For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them herein, unless the text clearly indicates otherwise:
Any dog that according to the records of the appropriate authority has inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property, or, has killed a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner's property, or, has been previously found to be potentially dangerous; the owner having received notice of such and the dog aggressively bites, attacks or endangers the safety of human or domestic animals.
All animals of canine species, both male and female.
A domesticated animal intentionally kept, maintained and/or reared in an agricultural setting for produce, such as food or fibre, or for its labor. As an example only and without limiting the generality of the foregoing, it means any poultry, ungulate, species of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, equine, or other fur-bearing animal raised for commercial or subsistence purposes.
Any person, corporation or society, other than the owner, harboring or having in his possession any dog.
Any person or persons, firm, association or corporation owning, keeping or harboring a dog as herein defined.
A place where one or more packs or a collection of dogs is maintained on a single premises, whether maintained for breeding, boarding, sale, training, hunting or other purposes, and includes any shop where any number of dogs are for sale. It also includes every pack or collection of four or more dogs, six months of age or older, owned or kept by a person on a single premises, regardless of the purpose for which they are maintained. A veterinary hospital does not constitute a kennel unless it sells or boards dogs unrelated to the medical service it provides to the dogs. If it does sell or board dogs, for other than medical reasons, it must obtain a commercial kennel license.
A kennel maintained for the boarding or in-residence training of dogs; a kennel where 10 or more dogs are kept; or any kennel maintained for commercial purposes.
A kennel maintained with a minimum of four and a maximum of nine dogs in or on residential premises but not for commercial purposes. Any person having four or more dogs on a single premises or on adjacent premises is maintaining a kennel.
Potentially Dangerous Dogs
Any dog that when unprovoked, inflicts bites on a human or domestic animal either on public or private property; chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack; or any dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked; to cause injury or otherwise to threaten the safety of humans or domestic animals.
Any dog shall be deemed a public nuisance when attacking persons or domestic animals while such dog is on property other than that of such dog's owner, when destroying property, when on a public school ground and when not under restraint, if it shall persistently chase moving vehicles, or if it shall persistently and prolongedly bark or howl between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am in any one day. Each twenty-four hour period thereafter shall constitute a separate violation.
Further, any unspayed female dog in season, shall be deemed a public nuisance when not confined indoors by the owner thereof, or housed in a veterinary hospital or registered kennel.
Under the control of the owner or keeper by (a) means of a collar and leash or chain or (b) confinement on the owner's or keeper's property.
Free of restraint and permitted to wander on private or public ways at will.
Any injury that requires a physician's attention.
(January 8, 1973, § 1; 12-14-87; 9-23-91; 7-8-96, § 1; 8-12-96, § 1.)
- No person shall own, keep or harbor in the city outside the confines of the owner's or keeper's property (meaning owned, rented or leased), any dog which is not held firmly on a leash or chain, no more than six feet in length, by a person who shall have control of the dog. Retractable leashes with handles are an acceptable restraint under this section, provided that such leashes are not capable of extending past a maximum of sixteen feet, and further provided that the person having control of the dog shall extend such leash no more than six feet in length in any public area when the dog may come in contact with another person or persons. All persons keeping, owning or having possession, control, charge or custody of any dog shall confine such dog on their premises by means of a leash, chain, tether, run or enclosure. For any dog confined only by a fence or enclosure, such fence or enclosure must be of sufficient height and construction to prevent the dog from escaping.
- The owner or keeper of any dog who is found in violation of this section shall be subject to penalties as set forth in section 6-5 of this chapter.
- The provisions of section 6-2(a) of this chapter shall not apply to dogs which are engaged in sporting events such as hunting, field trials, or training, provided that this exemption applies only during such period of time as the dog is actually engaged in the event or sport, and only while the dog is so engaged in an area where hunting or other sporting events are permitted by statute and/or ordinance.
(8-12-96, § 2.)
It is unlawful for an owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside a proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint of a responsible person. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration, but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal. Further, while on the owner's property which shall be properly posted, a dangerous dog shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen structure, chained suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top, and also provide to the dog protection from the weather.
No dog may be declared dangerous if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog, or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have teased, tormented, abused or assaulted the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.
Dogs used for law enforcement are exempt from the previous.
A late fee of ten dollars per dog shall be charged to each dog owner that fails to license his dog or dogs on or before May 1 of any year. An additional late fee of ten dollars per year, in addition to the annual licensing fee per year, shall be charged to each dog owner for each year that his dog was not licensed. Fees will be charged to any dog owner that fails to license his dog or dogs on or before May 1 of any year. The fees so collected shall be deposited in the city treasury to become part of the city's general fund.
- It shall be the duty of the dog officer to apprehend any dog found unrestrained and running at large and to impound such dog in a suitable place, or to order the owner or keeper thereof to restrain such dog.
- If such dog so impounded has upon it the name and address of the owner thereof, or if the name of such owner is otherwise known, then the dog officer shall immediately notify the owner, and if the owner is not known, then no notice shall be necessary. The owner of any dog so impounded may reclaim such dog upon the payment of the sum of twenty dollars for the first twenty-four hour period or any part thereof and for each subsequent twenty-four hour period or portion thereof that the dog is held thereafter; provided, however, that if the dog is not licensed, that before release to any person, a license as required by the city shall be secured.
