All Complaints involving animal issues should be directed to the Northbridge Police Department at (508) 234-6211. Members of the Northbridge Police Department are not trained as Animal Control Officers and do not have any special equipment for the handling of domestic or wild animals. Officers will respond to investigate reports of sick, injured or stray animals, however, their responsibility is limited to confirming the reported condition and referring it to the Animal Control Officer.
Dan Chauvin, Animal Control Officer

Animal Adoption:
If you are interested in adopting an animal, please contact Northbridge Police via E-Mail. Northbridge Dispatch Please include your full name, address, and phone number. Your E-Mail will be forwarded to the Animal Control Officer who will be in contact with you and will explain the adoption process to you.

Northbridge Code

4-402. Animal Control Officer.
A. Establishment. There shall be an Animal Control Officer who shall have all of the powers and duties of a dog officer, as provided in MGL C. 41, 151, and all of the powers and duties of a field driver, as provided in MGL
C. 49, 22 to 41.
B. Mode of appointment; term of office. The Town Manager shall, annually, appoint an Animal Control Officer and such assistants as may be required and authorized and who shall hold office for one year or until their successors are qualified.
C. Authorities and responsibilities.
(1) The Animal Control Officer shall attend to all complaints or other matters pertaining to dogs and other animals in the town.
(2) The Animal Control Officer shall be responsible for the enforcement of all laws relating to the care, custody and control of dogs (MGL C. 140, 136A - 174). The Animal Control Officer shall be responsible for the enforcement of all laws relating to the care, custody and control of other animals found at large in the town (MGL C. 49, 22 - 41).
4-403. Animals, Inspector of.
A. Establishment. There shall be an Inspector of Animals as provided in MGL C. 129, 15 to 25.
B. Mode of appointment; term of office. The Town Manager shall annually, in March, nominate one or more Inspectors of Animals, and before April first, shall send to the Director of Animal Health of the commonwealth the name, address and occupation of each nominee. Such nominee shall not be appointed until approved by the Director of Animal Health of the commonwealth (MGL C. 129, 15).
C. Authorities and responsibilities. Each Inspector of Animals shall comply with and enforce all orders and regulations directed to him by the Director of Animal Health (MGL C. 129, 18). Inspectors of Animals shall make regular and thorough inspections of all neat cattle, sheep and swine found within the town limits. Such inspections shall be made at such times and in such manner as the Director of Animal Health shall from time to time order. Inspectors of Animals shall also from time to time make inspections of all other domestic animals within the limits of the town if they know, or have reason to suspect, that such animals are affected with or have been exposed to any contagious disease, and shall immediately inspect all domestic animals and any place where any such animals are kept whenever directed so to do by the Director of Animal Health (MGL C. 129, 19).

Chapter 8, REGULATION OF ANIMALS
SECTION 8-100: DOGS
8-101. Definitions.
The following words and phrases, as used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise, shall have the following meanings:
HUNTING OR SPORTING DOG -- An animal under the control and direction of its owner or keeper while used in training or actual hunting. It also includes animals used in events or trials participating under sanctioned competitions.
KEEPER -- Any person, other than the owner, harboring in his possession any animal. The keeper shall be held liable for the action of the animal.
KENNEL -- One pack or collection of dogs on a single premises, whether maintained for breeding, boarding, sale, training, hunting or other purposes, and including any shop where dogs are on sale, who are not covered by MGL C. 129, 39A, and also including every pack or collection or more than three dogs, six months old or over, owned or kept by a person on a single premises, irrespective of the purpose for which they are maintained. Any and all kennels registered in the Town of Northbridge shall be subject to state and local business regulations.
OWNER -- Includes corporations, societies, associations, partnerships and individuals, provided that they show ownership of an animal by possession of a current and valid license or other satisfactory proof of ownership.
WORKING DOG -- An animal used in the performance of a particular set of tasks. The animal must be engaged in such tasks to be exempt from 8-102. Examples include guard dogs, Seeing Eye dogs and dogs used to control a farmer's flock or herd.

8-102. Restraint; exceptions.
No person shall permit a dog owned or kept by him beyond the confines of the property of the owner or keeper unless the dog is held firmly on a leash. The length of a leash shall not exceed six feet when off the property of the owner or keeper. An owner or keeper may use a leash of greater length to restrain a dog on the property of the owner or keeper, provided that the dog is securely confined to the premises of the owner or keeper. Exceptions are animals, which are classified as hunting or sporting dogs, as well as working dogs, while used in such capacity.
8-103. Prima facie evidence of violation.
The unauthorized presence of any animal on public lands or on the land of any person other than the owner or keeper of such animal when such animal is not restrained as above-mentioned shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of the provisions of this section.
8-104. Violations and penalties.
A violation of this 8-100 shall be punishable by a warning for the first offense, $25 for the second offense and $40 for each subsequent offense within a calendar year.
8-105. Licensing requirements.
A. Any owner or keeper of a dog six months of age or older in the Town of Northbridge shall cause that dog to be licensed as required by MGL C. 140 within the stipulated time.
B. Fees.

