person claiming the animal, waive some or all monetary payment that shall be borne by the Town in whole or in part, or resolve the matter in such other manner as the Town Chairperson and the Supervisor may determine as just and equitable.
The Humane Officer(s) shall maintain and keep records reflecting the activities of the Humane Officer(s), pursuant to this chapter and state law, and give a written report monthly to the Town Board so that a written report may be considered by the Town Board at its regular monthly meeting. All records kept by the Humane Officer(s) pursuant to this chapter and state law shall be Town records.
[Amended 11-21-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-1; 2-16-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-03]
The Humane Officer(s) appointed by the Town Board shall have the power and authority to apprehend and confine animals as provided in this chapter and to otherwise enforce this chapter. An action to restrain or enjoin violations may be instituted only after authorization by the Town Board. Penalties for a violation of this chapter shall be as described in Chapter 1, § 1-10 of this Code.
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMERCIAL KENNEL
An establishment, structure, or premises where dogs are raised and sold, bred, boarded, trained, for commercial purposes. The raising or selling of three or more litters of dogs from any number of adult dogs per year shall constitute a commercial kennel.
[Amended 7-7-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-02]
HOBBY KENNEL
An establishment, structure, premises, or pursuit accessory to the principal use of the property where three or more dogs of six or more months of age are kept for such private purposes as pets, field trials, shows, or hobby, which is not a commercial kennel. The raising of two litters of dogs per year on a premises and the sale or disposal of said dogs within six months of their birth shall also be considered a hobby kennel.
B. 
When hobby kennel license is required. No more than two dogs, subject to be licensed as set forth hereinbefore, shall be kept on any premises within the Town without obtaining a kennel license from the Plan Commission as required under the terms of the Waukesha County Zoning Code and as set forth in this section.
C. 
Licensing procedure required for approval of commercial license. The application and approval of a commercial license shall require a conditional use permit from the Town Plan Commission and Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use. The applicant must abide by the requirements of the Town Plan Commission, this chapter, the Waukesha County Zoning Code and the terms and conditions of the approved commercial kennel license. The Town shall charge a yearly commercial license fee and an application fee established by resolution.
D. 
Licensing procedure required for approval of hobby kennel license. The following procedure shall be required for a hobby kennel within the Town:
(1) 
Application. The hobby kennel license shall be subject to the approval of the Town Plan Commission. An applicant may obtain application forms from the Town Clerk and shall file completed application forms, fees, and any information required thereby with the Town Clerk or Plan Commission Secretary/Deputy Clerk.
(2) 
Hearings. The Town Clerk or Plan Commission Secretary/Deputy Clerk shall establish a date, time and place for a public hearing before the Town Plan Commission. Written notice of the application, hearing, and time shall be made known to all owners of property located within 300 feet of the parcel where the kennel is to be located.
(3) 
Decision. The Town Plan Commission has the authority to grant or deny the license or grant the license with conditions. The decision by the Town Plan Commission shall be made within a reasonable time subsequent to the hearing on the application. The Town Clerk or Plan Commission Secretary/Deputy Clerk shall give notice to the applicant of the decision.
(4) 
Fees. The applicant shall pay to the Town Clerk or Plan Commission Secretary/Deputy Clerk, upon filing the application, a nonrefundable filing fee established by resolution. This filing fee is in addition to the yearly per-dog license tax set forth and established by § 117-4B hereof.
(5) 
Annual renewal fee. The applicant shall pay an annual renewal fee for each year that the hobby kennel continues subsequent to the year of issuance of the hobby kennel license, in the amount established from time to time by the Town Board by separate resolution, with such fee being paid at the same time as the license tax described in § 117-4 hereof.
[Added 5-1-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-02]
[Added 9-15-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-10]
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BEEKEEPER
A person who owns or is responsible for one or more hives or colonies of bees.
BEEKEEPING
The deliberate harboring, keeping and maintenance of colonies or hives of honeybees.
BEEKEEPING EQUIPMENT
Anything used in the keeping of bees, such as hive bodies, supers, frames, top and bottom boards, and extractors.
COLONY
A group of honeybees consisting principally of workers, but under usual circumstances having one queen and many drones; and including brood, combs, and honey.
DEPARTMENT
The Town of Vernon Clerk's Office.
HIVE
A container in which a colony resides.
HONEYBEE
All life stages of the common domestic honeybee, species apis mellifera, bred for gentleness and nonswarming characteristics, and excludes any Africanized hybrids.
