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City of Melrose, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Aldermen of the City of Melrose 10-20-1997 by Ord. No. 98-090. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Dogs in cemeteries — See Ch. 102, § 102-9.
Parks and playgrounds — See Ch. 173.
The Mayor shall annually, in March, nominate one or more Inspectors of Animals and before April 1 shall send to the Director of Animal Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the name, address and occupation of each nominee. Such nominee shall not be approved until appointed by such Director of Animal Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
State law reference — Inspectors of animals, MGL c. 129, § 15 et seq.
A. 
No person shall fasten a horse or other animal to or near any tree or shrub in any public street or grounds. No person shall leave any horse or destructive animal which may be in his/her charge unhitched in any public way or place or so hitched as to injure any ornamental tree or plant.
B. 
No owner or keeper of any animal(s) within the City limits shall allow or cause said animal(s) to be tethered, chained, tied, leashed or by any other means attached and/or affixed to any fence, signpost, tree, bush, pole or any other structure that is outside the confines of the owner's or keeper's property.
C. 
No owner or keeper of any animal within the City limits shall allow an animal that is lawfully tethered upon the confines of the owner's or keeper's property access to any sidewalk, way, street or any other public or private property, other than that of the owner's or keeper's own property.
State law reference — Protection of trees, MGL c. 87, § 12.
A. 
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or other revised ordinances, any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be punished as follows:
(1) 
First offense: fine of $15.
(2) 
Second offense: fine of $25.
(3) 
Third or subsequent offense: fine of $50.
B. 
Any violation which continues beyond a twenty-four-hour period shall be considered a separate offense.
[Amended 12-16-2002 by Ord. No. 02-060A; 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]
The Inspector of Animals, the Animal Control Officer (pursuant to MGL c. 140, § 136A et seq.), the Chief of Police, any police officer or the designated representative of any City department shall be authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
State law reference — MGL c. 140.
A. 
No dog shall be kept for breeding purposes, nor shall more than three dogs be kept for any purpose, except such dogs as are under the age of six months, on any premises situated in the City unless a special license therefor shall have been obtained from the City Council.
B. 
Every special license referred to in Subsection A shall specify the premises on which dogs may be kept under its authority, shall remain in force until the 31st day of March next following and shall be expressly made revocable by vote of the City Council after hearing. No license to keep dogs on any premises in the City situated within 500 feet of any dwelling house shall be granted except after a public hearing, notice of the time and place of which shall be given, not less than seven days prior thereto, by publication in a newspaper published in the City and by mail to all owners and occupants of real estate abutting such premises or directly opposite such premises on any public or private way as they appear on the most recent tax list at the time the application for such license is filed.
[Amended 5-20-2002 by Ord. No. 02-324]
A. 
No person shall own or keep in the City, outside the confines of the owner's or keeper's property, any dog that is not held firmly on a leash.
B. 
The Animal Control Officer may, at his/her discretion, waive the provisions of Subsection A if a determination is made that the owner or keeper has a valid reason to have the dog unleashed or untethered for training, exhibition or show purposes.
[Amended 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]
C. 
Violation of this section shall be punishable as follows:
(1) 
First offense, unaltered or altered: fine of $50.
(2) 
Second offense, unaltered or altered: fine of $100.
(3) 
Third offense: $150.
(4) 
Apprehension: $10.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The line "Adoption: all fees and expenses" which immediately followed this subsection in Ord. No. 02-324 was deleted per instructions from the City as superseded by Ord. No. 02-102. See § 93-11.
(5) 
Confinement: $10 per day.
(6) 
Kennels: $100.
(7) 
Seeing eye dogs: no fees.
D. 
Exemptions. Dogs will be permitted to go without leashes only within areas designated as "off-leash dog areas" as determined by the Board of Park Commissioners in accordance with § 173-17, provided that:
[Added 6-4-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-180]
(1) 
All dogs are leashed prior to entering and upon leaving the off-leash dog area.
(2) 
All dogs must be accompanied by a guardian who must remain with his/her dog(s) at all times while using the off-leash dog area.
