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Animal Control Ordinance, effective 8.5.23

Copies signed by the selectboard may be picked up at the town hall.

The following Ordinance includes: Dog, feline, ferret, wolf hybrid, all livestock and poultry will be under the ordinance below.

Section l: DEFINITIONS: As used in this ordinance the following terms shall have the respective meanings:

  • Dogs; Shall include male and female of the canine species and wolf or wolf hybrids.
  • Pets, livestock and poultry: Shall mean any cat, ferret, wolf hybrid or any other animal, which is kept for including livestock and poultry or other animals
  • Owner: Shall include any person or persons, firms, association, or corporation owning, keeping, or  harboring a dog, ferret, wolf hybrid or other pet. Unless otherwise identified on the dog or pet license, the head of the household shall be presumed to be the owner of the dog or pet.
  • Animal Control Officer: Shall mean any person designated by the Selectboard or elected by the Town to serve as authorized dog agent.
  • Officer: Shall mean any police officer, game warden, sheriff, constable, the Town Animal Control Officer, or any member of the Selectboard if none of the aforementionedofficers are immediately available.
  • Vicious Animal: Shall mean any dog, feline, ferret or wolf hybrid which bites, snaps charges at any person or tears at the clothes of any person or attempts to bite or injure any person unless such dog or wolf hybrid is actively protecting its owner’s property which has been entered unlawfully.

Section 2. RUNNING AT LARGE: All dogs, feline, wolf hybrids, livestock and poultry within the Town of Washington shall be restrained from running at large. A dog, feline, wolf hybrid, livestock and poultry shall be deemed to be restrained from running at large when it remains on the property of its owner or keeper or is kept on a leash, or is under the immediate control of a competent and responsible attendant. Hunting dogs in training and/or pursuing legal game and under reasonable control of its owner or keeper shall not come under the provisions of this ordinance.

Section 3. DISTURBANCE BY NOISE: It shall be unlawful for any person owning or possessing a dog or wolf hybrid within the Town of Washington to permit it to disturb the quiet of any person by habitually crying, barking or howling for a period of more than one hour, day or night. This section may be acted upon notification in writing by one complainant and witnessed by any of the Officers listed in Section 1 (e).

Section 4. LICENSE REQUIRED: It shall be the duty of every owner of any dog, wolf hybrid over 6 months of age, within the Town to procure a license therefore in accordance with Title 20, Sections 3501-3592 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, as amended.

Section 5. IMPOUNDING: Any dog, feline, ferret, wolf hybrid, livestock or poultry found running at large within the Town may be picked up by Animal Control officer and impounded. Notice of such- impoundment shall be promptly given to the owner if such can be determined. If the owner of such animal is unknown, a notice of such impoundment shall be posted in the Town Hall.

Section 6. REDEMPTION: An owner may reclaim the impounded dog, feline, ferret, wolf hybrid, livestock or poultry upon payment to the pound keeper of the following fees: Impoundment fee of $75.00 per animal, plus first offense fee of $100.00, or second offense fee of $150.00, or third offense fee of $300.00. Subsequent offenses after the third offense all within the next six-month period will receive additional fee of $300.00 per offense. The owner will be responsible for all fees in all cases and maintenance and care of the impounded animal.

Payment for such care shall be paid to the Keeper before release.

Section 7. ANIMAL BITE: The Town shall have the right to impound, for a period of 10 days, any dog, ferret, wolf hybrid, cat or other domestic animal which is suspected of carrying rabies if the owner of such animal is not immediately known or if an officer determines that such owner cannot adequately provide restraint.         

Section 8. DISPOSITION OF UNCLAIMED DOGS & PETS: It shall be the duty of the pound keeper to keep all animals so impounded for a period often (10) days. Any animals not reclaimed within the ten days may be destroyed or put up for adoption.      

Section 9. CRUELTY: Any person who shall torture, torment, or cruelly neglect to provide with necessary sustenance or shelter, or shall cruelly beat or needlessly mutilate or kill or cause or procure to be tortured, tormented, or deprived of necessary sustenance or to be cruelly beaten or needlessly mutilated or killed as aforesaid any dog or pet, shall be guilty of violating this ordinance. A fine of $500.00 and confiscation of such dog or pet will be imposed for each pet.

Section 10. PENALTIES: The failure of the owner or keeper of a dog or pet to comply with

any section of this ordinance may subject the owner or keeper to a fine of up to $500.00 and/or disposal of such dog or pet. Any person with an unlicensed dog, wolf hybrid or ferret within the Town after final license date of April 1st, shall be charged a fine of $50.00 per animal and one and a half (1.5) times the license fee per animal. Any dog, wolf hybrid or ferret that bites a person in the Town shall be confiscated and impounded for a period of 14 days.

Any pound fees, medical expenses, or veterinary fees shall be paid by the owner of the animal. After 14 days, if such animal is safe from rabies or infectious disease, it may be released back to the owner upon satisfaction of damages made to all parties involved, plus pound fees and a fine imposed by the Town not to exceed $500.00. If an animal so impounded is proven to have rabies, it shall be destroyed at the owner’s expense. The owner of a dog, feline, Wolf Hybrid, or ferret that attacks another dog or pet, shall be fined up to $500.00 for each incident and must pay any veterinary bills for the injured parties involved. All reports must be filed within 24 hours of any such incident to Animal Control Officer. The Town Selectboard will meet to review incident to deem any other action need to be taken.

Section I l. ENFORCEMENT: The Orange County Sheriff’s Department or Animal Control Officer will ask for a ticket. All cruelty case shall be the designated thru the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Animal Control Officer will assist and send affidavit for the charge to the sheriff’s office. They shall issue tickets and either or both may be the appearing officer at any hearing.

Section 12. CIVIL ORDINANCE: This Ordinance shall be a civil ordinance and shall be prosecuted in civil court as provided under 24 VSA Sections 1974 & 1977 and following. Each violation shall be subject to a fine of up to $500.00, and the waiver fee shall be set at $75.00 for the first offense, $150 for the second offense and $300.00 for the third offense. Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate violation of this ordinance.

Section 13. ORDINANCE REPEALED: All Ordinances and parts of ordinances in conflict with the provisions of this ordinance are hereby repealed.

Section 14. SEPARABILITY: If any section, subsection, sentence clause, phrase, or

portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court or competent jurisdiction, such provision shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions hereof.

Section 15. EFFECTIVE DATE: This Ordinance shall become effective sixty (60) days after its adoption by the Washington Selectboard. If a petition is filed under 24 VSA 1973, that statute shall govern the taking effect of this ordinance.

Section 16. NOTICE: This ordinance shall be entered into the minutes of the town records and shall be posted in at least five conspicuous places in town. A concise summary of it shall be published in the newspaper within fourteen days of its adoption accompanied by information as to where the full text of it may be examined, the right of voters to petition for a vote; and the name, address and telephone number of a person who is available to answer questions about it. The ordinance shall become effective sixty (60) days after its adoption unless a petition signed by five percent of the qualified voters in the town of Washington asking for a vote on the question of disapproving the ordinance is filed with the Town Clerk or the Selectboard within forty-four days after the adoption of the ordinance. If such a petition is filed, the Selectboard shall call a special meeting to vote on that question and the ordinance shall become effective at the end of that meeting unless a majority of those voting on the question disapproves the ordinance or sixty days after its adoption.

Adopted this 6th day of June 2023 of by the Selectboard, Town of Washington, County of Orange, State of Vermont.