[Ord. No. 98-2, § 1, 11-16-1998; Ord. No. 11-01, § 1, 3-21-2011]
The purposes of this article are to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the Town of Windsor by addressing the public nuisance caused by vicious and dangerous animals and to ensure that all animals receive adequate care. This article is intended to supplement and not supplant the provisions contained in General Statutes Section 22-339 et seq. regarding domestic animals. The Animal Control Officer shall have the discretion as to whether to proceed pursuant to state or local law. If there is any conflict between this article and the state statutes and any regulations issued by the Department of Agriculture pursuant to said state statutes, the state statutes and regulations will control.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 2, 11-16-1998; Ord. No. 11-01, §§ 2, 3, 4, 5, 3-21-2011]
When used in this article, the following words, terms, and phrases, and their derivations shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
"Adult" means any individual 18 years of age or older.
"Animal" means any non-human animate being which is endowed with the power of voluntary motion, including fish and fowl.
"Animal Control Officer" means an employee or agent of the Town to enforce the licensing, inspection and enforcement requirements contained within this article and state statutes.
"Animal nuisance" means any nuisance arising out of the keeping, maintaining or owning of, or failure to exercise sufficient control of, an animal.
"Animal shelter" means any facility operated by the Town and shall also include any facility authorized by the Animal Control Officer or his/her designee to impound, confine, detain, care for or destroy any animal.
"At large" means that an animal is off the premises of the owner and not on a leash.
"Disposition" means adoption, sale, quarantine, voluntary or involuntary placement or euthanasia humanely administered to an animal.
"Farm" means a tract of land containing two acres or more, used in part or wholly for agricultural purposes for profit, which may include the raising and keeping of domestic or other animals.
"Guard or attack dog" means a dog trained or antagonized to attack or apprehend on command or to protect persons or property.
"Impoundment" means the taking into custody of an animal by an Animal Control Officer, or any authorized representative thereof.
"Muzzle" means a device constructed of strong, soft material designed to fasten over the mouth of an animal to prevent it from biting any person or other animal.
"Owner" or "keeper" means any person having temporary or permanent custody of, sheltering or having charge of, harboring, exercising control over, or keeping or having property rights to, any animal covered by this article.
"Public nuisance" means any animal that endangers the life or health of persons or other animals, or substantially interferes with the rights of citizens, other than their owners, to enjoyment of life or property. The term "public nuisance" shall include, but not be limited to, any animal that:
Is repeatedly found running at large;
Is in any section of any public recreation area where animals are permitted, unless the animal is on a leash and under complete control;
Damages, soils, defiles or defecates on any property other than that of its owner, unless the owner or keeper immediately picks up after the animal;
Barks, whines, howls or makes any noise natural to its species in an excessive or continuous fashion so as to disturb the peace, except where such activity occurs on a farm;
Is in heat and is not confined or under the owner's or keeper's control so as to prevent attraction or contact with other animals;
Whether or not on the property of its owner, that without provocation molests, attacks, or otherwise unreasonably interferes with the freedom of movement of persons in a public right-of-way or on private property other than that of the animal's owner;
Chases motor vehicles in a public right-of-way;
Is offensive or dangerous to the public health, safety or welfare by virtue of the number of animals maintained at a single residence and the inadequacy of the facilities and care; [or]
Attacks another animal off the property of the owner or keeper of the attacking animal.
"Under restraint" means that an animal is secured by a leash or securely enclosed (e.g., appropriate fence) within the real property limits of the owner's premises.