(January 8, 1973, § 3: 2-26-73; 9-13-76; 9-23-91.)
Any dog which has been impounded and has not been redeemed by the owner within seven days shall be disposed of as provided by section 151A, chapter 140 of the General Laws of the state, and any amendments thereto.
(January 8, 1973, § 5; 9-13-76.)
Any owner or keeper found in violation of this chapter, shall be subject to a fine in accordance with the following schedule:
- 1st offense: $50
- 2nd offense: $100
- 3rd and subsequent offenses: $300
- All dangerous dog violations: $300
Any owner or keeper who commits a third offense by keeping a dangerous dog which has done damage or injury, or any owner or keeper who commits a second offense by keeping a dangerous dog which has done damage or injury when the first offense was likewise a dangerous dog violation, shall, in addition to a fine, remove the dog from the city limits.
Any owner or keeper who, after having been notified to remove a dog from the city limits, fails to produce proof of disposition of said dog outside of the city limits within seven days of receiving a citation fining the owner or keeper and requiring the dog to be removed from the city limits shall be subject to a fine of three hundred dollars.
If the owner or keeper of a dog is a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor shall be held liable for any violation of this chapter.
Any owner or keeper of a dog shall be subject to a fifty dollar fine if such dog, whether licensed or unlicensed, is permitted to run at large on dual rubbish-garbage collection days in designated wards.
(January 8, 1973, § 6; 4-25-77; 12-14-87; 9-23-91.)
The dog officer, assistant dog officer and members of the police department duly appointed shall enforce the provisions of this chapter relating to dogs, and shall attend to all complaints or other matters pertaining to dogs in the city.
The dog officer, assistant dog officer or members of the police department duly appointed may, as an alternative to initiating criminal proceedings, seek the noncriminal disposition of violations of this chapter by following the procedure set forth in section 21D of chapter 40 of the General Laws.
It shall be the duty of each person who owns, possesses or controls a dog or other pet to immediately and properly remove and dispose of any pet feces deposited on any sidewalk or other public property or on any private property not owned or possessed by such person. Proper disposal shall consist of a bag or other container that is deposited in a trash receptacle that is collected by a licensed waste hauler or is otherwise disposed of at the city transfer station. Each person who owns, possesses or controls a pet shall properly dispose of pet feces deposited on property owned or possessed by such person on at least a weekly basis, or more frequently if determined necessary by the Leominster Health Department to prevent a public health and environmental nuisance. No pet waste shall be deposited in any private or public drainage system, wetland, waterway or body of water.
Limit on Number of Dogs & Cats Per Residence
No household shall keep four or more dogs, over the age of six months, at any place within the City without having gotten a kennel license issued by the City Clerk. Households which exceed this limit on the effective date of this chapter, may keep animals in excess of these limits for a period of one year from the effective date of this chapter. Nothing in this section, or in this chapter, diminishes the authority of the Board of Health or its employees to order a reduction in number or complete removal of any animals if, in the their opinion, the owners, keepers or household are keeping animals in an unsanitary condition or in violation of this chapter, the maintenance or keeping of the animals creates or may create a nuisance, or threatens or injures the health, safety or well-being of the members of the household, members of the public or public officials acting in the course of their official conduct.
Kennel Licenses, Inspection, & Regulation
An owner or keeper of four to nine dogs, six months of age or older, at a residential premises, must obtain a residential kennel license. An owner or keeper of 10 or more dogs, six months of age or older, or the owner/keeper of a place for the boarding or training of dogs, must obtain a Commercial Kennel License. The Clerk shall not issue any kennel license unless the owner or keeper provides the Clerk with a veterinarian's certificate certifying that each dog in the kennel is currently vaccinated against rabies as required by law. The Clerk may waive this requirement only if the applicant presents a signed statement from a veterinarian licensed in Massachusetts that, because of a particular dog's medical condition or treatment, inoculation for rabies is medically contraindicated and that, in his professional judgment, the dog presents no threat of harm or sickness to the other dogs at the kennel.
The Clerk shall not issue any kennel license unless the applicant provides adequate shelter for the animals as determined by the Animal Control Officer's written inspection report and approval to ensure that basic standards of cleanliness and proper care and confinement exist on the premises. The Clerk, in her discretion, may also ask for reports from and rely on the findings of other City officials such as the Building Commissioner or the Board of Health in making the determination whether to issue a kennel license. The applicant must keep at the kennel and available for inspection by the Animal Control Officer or a police officer the names and addresses of the owner of each dog kept in any kennel, if other than the person maintaining the kennel, and a veterinarian's certificate verifying that each dog is currently vaccinated against rabies as required by law. These records must accompany any application for any kennel license.
The Animal Control Officer, Animal Health Inspector, or a police officer may at any time during the hours of 8 am to 6 pm inspect any kennel or premises for which a residential or commercial kennel license has been issued.
Violations of this section shall be subject to a fine in accordance with section 6-5 of this chapter.