[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Aldermen (now City Council) of the City of Chicopee 10-6-2015 by Ord. No. 15-52. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 144, Dogs and Other Animals, adopted 12-15-1998 by Ord. No. 98-79, as amended.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall mean:
- Any live, vertebrate or nonvertebrate creature, domestic or wild, excluding Homo sapiens.
- ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
- The person or persons designated to enforce this chapter.
- ANIMAL EXHIBITION
- Any spectacle, display, act or event, other than circuses, in which animals are used.
- ANIMAL SHELTER
- Any facility operated by a humane society, a county or municipal agency or its authorized agents for the purpose of impounding or caring for animals held under the authority of this chapter or any law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- A commercial variety show featuring animal acts for public entertainment.
- COMMERCIAL ANIMAL ESTABLISHMENT
- Any pet shop, auction, riding school or stable, zoological park, circus, performing animal exhibition or kennel.
- DANGEROUS DOG
- A "dangerous or vicious dog," as the term is used in this chapter, shall mean any dog with a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals; or any dog which attacks a human being or a domestic animal on two or more occasions without provocation.
- GUARD DOGS
- Dogs which meet the provisions of MGL c. 129, § 39B.
- HUMANE OFFICER
- Any person designated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a municipal government or a humane society as a law enforcement officer who is qualified to perform such duties under MGL c. 147, § 10.
- Any premises wherein any person, partnership or corporation engages in the business of boarding, breeding, buying, letting for hire, training for a fee or selling dogs, or engages in training dogs for guard or sentry purposes or every pack or collection of more than three dogs three months old or over owned or kept on a single premises, irrespective of the purpose for which they are maintained.
- LICENSING AUTHORITY
- The City Clerk, as provided by the General Laws of the commonwealth.
- Any person, partnership or corporation owning, keeping or harboring one or more animals. An animal shall be deemed to be harbored if it is fed or sheltered for 48 hours.
- Any nonfarm animal kept for pleasure.
- PUBLIC NUISANCE
- Any animal which:
- A. Molests passersby or passing vehicles.
- B. Attacks other animals.
- C. Trespasses on school grounds, except for a school mascot or service animal.
- D. Is at large in violation of this chapter.
- E. Damages private or public property.
- F. Barks, whines or howls and disturbs the peace and tranquility of an area.
- G. Bites or attacks any persons.
- Dogs must be on a leash not more than six feet long, except when the dog is confined in a fenced-in area or pen.
- SERVICE ANIMALS
- Dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.
- Any limbless reptile having a scaly body, whether poisonous or not.
- VETERINARY HOSPITAL OR CLINIC
- Any establishment maintained and operated by a licensed veterinarian for surgery, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and inquiries of animals.
- VICIOUS ANIMAL
- Any animal or animals that constitute a physical threat to human beings or other animals.
- ZOOLOGICAL PARK
- Any facility, other than a pet shop or kennel, displaying or exhibiting one or more species of domesticated or nondomesticated animals, operated by a person, partnership, corporation or government agency.
No person, partnership or corporation shall operate a commercial animal establishment or animal shelter without first obtaining a permit in compliance with this chapter.
The City shall promulgate regulations for the issuance of permits and shall include requirements for humane care of all animals and for compliance with the provisions of this chapter and other applicable laws. The City may amend such regulations from time to time as is deemed desirable for public health and welfare and for the protection of animals.
Upon showing by an applicant for a permit that he is willing and able to comply with the regulations promulgated by the City, a permit shall be issued upon payment of the applicable fee.
The permit period shall begin April 1 and shall run for one year. Renewal applications for permits shall be made 30 days prior to and up to 30 days after April 1. Application for a permit to establish a new commercial animal establishment under the provisions of this chapter may be made at any time.
If there is a change in ownership of a commercial animal establishment, the new owner may have the current permit transferred to his name upon payment of a transfer fee of $25; provided, however, that the new owner must comply with Subsection C of this section.
Annual permits shall be issued upon payment of the applicable fee after inspection by the proper authority:
For each kennel authorized to house four dogs or fewer: $50.
For each kennel authorized to house 10 dogs or fewer: $75.
For each kennel authorized to house more than 10 dogs: $100.
For each zoological park: $100.
For each circus: $125.
For each performing animal exhibition: $50.
For each grooming shop: $50.
Every facility at a different address regulated by this chapter shall be considered a separate enterprise and requires an individual permit.
Failure to obtain a permit before opening any facility covered in this chapter or failure to obtain said license by April 1 of each year shall result in a fine of up to $200.
Any person or facility which has a change in the category under which a permit was issued shall be subject to reclassification, and appropriate adjustment of the permit fee shall be made.
