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The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 20: Internal Security and Public Safety

Chapter 193: DOMESTIC PET OR WOLF-HYBRID CONTROL

  • Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • § 3541. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Secretary" where no other department is referenced means the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, and includes his or her designee.

    (2) "Domestic animal" means those animals defined by 6 V.S.A. § 1151(2).

    (3) "Domestic pet" or "pet" means any domestic dogs, domestic cats, and ferrets. The term shall also include such other domestic animals as the Secretary shall establish by rule, provided that the Secretary finds that the animal has the potential to become an imminent danger to public health or welfare if not subjected to the provisions of this chapter.

    (4) "Ferret" means only the European ferret (Mustela putorious furo).

    (5) "Legislative body" means the legislative body of a town, city, or incorporated village.

    (6) "Owner" means any person who owns a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid and includes any person who has actual or constructive possession of the pet or wolf-hybrid. The term also includes those persons who provide feed or shelter to a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid.

    (7) "Respondent" means a person alleged to have violated any provision of this chapter.

    (8) "Wolf-hybrid" means an animal that is the progeny or descendant of a domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and a wolf (Canis lupus or Canis rufus). "Wolf-hybrid" also means an animal that is advertised, registered, licensed, or otherwise described or represented as a wolf-hybrid by its owner or an animal that exhibits primary physical and behavioral wolf characteristics. The Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife shall adopt a rule describing primary physical and behavioral wolf characteristics.

    (9) "Working farm dog" means a dog that is bred or trained to herd or protect livestock or poultry or to protect crops and that is used for those purposes and that is registered as a working farm dog pursuant to subsection 3581(a) of this title.

    (10) "Pet dealer" means any person who sells or exchanges or who offers to sell or exchange cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids, or any combination thereof, from three or more litters of cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids in any 12-month period. This definition shall not apply to pet shops, animal shelters, or rescue organizations as those terms are defined in section 3901 of this title. (Added 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 15, 1994; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2009, No. 48, § 7, eff. May 28, 2009; 2013, No. 30, § 1.)

  • § 3541a. Feral animals; responsibility

    It is not the intent of the General Assembly to require a person to be responsible under this chapter for a feral animal that takes up residence in a building other than the person's home, even if the person occasionally provides feed to the animal. (Added 2013, No. 30, § 2.)

  • §§ 3542-3544. Repealed. 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. April 12, 1978.

  • § 3545. Right to kill domestic pets or wolf-hybrids generally

    (a) A person may kill a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid that suddenly assaults him or her or when necessary to discontinue an attack upon the person or another person provided that the attack or assault does not occur while the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is restrained, within an enclosure containing the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid, or on the premises of the owner.

    (b) A domestic pet or wolf-hybrid found wounding, killing or worrying another domestic pet or wolf-hybrid, a domestic animal or fowl may be killed when the attendant circumstances are such that the killing is reasonably necessary to prevent injury to the animal or fowl which is the subject of the attack. (Amended 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 12, 1978; 1979, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Feb. 28, 1980; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. June 15, 1994.)

  • § 3546. Investigation of vicious domestic pets or wolf-hybrids; order

    (a) When a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid has bitten a person while the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is off the premises of the owner or keeper, and the person bitten requires medical attention for the attack, such person may file a written complaint with the legislative body of the municipality. The complaint shall contain the time, date and place where the attack occurred, the name and address of the victim or victims, and any other facts that may assist the legislative body in conducting its investigation required by subsection (b) of this section.

    (b) The legislative body, within seven days from receipt of the complaint, shall investigate the charges and hold a hearing on the matter. If the owner of the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid which is the subject of the complaint can be ascertained with due diligence, said owner shall be provided with a written notice of the time, date and place of hearing and the facts of the complaint.

    (c) If the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is found to have bitten the victim without provocation, the municipal officials shall make such order for the protection of persons as the facts and circumstances of the case may require, including, without limitation, that the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is disposed of in a humane way, muzzled, chained, or confined. The order shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. A person who, after receiving notice, fails to comply with the terms of the order shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 3550 of this chapter.