(1) The annual fee for every dog license, except as otherwise provided for by law, shall be $10, unless a certificate of a registered veterinarian who performed the operation that such dog has been altered and has thereby been deprived of the power of breeding or producing offspring has been shown to the Town Clerk, in which case the fee shall be $6. If the Town Clerk is satisfied that the certification by the veterinarian who altered the dog cannot be obtained, he/she may accept in lieu thereof a statement, under the penalties of perjury, by a registered veterinarian describing the dog and stating that he has examined the dog and, in his opinion, the dog is not capable of breeding or producing offspring by reason of spaying or neutering. Until the veterinarian has examined the dog in question, the license fee for the licensing period shall be at the rate of $10. When applying for a license, the applicant must also show proof by a veterinarian's certificate that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies within the last three years, if the dog is six months of age or over, as required by MGL C. 140, 115B.

(2) No fee shall be charged for a license for a dog specifically trained to lead or serve a blind person or a deaf person, provided that the Division of the Blind or Deaf certified that such dog is so trained and actually in the services of a blind or deaf person.

(3) Kennel fees shall be as follows:
(a) Four dogs or fewer: $50.
(b) Ten dogs or fewer: $75.
(c) Twenty-five dogs or fewer: $100.
C. No license fee or part thereof shall be refunded because of subsequent death, loss, spaying, neutering or removal from the commonwealth or other disposal of the dog.
D. Should any owner or keeper of a dog fail to license that dog before June 1, that owner or keeper shall pay a late fee of $10, plus an additional fee of $1 per month, beginning June 1, before obtaining said license, except a dog brought into the town as provided in MGL C. 140, 138. This late fee shall be applicable from the 61st day after the arrival of such dog.
E. Any person maintaining a kennel in the Town of Northbridge who fails to license as prescribed by this section and the laws of the commonwealth shall pay a late fee of $20, plus an additional fee of $2 per month beginning June 1. Such fees as are collected by the Dog Officer shall be accounted for and paid over to the Town Treasurer to be incorporated into the Animal Control Fund.

8-106. Impoundment.
The Dog Officer can impound a dog or fine the owner or keeper of said dog pursuant to 8-104 and 8-114 of this chapter for the following offenses:
A. Being an unlicensed dog.
B. Being found at large when the owner or keeper is not present.
C. Injuring or menacing a person.
D. Injuring a domestic animal or fowl.
E. Chasing vehicles (autos, motorcycles or trucks).
F. Chasing bicycles.
G. Causing any disturbance (barking, howling or disturbing).
H. Being unmuzzled off the owner's or keeper's property while a muzzling order is in effect.
I. Being found at large at any school yard and/or recreational area.
J. Violation of a quarantine.

8-107. Muzzling.
A. The Dog Officer can order a dog to be muzzled for the following:
(1) Biting or menacing a person.
(2) Injuring a domestic animal or fowl.
(3) Excessive barking.
B. Exceptions. Only the Dog Officer has the power to remove a muzzle order if he so desires, i.e., an exception is feeding time.
8-108. Quarantine orders.
For biting a person, the animal must be quarantined subject to MGL C. 129, 21. Any and all violations of a quarantine order will be subject to general penalties under MGL C. 129, 30.

8-109. Storage fees.
A. A storage fee of $5 per day will be levied if said animal is impounded.
B. Impounded, unlicensed dogs will be kept for 10 days. During such time, a description of the animal will be posted at the Town Hall. To obtain the release of an unlicensed animal, the owner must license the animal and pay all fines and storage fees. If the animal is not claimed, it will be sold to anyone paying the fines and storage of said animal. If not claimed or sold within the ten-day period, the animal shall be destroyed in a humane manner.
C. The owner of an impounded licensed dog will be notified by registered mail of the animal's confinement. The animal shall be kept until the owner pays all fines and storage. If not claimed within 30 days, it will be destroyed in a humane manner.

8-110. Estrous cycle.
A. If found at large, dogs in the estrous cycle (heat) can be impounded. If complaints have been recorded, the Dog Officer may require the owner to remove the animal from the area of disturbance. If impounded, the owner shall be notified by registered mail of the animal's confinement.
B. A fine of $25 shall be levied against the owner or keeper of an unspayed female dog in heat running at large.
C. Impounded, unlicensed dogs in heat shall be kept for 10 days. During such time a description of the animal will be posted in the Town Hall. If the animal is not claimed, it shall be sold to anyone paying the fines and storage of said animal. If not claimed or sold within the ten-day period, the animal shall be destroyed in a humane manner.

8-111. Appointment of Dog Officer and assistants.
Subject to approval of the Board of Selectmen, the Town Manager shall appoint an Animal Control Officer, who shall be the Dog Officer, and such assistants as are deemed necessary to administer and enforce this bylaw relating to dogs and the sections of MGL C. 140, as amended, relating to dogs.

8-112. Kennels.
Any person with more than three dogs, six months or older, on a single premises shall be classified as a kennel, and, as such, the owner or keeper must apply for a kennel license.

8-113. Severability.
In the event that any provision or section of this section is deemed invalid and unenforceable, all other provisions shall remain in force and in effect.

8-114. Penalties.
This Dog Regulation Bylaw may be enforced pursuant to the provisions of MGL C. 40, 21D, and 1-109A of this Code of Bylaws. The penalty for the first offense in a calendar year shall be a warning; the penalty for the second offense shall be $15, and the penalty for the third and each subsequent offense in the same calendar year shall be $25.
 

Northbridge Police Department | 1 Hope Street Whitinsville MA 01588 | Business Line 1.508.234.6211 | Directions