No fee may be required of any veterinary hospital, clinic, animal shelter or government-operated facility.
It shall be a condition of the issuance of any permit or license that the City or designated agents or any special police officer appointed under MGL c. 147, § 10 (c. 147, § 10, since repealed), or the inspector of animals appointed under MGL c. 129, §§ 15 and 16 be permitted to inspect all animals and the premises where animals are kept at any time, and, if permission for such inspections is refused, the agent shall seek a search warrant to enter and inspect the property.
If the applicant has withheld or falsified any information on the application, the City may notify the licensing authority who may refuse to issue, suspend or revoke a permit or license.
Any person who has been convicted of cruelty to animals may not be issued a permit or license to operate a commercial animal establishment for a period of five years.
Any person having been denied a license or permit may reapply after conditions have been corrected upon which denial was based. Each reapplication shall be accompanied by a fee of $25.
Any person whose permit or license is revoked shall, within 10 days thereafter, be responsible for the placement or humane disposal of all animals, kept or harbored, and no part of the permit or license fee shall be refunded. Failure to place or humanely dispose of any animal kept or harbored shall result in a fine of up to $200.
All dogs shall be kept under restraint, as defined in this chapter.
Every owner shall exercise proper care and control of his/her animals to prevent them from becoming a public nuisance.
Every female dog in heat shall be confined in a building or secure enclosure in such a manner that such female dog cannot come into contact with another animal except for planned breeding.
Every vicious animal, as determined by the City after a hearing, shall be confined by the owner within a building or secure enclosure and shall be securely muzzled or caged whenever off the premises of its owner.
Every owner shall exercise proper care and control of his/her animals. The fine for any animal that barks, whines, howls and disturbs the peace and tranquility of an area shall be: first offense, $25; second offense, $50; third and subsequent offenses, $100.
Unrestrained dogs and nuisance animals shall be taken by the animal control officers, police, humane officers or Board of Health officials and impounded or quarantined in an animal shelter and there confined in a humane manner.
Impounded or quarantined dogs shall be kept for not fewer than seven days or any lesser minimum period permitted by the Massachusetts General Laws of the commonwealth, unless claimed by the owner within that period.
If, by a license tag or other means, the owner of an impounded animal can be identified, the animal control officer shall return the animal to the owner and issue a citation or impound the dog and immediately notify the owner by telephone or mail.
An owner reclaiming an impounded or quarantined dog shall pay an administrative fee of $40, plus $15 for each day the animal has been impounded.
Any animal not reclaimed by its owner within seven days, or any lesser minimum period permitted by the Massachusetts General Laws of the commonwealth, shall become the property of the local government authority and shall be placed for adoption in a suitable home or humanely euthanized. If a licensed veterinarian states, in writing, that the animal is in significant pain and has no reasonable chance of recovering or having a good quality of life, the animal may be euthanized at any time. The City shall not be liable for any disposition of animals in accordance with this section.
Animal control officers, humane officers, police officers and Board of Health officials of the City shall be empowered to issue citations to the owners of animals for violations of this chapter and to otherwise enforce this chapter.
If a citation is issued, a penalty of $25 for the first offense and $50 for the second and subsequent offenses within the licensing period must be paid within 21 days in full satisfaction of the assessed penalty. In the event that such penalty is not paid within the time period prescribed, a criminal warrant shall be initiated before a magistrate, and, upon conviction of a violation of this chapter, the owner shall be punished as provided in § 144-7.
The City shall review automatically all licenses issued to animal owners against whom three or more violations of this chapter have been assessed in a twelve-month period.
An animal control center or veterinarian may, in its sole discretion, administer veterinary care to sick or injured animals impounded under this chapter. If the owner of the animal can be identified, the owner shall be responsible for the payment of such veterinary expenses.
It shall be a violation of this chapter to interfere with a humane officer, animal control officer or other person(s) designated by the City to enforce this chapter in the performance of their duties.
Animal control officers, humane officers, police officers, Board of Health officials or their designee, including, but not limited to, a compliance officer of the City, shall be empowered to issue citations to the owners of animals for violations of this chapter and to otherwise enforce this chapter.
Except as otherwise provided for in this chapter:
Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10 and not more than $300.
If any violation is continuing, each day's violation shall be deemed a separate violation.
Any person found in violation of any part of this chapter by the Board of Health or a court shall have his/her permit to own, keep, harbor or have custody of animals revoked, and no new permit will be issued.
The minimum standards of animal care must meet all requirements of state and federal laws.
The keeping of wild animals must meet all requirements of state and federal laws and fish and wildlife laws.