    (d) The procedures provided in this section shall apply if the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is not a rabies suspect. If a member of the legislative body or a municipal official designated by the legislative body determines that the animal is a rabies suspect, the provisions of subchapter 5 of this chapter and the rules of the department of health shall apply.

    (e) The procedures provided in this section shall not apply if the voters of a municipality, at a special or annual meeting duly warned for the purpose, have authorized the legislative body of the municipality to regulate domestic pets or wolf-hybrids by ordinances that are inconsistent with this section, in which case those ordinances shall apply. (Amended 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 12, 1978; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. June 15, 1994; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 15.)

  • § 3547. Repealed. 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. April 12, 1978.

  • § 3548. Application to unorganized towns and gores; supervisors

    The provisions of subchapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 of this chapter shall apply to unorganized towns and gores, and the duties imposed upon municipal clerks by this chapter shall, in unorganized towns and gores, be performed by the supervisors thereof. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. June 15, 1994.)

  • § 3549. Domestic pets or wolf-hybrids; regulation by towns

    The legislative body of a city or town by ordinance may regulate the licensing, keeping, leashing, muzzling, restraint, impoundment, and destruction of domestic pets or wolf-hybrids and their running at large, except that a legislative body of a city or town shall not prohibit or regulate the barking or running at large of a working farm dog when it is on the property being farmed by the person who registered the working farm dog, pursuant to subsection 3581(a) of this title, in the following circumstances:

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

    (2) if the working farm dog is running at large in order to herd or protect livestock or poultry or to protect crops. (Added 1967, No. 300 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 20, 1968; amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. June 15, 1994; 2007, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 2009, No. 48, § 8, eff. May 28, 2009; 2013, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

  • § 3550. Penalties; enforcement; municipal legislative body; Secretary

    (a) A municipal legislative body or an officer designated by the Secretary may impose a civil penalty of up to $500.00 per violation in accordance with the provisions of this section.

    (b) A municipal legislative body may impose penalties for violation of any provisions of subchapter 1 or 2, refusal to obtain a pet dealer permit under subchapter 3, or a refusal to comply with an order issued by a municipal officer under subchapter 5 of this chapter.

    (c) An officer designated by the Secretary may impose penalties for violation of a rule adopted by a State agency under subchapter 5 of this chapter, violation of a quarantine order issued under subchapter 5 of this chapter, or refusal to comply with an order issued by a State officer under subchapter 5 of this chapter.

    (d) In determining the amount of the civil penalty to be ordered, the legislative body or officer shall consider the following:

    (1) the degree of actual or potential impact on public health, safety, and welfare resulting from the violation;

    (2) whether the respondent has cured the violation;

    (3) the presence of mitigating circumstances;

    (4) whether the respondent knew or had reason to know the violation existed;

    (5) the respondent's record of compliance;

    (6) the deterrent effect of the penalty;

    (7) the costs of enforcement; and

    (8) the length of time the violation has existed.

    (e) When the legislative body or officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has violated a provision of this chapter under its purview, the legislative body or officer may issue a notice of the alleged violation, which shall be delivered to the respondent in person or mailed to the respondent by registered mail. The notice of violation shall include:

    (1) a civil penalty of up to $500.00;

    (2) a brief description of the alleged violation and identification of the law alleged to have been violated;

    (3) a statement that the respondent has a right to a hearing before the legislative body or a hearing officer designated by the Secretary at no cost to the respondent, a description of the procedures for requesting a hearing, and a statement that failure to request a hearing within 21 days of the date of mailing of the notice shall result in a final decision with no right of appeal; and

    (4) if applicable, a directive that the respondent take actions necessary to achieve compliance with the law.

    (f) A person who receives a notice of violation shall be offered an opportunity for a hearing before the legislative body or hearing officer, provided that the request for hearing is made in writing to the clerk of the municipality or the Secretary no later than 21 days after the date of mailing of the notice of violation. If the respondent does not request a hearing in a timely fashion, the decision shall be final and the penalty shall be payable within 35 days following mailing of the notice of violation. If the respondent does make a timely request for a hearing, the legislative body or hearing officer shall hold a hearing within 14 days of receipt of the request. After the hearing, the legislative body or hearing officer may affirm, reduce, or eliminate the penalty. The decision shall be delivered or mailed to the respondent in the same manner as the notice of violation and shall be effective five days following mailing of the decision or immediately following delivery of the decision.

