Borough of Pottstown, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 101 Intent and Purpose.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 101; as amended by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
The Burgess and Town Council of the Borough of Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, has determined that when the peace, comfort and enjoyment associated with the usual and common benefits of residing in the Borough are disrupted, disturbed or adversely impacted as a result of any dog, cat or other animal, as hereinafter defined by frequent or habitual barking, howling, screeching, yelping or baying or in any other way or manner disrupts, disturbs or adversely impacts the peace, comfort or enjoyment of any person or resident of the community, such that a person or resident of this Borough has no other reasonable option but to "close" all windows at his or her residence in contradiction to the desire of the person in an effort to maintain some level of peace, comfort or enjoyment or when the peace, comfort or enjoyment is disrupted, disturbed or adversely impacted to the point that the normal pattern of sleep of the person or resident is compromised such that the health, safety and welfare of the person or resident is endangered or the comfort, repose or health of the person is adversely impacted, it is hereby declared that such disruption, disturbance or adverse impact is an unreasonable interference with a right to the general and, therefore, constitutes a nuisance. Nothing in this Part is intended to supersede, preempt or override any applicable provision of state law, including the requirement of any owner of a dog over four months to obtain a license.

§ 102 Definitions.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 102]
As used in this Part, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ANIMAL
Any animal or bird maintained as a domestic pet including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters and birds. "Animal" shall not include livestock or poultry being raised upon working farm(s) and shall not include horses which are not the method of transportation or power for the occupants of a dwelling.
ANIMAL OWNER
Includes, regardless of whether any such animal is licensed or unlicensed:
A. 
Every person having a right, proprietorship or ownership of an animal.
[Amended by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
B. 
Every person who keeps or harbors an animal or has it in his or her care or custody.
C. 
Every person who permits an animal to remain on or about any premises occupied by him or her.
D. 
The parent of any child under 18 years of age who owns or has the control and/or custody of an animal.
E. 
"Owner" shall not include a feral cat caregiver.
[Added by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
DANGEROUS ANIMAL
Any animal which attacks and inflicts severe injury or kills a person or domestic animal, but does not include the following:
[Amended by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
A. 
An animal that bites or attacks a person or animal that is trespassing on the property of the animal's owner.
B. 
An animal that bites or attacks a person or animal that provokes, torments, tortures, or treats an animal cruelly or in response to having previously been provoked, tormented, tortured, or treated cruelly by the same person or animal.
C. 
An animal that is responding in a manner that an ordinary and reasonable person would conclude was designed to protect their person. If that person is engaged in lawful activity or is the subject of an assault or battery, or to protect itself or another animal.
D. 
An animal acting in response to pain or injury or which was acting to protect itself, its offspring, or other animals of the household.
NUISANCE
The unreasonable, unwarrantable or unlawful use of public or private property which causes injury, damage, hurt, inconvenience, annoyance or discomfort to any person in the legitimate enjoyment of his or her reasonable rights or person or property.
OWNER
A person owning, leasing, occupying or having charge of any premises within the Borough.
PERMIT
To suffer, allow, consent or let, to give leave or license, to acquiesce by failure to prevent, to expressly accept or agree to the doing of any act.
PERSON
Any natural person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or other legally recognized entity.
RUNNING AT LARGE
Being upon any public highway, street, alley, sidewalk, park or any other public land or upon property of another person other than the owner and not being accompanied by or under the control of the owner or any other person having custody of any animal.
VICIOUS ANIMAL
Any animal which has:
A. 
Previously been declared a dangerous animal under this Section.
B. 
A propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of persons or other animals.
C. 
Behaved in such a manner that the owner knows or should have known that the animal has tendencies to bite or attack persons or other animals, but does not include the following:
[Amended by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
(1) 
An animal that bites or attacks a person or animal that is trespassing on the property of the animal's owner.
(2) 
An animal that bites or attacks a person or animal that provokes, torments, tortures, or treats an animal cruelly or in response to having been previously provoked, tormented, tortured or treated cruelly by the same person or animal.
(3) 
An animal that is responding in a manner that an ordinary and reasonable person would conclude was designated to protect the person, if that person is engaged in lawful activity or is the subject of an assault or battery or to protect itself or another animal.
(4) 
An animal acting in response to pain or injury or which was acting to protect itself, its offspring or other animals of the household.

