Dog Ordinance

APRIL 1989
Section 1. Definitions.

1. "Dog" shall include both male and female canines.

2. "Owner" shall include any person or persons, firm, association, or corporation owning, keeping or harboring a dog.

3. "At large" shall mean off the premises of the owner, and not under the control of the owner or other person by leash, cord, chain, or otherwise.

Section 2. License Required.

The owner of a dog that is more than six (6) months old shall cause it to be registered, numbered, described, and licensed in accordance with the provisions of Title 20, Chapter 193 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, as amended.

Section 3. Collar Required.

The owner of a dog shall keep on such dog whenever such dog shall be off the premises of the owner a collar or harness and fasten securely to the collar or harness and keep attached to it the license tag issued by the Town. It shall be unlawful for any person other than the owner or his agent or any officer to remove a license tag from a dog.

Section 4. Failure to License.

A person who keeps a dog contrary to license provisions of this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. All unlicensed dogs found within the limits of the Town of Waitsfield may be impounded or destroyed in a humane way by a police officer or constable when so ordered by the Selectboard.

Section 5. Running at Large Prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any owner of a dog to permit it to run or be at large within the Town of Waitsfield and every owner shall confine it to his or her premises when not on a leash or under the immediate control of a competent and responsible attendant.

Section 6. Impounding Authorized; Records

It shall be the duty of every police officer, constable, or dog officer to apprehend any dog found at large and to impound such dog in the town pound or other suitable place. Upon impounding any dog, a record shall be made by the impounding officer of the breed, color, and sex of such dog, where it was caught, and whether it was licensed. If licensed, he shall enter the name and address of the owner and the number of the license tag. The record of the impounding officer shall be filed with the Town Clerk.

Section 7. Property Owner May Impound.

Any person finding any dog upon his property to his injury or annoyance may hold the dog in his possession and as soon as possible notify a constable, police officer, or dog officer of this custody, giving a description of the dog and the name of the owner, if known. The dog officer, police officer, or constable, as soon as possible after receiving the notice, will appear at the premises and take possession of the dog and remove it to the Town pound.

Section 8. Notice, Disposition of Impounded Dogs.

Upon any dog being impounded, it shall be the duty of the dog officer to notify the owner of the dog, if known, and if not known, to post at the Town Clerk's office a notice containing a description of the dog and when and where it was caught. If no owner of any such dog shall claim the dog within seven (7) full days after such notice, the poundkeeper or any person duly authorized by the Selectboard to do so, may give away, or have disposed of in a humane manner when so ordered by the Selectboard. Any such dog not redeemed or claimed by anyone, taking a receipt therefore from the recipient thereof.

Section 9. Redemption of Impounded Dogs; Fees.

(a) The owner of any dog so impounded may reclaim such dog upon payment of all costs and charges incurred by the Town for impounding and maintaining the dog, as well as payment to Town Clerk of the license fee if the dog is unlicensed.

(b) The following fees shall be paid to the Town Clerk or poundkeeper for impounding any dog in any consecutive six-month period:

(1) First offense - $15
(2) Second offense - $25
(3) Third or subsequent offense - $35
The Selectboard may amend this fee schedule.

(c) In addition, the greater of an additional charge of five dollars ($5.00) for board for each day or fraction thereof during which the dog is impounded, or the actual cost of boarding the dog, shall be paid to the poundkeeper.

Section 10. Vicious Dogs.

If any dog bites any person without provocation while the dog is off the premises of the owner or if any dog has been found to have been attacking domestic animals or deer and that fact shall be proven to the Selectboard, the Selectboard may order that the dog be muzzled, confined, or disposed of in a humane way. If any vicious or rabies-infected dog running at large cannot be safely caught and impounded, the Selectboard may order such dog to be slain by a police officer or constable. It shall be unlawful for the owner, when notified by the dog officer, that such has bitten any person, to sell or give away such dog, or to permit it to be taken beyond the limits of the town except with permission of the Selectboard or under the care of a licensed veterinarian.

Section 11. Cruelty.

Any person who shall torture, torment, or cruelly neglect to provide with necessary sustenance or shelter, or who shall cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate, or kill or cause or procure to be tortured, tormented, beaten, needlessly mutilated, killed, or deprived of necessary sustenance or shelter any dog or other animal, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 12. Poisoning Dogs.

Any person who shall poison any dog or distribute poison in any manner whatsoever with the intent or for the purpose of poisoning any dog shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 13. Barking Prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any owner of a dog to permit it to disturb the quiet of any person by unreasonable barking or howling.

Section 14. Hearing on Violations.

For any violation of this ordinance, the Selectboard may hold a hearing and upon a finding of any violation may order the dog restrained, muzzled, or destroyed in a humane way.

Section 15. Penalty for Violation.

A person who violates any of the provisions cited in this ordinance may be fined not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) together with the cost of prosecution and in the event of a continuing violation, each day shall constitute a separate offense.

Section 16. Provisions Additional to State Law.

This ordinance is to be in addition to those remedies provided municipalities in Title 20 of Vermont Statutes Annotated.