    (g) Imposition of a penalty under this subchapter precludes imposition of any other administrative or civil penalty under any other provision of law for the same violation.

    (h) The civil penalty shall be paid to the enforcing agency or enforcing legislative body. If the respondent fails to pay the penalty within the time prescribed, the legislative body or Secretary may bring a collection action, including a small claims action, in the Civil Division of the Superior Court.

    (i) A respondent aggrieved by a decision made following a hearing before the legislative body or hearing officer may appeal within 30 days of receipt of the decision to the Civil Division of the Superior Court, which shall consider the matter de novo.

    (j) On application of a municipality or the Secretary, the Civil Division of the Superior Court shall have jurisdiction to enjoin the violation of any provision of this chapter. The Court may also authorize the seizure and disposition of domestic pets or wolf-hybrids when owners refuse to have the pets or wolf-hybrids inoculated or licensed, or when the Court determines that there is a threat to the public welfare. (Added 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. June 15, 1994; amended 2013, No. 30, § 3; 2015, No. 23, § 147.)

  • § 3551. Search warrants

    An officer who has attempted to seize a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid under sections 3546, 3549, 3624, 3745, 3806, or 3807 of this chapter and has not been permitted to search for or take the animal, may apply to a judicial officer authorized to issue search warrants for a warrant to search the properties of the owner of the animal or any other property if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that the animal may be on it. If the judicial officer is satisfied that there is a reasonable cause to believe that the animal is on a property, the judicial officer shall issue a search warrant authorizing a law enforcement officer of the state of Vermont to search the property and premises for the animal within a specified period of time not to exceed 10 days and to seize the animal. The warrant shall be served between the hours of 6:00 A.M. and 10:00 P.M. unless the warrant directs that it may be served at any time. The judicial officer may, by appropriate provision in the warrant, and for reasonable cause shown, authorize its execution at other times. The warrant shall designate the court to which it shall be returned. (Added 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. June 15, 1994.)


  • Subchapter 002: LICENSES
  • § 3581. General requirements

    (a) A person who is the owner of a dog or wolf-hybrid more than six months old shall annually on or before April 1 cause it to be registered, numbered, described, and licensed on a form approved by the Secretary for one year from that day in the office of the clerk of the municipality wherein the dog or wolf-hybrid is kept. A person who owns a working farm dog and who intends to use that dog on a farm pursuant to the exemptions in section 3549 of this title shall cause the working farm dog to be registered as a working farm dog and shall, in addition to all other fees required by this section, pay $5.00 for a working farm dog license. The owner of a dog or wolf-hybrid shall cause it to wear a collar, and attach thereto a license tag issued by the municipal clerk. Dog or wolf-hybrid owners shall pay for the license $4.00 for each neutered dog or wolf-hybrid, and $8.00 for each unneutered dog or wolf-hybrid. If the license fee for any dog or wolf-hybrid is not paid by April 1, its owner or keeper may thereafter procure a license for that license year by paying a fee of 50 percent in excess of that otherwise required.

    (b) Before a person shall be entitled to obtain a license for a neutered dog or wolf-hybrid, he or she shall exhibit to the clerk a certificate signed by a duly licensed veterinarian showing that the dog or wolf-hybrid has been sterilized.

    (c)(1) A mandatory license fee surcharge of $4.00 per license shall be collected by each city, town, or village for the purpose of funding the dog, cat, and wolf-hybrid spaying and neutering program established in chapter 193, subchapter 6 of this title.

    (2) An optional license fee surcharge of up to $10.00 per license is to be implemented by the legislative body of a city, town, or village that has established an animal and rabies control program for the sole purpose of funding the rabies control program.

    (3) The license fee surcharges in this subsection shall not be considered part of the license fee for purposes of calculating a penalty for late payment.