§ 103 Running at Large.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 103; as amended by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
1. 
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any animal to allow or permit such animal to run at large in the Borough of Pottstown. It further shall be unlawful for an animal owner to fail to keep at all times such animal either:
A. 
Confined within the premises of the animal owner and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition at all times.
B. 
Firmly secured by means of a collar and leash or lead or other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises or person on which it is secured.
C. 
Under the reasonable control of some person or, when engaged in lawful hunting, exhibition or field training, accompanied by an owner or handler.
2. 
It is not a violation of this section to have a dog off-leash in a specific area designated by the Director of Parks and Recreation to be an off-leash exercise area (including, but not limited to, dog parks, etc.).
3. 
For the purpose of this Part, an animal shall be presumed to be running at large if it is not within the immediate control of its owner, said control being in the form of a tether, leash or other appropriate controlling device.

§ 104 Duty to Secure Animal.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 104; as amended by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
It shall be the duty of all animal owners, and the duty of the parent or guardian of any minor owner of any dog or other animal, to keep the dog or other animal securely tied or penned in an enclosure in such manner that the dog or other animal cannot break loose and run at large over the streets, alleys, sidewalks, or public grounds in the Borough, or upon the property of anyone other than the animal owner or the property of another who has granted permission to the animal owner to allow the dog or other animal upon such person's property. However, it shall not be a violation of this section to have a dog off-leash in a specific area designated by the Director of Parks and Recreation to be an off-leash exercise area (including, but not limited to, dog parks, etc.).

§ 105 Duty to Control Animal.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 105; as amended by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
It shall be the duty of all animal owners, while traveling on the streets, alleys, sidewalks, or public grounds in the Borough of Pottstown, to have the dog or other animal on a leash or lead at all times, not exceeding six feet in length, and to prevent the dog or other animal from entering upon the property of any person or persons in the Borough without the property owner's consent. However, longer leads, such as retractable leads, are permissible in areas where the animal does not present a public hazard or interfere with pedestrians. Collars used to secure leads shall not be of such that would cause harm to the animal. However, it is not a violation of this section to have a dog off-leash in a specific area designated by the Director of Parks and Recreation to be an off-leash exercise area (including, but not limited to, dog parks, etc.).

§ 106 Noise.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 106; as amended by Ord. 2057, 1/12/2009, § 1]
It shall be unlawful within the Borough of Pottstown for any person or persons to own, possess, harbor or control any animal which makes any noise continuously and/or excessively or intermittently for 1/4 hour or more to the disturbance of any person, any time of day or night, regardless of whether the animal is physically situated in or upon private property, said noise being a nuisance; provided, however, that at the time the animal is making such noise no person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon private property in or upon which the animal is situated nor is there any other legitimate cause which justifiably provoked the animal.

§ 107 Offensive Odors and Other Nuisances Prohibited.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 107]
It shall be unlawful for any person to permit any animal to soil, defile, defecate or create noxious odors from defecation upon any common thoroughfare, sidewalk, passageway, by-pass, play area, park or any place where people congregate or walk, or upon any public property whatsoever or upon any private property without the express permission of the owner or occupier of such property, unless such person shall immediately remove all feces deposited by said animal and dispose of the same upon his or her own property or by any other sanitary method. Furthermore, it shall be unlawful for any person to harbor, care for, shelter or maintain any breed of dog or dogs or other animal in such a manner so as to disturb or unduly annoy the public through the dog's or other animal's smell, mischief or other harmful propensities. All pens or other areas in which dogs or other animals are kept shall be maintained in a sanitary condition, tree of offensive, obnoxious or foul odors.

§ 108 Dangerous Animal and Vicious Animal Care.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 108]
Every dangerous animal and vicious animal shall be confined, by its owner, within a building or secure enclosure and shall be securely muzzled or caged whenever off the premises of its owner.

§ 109 Responsibilities of Offended Persons.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 109]
It shall be the responsibility of the persons being offended to record the date and times of the offense, along with the location of the offending animal and type of offending animal and owner, if possible. This record shall be signed and dated by the complainant and provided to the Animal Control Officer and/or the Borough Police Department prior to issuing a notice of violation under § 110 of this Part. Should it become necessary, the complainant shall appear at the District Justice hearing as a witness for the Borough.

