Town of Yarmouth, MA
Barnstable County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Special Town Meeting of the Town of Yarmouth 10-24-1990 by Art. 15, approved 1-9-1991. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Waterfowl — See Ch. 80.
Animals on sidewalks — See Ch. 123, Art. I.
Poultry and swine — See Ch. 196.
Stables — See Ch. 202.
The following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:
ADOPTION
The delivery of a cat or dog to any person 18 years of age or older for the purpose of harboring as a pet.
COMMERCIAL KENNEL
A kennel maintained as a business established for or to include the boarding or grooming of dogs.
A. 
Any dog which, according to the records of the Animal Control Officer or another appropriate authority, has inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property;
B. 
Any dog which, according to the records of the Animal Control Officer or another appropriate authority, has killed a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner's or keeper's property; or
C. 
Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting.
DOG FUND
The fees, fines and reimbursements collected in connection with the licensing of dogs and the enforcement of these rules and regulations.
DOG OFFICER OR ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
Any officer appointed by the Board of Selectmen to enforce the laws relating to dogs or cats.
[Amended 4-28-1993 by Art. 44, approved 7-9-1993]
KEEPER
Any person, corporation or society, other than the owner, harboring or having in his or its possession any dog or cat.
[Amended 4-28-1993 by Art. 44, approved 7-9-1993]
LICENSE PERIOD
The time between July 1 and June 30, both dates inclusive.
LIVESTOCK OR FOWLS
Animals or fowls kept or propagated by the owner for food or as a means of livelihood; also deer, elk, cottontail rabbits and northern hares, pheasants, quail, partridge and other birds and quadrupeds determined by the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement to be wild and kept by or under a permit from said Department in proper houses or suitably enclosed yards. Such phrase shall not include dogs, cats and other pets.
MULTIPLE PET HOUSEHOLD
More than three dogs over the age of six months of age in a single private residence.
A. 
Any dog which, when unprovoked, chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks or any public or private property in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack; or
B. 
Any dog with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack when unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals.
RESEARCH INSTITUTION
Any institution operated by the United States or by the commonwealth or a political subdivision thereof or any school or college of medicine, public health, dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine or agriculture, medical diagnostic laboratory or biological laboratory, hospital or other educational or scientific establishment within the commonwealth above the rank of secondary school which, in connection with any of its activities, investigates or gives instruction concerning the structure or functions of living organisms or the causes, prevention, control or cure of diseases or abnormal conditions of human beings or animals.
SHELTER
A public animal control facility or any other facility which is operated by any organization or individual for the purpose of protecting animals from cruelty, neglect or abuse.
[Amended 4-28-1993 by Art. 45, approved 7-9-1993]
A. 
All dogs residing in the Town of Yarmouth must be licensed on or before four months of age. The Clerk of the Town shall issue dog licenses and tags on a form prescribed and furnished by the Town. Subject to the approval of the Board of Selectmen, the Town may permit licensing to be conducted through the mail.
B. 
On the license form the Clerk shall record the name, address, phone number and the date of birth of the owner or keeper of the dog and the name, license number and description of each dog. Each tag shall include the license number, the name of the Town and the year of issue.
C. 
The owner or keeper shall cause each dog to wear around its neck or body a collar or harness to which he/she shall securely attach the license tag. In the event that any tag is lost, defaced or destroyed, substitute tags shall be obtained by the owner or keeper from the Clerk at the cost of $1. Such moneys shall be transmitted to the Town's general fund in the same manner as license fees.
D. 
No Town Clerk shall issue a license for any dog unless the owner or keeper provides the Clerk with a veterinarian's certificate verifying that the dog is currently vaccinated against rabies.
E. 
Fees for dog licenses shall be set by the Board of Selectmen. No fee shall be charged for a dog specially trained to lead or serve a blind or deaf person upon presentation to the Town Clerk of a certificate of such training. Working police canines shall also be exempt from a license fee.
F. 
The Board of Selectmen shall set the date by which dog licenses must be renewed. The Clerk shall collect a late fee for every dog license issued after the date established by the Board of Selectmen. Late fees shall be set by the Board of Selectmen.