    (d) Before obtaining a license for a dog or wolf-hybrid six months of age or older, a person shall deliver to the municipal clerk a certificate or a certified copy thereof issued by a duly licensed veterinarian, stating that the dog or wolf-hybrid has received a current preexposure rabies vaccination with a vaccine approved by the Secretary, and the person shall certify that the dog or wolf-hybrid described in the certificate or copy is the dog or wolf-hybrid to be licensed. The municipal clerk shall keep the certificates or copies thereof on file. The Secretary shall prescribe the size and format of rabies certificates. The owner of any such dog or wolf-hybrid shall maintain a copy of the rabies vaccination form and provide it to State or municipal officials upon request.

    (e) For the purposes of licensing a dog or wolf-hybrid, a current vaccination against rabies means that:

    (1) All dog and wolf-hybrid vaccinations recognized by State and local authorities shall be administered by a licensed veterinarian or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

    (2) All dogs and wolf-hybrids over three months of age shall be vaccinated against rabies. The initial vaccination shall be valid for 12 months. Within nine to 12 months of the initial vaccination, the animal must receive a booster vaccination.

    (3) All subsequent vaccinations following the initial vaccination shall be valid for 36 months.

    (4) All vaccinations, including the initial vaccination, shall be with a U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved three-year rabies vaccine product.

    (f) In addition to the license fees assessed in subsections (a) and (c) of this section and section 3583 of this title, municipal clerks shall assess a $1.00 fee for each license sold. The clerks shall forward the fees collected under this subsection to the State Treasurer on or before the 15th day of May, September, and January of each year, together with an accounting of the licenses sold. The funds collected under this subsection are to be used for rabies control programs. For this purpose, on or before the 30th days of May, September, and January, the State Treasurer shall disburse the funds collected under this subsection as follows:

    (1) Forty-five percent to the Fish and Wildlife Fund.

    (2) Forty-five percent to the Commissioner of Health.

    (3) Ten percent to the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets. (Amended 1965, No. 36, § 1, eff. April 28, 1965; 1966, No. 62 (Sp. Sess.), § 1; 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 12, 1978; 1979, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Feb. 28, 1980; 1989, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 10(a); eff. Jan. 1, 1991; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 9, eff. April 1, 1995; 2001, No. 39, § 5; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2003, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 37, 38; 2007, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2009, No. 48, § 9, eff. May 28, 2009; 2015, No. 57, § 31.)

  • § 3581a. Immunization

    (a) An owner of a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid shall have that animal inoculated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian in accordance with section 3581 of this title, if applicable, and with rules adopted by the secretary.

    (b) No rabies vaccine may be used for domestic pets unless it is first approved by the secretary.

    (c) Until the secretary approves a rabies vaccine for use on wolf-hybrids, these animals shall be vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the secretary for domestic dogs and a veterinarian inoculating a wolf-hybrid in accordance with this section shall not be liable for the failure of the rabies vaccine to protect the animal from rabies nor for any adverse reaction that may be attributable to the vaccination.

    (d) A person may use an approved vaccine to inoculate a feral feline that takes up residence in a building other than the person's home and need not use the services of a licensed veterinarian for this purpose.

    (e) The secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets and the department of health shall provide notices to veterinarians designed to help them to inform people about the provisions of this section regarding cats, wolf-hybrids and other domestic pets. (Added 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. June 15, 1994; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)

  • § 3582. Dogs or wolf-hybrids obtained after April 1

    A person who becomes the owner after April 1 of a dog or wolf-hybrid six months old which has not been licensed, or a person who owns, keeps or harbors a dog or wolf-hybrid in which becomes six months old after April 1 shall within 30 days apply for and obtain a license for the dog or wolf-hybrid the same manner as the annual license is obtained. If an application under this section is made after October 1, the fee for the license shall be one-half the amount otherwise required. If the license fee is not paid within 30 days, the owner may thereafter procure a license for that license year by paying a license fee of 50 percent in excess of that otherwise required. (Amended 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 12, 1978; 1979, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Feb. 28, 1980; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 11, eff. April 1, 1995.)