The Mayor may designate the Board of Health Commissioners or their appointees as the authority to fulfill such responsibilities of the City as he deems proper, which are set out in this chapter. Notice of such designation shall be filed with the City Clerk no less than 15 days before the effective date of any such designation or appointment.
No swine shall be kept or maintained within the limits of the City, except for the purpose of immediate slaughtering.
No fowl shall be kept or maintained within the limits of the City except where allowed by rules and regulations promulgated by the Board of Health.
No person shall permit any sheep, goat, swine, mule, ass, horse or meat cattle belonging to him or under his control to go at-large or depasture in any street, lane or alley or on any common in the City.
No person shall permit any goat, sheep, swine, horse, mule, ox or cow under his care to go upon any sidewalk in the City, except for the purpose of crossing such sidewalk to go to or from some adjourning enclosure.
No person shall permit any horse, cow, swine or goat or other grazing animal to go at-large in any street.
No person shall tie a horse or other animal to a tree, lamppost or hydrant which is on City property.
Any person owning, keeping, harboring or having custody of any dog over three months of age within this City must obtain a license as provided in this chapter.
Application for licenses shall be made to the licensing authority, which shall include the name and address of the applicant, a description of the animal, proof of rabies vaccination, or proof of exception, and the appropriate fee.
If not revoked, licenses for the keeping of dogs shall be for a period of one year. The licensing period shall begin April 1 and shall run for one year. Reapplication for a license may be made 30 days prior to and up to 30 days after April 1.
Application for a license must be made within 30 days after obtaining a dog over three months of age. This requirement will not apply to a nonresident keeping a dog within the City for less than 60 days.
License fees shall not be required for service animals or governmental police dogs. Application shall be made, however, to the licensing authority, and tags issued by the authority must be worn.
Upon acceptance of the application and license fee, the licensing authority shall issue a durable tag or identification collar stamped with an identifying number and year of issuance. Tags should be designed so that they may be conveniently fastened or riveted to the animal's collar or harness.
Dogs must wear identification tags at all times.
The licensing authority shall maintain records of the identifying numbers of all tags issued and shall make this record available to the public.
Failure to obtain license.
Persons who fail to obtain a license as required within the time period specified in this chapter shall be fined $5 for each month or part of a month they are late in obtaining such license, up to a maximum fine of $50 per dog.
A license shall be issued after payment of the applicable fee:
A duplicate license may be obtained upon payment of a replacement fee of $2.
No person may use any license for any dog other than for the dog for which it was issued.
No person shall keep or control more than three dogs on a single premises or a single structure.
All licensed dogs shall be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.
All permitted sources of dogs, including shelters, rescue organizations, pet shops, professional breeders and veterinarians, operating within the City of Chicopee shall notify the licensing authority upon transfer of ownership of any dog. The City Clerk may authorize these permitted sources to register dogs and remit the fees to the City Clerk's office within five days thereafter.
The owner of every dog shall be responsible for the removal of any fecal matter deposited by the owner's animal(s) on his or her property, public walks, recreation areas or private property. "Owner" includes person(s) who possess or control the dog.
The owner or person(s) who possess or control the dog when appearing with the dog on any public walk, street, recreation area or private property shall possess the means of removal of any fecal matter left by such dog.
For purposes of this regulation, the means of removal shall include any tool, implement or other device carried for the purpose of picking up and containing such fecal matter. Disposal shall be accomplished by transporting such fecal matter to a place suitable and regularly reserved for the disposal of human fecal matter, specifically reserved for disposal of dog fecal matter or otherwise designated as appropriate by the Director of Public Health.
Any person who violates this section shall be punished by a fine of $50 for the first offense, $100 for a second offense and $300 for any third or subsequent violation.
No unclaimed dog shall be released for adoption without being sterilized or without written agreement from the adopter guaranteeing that such animal will be sterilized, and a deposit of at least $35 must be paid at the time of adoption, $25 to be refunded after proof of sterilization.
Any person may file a complaint, in writing, to the Board of Health or its designee that a dog owned or kept in the City is a nuisance or dangerous dog. To consider declaring a dog a nuisance dog or a dangerous dog, an animal control officer of the City may initiate a special hearing before the Board of Health to consider any evidence collected and take charge of and impound the animal. The Animal Control Center shall notify the owner of the dog by certified letter, or Sheriff's Department delivery of such special hearing, and the owner may attend and have an opportunity to be heard. Special hearings under this section shall be public meetings under the Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. At this special hearing, the Board of Health will determine whether to declare such dog a nuisance dog or dangerous dog based upon the facts presented. If the dog is declared a nuisance dog or dangerous dog, the City Clerk shall notify the abutter(s) next door and across the street by regular mail and in the classified section of the local newspaper of such findings at the owner's sole expense.
