Dawn Francis, Town Manager
Revision of Chapter 6: Animals, Colchester Code of Ordinances
The Selectboard held a public hearing on Tuesday, August 8 on the revision of the Colchester Code of Ordinances “Chapter 6. Animals” and adopted the revised chapter later in the meeting. Chapter 6 has been re-titled “Dogs and Wolf Hybrids.” Its purpose is “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.”
Over the past few years the Town had received increasing numbers of complaints regarding animals in general, and dogs in particular. It became clear that we needed to amend the existing ordinance, as it provided little ground on which Colchester police could respond to typical complaints such as dogs running loose or nuisance barking. With the revision of the ordinance Colchester police officers may now issue tickets for violations.
The Number One animal complaint received by the Town is failure to “poop-scoop,” whether in public spaces, dogs being allowed to eliminate on private property, or when waste-filled baggies are left behind rather than properly disposed of. Those who fail to remove their dog’s waste may now receive either a warning or be fined $50 for a 1st offense, up to a $200 fine (and possible impoundment of the dog) for 3rd and subsequent offenses. Lesser waiver fees may apply for persons who decline to contest a ticket in court.
Of course, the best first approach to a neighborhood pet problem is to have a friendly chat with the animal’s owner. If you keep the tone non-accusatory and calm you may reach a solution amicably and more easily than you expect. We encourage every owner of a dog (or any other pet) to be a responsible and thoughtful neighbor and citizen.
You can find a copy of the amended Chapter 6. Dogs and Wolf Hybrids at: http://clerkshq.com/default.ashx?clientsite=Colchester-vt in “Ordinances Pending Codification.”
For more about the Town Manager’s Office, visit http://colchestervt.gov/manager or call (802) 264-5509.