  • § 3582a. Repealed. 1977 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. April 12, 1978.

  • § 3583. Domestic pets and wolf-hybrids kept for breeding purposes

    (a) The owner or keeper of domestic pets and wolf-hybrids kept for breeding purposes may take out annually, on or before April 1, a special license for the domestic pets or wolf-hybrids, provided:

    (1) He or she keeps the domestic pets or wolf-hybrids within a proper enclosure. A proper enclosure is a locked fence or structure of sufficient height and sufficient depth into the ground to prevent the entry of young children and to prevent the animal from escaping. A proper enclosure also provides humane shelter for the animal.

    (2) The domestic pets or wolf-hybrids at all times have a current vaccination against rabies.

    (3) When the number of domestic pets or wolf-hybrids so kept does not exceed ten, the fee shall be $30.00 and for each additional domestic pet or wolf-hybrid so kept, an annual fee of $3.00.

    (b) Domestic pets and wolf-hybrids covered by the special license hereunder shall be exempt from other license fees, and all licenses under this section are exempt from the surcharge enacted under subsection (c) of section 3581 of this title.

    (c) If the license fee is not paid by April 1, the owner or keeper may thereafter procure a license for that license year by paying a fee of 50 percent in excess of that otherwise required. These license fees are in addition to any fees required for the operation of a kennel under subchapter 3 of this chapter. (Amended 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. April 12, 1978; 1979, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Feb. 28, 1980; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 12, eff. April 1, 1995.)

  • §§ 3584-3586. Repealed. 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. April 12, 1978.

  • § 3587. Dogs brought into state

    Without obtaining a Vermont license, a person may bring or cause to be brought into the state for a period not exceeding 90 days, one or more licensed dog or dogs bearing the identification of the owner, provided that the owner possesses a certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian or a state official of any other state that the dog has received a rabies vaccination that is current for the 90 days following entry into the state. (Amended 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. April 12, 1978; 1979, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. Feb. 28, 1980.)

  • § 3588. Issuance of licenses; record of licenses

    Municipal clerks shall issue licenses and receive the money therefor, and pay the same into the municipal treasury, within 60 days of the receipt thereof, retaining to their own use $2.00 for each license or permit, and shall return therewith a sworn statement of the amount of moneys thus received and paid over by them. (Amended 1966, No. 62 (Sp. Sess.), § 3; 1971, No. 84, § 11; 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. April 12, 1978; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. June 15, 1994.)

  • § 3589. Record of licenses

    Municipal clerks shall also keep a record of licenses issued by them, with the names of the owners or keepers of the dogs or wolf-hybrids licensed and the names, registered numbers and descriptions of such dogs or wolf-hybrids. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. April 1, 1995.)

  • § 3590. List of dogs and wolf-hybrids not licensed

    (a) The legislative body shall annually designate one or more persons to maintain a list of unlicensed, inoculated and licensed dogs and wolf-hybrids owned or kept in their municipality and to submit the list to the municipal clerk.

    (b) On receiving a list of dogs and wolf-hybrids from persons authorized by the legislative body, the municipal clerk shall notify the owners or keepers of all dogs and wolf-hybrids named on the list that have not already been licensed or inoculated, and after May 30 shall furnish to the legislative body a list of dogs and wolf-hybrids not licensed or inoculated as required by law. Owners shall also be notified that unlicensed or uninoculated dogs or wolf-hybrids may be destroyed. (Amended 1965, No. 36, § 3, eff. April 28, 1965; 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. April 12, 1978; 1979, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 7, eff. Feb. 28, 1990; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 15, eff. April 1, 1995.)

  • § 3591. Transfer of license

    A license from a municipal clerk shall be valid in any part of the state and may be transferred with the dog or wolf-hybrid licensed, provided such license is recorded by the clerk of the municipality where such dog or wolf-hybrid is kept. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 16, eff. April 1, 1995.)

  • § 3592. Repealed. 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 32, eff. June 15, 1994.