§ 110 Notice of Violation.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 110; as amended by Ord. 2057, 1/12/2009, § 2]
1. 
Method of Serving Notice. Prior to the issuance of a citation for a violation of this Part, it shall be necessary to serve written notice upon the animal owner in one of the following ways unless it is determined by the enforcing officer that notice is not required due to immediate concerns of public health and safety:
A. 
By mailing a copy of the notice to the animal owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid.
B. 
By personal delivery of the notice to the animal owner, in which case the owner shall sign a copy of the notice to be retained by the Borough.
C. 
By handing a copy of the notice at the residence of the animal owner to an adult member of the family with which the owner resides, but if no adult member of the family found, then to an adult person in charge of the residence. Said adult shall sign a copy of the notice to be retained by the Borough.
2. 
Content of Notice. The notice shall set forth the following:
A. 
The name and address of the animal owner, if known.
B. 
The nature and extent of the violation or offense.
C. 
The period of time over which the nuisance has occurred.
D. 
The identity of the person giving notice.
E. 
The date and time of sending of the notice.
F. 
A statement to the effect that a complaint may be filed with the District Justice if the nuisance is not abated within 24 hours of the time the notice is given to the animal owner.
3. 
Duration of Notice. Any notice given pursuant to this Section shall be valid for a period of six months. Within six months, no additional notice need be given prior to a complaint being filed with a District Justice.

§ 111 Penalties.

[Ord. 1926, 10/10/2001, § 111]
Any person who shall violate or permit the violation of this Part shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the Borough, and such fine and costs shall be in addition to any other expense for kennel charges, and in default of payment, to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Enforcement of this Part shall be by action brought before a District Justice in the same manner provided for the enforcement of summary offenses under the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.

§ 201 Keeping of Pigs and Other Farm Animals Prohibited.

[Ord. 1517, 5/13/1985, § 6; as amended by Ord. 2057, 1/12/2009, § 3[1]]
No person or persons, partnerships, firms or corporations shall keep any pig or any other farm animal within the limits of the Borough of Pottstown. Such farm animals shall include, but not be limited to donkeys, cows, horses, sheep, fowl (including, but not limited to ducks, geese, chickens and roosters), and goats.
[1]
Editor’s Note: Section 6 of Ord. 2057 provides as follows: “The Borough Manager, in conjunction with the Police Department and Code Enforcement Office, shall be permitted to establish reasonable rules and regulations relating to the enforcement and permitting with respect to the animals described in Part 2 of Chapter 2, Animals, of the Code of Ordinances of the Borough of Pottstown.”

§ 202 Prohibited Animals.

[Ord. 1517, 5/13/1985, § 6; as amended by Ord. 2057, 1/12/2009, § 4]
It shall be unlawful to keep any wild animals, whether purchased from a pet store or pet export show or caught from the wilderness or outside, or acquired in any other fashion, in the Borough of Pottstown. Such prohibited wild animals shall include, but not be limited to, migratory birds, fox, bear, deer, monkeys, raccoons, opossums, skunks, venomous snakes, venomous spiders, alligators or crocodiles.

§ 203 Creation of Unnecessary Odor.

[Ord. 1517, 5/13/1985, § 6; as amended by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
No person owning or having in his custody animals or fowl shall so maintain said animals or fowl in such a manner as to create any obnoxious or foul odor therefrom beyond the property line. Animals owners are responsible for keeping their property clean of animal fecal matter, which must be cleaned on a daily basis or within 48 hours.

§ 204 Shelter Standards.

