General Dog Information
Pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 140, Section 137 & the Town of Swampscott General Bylaw, Article V, Section 15, all dogs six months and older must be vaccinated against rabies and licensed. Swampscott dog licenses are valid calendar year from January 1 to December 31. All dog licenses must be renewed no later than January 31st. A $5.00 late fee will be assesed beginning February 1st. A current rabies certifcate must be on file with the Town Clerk's Office prior to licensing.
Current fee Schedule
New & Renewals: Spayed & Neutered dogs $10.00 each, Intact dogs $25.00 each, Kennel Licenses $50.00 (4+ dogs).
In an effort to make the annual license process as "user friendly" as possible, renewal packets are mailed to all current dog license holders during the month of December which includes a renewal license application and instructions. All dog owners who provided an e-mail address on their 2015 Dog license application will receive a renewal packet via e-mail beginning in 2016.
**Online Dog Licensing is Now Available for a Small Fee**
You may now complete information for up to 3 dogs on one dog license application. To minimize paperwork we will no longer be sending you a copy of your completed licensed dog applications, your dog tag(s) are proof of registration. If you require a copy of your dog license application please contact the Town Clerk's Office and we will be happy to provide one to you.
Please mail the completed dog license application with a check or money order payable to the “Town of Swampscott”. Enclose a SASE addressed to where you want us to mail your dog tag(s) to you. This may also be done in person by visiting the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall during normal business hours, Monday thru Thursday, 8:00AM to 4:30PM and Friday 8:00AM to 12:00PM. Town Hall also has a 24 Hour drop box.
Please note: All dog licenses are only able to be proceesed if we have a current rabies certificate on file for your dog, it's the law. Please call us at 781-596-8855 or email us, Susan J. Duplin or Brittney Jones, to confirm that we have a current rabies vaccination date on file. Certificates can be mailed to the town clerk at 22 Monument Avenue, Swampscott, MA 01907 or faxed to 781-596-8870. Your dog tag(s) will be mailed to you once your payment has been processed.
Symptoms of Rabies - In animals, unexplained aggression, impaired locomotion, varying degrees of paralysis, extreme depression, or viciousness. The signs of rabies vary in animals; some will display attack-like behavior while others appear sick or dazed.
Contact your veterinarian for more information. (MGL. Chapter 140,Section 145)
Animal Control Laws:
Massachusetts General Laws: Chapter 140, Section 137: Registration and licensing of dogs
Section 137. (a) The owner or keeper of a dog over the age of 6 months shall obtain a license for the dog. The registering, numbering, describing and licensing of a dog shall be conducted in the office of the licensing authority in the city or town in which the dog is kept.
(b) A licensing authority shall not grant a license for a dog unless the owner of the dog provides the licensing authority with a veterinarian’s certification that the dog has been vaccinated in accordance with section 145B, certification that such dog is exempt from the vaccination requirement under said section 145B or a notarized letter from a veterinarian that either of these certifications was issued relative to such dog.
(c) The license shall be granted upon condition that the dog shall be controlled and restrained from killing, chasing or harassing livestock or fowl. The owner of a dog may add descriptive words, not over 10 in number, upon the license form to indicate the color, breed, weight or special markings of the licensed dog. The owner or keeper of a licensed dog shall keep affixed around the dog’s neck or body, a collar or harness of leather or other suitable material, to which a tag shall be securely attached. The tag shall have inscribed upon it the dog’s license number, the name of the city or town issuing the license and the year of issue. If the tag becomes lost, the owner or keeper of the dog shall immediately secure a substitute tag from the licensing authority at a cost to be determined by the city or town and the fee for the substitute shall, if received by a city or town clerk, be retained by the clerk unless otherwise provided by law. This section shall not apply to a person to whom a valid kennel license has been issued.
(d) This section shall not apply to a dog or cat housed in a research institution.
Town of Swampscott General Bylaw: ARTICLE V, SECTION 14. DOGS
(a) No Dogs at Large: No person owning, harboring, or having custody and control of a dog shall permit such dog to be at large in the Town of Swampscott, elsewhere than on the premises of the owner, except it be on the premises of another person with the knowledge and assent of such other person.
(b) Duty to Control or Restrain: Any dog elsewhere shall at all times (24 hours a day) be controlled or restrained by any chain or leash and be under the direct control and supervision of its owner or his designee.
(c) Dogs on Public Beaches: Dogs are allowed on public beaches for the purpose of exercise and play only between October 1 and May 20 and the following restrictions apply; Dogs must be accompanied by the owner/keeper at all times. Dogs must be leashed to and from the high water mark. From the high water mark to the water's edge dogs may be off the leash, but under direct control and supervision of the owner/keeper. The pooper/scooper by-law will apply to the water's edge. Seeing eye and hearing assist dogs are exempt. The owner/keeper will be responsible for the behavior and actions of the dog. Public safety and the safety and well being of other dogs will be observed at all times. Harassment of wildlife is forbidden. Any dog deemed a nuisance, safety or health hazard by the Animal Control Officer will be barred from all public beaches. Any owner/keeper who willfully returns a dog to any public beach for any purpose that has been previously barred will be fined by the Animal Control Officer. Fines established for violation of this by-law are as follows: first offense, $25.00; second and subsequent offense, $50.00. Signs shall be erected on all public beaches of the Town of Swampscott stating “NO DOGS ALLOWED ON BEACHES BETWEEN MAY 20 AND OCTOBER 1”
(d) Duty to Dispose: It shall be the duty of each person who owns, possesses or controls a dog to remove and dispose of any feces left by his/her dog on any sidewalk, street, park, public areas or private property of another.
(e) Duty to Possess Means of Removal: No person who owns, possess or controls such dog shall appear with such dog on any sidewalk, street, park, public area or private property of another without the means of removal of any feces left by such dog.
(f) Method of Removal and Disposal: For the purposes of this regulation the means of removal shall be any tool, implement or other device carried for the purpose of picking up and containing such feces, unexposed to said person or the public. Disposal shall be accomplished by transporting such feces to a place suitable and regularly reserved for the disposal of human feces or specifically reserved for the disposal of canine feces, and so disposing of said feces.
(g) Fines For Violations: Fines for violations of this by-law, in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, is $50.00 per offense. (2000)
(h) Exemption: This regulation shall not apply to a guide dog accompanying a handicapped person.
(i) Severability: The provisions of this section are severable and if any of the provisions of this section shall be held to be unconstitutional or otherwise invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, the decision of such court shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions.
(j) Excessive Barking: It shall be unlawful for any dog owner to allow excessive, complaint provoking barking on the part of the dog. Violations of this by-law shall subject the dog owner to a $25.00 for the first offense and a fine of $50.00 for each subsequent offense.
(k) Dog Licensing Fees: Notwithstanding the provisions of MGLA Chapter 140, Section 137 or any other provision of law to the contrary, the annual fees to be charged by the Town of Swampscott for the issuance of licenses for dogs shall be:
Neutered males or spayed females…………………$10.00
Male or females...............................................$25.00
Kennel License...............................................$50.00 (2000)
Further, should any owner or keeper of a dog fail to license that dog before December 31 (or the first business day after December 31), that owner or keeper shall pay a late fee of $5.00 before obtaining said license, excepting a dog brought into Town as provided in Section 138 of Chapter 140, MGLA. (5/89) (Amended 5/04)
(l) Fines for Picking up and Transportation Unlicensed Dogs: A fine of $50.00 per day is established for any owner of an unlicensed dog not accompanied by the owner that has to be picked up by the Animal Control Officer and transported to the animal hospital and/or kennel. (5/93)