[Amended 4-2-2012 ATM by Art. 30, approved 7-13-2012]
G. 
Any owner or keeper of a licensed dog who moves into the Town of Yarmouth must obtain a transfer license upon forfeiture of the old license, proof of a current rabies vaccination and a fee of $1 to be deposited to the general fund.
H. 
The provisions of this section shall not apply to institutions licensed under Chapter 49A of the Massachusetts General Laws or to pet shops licensed under § 39A of Chapter 129 of the Massachusetts General Laws.
[Amended 4-28-1993 by Art. 45, approved 7-9-1993]
Whoever violates § 79-2.1 shall be subject to a fine of not less than $25 for each offense.
If any person refuses to answer or answers falsely questions of a police officer, Animal Control Officer or a Natural Resource Officer pertaining to his ownership of a dog, he/she shall be punished by a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $50, which will be paid to the Town of Yarmouth's general fund.
[Amended 4-28-1993 by Art. 46, approved 7-9-1993]
All dogs and cats three months of age and older must be kept currently vaccinated against rabies. Such vaccinations can only be given by a veterinarian licensed with the State of Massachusetts. Upon vaccination, the veterinarian shall provide a tag which the owner or keeper shall secure to the dog's or cat's collar or harness. The tag shall show the year the vaccination was given, a rabies tag number and the name of the veterinary clinic. The veterinarian shall prepare three copies of a rabies certificate, which shall specify the name and address of the owner or keeper of the dog or cat, the name and description of the animal, the rabies tag number and the expiration date of the vaccine. The veterinarian shall present one copy of the certificate to the owner or keeper of the animal and one to the Town Clerk and shall keep one copy for his/her files.
[Amended 4-28-1993 by Art. 46, approved 7-9-1993]
Whoever violates the provisions of § 79-3.1 shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50 for each offense.
A. 
Any person owning or keeping a dog shall not allow it to run at large in any of the streets or public places in the Town of Yarmouth or upon premises other than the premises of such owner or keeper, unless the owner or lawful occupant of such other premises grants permission therefor. No dog shall be allowed in any public place or street within the Town unless it is effectively restrained and controlled by a chain or a leash or unless it is confined within a motor vehicle.
B. 
This section shall not be construed to limit or prohibit the use of hunting dogs during the hunting season or the conducting of field trials for hunting dogs.
Whoever violates any of the provisions of § 79-4.1 shall be punished by the fine schedule set by the Board of Selectmen.
A. 
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to apprehend any dog found running at large and to impound such dog in the Town holding facility or another boarding facility. The Animal Control Officer shall keep a record of each dog impounded, which shall contain the following information: breed, color and sex, together with whether or not the dog is licensed, the license number, if any, and the name and address of the owner, if known.
B. 
The owner or keeper shall reclaim the dog impounded if:
(1) 
The owner or keeper presents a valid dog license.
(2) 
The owner or keeper pays all impoundment fees and board fees.
(3) 
The owner or keeper gives his/her name, address and date of birth.
(4) 
If the dog is unlicensed and does not have a current rabies vaccination, the owner or keeper presents a receipt from a licensed veterinarian for prepayment of a rabies inoculation.
Impoundment fees and board fees shall be set by the Board of Selectmen.
[Amended 4-28-1993 by Art. 47, approved 7-9-1993]
Any person owning or keeping a dog shall not allow or permit said dog to annoy another person by making loud or continuous noise which is plainly audible off the owner's or keeper's property. The person or persons offended by such dog may make a complaint in writing to the Board of Selectmen. The Selectmen shall investigate or cause to be investigated said complaint and may make an order as may be deemed necessary, including removal of said dog. Fees are to be set by the Board of Selectmen.
Whoever violates any of the provisions of § 79-6.1 shall be punished by the fine schedule set by the Board of Selectmen.
A. 
A kennel maintained as a business for the boarding or grooming of dogs shall obtain a kennel license upon written application. Each kennel shall be available to inspection by the Animal Control Officer, a Natural Resource Officer, Fish and Game Warden, police officer or the Board of Health. A kennel license shall cost $50.
B. 
The Clerk shall issue, without charge, a kennel license to any domestic charitable corporation incorporated exclusively for the purpose of protecting animals from cruelty, neglect or abuse and for the relief of suffering among animals.