[Ord. 1517, 5/13/1985, § 6; as amended by Ord. 2057, 1/12/2009, § 5; and by Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
All animals kept outdoors must have access to weatherproof shelter as prescribed below:
A. 
Animals shall be provided with access to a shelter which protects them against inclement weather, keeps them dry and allows them to preserve a normal body temperature. Animals shall be provided with a house or structure that is in good repair and complies with the following requirements:
(1) 
The house or structure shall have a roof and at least three enclosed sides;
(2) 
It shall be of a suitable size to accommodate the animal in both standing and lying positions;
(3) 
It shall be moisture-proof, windproof, ventilated, and in cold temperatures shall promote the retention of body heat;
(4) 
It shall be made of durable material with a solid, moisture-proof floor raised at least two inches from the ground;
(5) 
It shall have a significant quantity of suitable clean bedding material consisting of hay, straw, cedar shavings or the equivalent to provide insulation and protection against cold and dampness;
(6) 
All animals must be afforded one or more separate areas of shade large enough to accommodate the entire body of the animal at one time and protect it from the direct rays of the sun;
(7) 
Drinking water must be available in a clean, liquid state. Snow or ice is not an acceptable water source;
(8) 
The house or similar structure and the surrounding area shall be free from excessive dirt, trash, and waste. Tethering that does not allow an animal to defecate or urinate in an area separate from an area where it must, eat, drink, or lie down is prohibited;
(9) 
Use of leashes or leads shall contain a swivel or be attached to a swivel and shall be placed and attached so that the animal cannot become entangled with the leash or lead of other animals or another object;
(10) 
The lead shall be a type commonly used for the size and type of animal involved and shall be attached to the animal by means of a well-fitted buckle-type collar. The lead shall be at least three times the length of the animal as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, but no less than 15 feet in length, and shall allow the animal convenient access to the house or structure;
(11) 
It shall be prohibited to put a heavy chain around an animal's neck, tie an animal using a huge logging chain, and/or put any kinds of weights on it, including but not limited to weight vests, weighted collars, and weighted harnesses. A tether that weighs more than 1/8 of the animal's body weight is prohibited;
(12) 
It shall be prohibited to secure an unattended animal using aversive collars, inclusive of but not limited to prong, pinch, and choke chain collars;
(13) 
No animal may be housed on a temporary or permanent basis in any shelter constructed of uninsulated metal;
(14) 
In severe weather conditions of high winds and/or heavy rains or frozen precipitation with temperatures above 32° F., houses or similar structure shall have a windbreak at the entrance;
(15) 
In extreme cold temperatures, if the temperature falls below 32° F., animals may not be left outside for more than a half hour;
(16) 
In extreme heat temperatures, if the temperature rises above 90° F., animals may not be left outside for more than a half hour.
(17) 
Any animal confined within an outdoor enclosure/pen for more than two hours must have adequate space to exercise. A minimum of 100 square feet is required for any animal. Dogs over 80 pounds must have an additional 50 square feet. An additional 50 square feet is required for each additional dog kept within the same enclosed area. The area must be maintained in a sanitary condition and be free from debris or stored material.
B. 
Garages, sheds, screened or enclosed porches, and alcoves may be considered shelter or protection from the weather, provided:
(1) 
During the spring and summer, the structure is ventilated so as to provide movement of air;
(2) 
In a heated structure during fall and winter, an area must be provided for the animal that contains bedding (blankets, straw, etc.) sufficient to keep the animal insulated from the floor of the structure; and
(3) 
In an unheated structure during fall and winter, an enclosure must be provided consisting of four walls and a top (which may be an igloo-type house), which is sufficiently large enough that the animal is able to stand up and turn around while inside. Said enclosure is for the purpose of retaining the body heat of the animal. Bedding (blankets, straw, etc.) must also be provided.
C. 
Any time that an animal is left outside, tethered or not, and the owner is absent from the property, a suitable structure (dog house, shed, garage, screened porch, alcove, or working pet door) must be provided as shelter for such animal, and if tethered, the tether must be positioned so the animal may enter the structure easily.

§ 205 Trap-Neuter-Return Program.

[Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015[1]]
1. 
Animal rescue or welfare organizations and animal control may establish a trap-neuter-return program for feral cats that includes vaccinating the cats against rabies and ear tipping when they are trapped and neutered.
2. 
"Trap-neuter-return" means a nonlethal approach to feral cat population control where feral cats are humanely trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, ear tipped, and then returned to the location where they were originally trapped.
3. 
"Feral cat" means a cat that lives outside, does not have an owner, is unsocialized to people, and typically avoids contact with humans.
4. 
"Ear tip" means a mark identifying a feral cat as being in a trap-neuter-return program, specifically, the removal of approximately 1/4 of an inch off the tip of the cat's left or right ear while the cat is anesthetized.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the renumbering of former § 205, Penalty, as § 209.

§ 206 Feral Cat Caregivers.

[Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
"Feral cat caregiver" means any person who provides volunteer care to or for a feral cat by trapping, neutering, vaccinating, and returning the feral cat; by feeding and providing water to a feral cat; by providing shelter to a feral cat; and/or providing medical care for a feral cat.
A. 
Feral cat caregivers shall be permitted to carry out trap-neuter-return at their own expense. A feral cat giver who chooses to carry out trap-neuter-return shall:
(1) 
Vaccinate the feral cat(s) at the time of sterilization.
(2) 
Ear tip the left or right ear of the feral cat(s) at the time of sterilization.
(3) 
Provide food and water to the feral cat(s) on a regular basis, year round, using best practices to minimize, as reasonable as possible, any nuisance and/or unsanitary conditions.
(4) 
Provide adequate shelter (in number and quality) for the feral cat(s) using best practices to minimize nuisance.
(5) 
Make reasonable, good-faith efforts to provide needed veterinary care to the feral cat(s) that is(are) visibly ill or injured.
B. 
A feral cat caregiver is encouraged to make a reasonable effort to update the vaccinations on cats that can be recaptured.
C. 
In the event that kittens are born to a feral cat, the feral cat caregiver is encouraged to take reasonable steps to remove the kittens after they have been weaned, ideally before eight weeks of age. The kittens shall be placed in permanent or foster homes or turned over to an animal rescue organization for the purpose of subsequent permanent placement.
D. 
An ear tipped feral cat shall not be removed by animal control unless veterinary care is required.
E. 
A feral cat caregiver who returns a feral cat as part of a trap-neuter-return is deemed to not have abandoned the feral cat.

