Town of Fletcher Dog Ordinance
Division I – General
Section I – Definitions
The following definitions are used throughout this ordinance:
Dog: includes male, female, neutered, and wolf-hybrids.
Pound: a place, designated by the Select Board, where dogs are impounded. A pound may or may not be operated by the Town, and may or may not be within the Town limits.
Authority: the Select Board, Constable, Animal Control Officer, or Dog Control Officer.
Enforcing Officer: any police officer, sheriff, state police officer, constable, Animal Control Officer, or Dog Control Officer.
Owner: any person owning, keeping, possessing, having, or harboring a dog within the Town. The head of a household possessing such a dog shall be presumed to be the “owner” of the dog.
Premises: the home and real property (land) of a dog owner.
Running at large: off the premises of the owner and not under the control of the owner or other competent and responsible person.
Vicious dog: any dog which bites, snaps at, or tears the clothes of any person on any property other than that of the owner, including on streets, sidewalks, or other public places
Disturbing the peace: either 1) excessive barking or howling of sufficient duration and intensity as to be offensive or disturbing to a reasonable person; or 2) biting, attacking, or killing any domestic animal (including agricultural animals).
Hearing: a meeting before the Select Board to determine facts regarding a dog incident so that fines and other penalties can be imposed.
Written Notice: a letter sent by registered mail.
Section II – Running at large
Owners may not allow their dogs to run at large within the town. Every dog owner shall confine their dog(s) to his/her premises when not under the immediate control of a competent and responsible attendant. When there is a complaint of a dog running at large within the Town limits, the dog shall be caught and impounded.
Section III – Disturbing the peace
Owners may not allow their dogs to disturb the peace either by excessive howling or barking, or by attacking another domestic animal. When a complaint of a dog disturbing the peace within the Town limits is verified at a hearing, written notice shall be given to the dog owner by one of the Authorities that, in the event of another verified complaint of the dog disturbing the peace, said owner shall be liable for the appropriate fines. In the event of another verified disturbing the peace complaint of said dog, said owner shall be liable for the appropriate fines.
Section IV – Vicious dogs
A. Any dog determined to be vicious at a hearing shall be confined to the premises of the owner; said dog may be be taken off premises only if muzzled and on a leash. Any vicious dog which is found running at large may be seized and disposed of by any Enforcing Officer without further notice to the owner.
B. It shall be unlawful for any dog owner, when notified by an Authority that such dog has bitten any person, to sell or give away such dog, or permit it to be taken beyond the limits of the Town, except with the written permission of an Authority, or under the care of a licensed veterinarian.
Section V - Authority for Enforcing Officer to destroy certain dogs
If any dangerous, fierce, vicious, or suspected rabies-infected dog running at large cannot be safely caught and impounded, such dog may be slain by any Enforcing Officer.
Section VI – Penalties for violation of this ordinance.
In addition to any other remedies prescribed herein, the penalties for violation of Division I of this ordinance shall be per Vermont State law and the fines as adopted by the Select Board.
Section VII – Paying fines
Fines may be paid in cash, money order, bank check, or personal check, delivered in person to the Town Clerk. Returned personal checks will incur additional fines as noted in the fine schedule.
Section VIII – Failure to pay fines
Dog owners who fail to pay fines within thirty (30) days shall have their dog subject to immediate impoundment.
Division II – Licenses
Section I – Licenses required
Every owner of a dog that is more than six (6) months old must register said dog in accordance with State law (including numbering, describing, and licensing).
Section II – Collars required, attached license tag
Whenever a dog is off the premises of the licensed owner, the dog must wear a collar or harness which has the Town-issued license tag and a valid rabies tag fastened securely to it.
Section III – Removal of license tag prohibited
It is unlawful for any person other than the owner, his agent, or any Enforcing Officer to remove the license tag from a dog.
Section IV – Penalty for failure to have dog licensed
It is unlawful for a person to keep a dog contrary to the license provisions of this ordinance. Any dog that is unlicensed which is found within the limits of the Town may be impounded immediately. In addition to the impoundment, the owner of the impounded dog may be subject to a fine according to the most recent fee schedule as adopted by the Select Board.
Division III – Impoundment
Section I – Impoundment authorized and record keeping
A. The Authorities are hereby authorized to impound any dog found running at large.
B. When a dog is impounded, a record shall be made by the impounding Authority of the breed, color, and sex of each dog, where it was caught, and whether the dog was properly licensed. These records shall be filed with the Town Clerk within 5 business days and shall be available for inspection by the public.
Section II – When non-owner may impound
Any person finding any dog upon his property, to his injury or annoyance, may take the dog and remove it to the pound; or may keep the dog in his possession, and as soon as possible notify the Authorities of such custody, giving a description of the dog and name of the owner, if known. The Authorities will take possession of the dog and move it to the pound as soon as possible after receiving such notice.
Section III – Notice of impoundment
When a dog is impounded, the Authorities shall make every reasonable effort to locate and notify the owner of the dog.
Section IV - Reclaiming of impounded dogs
A. The owner of any dog impounded for a violation of this ordinance may reclaim such dog upon the payment of all fines, fees, costs, charges, and expenses incurred by the Town and the Enforcing Officer for impounding and maintaining the dog.
b. Upon payment of all fines, fees, costs, charges, and expenses in person to the Town Clerk, the Clerk will issue a receipt together with an order authorizing the release of said dog. Payments may be made using cash, money order, bank check, or personal check, delivered in person to the Town Clerk. Returned personal checks will incur additional fines as noted in the fine schedule.
Section V – Disposition of unclaimed dogs
If a dog is not claimed by its owner within ten (10) business days after impoundment, the Authorities may sell, give away, or dispose of the dog in a humane manner.
Division IV – Fines and fees
Fines and fees will be established by the Select Board from time to time.
This ordinance shall supersede all previous dog ordinances in the Town of Fletcher.
Fletcher Dog Ordinance Fine and Fee Schedule
The following Fees and fines are established by the Select Board, and may be modified by the Select Board at any time.
Vicious Dog fines and fees increase from the first offense. Once a dog is determined to be a Vicious Dog, it shall remain so until it is deemed to be otherwise by the Select Board.
All other (non Vicious Dog) fines and fees increase for any violations which occur within a period of one year of previous violations. Such (non Vicious Dog) offenses are counted starting with the current offense, and going backwards in time for a period of one year from the date of the offense. Such offenses are counted on a per household basis, not on a per dog basis.
Vicious Dog Violation fees:
First offense: $50.00
Second offense: $100.00
Subsequent offenses: $250.00
General Violation fees (other than Vicious Dog violations):
First offense: $25.00
Second offense: $50.00
Subsequent offenses: $100.00
Failure to license dog: $10.00/month
Returned check fee: $25.00
First offense: $25.00
Second offense: $100.00
Subsequent offenses: $250.00
Additional daily fee: $10.00