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 Based on the foregoing facts and circumstances, and pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 3546(c), the selectboard hereby orders that the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid named _______________ and

owned by _______________is to be (check all that apply):

 Muzzled: (where/when: _______________);

 Chained: (where/when: _______________);

 Confined: (where/when:: _______________);

 Spayed/neutered (no later than: ____________);

 Transferred to an animal shelter or rescue organization for the purpose of finding an adoptive home;

 Disposed of in a humane way: (no later than: _______________);




 Based on the foregoing facts and circumstances, and pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 3546(c), the

selectboard hereby orders that [name of owner]:




Until such time as completion of the conditions set forth in this order can be satisfactorily verified [name of dog] shall be released to [name of owner/keeper]/[name of detention facility] with all associated costs being the responsibility of the owner/keeper.

Failure to comply fully with the conditions set forth in this order shall subject the owner/keeper to the penalties provided for in Title 20 Section 3546.

This decision/order was approved by the _______________ Selectboard on [month/day], 201_.


Selectboard Chair NOTICE: This decision may be appealed to the Vermont Superior Court Civil Division within 30 days of the date of this decision, pursuant to Rule 75(c) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure.

–  –  –

On [month/day/year] at approximately [time of impoundment], the Town of _________________, Vermont impounded a dog meeting the following description:

 [breed];

 [sex];

 [approximate age];

 [approximate weight];

 [color];

 [physical description];

 [any identifying marks/collars/tags/etc.];

 [temperament or any other helpful descriptive information].

The dog was found running-at-large at [location where dog was found]. The dog is currently being held at [name of facility where dog is being held]. If you are the owner/keeper of a dog meeting this description or know someone who may be, please contact [contact person] at [phone number and e-mail address of contact person] or visit the [name and address of facility where dog is being held] between the hours of [hours of operation of the facility] in order to take whatever remedial action pursuant to the Town of __________, Vermont [name of ordinance] that may first need to be taken prior to the dog’s release.

If the owner/keeper does not come forward or is unable or unwilling to take whatever remedial action may be necessary to secure the dog’s release within ten (10) days following the date of this notice or gives notice either personally, by telephone call, or in writing to the town of forfeiture of ownership before that time, the dog may be placed in an adoptive home, transferred to a humane society or rescue organization. If the dog cannot be so transferred it may be humanely destroyed.

–  –  –


This ordinance is adopted by the selectboard of the Town of _________________ under authority of 20 V.S.A. § 3549, 24 V.S.A. §§ 2291 (10), (14), and (15), and 24 V.S.A. Chapter 59.


It is the purpose of this ordinance to regulate the keeping of dogs [and wolf hybrids] and to provide for their leashing, muzzling, restraint, impoundment and destruction and their running at large, so as to protect the public health and safety of the Town and the quiet enjoyment of its residents’ homes and properties.


For purposes of this ordinance, the following words and/or

phrases shall apply:

A. “Dog” means any member of the canine species. For purposes of this ordinance, this term, wherever used, shall also include “wolf-hybrids” and “working farm dogs” except where specifically exempted.

B. “Enforcement Officer” means any Town Constable, Police Officer, Animal Control Officer, Humane Officer, or any other person designated as an Enforcement Officer by the Selectboard.

C. “Owner” means any person who has actual or constructive possession of a dog. The term also includes those persons who provide food and shelter to a dog.

D. “Potentially vicious dog” means a dog running at large that inflicts minor injuries on a person not necessitating medical attention; chases, threatens to attack or attacks another domestic pet or animal as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 3541; causes damage to personal property; chases a person; or causes any person to reasonably fear attack or bodily injury from such dog. This definition shall not apply if the dog was protecting or defending itself, its offspring, another domestic pet or animal or a person from attack or assault or the person attacked or threatened by the dog was engaged in teasing, tormenting, battering, assaulting, injuring or otherwise provoking the dog.

E. “Running at large” means that a dog is not:

1. on a leash;

2. in a vehicle;

3. on the owner’s premises;

4. on the premises of another person with that person’s permission;

5. clearly under the verbal or non-verbal control of the owner; or

6. hunting with the owner.

