By Nicholas Smaldone, Contributing Writer
Westborough – On March 16 the town of Westborough voted to replace its General Animal Control Bylaw during its annual town meeting. The new law replaces Article 38 of the General Bylaws in its entirety with a new bylaw containing 10 sections.
In accordance to the new law, all dogs under six months who are vaccinated must be licensed with the town clerk and subsequently must wear tags that identify the owner. Once this is completed, dogs may now be allowed on public recreation areas if they are properly restrained.
If a dog is found by animal control unrestrained or unlicensed, dogs may be impounded for up to seven days before facing adoption or euthanasia. Dogs may be claimed or even licensed while impounded, as long as the owner pays for the dogs care while being impounded.
All complaints and subsequent procedures, such as receiving the complaint in writing and notifying the dog’s owner, will be investigated by the towns Animal Control Officer. If the dog’s owner wishes, they may challenge the complaint and present their argument to the Board of Selectman on why their dog is not a nuisance.
Similarly for cat lovers, cats must be vaccinated and wear identification, which can take the form of a tag, harness, or microchip. Cats will be impounded after scratching, biting, or any such incident with a human or animal if the owner if not immediately available. Wild cats may be also be captured, vaccinated, or euthanized if deemed so by the judgement of the Animal Control Officer.
A kennel license is required for people who have three or more dogs that are not individually licensed. A business certificate is also required. All kennels may be shut down if the Animal Control Officer judges that the animals are not being kept in a humane or sanitary way.
Westborough resident Alexa Vassilakis is excited over the new changes, especially now being able to take her dog out “with friends at Veterans Park this summer.”
Fellow resident Cynthia Gencarelli is also pleased with the new modifications on where pets can go, calling it a “positive change.” However, she is still curious, she said, about other parts of the legislation, like “what measures animal control is planning to implement to find owner within seven days,” and whether there will “be an option for adoption or an animal shelter before resulting to killing the animal.”
To read the entire bylaw visit https://www.town.westborough.ma.us/sites/westboroughma/files/uploads/atmwarrant2019.pdf