Civil Animal Control

WHEREAS, the Town of Brighton has, by virtue of authority granted in 24 V.S.A Section 1971, the power to adopt, amend, repeal and enforce ordinances;

AND WHEREAS, the Town of Brighton has, by virtue of the authority granted in 24 V.S.A. Section 2291 (10),(14), and (15), to regulate the keeping of dogs, to define what constitutes a public nuisance, and to provide for penalties for violation of any ordinance;

AND WHEREAS, the Town of Brighton has, by virtue of authority granted in 20 V.S.A Section 3549, the power to regulate the keeping of domestic pets or wolf-hybrids and their running at large;

AND WHEREAS, the Town of Brighton has, by virtue of authority granted in 24 V.S.A. Section 1974a, the power to enforce civil ordinance violations;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Town of Brighton hereby amends the existing “ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE ” which was adopted on May 21, 1998.

ARTICLE I.    PURPOSE:  It is the purpose of this ordinance to regulate the keeping of dogs, cats and wolf-hybrids to protect public health and safety and to minimize public nuisances caused by dogs or wolf-hybrids.

ARTICLE II.    DEFINITIONS:

1.  Dog: an animal of the canine species, male or female

2.  Cat: an animal of the species felis catus or felis domestica.

3.  Wolf-hybrid: an animal which is the progeny or descendant of a domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and a wolf (canis lupus or canis rufus).  Wolf-hybrid also means an animal which is advertised, registered, licensed or otherwise described or represented as a wolf-hybrid by its owner or an animal which exhibits primary physical and behavioral wolf characteristics.

4.  Owner: any person, persons or entity who owns, harbors, keeps or permits any domestic pet or wolf-hybrid to be kept in or about their buildings or premises, and includes any person who has actual or constructive possession of a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid.  The term shall also include those persons who provide feed and shelter to a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid.  However, it is not the intent of this ordinance to require a person to be responsible for feral animals that take up residence in a building other than a person’s home, even if the person occasionally provides feed to the animal(s).

5.  Running at large:  not on the property of its owner or keeper and is not (1) on a leash,  (2) on or within a vehicle, or (3) engaged in hunting with its owner or keeper in an area allowed without a leash under Article IV below, or (4) clearly under the immediate control of a responsible attendant, in an area allowed without a leash under Article IV below.

6.  Domestic pet:  any domestic dog, domestic cat or domestic ferret.  The term shall also include such other domestic animals as the Commissioner of Agriculture or his/her designee shall establish, from time to time, by rule.

7.  Unreasonable noise: any noise created by a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid that is audible to those persons, other than the keeper or owner of the animal, who are in a location where they are lawfully permitted to be, that is of such volume, duration or frequency that disturbs, injures or endangers the peace or health of another, or which endangers the health, safety and welfare of the community.

8.  Vicious dog or wolf-hybrid: a dog or wolf-hybrid that attacks any person or causes any person to reasonably fear attack or bodily injury from such animal, unless the person is trespassing on the property of the owner of the animal.  The term shall also mean any animal which, while running at large, attacks another domestic pet or domestic animal, as defined in 20 V.S.A. Section 3541.

ARTICLE III.   LICENSE REQUIRED

1.  A person who owns, harbors or keeps a dog or wolf-hybrid within the Town of Brighton that is more than six (6) months old, shall cause it to be registered, numbered, described, licensed and collared in accordance with the provisions of Title 20 Chapter 193 Subchapter 2 of VSA as amended.  Failure to so license shall be considered a violation of this ordinance.

2.  Any unlicensed dogs or wolf-hybrids found within the Town limits shall be impounded and may be destroyed in accordance with, and by virtue of, authority granted in VSA Title 20, Section 3621, except as exempted by Section 3587 of Title 20.

3.  A written warning shall be given to the dog’s owner for the first violation of this section.  Subsequent fines for violations of this section shall be $100 per offense, with a waiver fee of $50.

ARTICLE IV.    RUNNING AT LARGE

1.  No owner shall permit a dog or wolf-hybrid owned by him or her to run or be at large, as defined above, within areas designated on the official Brighton Zoning Map as Village, Neighborhood Residential, or Lake.   In the areas so designated, every owner of a dog or wolf-hybrid shall restrain said animal with a leash or confine said animal in a enclosed vehicle when off the owner’s premises.  Within other areas of the town a leash is not required if the dog or wolf-hybrid is clearly under the immediate control of a responsible attendant or if the dog is engaged in hunting with its owner.

2.  Any dog found to be running at-large may be impounded.

3.  A dog or wolf-hybrid running at large shall be considered a violation of this ordinance.

4.  A written warning shall be given to the dog’s owner for the first violation of this section.  Subsequent fines for violations of this section shall be $50 per offense, with a waiver fee of  $35.

ARTICLE V.   DISTURBANCES AND NUISANCES 

1.  An owner or keeper shall not permit a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid to commit a disturbance or nuisance as hereafter described:

  • make excessive noise
  • scatter refuse
  • obstruct traffic

2.  A female dog or wolf-hybrid in heat shall be confined to a building or other secured enclosure, except while under the direct control of the owner.

3.  A written warning shall be given to the dog’s owner for the first violation of this section.  Subsequent fines for violations of this section shall be $50 per offense, with a waiver fee of  $35.

ARTICLE VI.    THREATENING, HARRASSING

1.  An owner or keeper shall not permit a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid to harass pedestrians, bicyclists or other passersby, or cause any person to reasonably fear a bodily injury or sustain a bodily injury by attacking or threatening to attack any person other than persons who are in the act of trespassing upon the private property of the owner or keeper of the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid.

2.  The fine for violation of this section of the ordinance shall be $500, with a waiver fee of $250.  A written warning is not required for the first violation.