(3) 
Guardians are legally responsible for their dog(s) and any injuries caused by their dog(s).
(4) 
Guardians may bring no more than three dogs to the off-leash dog area at one time.
(5) 
Guardians must dispose of their dog's fecal matter in accordance with § 93-8.
(6) 
The following dogs are forbidden from entry into the off-leash dog areas:
(a) 
Dogs in heat.
(b) 
Dogs less than six months of age.
(c) 
Dogs without municipal licenses and up-to-date vaccinations.
(d) 
Aggressive dogs. Any dog that engages in fighting or that does not respond to voice command.
Attack dogs used in delivery vehicles as guards shall be firmly anchored within the vehicle with a metal chain leash to prevent their leaving the confines of the interior.
A. 
Disposal of feces. Any person who is the owner or keeper or in control or possession of a dog within the City of Melrose shall dispose of any feces left by his/her dog on any public sidewalk, public street or any other public area or City-owned or City-controlled property or on any private property neither owned nor occupied by said person and for which permission has not been granted by a lawfully authorized person for the disposal of such feces on said property.
B. 
Method of disposal. Disposal of feces shall be accomplished by transporting and disposing of such feces to and at a place suitable and lawful for the disposal of canine feces or as otherwise designated as appropriate by the Board of Health.
[Amended 5-20-2002 by Ord. No. 02-303B; 12-16-2002 by Ord. No. 02-060A; 6-23-2005 by Ord. No. 05-257A]
A. 
Any and all persons who are owners or keepers of dogs residing within the City of Melrose shall register each dog which is six months old or older with the City Clerk and shall cause said dog to be licensed, numbered and described. The licensing period shall be on an annual basis commencing on January 1 of each year and ending on December 31 of each year.
B. 
The City Clerk shall not issue a license to any dog unless the owner or keeper thereof provides the City Clerk with a veterinarian's certification that said dog has been vaccinated in accordance with MGL c. 140, § 145B, or has been certified exempt from this provision due to a finding of the Board of Health that, due to infirmity or physical condition of said dog, inoculation is deemed inadvisable, or has a notarized letter from a veterinarian that a certification was issued or a metal rabies tag bearing an expiration indicating that said certification is still in effect.
C. 
The City Clerk shall charge the following fees for the issuance of dog licenses. Said fees shall not be reduced or prorated in the event that the license is issued for less than one calendar year. Spayed or neutered dog: $20 per year; an intact dog: $23 per year. A late fee of $15 is to be imposed if not licensed by March 15 annually. No fee shall be charged for a license issued for a service animal as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act or regulations promulgated thereunder.
[Amended 12-17-2012 by Ord. No. 2013-69; 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]
D. 
The owners or keepers of the dog shall cause the dog to wear a collar or harness, of leather or some other suitable material, to which shall be attached a tag issued by the City Clerk at the time of licensing. Said tag shall contain the name of the City of Melrose, the license number and the year of issue of said license.
[Amended 12-16-2002 by Ord. No. 02-060A; 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]
If any person shall make a complaint, in writing, to the Chief of Police or Animal Control Officer of the City of Melrose that any dog owned or harbored within his/her jurisdiction is a nuisance by reason of excessive barking, howling or yelping or by reason of behavior or habits deemed by the Chief of Police or the Animal Control Officer to be detrimental to the health, safety or well-being of the community, such Chief of Police or Animal Control Officer shall investigate or cause to be investigated such complaint, and the dog may be taken from the owner, and the Chief of Police or Animal Control Officer shall provide for the proper housing of the offending dog in order to allow for a quiet or safe neighborhood.
[Added 6-17-2002 by Ord. No. 02-102]
A. 
The City may, acting through the Animal Control Officer, enter into adoption agreements with members of the public pursuant to which animals which come into the custody of the City may be given to members of the public for adoption.
B. 
The City may charge an adoption fee of $10 to individuals adopting animals from the City hereunder.
C. 
A standard adoption agreement shall be kept on file with the Public Health Department.
[Amended 8-21-2017 by Ord. No. 2018-4]