REGULATION OF DOGS
SECTION 1. Licenses shall be required in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 139 and are valid for a one year period commencing on January 1st and expiring on December 31st of each year.The annual fee for every dog license, except as otherwise provided by the law, shall be $20 for a male dog and $20 for a female dog, unless a certificate of registered veterinarian has been shown to the Town Clerk indicating that such male or female dog has been spayed or neutered, in which case the fees shall be $15.
SECTION 1A. The fee for kennel licenses shall be thirty-five dollars ($35.00) if no more than four dogs over the age of three months are kept in said kennel; sixty dollars ($60.00) if more than four but no more than ten dogs over the age of three months are kept therein; and one hundred and twenty-five dollars ($125.00) if more than ten dogs over the age of three months are kept therein.
SECTION 2. Disturbing the peace: No person shall own or keep in the town any dog which by biting, excessive barking, howling or in any other manner disturbs the quiet of the public.
SECTION 2A. Mandatory Leash Law: 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 or is under the control of its owner or keeper or the agent of either. As used in this section the term "control" shall include but not be limited to oral or visual commands to which the dog is obedient. Dogs running at large and not under restraint will be caught and confined for a period of up to ten days, and the owner or keeper will be forthwith notified. Said dog shall not be released to that owner or keeper, until a pick-up charge of twenty dollars ($20.00) per dog shall have been paid to the Town of Sharon for services rendered in addition to a per day boarding fee which is determined by the shelter for the care and keep of each dog impounded.
SECTION 3. Complaint of nuisance: If any person shall make a complaint in writing to the Animal Control Officer that any dog owned or harbored within his/her jurisdiction is a nuisance by reason of vicious disposition or excessive barking or other disturbance, the Animal Control Officer shall investigate such complaint, which may include an examination under oath of the complainant, and submit a written report to the Selectmen of his/her findings and recommendations, together with the written complaint. Upon receipt of such report and examination of the complainant under oath, the Selectmen may make such order concerning the restraint, muzzling or disposal of such dog as may be deemed necessary. The Animal Control Officer, after investigation, may issue an interim order that such dog be restrained or muzzled for a period not to exceed fourteen (14) days to enable the Selectmen to issue their order following receipt of the report of the Animal Control Officer. If the Selectmen fail to act during the period of the interim order, upon expiration of the period the interim order automatically is vacated.
SECTION 4. The Animal Control Officer may restrain or muzzle, or issue an interim order to restrain or muzzle, for a period not to exceed fourteen (14) days, any dog for any of the following reasons:
a. for having bitten any person;
b. if found at large or unmuzzled, as the case may be, while an order for the restraint of such dog is in effect;
c. if found in a school, schoolyard or public recreational area;
d. for having killed or maimed or otherwise damaged any other domesticated animal;
e. for chasing any vehicle upon any public way or way open to public travel in the town;
f. for any violation of Section 2.
Upon restraining or muzzling, or issuing an interim order to restrain or muzzle, the Animal Control Officer shall submit in writing to the Selectmen a report of his/her action and the reasons therefore. Upon receipt of such report, the Selectmen may make such order concerning the restraint, muzzling or disposal of such dog as may be deemed necessary. If the Selectmen fail to act upon the report during the period the dog is restrained or muzzled, upon expiration of the period, the interim order automatically is vacated.
SECTION 5. Appeal of restraint or muzzling: The owner or keeper of any dog that has been ordered to be restrained or muzzled or has been restrained under this article, may file a request in writing with the Animal Control Officer that the restraining order be vacated, or that the dog be released, and after investigation by the Animal Control Officer such Officer may vacate such order or release such dog, if the order or restraint was imposed by him/her. If the order was imposed by the Selectmen, the Animal Control Officer shall submit a written report of his/her investigation, with his/her recommendations, to the Selectmen, who may vacate the order.
SECTION 6. Any owner or keeper of a dog who shall fail to comply with any order of the Animal Control Officer or Selectmen issued pursuant to this article shall be punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100.00).
SECTION 7. Vaccination: It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog over the age of six months to keep or maintain such dog unless it shall have been vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian with antirabies vaccine within two years, or within the period of immunity as certified by said veterinarian, preceding the date on which such dog is kept or maintained.