C. 
A veterinary hospital within the Town of Yarmouth shall not be considered a kennel unless it contains an area for grooming or selling of dogs or for the boarding of dogs for other than medical or surgical purpose, in which case it shall apply in writing to the Clerk.
Whoever violates any of the provisions of § 79-7.1 shall be punished by a fine of $100.
Any person maintaining a kennel or keeping multiple pets without a license or permit shall be punished by a fine of not less than $50.
[Amended 4-27-1994 by Art. 22, approved 6-7-1994]
Any owner or keeper of more than three dogs must acquire a multiple pet permit. The owner or keeper must present to the Town Clerk verification that all dogs three months of age or older have been currently immunized against rabies and are each currently licensed. The cost for a multiple pet permit shall be $50. Each multiple pet household shall be available to inspection by the Animal Control Officer, a Natural Resource Officer, a Fish and Game Warden, a police officer or the Board of Health.
The fine for failure to acquire a multiple pet permit shall be $100.
No more than six dogs may be kept at any private residence. Persons owning more than six dogs prior to the passage of this chapter are permitted to keep such dogs but may not replace them in excess of the permitted total. This section shall not be applicable to dogs under the age of six months.
Whoever violates any of the provisions of § 79-9.1 shall be punished by a fine of $25 for each dog.
The provisions of MGL c. 140, § 157 shall be applicable to vicious or barking dogs, as if said section was fully set forth herein, with the exception that references to a Chief of Police in a city and to County Commissioners are deleted therefrom.
The Animal Control Officer shall keep an accurate list and description of all dogs impounded, adopted and reclaimed.
The Town Treasurer shall keep a separate account of all money received and expended by him/her relating to dogs. All moneys shall be deposited into the general fund. Money received relating to the licensing of dogs and fees relating to fines and/or impoundment and not so paid out shall be deposited into the general fund and may be used for the support of public libraries or schools and may also be used to purchase forms and materials and for other costs relating to the implementation of the animal control program.
[Amended 4-27-1994 by Art. 23, approved 6-7-1994]
Any veterinarian who renders emergency care or treatment to or disposes of a dog or a cat that has been injured on any way within the Town of Yarmouth shall receive payment from the owner of such dog or cat, if known, or, if not known, from the Town of Yarmouth in the amount of $50 for such care, treatment or disposal. Treatment or disposal shall be for the purpose of maintaining life, stabilizing the animal or alleviating suffering until the owner or keep of such dog or cat is identified or for a period of 24 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 Yarmouth and, upon notification, the Animal Control Officer shall assume control of such dog or cat.
No dog or horse shall be allowed in any cemetery within the Town of Yarmouth, whether it is accompanied by the owner or keeper, on or off a leash, or while running at large.
The fine for a dog or horse being in any cemetery within the Town of Yarmouth shall be $100 for each offense.
The Board of Health of the Town of Yarmouth shall furnish free of charge upon application of any resident thereof who has been or may have been exposed to rabies anti-rabic vaccine and treatment in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Public Health and accepted medical practice. Such person shall have the right to select his/her own physician, who shall be paid by the Town at a rate established by the Board of Health of the Town.
Any person or persons found guilty of a violation of any provisions of § 77, 80A, 94 or 95 of Chapter 272 will forfeit the right to own or keep any animal within the Town of Yarmouth and must immediately, upon conviction, surrender all animals in his/her possession to the Animal Control Officer.
Whoever violates any of the provisions of § 79-16.1 shall be punished by a fine of $100. Each day shall constitute a separate offense.
A. 
Whoever suffers loss by the worrying, killing or maiming of livestock or fowl by dogs shall inform the Animal Control Officer, who shall forthwith proceed to the scene to view the damage and determine if the damage was done in fact by dogs and, if so, appraise the amount of the damage if it does not exceed $50.
B. 
If, in the opinion of the Animal Control Officer, the damage exceeds $50, the damage shall be appraised on oath by three persons, one of whom shall be the Animal Control Officer, one shall be appointed by the person alleged to be damaged and the third appointed by the other two.
C. 