No dog shall be declared a nuisance or dangerous dog:
Solely based upon growling or barking;
Based upon the breed of the dog;
If the dog was reacting to another animal or to a person and the dog's reaction was not grossly disproportionate to any of the following circumstances:
The dog was protecting or defending itself, its offspring, another domestic animal or a person from assault or attack.
The person who was attacked or threatened by the dog was committing a crime upon the person or property of the owner of the dog.
The person who was attacked or threatened by the dog was engaging in teasing, tormenting, battering, assaulting, injuring or otherwise provoking the dog.
At the time of the attack or threat, the person or animal that was attacked or threatened by the dog had breached an enclosure or structure in which the dog was kept apart from the public and such person was not authorized by the owner of the premises to be within such enclosure, including but not limited to a gated, fenced-in area if the gate was closed, whether locked or unlocked; provided, however, that if a person is under the age of seven, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that such person was not committing a crime, provoking the dog or trespassing.
Dogs declared to be nuisance or dangerous dogs. If the Board of Health for the City of Chicopee deems a dog to be a nuisance dog or dangerous dog, the Board of Health may order one or more of the following:
That the dog be humanely restrained.
That the dog be confined to the premises of the owner of the dog; provided, however, that "confined" shall mean securely confined indoors or confined outdoors in a securely enclosed and locked pen or dog run upon the premises of the owner.
That, whenever, the dog is removed from the premises of the owner, the dog shall be securely and humanely muzzled and restrained with a chain or other tethering device having a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds and not exceeding three feet in length.
That the animal shall be surgically sterilized and microchipped with the microchip registered to the City, with all costs associated with these services to be borne by the owner.
That the owner construct, within two weeks from the date of decision, a secure enclosure to house the dog when it is in the owner's yard. The Board of Health may order that, during construction period, the dog be publicly impounded at an animal shelter or a private veterinary hospital until the secure enclosure is constructed. If the owner chooses not to build a secure enclosure in accordance with the Board's order or if the dog is found on a property not owned or controlled by the owner or not restrained in the secure enclosure, an order that the dog be euthanized may be issued by the Board of Health. The effectiveness of the secure enclosure shall be subject to periodic inspections by an animal control officer, as deemed necessary. The fee for said inspection shall be $75. If the owner is found violating the secure enclosure requirement, immediate public impoundment of the dog shall be done by the Animal Control Center during the time the violation continues to exist, and the owner shall bear all cost(s) for such public impoundment. The fine for such violation shall be $200 per day.
That ownership of the dog may not be transferred unless the transfer of ownership is to an adult residing within the same residence and said dog shall remain housed solely at the residence.
That, if the owner of the dog fails to appear at a hearing in front of the Board of Health and the dog is declared a dangerous dog, the dog shall be impounded and/or euthanized.
That the dog be humanely euthanized, immediately, or summarily upon the owner's failure to comply with conditions imposed by the Board of Health.
Ban the dog from the City of Chicopee.
With regard to dangerous dogs and nuisance dogs, if there are no additional instances of the dangerous or nuisance behavior within a thirty-six-month period from the date of designation, the dog shall be removed from the list of dangerous dogs and/or nuisance dogs. The dog may, but is not required to, be removed from the list of dangerous dogs and/or nuisance dogs prior to the expiration of the thirty-six-month period if the owner of the dog demonstrates to the Board of Health at a special hearing that changes in circumstances or measures taken by the owner, such as training, have mitigated the risk to the public safety. Any and all costs for the impounding of a dangerous dog will be borne by the owner unless determined otherwise by the Board of Health or court of final appeal. An owner reclaiming a dangerous or nuisance dog shall pay an administrative fee of $40, plus the following costs, where applicable:
A boarding fee of $22 per dog, per day;
All outstanding fines, except for any fine for which a timely appeal is pending;
All veterinary charges, drug and other medical expenses;
The cost of sterilization;
The cost of rabies vaccinations;
The cost of license and registration; and
The cost of microchip implementation and registration.
The owner or keeper of any dog shall not allow his dog to be upon any school grounds between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on any day that such schools are in session.
Any owner or keeper of a dog who fails to comply with the provisions of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100.
The provisions of § 144-23 shall not apply to so-called "dangerous and vicious dogs" or so-called "pit bulls" when said dogs are part of a performing dog show, circus or animal exhibition that meets all of the requirements of state and federal laws regarding such performances or exhibitions.