City of North Adams, MA
Berkshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Sec. 27-1 Definitions.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein, unless the context in which they are used clearly requires a different meaning:
ABUSIVE CONDITIONS
When a dog does not have access to a shelter, or when a dog is restrained by a rope or chain that is less than 15 feet in length; or when a dog is living in an area that is contaminated, insect infested or littered by feces, broken glass, nails, sharp metal or wood objects, antifreeze or other harmful objects or poisonous substances; or when a dog does not have access to a proper supply of clean water and food.
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
Any person designated by the Mayor of the City of North Adams to enforce the laws relating to dogs and other animals.
AT LARGE
A dog unaccompanied by a person of adequate age and discretion to properly control its actions, and is unrestrained by a leash or chain not exceeding six feet in length.
CITY POUND
The facility owned and operated by the City of North Adams for the purpose of impounding or care of dogs and other animals held under the authority of this chapter.
DANGEROUS DOG
Any dog that has bitten or attacked any person or has attempted to bite or attack any person. Any dog with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, to cause injury to, or to otherwise threaten the safety of domestic animals. Any dog whether leashed or not which, in a vicious manner, approaches any person in an apparent attitude of attack upon the streets, sidewalks or any public grounds or places.
KENNEL
One pack or collection of dogs on a single premises, whether maintained for breeding, boarding, sale, training, holding or other purpose, and including any shop where dogs are on sale, and also including every pack or collection of more than three dogs six months old or over owned or kept by a person on a single premises irrespective of the purposes from which they are maintained.
MUZZLE
A device placed around the mouth of a dog so as not to injure the dog but to prevent it from biting any person or animal.
OWNER
Any person, firm, corporation, organization, or department owning, keeping, having an interest in, or having care, custody or control of, or harboring one or more animals. An animal shall be deemed harbored if it is fed or sheltered for 11 consecutive days or more.
POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG
Any dog that is impounded or its owners cited for allowing a dog to run off leash two or more times in a twelve-month period or any dog that acts in a highly aggressive manner when unprovoked. Vocalization or barking without more aggressive behavior shall not cause a dog to be deemed of a highly aggressive manner. Determination that a dog is potentially dangerous under this section shall be in the discretion of the Animal Control Officer and the Animal Control Officer shall notify the owner of any such determination.
RESTRAINT
Any leash, lead or other physical restraint.
SHELTER
Access by a dog at all times to an enclosed dog house, enclosed porch or garage.

Sec. 27-2 Licensing of dogs.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
Every dog six months old or over in the City of North Adams must be duly licensed.
The time between January 1 and the following December 31 shall be the license period, both dates inclusive. If a dog is moved into the City after January 1 the owner shall have 30 days to license such dog.
Such dogs shall have a current rabies vaccination at time of licensing. The owner of said dog(s) must provide either a veterinarian's certification that such dog has been vaccinated in accordance with the provisions of section 145B, or has been certified exempt from such provisions as hereinafter provided, or a notarized letter from a veterinarian that a certification was issued or a metal rabies tag bearing an expiration date indicating that such certification is still in effect.
(a) 
The license fee for a dog that has not been spayed or neutered shall be $20.
(b) 
The license fee for a dog that has been spayed or neutered shall be $8. A registered veterinarian's certification or reasonable facsimile of same as proof of spaying or neutering shall be presented at the time of licensing.
(c) 
The fee for replacement of a lost dog tag shall be $5 each.
(d) 
Late fee for licensing a dog after May 1, $5.
(e) 
No license fee shall be charged for any dog used by a public agency, police dogs, search and rescue dogs and drug-sniffing dogs.
(f) 
A copy of these regulations shall be made available with every license sold in the City.
(g) 
All outstanding, dog-related, fines must be paid before a license will be issued.
(h) 
No license fee or part thereof shall be refunded because of subsequent death, loss, spaying or removal from the City or other disposal of the dog.
(i) 
All fees collected by the office of the City Clerk under provisions of this chapter shall be paid into the treasury of the City monthly on forms approved by the Mayor.
Any owner or keeper of a dog not being a resident of the City but remaining in the City and keeping a dog within the City for a period of more than 30 days shall become subject to the provisions of this chapter.

Sec. 27-3 Restraint of dogs.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
Any owner or keeper of a dog shall not suffer or allow it to run at large, loose, or unattended in any street or public place within the City or upon the premises of anyone other than the owner or keeper, unless the owner or occupant of such premises grants permission therefor.
Any dog found in violation of the previous paragraph may be seized by the Animal Control Officer or any duly appointed officer or representative of the City and confined and impounded in the City pound or it may be placed in the care of a kennel duly licensed therefore or a domestic charitable corporation incorporated exclusively for the purpose of protecting animals from cruelty, neglect or abuse.
Any dog so found at large, loose, or unattended that cannot be safely seized may be destroyed by the Animal Control Officer or any duly appointed officer or representative of the City.

Sec. 27-4 Public nuisance.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
The owner or keeper of any dog who intentionally allows any such dog to cause a nuisance by barking, howling or otherwise in a habitual, consistent or persistent manner that disrupts the peace of the neighborhood or is an annoyance to any seriously ill person residing in the vicinity shall be deemed a public nuisance and shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 29.
A member of the public may make a complaint in writing to the Public Safety Commissioner or his designee that an investigation be conducted to order a restraint or disposal of a dog under provisions of MGL. c. 140 s. 157.

Sec. 27-5 Kennels.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
Every kennel in operation in the City of North Adams must be duly licensed. Persons seeking a license renewal must present their previous license, or others must present certification from the Building Inspector showing that all applicable requirements have been met. The fee for each license for a kennel shall be as follows:
(a) 
Thirty dollars if not more than four dogs are kept in said kennel.
(b) 
Sixty dollars if more than four but not more than 10 dogs are kept in said kennel.
(c) 
Ninety dollars if more than 10 dogs are kept in said kennel.