ARTICLE VII.    DOG BITES, PROPERTY DAMAGE

1.  When a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid has bitten a person, and the person requires medical attention for the attack, the owner or keeper of said animal shall promptly supply proof that said animal has been properly vaccinated against rabies.  If such proof is not supplied, said animal shall immediately be impounded and confined for a period of at least ten days in the municipal pound, in accordance with Vermont state rabies protocol.  If said animal has been shown to be appropriately vaccinated against rabies, it may be confined and observed by the owner or keeper if the owner or keeper of the animal will responsibly confine and observe said animal for the required ten-day period.

2.  When a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid has bitten a person while the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is off the premises of the owner or keeper, and the person bitten requires medical attention for the attack, such person may file a written complaint with the legislative body of the municipality.  The complaint shall contain the time, date and place where the attack occurred, the name and address of the victim or victims, and any other facts that may assist the legislative body in conducting its investigation required by Section 4. of this Article.

3.  Three legal residents of a town who upon knowledge that a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid has bitten a person while the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is off the premises of the owner or keeper, may file a written complaint with the legislative body of the municipality.  The complaint shall contain the names and addresses of the three complaining residents, the time, date and place where the attack occurred, the name and address of the victim or victims, and any other facts that may assist the legislative body in conducting its investigation required by Section 4 of this Article.

4.  The legislative body, within seven days from receipt of the complaint, shall investigate the charges and hold a hearing on the matter.  If the owner of the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid which is the subject of the complaint can be ascertained with due diligence, said owner shall be provided with a written notice of the time, date and place of hearing and the facts of the complaint.

5.  If the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is found to have bitten the victim without provocation, the municipal officials shall make such order for the protection of persons as the facts and circumstances of the case may require, including, without limitation, that the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is disposed of in a humane way, muzzled, chained, or confined.  The order shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.  A person who, after receiving notice, fails to comply with the terms of the order shall be subject to the penalties provided in Section 3551 of Title 20 Chapter 193.

6.  The owner of a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid that has bitten a person, unprovoked, while off the premises of the owner, shall be fined $500, with a waiver fee of  $250.  A written warning is not required for the first violation.

7.  The owner of a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid that has caused damage to a person’s property, including domestic pets, unprovoked, while off the premises of the owner, shall be fined $500, with a waiver fee of  $250.  A written warning is not required for the first violation.

ARTICLE VIII.    RESPONSIBILITY FOR CLEANUP OF EXCREMENT

The owner of any animal shall be responsible for the prompt removal of any excreta deposited by his or her animals(s) off the owner’s premises. Failure to remove such excreta shall be considered a violation of this ordinance.

2.  The fine for a violation of this section of the ordinance shall be $50, with a waiver fee of $25.  A written warning shall be issued for the first violation of this section of the ordinance.

ARTICLE IX.    IMPOUNDING

1.  Any dog or wolf-hybrid which is determined by the constable, police officer, animal control officer or health officer to be a vicious dog which presents an imminent danger to people or other animals shall be immediately impounded.

2.  Any dog or wolf-hybrid which is apprehended for a third or subsequent violation of any provision of this ordinance may be impounded.

ARTICLE X.    NOTICE OF IMPOUNDMENT AND RELEASE FROM IMPOUNDMENT

1.  The officer who impounds a dog or wolf-hybrid shall, within 24 hours, give notice to the owner thereof, either personally or by written notice at the owner’s dwelling.  Such notice shall inform the owner of the nature of the violations, the location of the animal and the steps which are necessary to have the animal returned to the owner.

2.  If an impounded dog or wolf-hybrid has no license or other identification, the person who impounds it shall proceed under the provisions of 20 V.S.A. Section 3806.

3.  Any dog or wolf-hybrid impounded under the provisions of this ordinance or state law shall be released only if the dog or wolf-hybrid has been duly licensed, and upon payment of all penalties and fines, including an impounding fee of $25, plus an additional charge for boarding as set from time to time by the Selectboard for each day or fraction thereof during which the dog or wolf-hybrid is impounded.

4.  A person who breaks open a pound, or directly or indirectly releases a dog or wolf-hybrid lawfully impounded, shall be in violation of this ordinance.

a.   The fine for a violation of this section of the ordinance shall be $500, with a waiver fee of $250.  A written warning is not required for the first violation.

ARTICLE XI.   HUMANE CARE OF DOGS AND WOLF-HYBRIDS

All domestic pets and wolf-hybrids shall be furnished with clean and safe facilities sufficient to protect the animal and the public health.  Any dog or wolf-hybrid determined by the constable, police officer, animal control officer or health officer to be without such clean and safe facilities may be impounded.

ARTICLE XII.   CIVIL ORDINANCE; ENFORCEMENT

This ordinance is adopted as a civil ordinance pursuant to 24 V.S.A. Section 1971(b), and violations of this ordinance shall be enforced in accordance with the provisions of 24 V.S.A. Section 1974a and Section 1977 et seq.

The Board of Selectmen may also elect to enforce any order issued under this ordinance, or to prohibit any acts in violation of this ordinance, by petition for injunctive relief.

Any certified police officeris authorized as the Issuing Officer and Appearing Officer before the Judicial Bureau to pursue a municipal complaint.

ARTICLE XIII.   VIOLATIONS

1.  Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation of this ordinance.

ARTICLE XIV.   SEVERABILITY

Any part or provision of this ordinance shall be considered severable, and the invalidity of any part or section will not be held to invalidate any other part or provision of this ordinance.

ARTICLE XV.    EFFECTIVE DATE

This ordinance shall become effective sixty (60) days after its adoption by the Brighton Board of Selectmen.  If an appeal is filed under 24 V.S.A. Section 1973, the effective date shall be governed by that statute.