"Vicious or dangerous animal" means an animal that has attacked, bitten, or physically injured human beings without adequate provocation. Any animal that without provocation has bitten or attacked a human being or has behaved so as to impose a threat of imminent bodily harm to a person conducting him/herself peacefully and lawfully or has attacked or bitten another animal without provocation shall be prima facie presumed vicious or dangerous. No animal may be declared vicious if an injury or damage is sustained by a person who, at the time such injury or damage was sustained, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the animal or was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the animal or was committing or attempting to commit a crime. No animal may be declared vicious if the animal was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the animal from an unjustified attack or assault.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 3, 11-16-1998]
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep any animal on any property located within the Town when the keeping of such animal constitutes a public nuisance or menace to public health or safety.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 4, 11-16-1998]
Every owner shall provide his or her animals with sufficient good and wholesome food and water, proper shelter and protection from the weather, veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering, humane care and treatment; and maintain them in a secure enclosure.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 5, 11-16-1998; Ord. No. 11-01, § 6, 3-21-2011]
It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any dog to fail to keep their dogs under restraint with a leash or to permit dogs to run at large upon the streets and public ways of the Town or upon property other than that of the owner or keeper. Public service dogs guiding the blind or guiding other physically disabled persons, or dogs being used by public safety personnel for official purposes will not be required to be on a leash.
No owner, keeper or custodian of any animal shall fail to exercise proper care and control of such animal to prevent the same from becoming a public nuisance.
For the purpose of recreation with one's dog, the dog may be allowed off leash temporarily in a wide open public park or water access area, as long as the owner/keeper keeps the dog under restraint. This restraint must ensure that the dog does not go within the personal space of other citizens or their animals (no closer than 10 feet), and that the dog does not cause anxiety or fear to citizens by assertive or aggressive behaviors. If a citizen verbalizes fear or concern or reacts to the dog by changing his or her position, the owner/keeper shall immediately apply a leash to their dog.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 6, 11-16-1998]
Every owner of a guard or attack dog shall keep such dog confined in a building, compartment or other enclosure. Any such enclosure shall be completely surrounded by a chain-link fence at least six feet in height and shall be topped with an anti-climbing device consisting of chain-links or other material approved by the Animal Control Officer.
The areas of confinement shall all have gates and entrances thereto securely closed and locked, and all fences properly maintained and escape proof.
When outside the enclosure on the owner's or keeper's property, all guard and attack dogs shall be under the direct and immediate control of a responsible adult who can fully control the dog at all times.
When off the property of the owner or keeper, all guard and attack dogs shall be under restraint of a responsible adult at all times.
The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs owned or controlled by government law enforcement agencies.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 7, 11-16-1998; Ord. No. 11-01, § 7, 3-21-2011]
Every animal established to be vicious or dangerous shall be confined by its owner or authorized agent of its owner within a building or secure enclosure as set forth in Section 12-66 above and, whenever outside the building or secure enclosure, shall be securely muzzled and restrained by a responsible adult with a chain having a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds and not more than six feet in length, or caged. Specific restraint requirements can also be imposed by the Windsor Animal Control Officer in the form of a restraining order as specified in Section 12-71. Every person harboring an animal established to be vicious or dangerous is charged with an affirmative duty to confine the animal in such a way that the public does not have access to such animal.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 8, 11-16-1998]
In addition to any other remedies provided in this ordinance and under state law, an Animal Control Officer may seize, impound and humanely confine to an animal shelter or hospital any of the following:
Any dog or animal without a valid license or identification tag when required by state law or Town ordinance;
Any dog or animal at large;
Any dog or animal constituting a public nuisance or considered a danger to the public;
Any dog or animal that is in violation of any quarantine or confinement order of the town's Animal Control Officer;
Any unattended animal that is ill, injured or otherwise in need of care;
Any animal that is reasonably believed to have been abused or neglected;
Any animal that is reasonably suspected of having rabies;
Any dog or animal which an Animal Control Officer or the police has established is a threat to public health and safety;
Any dog or animal that an agency or court of competent jurisdiction has ordered impounded or destroyed;
Any dog or animal that is considered unattended or abandoned, such as in situations where the owner is deceased or has been arrested, incarcerated, or evicted.