Sec. 27-6 Restraint of dogs in estrus (heat).

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
All unspayed female dogs must be confined or physically restrained while in estrus.

Sec. 27-7 Impounding, release and disposition of dogs.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
(a) 
The Animal Control Officer or police officer or representative of the City may cause a dog to be impounded for any one of the following reasons:
(1) 
If found without a license when a license is required.
(2) 
If found at large as set forth in § 27-3 alone.
(3) 
For having bitten, injured or physically molested any person.
(4) 
If a dangerous, potentially dangerous dog, or any dog bites or attacks a person or other domestic animal the dog may be impounded and quarantined for the proper length of time for rabies observation.
(5) 
Where, in the officer's opinion, a medical emergency exists or where the dog is living in unsanitary, unsafe or abusive conditions, the Animal Control Officer may take the dog to a veterinarian for treatment or have the veterinarian inspect the dog at the owner's property. Any owner or keeper of a dog who is found to be in violation of this section shall be responsible for the payment of the veterinarian's fee.
(b) 
Not later than three days after the impounding of any dog, the Animal Control Officer shall notify the owner or keeper. If the owner or keeper of the dog is unknown or, after reasonable efforts, is not contacted, written notice shall be posted for 10 consecutive days in the location for the posting of public notices in the City Hall, 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, s. 151A. Any person who owns or keeps a dog and who has received such notice that the dog has been impounded by the Animal Control Officer and does not within 10 days claim said dog at the City pound shall pay a fine of $100 to cover the board and disposal of such dog. The owner or keeper shall be described as a person who has in his or her 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, killed, given away or otherwise disposed of. If such dog is claimed within 10 days, said owner or keeper will pay a fine of $20 per day for each day such dog is housed at the City pound. All pound fees, veterinarian fees, fines and notification cost, if any, must be paid before the dog is released.
(c) 
Any dog which has been impounded and has not been reclaimed by the owner within 10 days shall be disposed of as provided by MGL c. 140 unless otherwise provided by this chapter. If the owner does not claim the dog during such period, the dog shall be disposed of in a humane manner to be determined by the Animal Control Officer, but shall not be turned over to a medical or research center for the purpose of experimentation. It is the intent that all costs, including medical care, associated with the impoundment of a dog for any reason in accordance with this chapter and Massachusetts General Law be the sole responsibility of the owner of the dog.

Sec. 27-8 Dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
(a) 
To consider declaring a dog or other animal dangerous or potentially dangerous, the Animal Control Officer, or any police officer, or upon a signed complaint by a member of the public, may request of the Public Safety Commissioner or designee that an investigation to be conducted to collect any evidence which can be used to determine whether or not a dog should be declared dangerous or potentially dangerous. No dog shall be declared dangerous or potentially dangerous if the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person committing a crime or was provoked by a person abusing the dog or other animal.
(b) 
If, after an investigation, the Public Safety Commissioner or designee declares that the dog is either dangerous dog or potentially dangerous, he shall notify the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, of such declaration and issue a restraining order against the dog as authorized by MGL c. 140 s. 157.
(c) 
The Public Safety Commissioner or designee at his discretion may order one or more of, but not limited to, the following corrective plans of action against a dog which has been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous:
(1) 
That, upon the owner's property, the dog must be so restrained or controlled so as to prevent the dog from leaving the property. A radio fence alone will not constitute restraint on the owner's property.
(2) 
That, upon the owner's property, the dog be so restrained or controlled as to prevent the dog from assaulting or threatening any person upon a public way or upon abutting public or private property.
(3) 
When not on the owner's property, the dog must be under actual physical restraint and control by way of a leash and muzzle.
(4) 
Enrollment and successful completion of a behavioral modification training course from a qualified instructor.
(5) 
Construction of a secure enclosure to house the dog while on the owner's property.
(6) 
Banish the dog from the City.
(7) 
Euthanize the dog after the expiration of 10 days.
(d) 
The owner of any dog declared dangerous shall post his or her property with a sign which is clearly visible to the street that reads: "WARNING, DANGEROUS DOG."
(e) 
If a dog has been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous, notification to the abutting and across-the-street property owners shall be made at the expense of the owner.
(f) 
Any owner or keeper of a dog that has been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous shall not suffer or allow it to run at large, loose, or unattended in any street or public place within the City or upon the premises of anyone other than the owner or keeper, unless the owner or occupant of such premises grants permission therefor.
Any dog that has been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous found in violation of the previous paragraph may be seized by the Animal Control Officer or any duly appointed officer or representative of the City and confined and impounded in the City pound or it may be placed in the care of a kennel duly licensed therefor or a domestic charitable corporation incorporated exclusively for the purpose of protecting animals from cruelty, neglect or abuse.
Any dog that has been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous so found at large, loose, or unattended that cannot be safely seized may be destroyed by the Animal Control Officer or any duly appointed officer or representative of the City.

Sec. 27-9 Removal of dog litter.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
The owner or any person walking or in control of a dog outside of the owner's or person's property shall not allow or permit such dog to defecate upon any property, public or private, unless such person shall remove all litter so deposited by such dog and dispose of same in a sanitary manner before leaving the immediate premises. The provision of this section shall not apply to a guide dog accompanying any blind person.

Sec. 27-10 Collection of fines.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
Fines and collection of fines for violations of this chapter shall be governed by the provisions of Chapter 29 of the Revised Ordinances of the City of North Adams.

Sec. 27-11 Severability.

[Ord. of 3-14-2006]
In the event that any portion of this chapter is declared null and void by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity shall not affect any remaining portions.