§ 207 Requirements for Care of Trapped Animals.

[Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
The following is a list of your responsibilities concerning the care for a trapped animal:
A. 
The trap must be placed in a shaded or sheltered area.
B. 
The trap must be placed in such a manner that it cannot fall.
C. 
The trap may not be set uphill of water or within 10 feet of water.
D. 
The trap may not be set within reach of the general public.
E. 
You are responsible for baiting and monitoring of the trap.
F. 
When the trap is set outside, the trap must be checked once an hour during a twenty-four-hour period.
G. 
The trap may not be used during night hours if the temperature is predicted to be below 32° F.
H. 
When not in use, or when monitoring is not feasible, the bait must be removed from the trap, and the trap must be deactivated/closed.
I. 
The trapped animal must be kept safe. In hot weather, a damp towel must be placed over the trap and placed in a shaded area. In cold weather, a dry towel must be placed over the trap and placed in a sheltered area free from wind.
J. 
A nontarget animal should be released when first found trapped unless it is injured or deceased.
K. 
You are responsible if an animal expires due to your failure to follow the above procedures.

§ 208 Cruelty to Animals.

[Ord. 2143, 11/9/2015]
"Cruelty" means any intentional act or omission whereby unjustifiable pain, suffering or death is caused or permitted, including failure to provide appropriate drink, air, space, shelter or protection from the elements, veterinary care, or nutritious food in a quantity sufficient to maintain life.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully and unjustifiably kill, wound, injure, torture, torment, tease, molest, bait, overwork, deprive of necessary sustenance, needlessly mutilate, poison, abandon, or subject to conditions detrimental to its health or general welfare any animal.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep animals under unsanitary or inhumane conditions or to fail to provide proper food, water, shelter or reasonably clean quarters, or to fail to provide proper medical attention for sick, diseased, or injured animals. Minimal care shall comprise, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) 
Food shall be wholesome, palatable, and free from contamination. It shall be of sufficient quantity and nutritive value as to maintain all animals in good health.
(2) 
Clean, potable water shall be available at all times for all animals. Any water receptacle shall be kept clean and sanitary, of appropriate size and design for the animal, and positioned to prevent spillage.
(3) 
All animals shall be able to stand to their full height, stretch out, turn around, lie down, and make normal postural adjustments comfortably.
(4) 
Animals shall be allowed to exercise and have freedom of movement as necessary to reduce stress and maintain physical condition.
(5) 
An animal shall be afforded immediate veterinary care if it is known or suspected to be ill or injured.
(6) 
Animals with hair coats requiring grooming to prevent severe matting, filth, accumulation and/or skin disease shall be groomed in accord with normal and accepted grooming practices.
(7) 
Both indoor and outdoor enclosures shall receive cleaning as necessary to remove pet solid waste and debris so as to minimize disease hazards, odor, and danger to the animal.
(8) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to promote, stage, hold, manage, conduct, carry on or attend any illegal game, exhibition, contest, fight, or combat between one or more animals or between animals and humans, or to set free any animal for the purpose of chasing or having a race thereafter. This shall include, but is not limited to, hares or rabbits, cocks or other fowl, and dogs.
(9) 
It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, or corporation being the owner, possessor, or custodian of a dog, cat, or other domestic animal or pet to abandon such animal. "Abandon" does not mean transferring ownership to an animal rescue organization or another person.
(10) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, give away or barter any domestic dog or cat less than eight weeks of age unless accompanied by its dame. This provision does not apply to animals being surrendered to an animal control agency, shelter, pound, rescue, or humane organization.
(11) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to place or confine an animal or allow an animal to be placed or confined in a motor vehicle under such conditions or for such period of time as to endanger the health or well-being of such animal due to temperature, lack of food or drink, or such other conditions as may reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability or death.
(12) 
Animals which are transported on, or in back of, trucks or other open-bed vehicles must either be cross-tethered or confined in a suitable cage made of wood or plastic to prevent them from departing the vehicle while it is in motion. The cage must be anchored or tethered to prevent movement while the vehicle is in operation. It shall be prohibited to transport an animal on, or in the back of, trucks or other open-bed vehicles during the winter months.

§ 209 Penalty.

[Ord. 1517, 5/13/1985, § 4; as amended by Ord. 1735, 4/12/1993]
The owner of any animal who shall violate the terms of this Part may, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $600 and costs of prosecution. In default of the payment of such fine and costs, such owner may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 30 days. Such fine and costs shall be in addition to any payments required under this Part.