The Animal Control Officer may petition the superior court for such orders as required to enforce this article.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 9, 11-16-1998]
Every owner of an animal which has been established to be vicious or dangerous shall be subject to the following requirements:
Proof that the owner has procured liability insurance in an aggregate amount of not less than one $100,000 for damage or injury to persons or property naming the Town of Windsor as additional insured for notification of cancellation or termination purposes only. Policy cancellation shall constitute a violation of this article and subject the owner to the penalties provided herein.
The owner or keeper shall display a sign on the premises warning that there is a vicious or dangerous animal or guard or attack dog on the premises. Said sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the street, road or highway, whether public or private, which abuts said premises. Said sign shall include both an approved vicious animal logo and lettering so as to warn both children and adults.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 10, 11-16-1998]
Upon impoundment of an animal, the Animal Control Officer shall within 24 hours attempt to notify the owner by telephone or by certified letter. If the owner is unknown, the Animal Control Officer shall advertise for one day in the lost and found column of a newspaper having a circulation in Windsor describing the animal, impounding number, and the phone number of the shelter.
An owner reclaiming an impounded animal shall pay a fee, as determined by the Town Council and published in the "Official Town Price Guide," for impoundment, plus any advertising costs, plus Board for each day the animal is impounded, plus veterinary costs or any other costs incurred by the Town.
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to keep all impounded dogs for a period of seven days from the date of notice to the owner by telephone or certified mail or publication of notice. Any animal not claimed by and released to its owner within seven days after publication or notice shall become the property of the Town and shall be placed for adoption in a suitable home or euthanized in a manner prescribed by the local humane society.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 11, 11-16-1998]
As part of any order issued in writing and by certified mail, pursuant to this article, the Animal Control Officer shall have the authority to order the following administrative sanctions and remedies if there is no compliance after seven days from the date of issue:
Obedience training for the animals in question;
Muzzling of a dog or animal while off the property of the owner;
Confinement of an animal indoors, unless the animal is under the direct control of a responsible adult;
Confinement of an animal in a secure enclosure;
Reduction of the number of animals kept at any one location;
Removal of an animal from the custody of the animal's owner or custodian in cases of neglect or cruelty;
The sterilization of an animal;
A ban on maintaining other animals in the town; and
Any other measure or sanction designed to eliminate a violation, prevent future violations, or protect the health and safety of the public.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 12, 11-16-1998]
Animal Control Officers or their designees shall be the enforcement officials for this article. These officials, along with police officers, shall have the authority to act on behalf of the Town in investigating complaints, impounding and destroying animals, issuing citations, and taking other lawful actions as required to enforce the provisions of this article. It shall be a violation of this article to interfere with any Animal Control Officer or other enforcement official in the performance of his/her duties.
[Ord. No. 11-01, § 9, 3-21-2011]
Each dog kept by the owner or keeper in the Town shall be licensed and registered if six months of age or over, on or before June 30 annually or when the dog becomes six months of age. Dog licenses shall be issued by the Town Clerk upon payment of a license fee as established by the Connecticut General Statutes. This provision shall not apply to dogs whose owners are nonresidents conditioned upon possession of a valid tag from any jurisdiction; nor to dogs brought into the Town for the purpose of participating in any dog show or other such event. It shall be unlawful to own or keep any dog over the age of six months of age within the Town without a valid dog license obtained from the Town Clerk's office. Violation of this specific section shall result in a municipal infraction being issued with a fine of $75 per dog.
It shall be unlawful to own or keep any dog or cat without a valid rabies certificate for said animal when older than three months of age. Violation of this specific section shall result in a municipal infraction being issued with a fine of $136 per animal.
[Ord. No. 98-2, § 13, 11-16-1998; Ord. No. 11-01, § 10, 3-21-2011]
Any person who violates any provision of this article shall be deemed guilty of a municipal infraction and unless otherwise specified in the article shall be punished by a fine of $100. If a violation continues, each day's violation shall be deemed a separate offense.
In addition to all other remedies available to the Animal Control Officer, including seeking injunctive relief or other court order from the superior court, the Animal Control Officer may proceed in accordance with the hearing procedure for citations found in Section 2-60 et seq. of this code of ordinances.