Said appraisers shall consider and include in such damages the number and kind of animals damaged, the extent of the damage and the approximate weight of the killed animals. The appraisers will also note in their report whether or not any animals were sent for veterinarian treatment in an effort to save them and the number and kind of such animals. Such report will be filed in the office of the Clerk within 10 days of said appraisal, who shall submit said appraisal report to the Board of Selectmen for payment. The Board of Selectmen may require the appraisers to provide additional information that it deems appropriate in accordance with the report of the appraisers.
No owner of livestock or fowl shall be reimbursed for damages inflicted by his own dog or dogs, nor shall be be reimbursed if he was the owner or keeper of an unlicensed dog six months of age or older, nor shall be be reimbursed for damages if the owner or keeper of the dog inflicting the damage is known to him or to the Animal Control Officer. No reimbursement shall be made in the case of damage to deer, elk, cottontail rabbits, northern hares, pheasants, quail, partridge and other livestock or fowl determined by the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Recreational Vehicles to be wild. No reimbursement will be made for damages unless the livestock or fowl are kept in proper houses or in suitable enclosed areas. No reimbursement shall be made for damage done by a dog to dogs, cats and other pets. Awards for damages in no case shall exceed the fair cash market value of such livestock or fowl.
A. 
The owner or keeper of a dog which has done damage to livestock or fowl shall be liable for such damage, and the Selectmen may order the owner or keeper to pay such damages after an investigation by the Animal Control Officer of the facts of the matter and an appraisal by the Animal Control Officer, one person chosen by the person sustaining the damage and a third appraiser chosen by the other two. The appraisers will submit a report to the Selectmen stating the type of damage, the number and kind of animals damaged and whether any animals required medical treatment by a veterinarian to save them.
B. 
In the event that the owner or keeper of such dog known to have done damage to livestock or fowl refuses to pay upon the order of the Selectmen, the Selectmen shall enter or cause to be entered a complaint in the district court for the enforcement of the order.
C. 
If a dog, which has previously been ordered restrained by the Selectmen or upon review by the District Court, wounds any person or shall maim or kill any livestock or fowl, the owner or keeper of such dog will be liable to the person injured thereby in treble the amount of damages sustained by him.
The Town of Yarmouth shall follow MGL c. 140, § 153.
The Town of Yarmouth shall follow MGL c. 140, § 158.
The Town of Yarmouth shall follow MGL c. 140, § 159.
[Added 4-28-1993 by Art. 48, approved 7-9-1993]
The owner, keeper or person responsible for any animal injured or killed by a motor vehicle shall be responsible for the cost of all rescue response, emergency care, treatment and/or disposal of said animal. Fees are to be set by the Board of Selectmen.
[Added 4-28-1993 by Art. 48, approved 7-9-1993]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for the owner, keeper or person responsible for an animal which has bitten or scratched and broken the skin of a person to fail to comply with a quarantine order issued by the Town of Yarmouth's Animal Inspector.
B. 
Penalties for failure to comply with a quarantine order shall be not less than $25 nor more than $300.
[Added 4-28-1993 by Art. 48, approved 7-9-1993]
Whoever violates a Selectmen's order shall be punished by a fine of $100 for the first offense and not more than $300 for each subsequent offense.
[Amended 4-7-2014 ATM by Art. 36, approved 4-29-2014]
No person owning or having the care, custody, or control of any dog shall permit such dog to soil or defile or commit any nuisance upon any sidewalk, street, thoroughfare, beach, or wetland, in or upon any public property or in or upon the property of persons other than the owner or persons having the care, custody, or control of such dog, unless said person picks up any such waste and disposes of same in a sanitary manner. Anyone having custody or control of a dog in a public place shall have in his or her possession a device or equipment to pick up and remove dog feces. Individuals with disabilities aided by service dogs and law enforcement, emergency or rescue officials with dogs carrying out official duties are exempt from this section.
[Amended 4-7-2014 ATM by Art. 36, approved 4-29-2014]
Whoever violates any of the provisions of § 79-24.1 shall be punished by a fine. A schedule of fines shall be adopted by the Board of Selectmen. An individual seeking to appeal the issuance of a fine under this section shall make appeal to the Barnstable District Court.