TOWN OF VERNON BEEKEEPING INFORMATION CARD
Information card which is filed with the Clerk's Office allowing the Town of Vernon to have all important contact information related to permitting beekeeping in the Town of Vernon.
B. 
Town of Vernon beekeeping information contact card required.
(1) 
No person may engage in beekeeping, or the maintenance of colonies or hives, within the Town of Vernon without completing a Town of Vernon beekeeping information contact card for the locations at which hives or colonies are maintained; and a Town of Vernon beekeeping information contact card shall be required for each location.
C. 
General rules.
(1) 
No person may keep colonies or hives in the Town of Vernon in any way that causes a public nuisance, causes an unreasonable risk of physical harm to any person or domestic animal, unreasonably interferes with normal activities of persons or domestic animals, or unreasonably interferes with the normal use and enjoyment of any private or public property. Compliance with all of the requirements of this section shall create a rebuttable presumption of compliance with this subsection.
(2) 
No person may intentionally keep colonies or hives of bees other than honeybees, except for wild bees that select their hive location naturally.
(3) 
All colonies shall be kept in well maintained manufactured, Langstroth-type hives with removable frames or a top bar hive, which shall be maintained in sound and sanitary condition.
D. 
Location of hives.
(1) 
Hives shall not be located less than 20 feet, measured at the closest points, from the boundary of the property on which the hives are located and any other property, unless the properties on either side of the boundary are owned by the same individual or entity, or unless the then-current owner of the adjacent property gives written permission for the hives to be nearer than 20 feet.
E. 
Maximum numbers of hives allowed. No person shall keep more than the following numbers of hives in the Town:
(1) 
Parcels 1/4 acre or less, two hives.
(2) 
Parcels larger than 1/4 acre but no larger than 1/2 acre, four hives.
(3) 
Parcels larger than 1/2 acre but no larger than one acre, six hives.
(4) 
Parcels larger than one acre, eight hives.
(5) 
Regardless of parcel size, if all hives are located at least 200 feet in any direction from all boundary lines of the parcel on which the hives are located, there shall be no limit to the number of hives.
F. 
Aggressive behavior. The beekeeper must use all practical skills to prevent aggressive behavior.
G. 
Maintenance. Beekeepers shall maintain all hives and beekeeping equipment in a good and sanitary condition, and shall observe at all times the best accepted practices recognized within the beekeeping industry. Beekeepers shall ensure that no honeycomb or other materials that might attract wildlife, rodents or vermin are left open on the property. Upon removal from the hive, all such materials shall be promptly disposed of in a sealed container, or placed within a building or other bee-proof enclosure.
H. 
Inspection. The Town of Vernon reserves the right to inspect any property that has a Town of Vernon beekeeping information contact card on file with the Town of Vernon. The Town of Vernon reserves the right to ask for assistance from experienced beekeeping owners to assist in the inspection of beekeeping activity. Expenses of inspections shall be paid by beekeeper.
I. 
Violation and penalties.
(1) 
Conduct not in compliance with this section is prohibited.
(2) 
Violation of the terms of this section shall result in the revocation of the beekeeping at the location. Upon revocation, all beekeeping at the location shall cease, subject to the appeal to the Vernon Town Board of Supervisors.
(3) 
Any person who keeps bees without a Town of Vernon beekeeping information contact card on file with the Town of Vernon, which is required by this section, shall be subject to the penalties as established by the Vernon Town Board of Supervisors, and all honeybees, hives and colonies belonging to the person or under the person's control shall be removed from the Town or destroyed.
(4) 
Any person having a Town of Vernon beekeeping information contact card on file with the Town of Vernon, required by this section, who violates this section shall, in addition to having his or her privilege revoked, be subject to the penalties described in § 1-10 of this Code, and in addition, upon second and subsequent violations of this section, all hives and colonies belonging to or under the control of the beekeeper shall be ordered removed from the Town.
J. 
Compliance with laws. All applicable laws, including applicable zoning requirements, must be followed. In the event of a conflict between this § 117-11 and other provisions of this Code or applicable zoning requirements or other laws, the more restrictive shall apply.
[Added 9-15-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-09]
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BACKYARD CHICKENS
A place where chickens are kept for the use and enjoyment of those living on the premises.
B. 
Regulation.
(1) 
Legislative intent. The keeping of backyard chickens on residential lots in the Town of Vernon is consistent with the Town's rural character and desire to foster sustainable agriculture while addressing issues related to public health, safety, and welfare.
(2) 
Generally. Backyard chickens are allowed as an accessory use to a single-family residence on lots that are less than three acres.
