[HISTORY: Adopted as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Poultry
Article II Animal Control
[Adopted 2-28-1949 ATM, Art. 34]
All poultry kept within the limits of the Fire District of the Town of Williamstown must be confined within an adequate enclosure.
[Adopted 5-9-2000 ATM, Art. 20]
Editor's Note: This bylaw repealed former Art. II, Dogs at Large, adopted 9-25-1972 STM, Art. 6.
As used in this bylaw, unless the context otherwise indicates:
- ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
- Any officer appointed by the Town Manager to enforce the laws relating to animals.
- All animals of any species, both male and female, including but not limited to dogs and cats.
- COMMERCIAL KENNEL
- A kennel maintained as a business for or to include the boarding of dogs.
- LICENSE PERIOD
- The time between April 1 and March 31, both dates inclusive.
- LIVESTOCK OR FOWL
- Animals or fowl kept or propagated by the owner, kept in proper houses or suitably enclosed yards. Such phrase shall not include dogs, cats or other pets.
- MULTIPLE PET LICENSE
- Several dogs over the age of six months of age in a single private residence.
- OWNER OR KEEPER
- Any person or persons, firm, association or corporation owning, keeping, or who has in his possession, for 11 consecutive days in any calendar year, a dog or any other animal, licensed or unlicensed; and cannot show to the satisfaction of the Animal Control Officer that such animal was sold, had died, or given away or otherwise disposed of. Further, if the owner or keeper of a dog or other animal be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor shall be held liable for any violation of this bylaw.
- Free of restraint or voice control and permitted to wander on private or public ways at will without permission of property owner.
- VOICE CONTROL
- Full response to command by voice and within 15 feet of owner or person in charge while dog is free of restraint, and to the satisfaction of the Animal Control Officer if dog is under question.
Any owner or keeper of a dog six months of age or older in the Town of Williamstown shall cause that dog to be licensed as required by MGL c. 140, §§ 137 and 139, commencing on April 1 of each year.
Any owner or keeper of several dogs may acquire a multiple pet license.
Commercial kennels must be fully licensed pursuant to the provisions of MGL c. 140, § 137A, and subject to the Town of Williamstown Zoning Bylaws.
Any owner or keeper who renews their respective dog license(s) after June 15th will be charged a ten-dollar late fee charge.
Each multiple pet household and commercial kennel shall be available to inspection, with just cause, by the Animal Control Officer, a Natural Resources Officer, Fish and Game Warden, Police Officer, Building Inspector or the Board of Health.
All dogs and cats six months of age or older must be currently vaccinated against rabies as per MGL c. 140, § 145B.
The annual fee for every animal license, multiple pet license and commercial kennel license shall be established by the Board of Selectmen. No fee shall be charged for a license for a dog specifically trained as a service dog provided owner provides certificate that such dog is trained and actually in the service of a disabled person.
The registering, numbering, describing and licensing of animals shall be performed in the office of the Town Clerk on a form prescribed and supplied by the town and shall be subject to the condition expressed herein that the dog so licensed shall be controlled and restrained from killing, chasing or harassing livestock or fowls.
No license shall be refunded, in whole or in part, for any reason.
The owner or keeper of a licensed animal shall cause it to wear around its neck or body a collar or harness to which shall be securely attached a tag issued by the Town Clerk at the time of licensing.
Dog owners, keepers and persons otherwise in charge are required to restrain their dogs physically by leash or by voice control when they are not on the owner's property.
This section shall not apply to property owned and/or controlled by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where a separate set of rules and regulations apply.
Any owner, keeper or person in charge of a dog may be ordered to muzzle said dog by a duly appointed Animal Control Officer and, in his/her absence, by a police officer for either of the following reasons:
This order shall remain in effect until removed by the officer after having been satisfied that the dog is unlikely to repeat its offense. Such decision by the officer to remove the said order shall not be unreasonably withheld.
It shall be the duty of each person who owns, possesses or controls a dog to remove and dispose of any feces left by such person's dog on any sidewalk, street or any other area to which the public has access.
It shall be the duty of each person who owns, possesses or controls a dog to remove and dispose of any feces left by such person's dog or any other animal on private property abutting a public way while such person's dogs or animal is under restraint, control or command.
The provisions of this bylaw shall not apply to a guide animal, hearing animal or service animal while actually engaged in the performance of its trained duties with a disabled person.
Animal Control Officers or, in their absence, police officers may cause a dog to be impounded for any of the following causes:
If found without a license when a license is required;
For violation of a muzzling order as provided for in § 10-5 of this article or as provided under MGL c. 140, § 167, as amended;
For having bitten, injured or physically molested any person;
For having physically injured any domestic animal;
To restore peace when the owner or keeper of a dog is otherwise unavailable, unwilling, or physically unable to restrain his/her dog from causing a nuisance by continuous barking or howling; or
To ensure the safety and well-being of the particular dog.
No later than two days after the impounding of any dog, the owner or keeper shall be notified, or if the owner or keeper of the dog is unknown, or, after reasonable efforts, is not contacted, written notice shall then be posted for 10 consecutive days in the location for posting notices in the Town Hall and on the town's web page, which notice shall describe the dog and the place and time of taking. Dogs impounded and unclaimed by the owner or keeper after such ten day period shall be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 140, § 151A. Prior to the end of said ten=day period, the owner or keeper may obtain the release of any dog impounded hereunder as follows:
In the case of a violation of § 10-7A(1) of this bylaw, upon obtaining a license as required by law and after paying all pound fees, fines, and notifications costs, if any; or
A person who owns or keeps a dog, and who has received such notice that the dog has been impounded and is eligible for immediate release, and does not within 10 days claim said dog at the pound, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $50 to cover the board and disposal of such dog. The owner or keeper shall be described as a person who has in his possession, for 11 consecutive days in any calendar year, a dog licensed or unlicensed, and cannot show to the satisfaction of the animal control officer that such dog was sold, had died, was given away or otherwise disposed of.
All dog owners shall be liable for a ten-dollar per day pound fee for any dog brought to the pound by the Animal Control Officer.
Any person or persons found guilty of a violation of any provisions of Sections 77, SOA 94 or 95 of MGL c. 272 will forfeit the right to own or keep any animal within the Town of Williamstown and must immediately, upon conviction, surrender all animals in his/her possession to the Animal Control Officer.
Whoever violates any provision of this article shall be penalized by noncriminal disposition as provided in MGL c. 40D, § 21D.
The Board of Selectmen or their agents may, after written notice to the owner or keeper, enter upon the premises of the owner or keeper of any dog known to them to have killed livestock or fowls, and then and there kill such dog, unless such owner or keeper whose premises are thus entered for the said purposes shall give a bond in the sum of $200, with sufficient sureties approved by the Board of Selectmen, conditioned that the dog is continually restrained. If the owner or keeper of the dog declares his intention to give such a bond, said Selectmen or their agents shall allow the owner or keeper seven days, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, in which to procure and prepare the same and to present it to them.
For the law of the commonwealth as to dogs generally, see MGL, c. 140, §§ 136A to 174A. As to cruelty to animals, see MGL, c. 272, § 77 et seq. As to licensing of stables, see MGL, c. 111, § 155 to 158. As to disposition of old and infirm animals, see MGL, 133. As to keeping certain animals in tenement houses, etc., see MGL, c. 144, § 73.