F. “Wolf hybrid” means:

1. An animal that is the progeny of a dog and a wolf (Canis lupus or Canis rufus);

2. An animal that is advertised or otherwise described or represented to be a wolf hybrid; or

3. An animal that exhibits primary physical and/or behavioral wolf characteristics.

–  –  –


An owner of a dog shall not allow, permit, or suffer such dog to

create a nuisance. The following activities shall be deemed nuisances:

A. Running at large in the Town.

B. A dog that defecates in any public area or on the private premises of another person and whose owner does not immediately remove the fecal material and dispose of it in a sanitary manner.

C. A female dog in heat not confined to a building or other secured enclosure, except while under the direct control of the owner.

D. A dog that disturbs the quiet, comfort and repose of others by barking, whining, calling, or howling for a continuous period of _______ minutes or more. This regulation shall not apply to dogs in a kennel/boarding facility which has received a zoning permit under the Town’s Zoning Regulations. The zoning permit will govern the use of the kennel / boarding facility.

E. The provisions of this section pertaining to running at large and disturbing the quiet, comfort

and repose of others shall not apply to working farm dogs if:

1. the working farm dog is barking in order to herd or protect livestock or poultry or to protect crops; or

2. the working farm dog is running at large in order to herd or protect livestock or poultry or to protect crops.


Each dog shall be licensed according to the laws of this State and shall wear a collar or harness with the current license attached. A dog that is visiting from out of state must wear a collar or harness with a current license from its home state attached. A dog that is found without a collar or harness and license shall be immediately impounded.


32 The violation of this ordinance shall be a civil matter which may be enforced in the Vermont Judicial Bureau or in the ________ County Superior Court, at the election of ________________.

Local officials should be aware that while enforcement of a municipal civil ordinance falls under the jurisdiction of the Vermont Judicial Bureau, penalties that escalate beyond $800 must be pursued in Superior Court. 24 V.S.A.

§ 1974a (b). Municipalities may want to pursue more severe penalties beyond fines, such as neutering/spaying and impoundment of a violator’s dog(s). However, the Judicial Bureau does not have the legal authority to order a violator alter their dog or impound them. This is called “injunctive relief,” and in Vermont, only the Superior Court has this power. The exception to this rule is that the Judicial Bureau can “order that a civil ordinance violation cease.” 24 V.S.A. § 1974a (c). Therefore, when penalties exceed $800, or when the municipality desires additional relief, the case must be brought in Superior Court. 24 V.S.A. § 1974a (b).

VLCT Big Book of Woof, May 2014 Page 57 Violations enforced in the Judicial Bureau shall be in accordance with the provisions of 24 V.S.A. §§ 1974a and 1977 et seq. For purposes of enforcement in the Judicial Bureau, [the constable/ police/animal control officer/humane officer] shall be the designated enforcement officer(s). The enforcement officer shall issue tickets and may be the appearing officer at any hearing.

Violations enforced in the Superior Court shall be in accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure. The Town of ________ may pursue all appropriate injunctive relief.


A. First offense $50.00 full penalty/$25.00 waiver penalty.

B. Second offense $100.00 full penalty/$50.00 waiver penalty.

C. Third offense Impoundment & impoundment costs, any remedial action as required by the enforcement officer, plus $150.00 full penalty/$75.00 waiver penalty.

D. Subsequent offenses Impoundment & impoundment costs, any remedial action as required by the enforcement officer, plus $200.00 full penalty/$100.00 waiver penalty.

E. For purposes of determining the sequence of offenses, second and third offenses shall be those that occur within the 12-month period of the anniversary day of the first offense. Any offense occurring after this 12-month period shall be considered a new first offense.

F. Any owner whose dog has been impounded for its initial third offense shall provide the selectboard with proof of satisfactory completion of a responsible dog owner training course pre-approved by the selectboard within 6 months of the anniversary date of impoundment.

Failure to provide such certification may result in forfeiture of the offending animal.

G. For purposes of calculating the sequence of offenses, offenses shall be counted against the owner.

H. Impoundment costs and pre-approved responsible owner training programs shall be set annually by the selectboard.


A. Any dog that is determined by a [constable/police officer/animal control officer/humane officer] to be a potentially vicious dog, which presents an imminent danger to people or other animals, has reportedly bitten a person off [or on]33 the premises of its owner, or is in violation of State licensing law or 20 V.S.A. § 3806 may be immediately impounded.

B. A person claiming a dog is a “potentially vicious dog” may file a written complaint with the selectboard. The complaint shall contain the time, date and place where the alleged behavior occurred, an identification of the domestic pet or animal threatened or attacked, the name and address of any victim or victims, and any other facts that may assist the selectboard in conducting its hearing.

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