(3) 
Number. No more than five female backyard chickens may be kept. The keeping of roosters is prohibited.
(4) 
Enclosure requirements. Backyard chickens shall be provided with a covered enclosure that is (1) predator-proof; (2) thoroughly ventilated; (3) of sufficient size to allow the free movement of the backyard chickens; and (4) designed to be easily accessed, cleaned, and maintained by the owners. Backyard chickens must be kept in the covered enclosure or a fenced enclosure at all times.
(5) 
Enclosure considered a structure. A covered enclosure is considered a structure and is subject to all applicable restrictions in this Code and applicable zoning requirements.
(6) 
Setback requirements. The covered enclosure housing backyard chickens shall be located at least 25 feet from all property boundary lines and shall not be located in the front yard. In addition, the covered enclosure shall be located at least 50 feet from all existing dwelling units on adjoining properties. In the event a dwelling unit is constructed on an adjoining property after the covered enclosure is established under this chapter and the new dwelling is less than 50 feet from the enclosure, the enclosure is not required to be moved.
(7) 
General care and maintenance. The keeping of backyard chickens shall not cause any nuisance or unhealthy condition, or otherwise interfere with the normal use of any property.
(8) 
Registration required. The owner, operator, or tenant shall register the premise where backyard chickens are kept with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as required by state law and maintain such registration for so long as may be required.
(9) 
Storage of feed. Feed for the backyard chickens shall be kept indoors or in a sealed container if kept out of doors.
(10) 
Licensing. The keeping of backyard chickens under this section shall comply with any licensing requirements established by the Town of Vernon.
(11) 
Compliance with laws. All applicable laws, including applicable zoning requirements, must be followed. In the event of a conflict between this § 117-12 and other provisions of this Code or applicable zoning requirements or other laws, the more restrictive shall apply.
[Added 7-6-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-02]
A. 
Definition. As used in this section, the following term shall have the meaning indicated:
POT-BELLIED PIG
A pig that is white, black or pinto in color, stands less than 14 inches at the shoulders and less than 30 inches in length when grown, weighs less than 220 pounds, that is distinguished by having erect ears, a straight tail with a plume at the end, and hair on the back that does not part, and is kept by its owners as a household pet.
B. 
Every owner of a pot-bellied pig must pay the pot-bellied pig license fee and obtain a license. The license may permit up to two pot-bellied pigs on the parcel.
C. 
License year. The license year commences on January 1 and ends the following December 31.
D. 
License fee. A license fee shall be established by resolution.
E. 
Late fees. If the owner fails to obtain a license prior to April 1 of each year or within 30 days of acquiring ownership of a licensable pot-bellied pig, a late fee shall be charged. The collecting official shall collect the late fee established by resolution. Imposition of a late fee is a remedy in addition to such other penalties and remedies as may apply.
F. 
Regulations and requirements.
(1) 
Property size. Pot-bellied pigs are allowed as an accessory use to a single-family residence on parcels that are three acres in size or larger. Pot-bellied pigs are prohibited in the town on parcels under three acres in size.
(2) 
Spayed/neutered. Pot-bellied pigs shall be spayed or neutered.
(3) 
Leash requirements. Each pot-bellied pig while outdoors shall be restrained by a harness and leash, or similar restraint not longer than six feet in length held by a competent person or within a fenced yard or enclosed building.
(4) 
Number. No more than two pot-bellied pigs may be kept on any parcel.
(5) 
Proof of vaccination. Pseudo rabies and Brucellosis shots required. No pot-bellied pig license shall be issued unless the pot-bellied pig has received a yearly Pseudo rabies and brucellosis vaccination as required by law and the owner has provided the Town with adequate proof from a state-licensed veterinarian.
(6) 
Litter. The keeper of any pot-bellied pigs shall cause litter and droppings to be collected in a container or receptacle that when enclosed shall be vermin proof and fly tight, and after every such collection shall cause such container or receptacle to be kept closed. At least once a week, every such keeper shall cause all litter and droppings so collected to be disposed of in such a manner as to not permit the presence of a nuisance to the surrounding neighborhood.
G. 
Revocation of license. The license for a pot-bellied pig issued pursuant to this chapter may be revoked by the Town of Vernon Board upon the finding that the provisions of this chapter have been violated and not corrected within 10 calendar days of notice by the Town Board.
H. 
Compliance with laws. All applicable laws, including applicable zoning requirements, must be followed. In the event of a conflict between this § 117-13 and other provisions of this Code or applicable zoning requirements or other laws, the more restrictive shall apply.