SECTION 8. Violation of this by-law other than is provided in Section 6 shall be punished by a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.) for a first offense, fifty dollars ($50.) for a second offense, and one hundred dollars ($100) for a third and subsequent offense.
SECTION 9. 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 May 31st in any year shall be subject to a "late fee" so-called, of twenty-five ($25.), said fee to be paid in addition to the license fee for all dogs licensed on or after May 31st of any year. 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 of twenty-five dollars ($25.). In accordance with Article 11 of the General By-Laws of the Town of Sharon, a non-criminal disposition penalty will be imposed in the amount of twenty-five dollars ($25) for any owner of a dog who fails to comply with the licensing of their dog on or before June 30th of any year; said fee is to be paid in addition to the late fee and license fee.
LAWS RELATING TO DOGS (MASS. GENERAL LAWS, CHAPTER 140 SECTION 136A - 175) AS AMENDED
Section 137. Licenses and Tags
A person who at the commencement of a license period is, or who during any license period becomes, the owner or keeper of a dog six months or older which is not duly licensed, and the owner or keeper of a dog when it becomes six months old during a license period, shall cause it to be registered, numbered, described and licensed until the end of such license period.
(A License Period is the time frame between January 1st and the following December 31st both dates inclusive).
Section 145B. Vaccination of Dogs Against Rabies
Whoever is the owner or keeper of a dog six months of age or older shall cause such a dog to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian using a vaccine approved by the Department of Public Health.
Unvaccinated dogs acquired or brought into the Commonwealth shall be vaccinated within thirty days after acquisition or entry into the Commonwealth or upon reaching the age of six months, which ever comes later.
Vaccinated dogs shall be re-vaccinated periodically in accordance with rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the Department of Public Health.
Whoever violates the provisions of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00).
Section 151B. Veterinarians Fees for Emergency Treatment of Dogs and Cats Injured on Ways
Any veterinarian registered under the provisions of Section 55 or 56A of Chapter 112 who renders emergency care or treatment to, or disposes of, a dog or cat that is injured on any way, shall receive payment from the owner of such dog or cat, if known, or if not known, from the dog fund of the county in which the injure occurred in an amount not to exceed twenty dollars for such care, treatment or disposal; provided, however, such emergency care, treatment or disposal shall be for the purposes of maintaining life, stabilizing the animal or alleviating suffering until the owner or keeper of such dog or cat is identified for a period of twenty-four hours, whichever is sooner. Any veterinarian who renders such emergency care or treatment to, or disposes of, such dog or cat shall notify the Animal Control Officer in the city or town and, upon notification, such Animal Control Officer shall assume control of such dog or cat.
Section 155. Liability for Damage to Persons or Property.
If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, is under seven years of age at the time the damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof shall be upon the defendant in such action.
TICKET FINES LEVIED FOR ANIMAL VIOLATIONS
The Animal Control Officer has been authorized to issue citations for the violation of the Town by-laws (Article 11. Penalties #9). At this time the ACO may issue a ticket for a leash law violation if he/she can not apprehend the dog at large and can make a positive identification as to the owner of said dog. Citations will also be used to enforce the disturbance of peace by-law if the ACO, after investigation of complaints, feels that any animal is disturbing the peace and quiet of any person.
(Fines and offenses are assessed and accumulative per each calendar year)
ADDITIONAL LAWS PERTAINING TO DOGS, CATS AND OTHER ANIMALS
Chapter 272 Section 80H. Reports of Motor Vehicle Operator Injuring or Killing Dogs or Cats.
The operator of a motor vehicle that strikes and injures or kills a dog or cat shall forthwith report such an accident to the owner or custodian of said dog or cat or to a police officer in the town wherein such accident has occurred. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars.
Chapter 131, Section 23, General Laws, Keeping of Wild Animals
The General Laws prohibit possession, maintenance, propagation, cultivation and dealing of all types of wild animals without specific state and local permits. In addition to being a violation of the General Laws, the keeping of wild animals is an unwise practice because of the unpredictability of a wild animal and the high risk of injury due to biting and scratching. The Board of Health approval is also needed to keep wild animals.
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