  • § 3621. Issuance of warrant to impound; complaint

    (a)(1) The legislative body of a municipality may at any time issue a warrant to one or more police officers, constables, pound keepers, or appointed animal control officers, directing them to proceed forthwith to impound all dogs or wolf-hybrids within the town or city not licensed according to the provisions of this subchapter, except as exempted by section 3587 of this title, and to enter a complaint against the owners or keepers thereof.

    (2) A dog or wolf-hybrid impounded by a municipality under this section may be transferred to an animal shelter or rescue organization for the purpose of finding an adoptive home for the dog or wolf-hybrid. If the dog or wolf-hybrid cannot be placed in an adoptive home or transferred to a humane society or rescue organization within ten days, or a greater number of days established by the municipality, the dog or wolf-hybrid may be destroyed in a humane way. The municipality shall not be liable for expenses associated with keeping the dog or wolf-hybrid at the animal shelter or rescue organization beyond the established number of days.

    (b) A municipality may waive the license fee for a dog or wolf-hybrid impounded pursuant to subsection (a) of this section for the current year upon a showing of current vaccinations and financial hardship. In the event of waiver due to financial hardship, the State shall not receive its portion of a dog license fee. (Amended 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. April 12, 1978; 1979, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Feb 28, 1980; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 17, eff. April 1, 1995; 2009, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2013, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.)

  • § 3622. Form of warrant

    Such warrant shall be in the following form:

    State of Vermont:                                 )                    

    )

    )

    _______________ County, ss.           )

        To ________________________________, constable or police officer of the town or city of __________________________________:

         By the authority of the State of Vermont, you are hereby commanded forthwith to impound all dogs and wolf-hybrids not duly licensed according to law, except as exempted by 20 V.S.A. § 3587; and you are further required to make and return complaint against the owner or keeper of any such dog or wolf-hybrid. A dog or wolf-hybrid that is impounded may be transferred to an animal shelter or rescue organization for the purpose of finding an adoptive home for the dog or wolf-hybrid. If the dog or wolf-hybrid cannot be placed in  an adoptive home or transferred to a humane society or rescue organization within ten days, or a greater number of days established by the municipality, the dog or wolf-hybrid may be destroyed in a humane way.

         Hereof fail not, and due return make of this warrant, with your doings thereon, within 90 days from the date hereof, stating the number of dogs or wolf-hybrids destroyed and the names of the owners or keepers thereof, and whether all unlicensed dogs or wolf-hybrids in such town (or city) have been destroyed, and the names of persons against whom complaints have been made under the provisions of 20 V.S.A. chapter 193, subchapters 1, 2, and 4, and whether complaints have been made and returned against all persons who have failed to comply with the provisions of such subchapter. Given under our (my) hands at ____________________ aforesaid, this __________________ day of __________, 20 ________.

                                                                ___________________________

                                                                                                    Legislative Body

    (Amended 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 11 eff. April 12, 1978; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 18, eff. April 1, 1995; 2011, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)

  • § 3623. Constable to make complaints

    A constable to whom such warrant has been issued shall make complaints therein required to be made to the town grand jurors.

  • § 3624. Who may destroy; fees

    A police officer or constable shall humanely destroy or cause to be destroyed dogs or wolf-hybrids whenever a warrant has been issued authorizing such actions, except as exempted by section 3587 of this title. Any action must be taken within 90 days of the issuance of the warrant. The officer shall incinerate, bury or cause to be buried or otherwise properly dispose of their remains.

    Any officers, other than those employed under regular pay, shall receive compensation for each dog or wolf-hybrid so destroyed as authorized by the legislative body of their respective towns. Bills for any services shall be approved by the legislative body of the municipality in which the dogs or wolf-hybrids are destroyed, and paid from moneys received under the provisions of this subchapter. (Amended 1977, No 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 12 eff. April 12, 1978; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 19, eff. April 1, 1995.)

  • § 3625. Return by officers

    Each police officer or constable to whom such warrant is issued shall make the return therein directed to the authority issuing the warrant within 90 days from its date. (Amended 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 13, eff. April 12, 1978.)

  • § 3626. Certificate to state's attorney

    The selectmen or mayor shall annually, within ten days from July 25, transmit a certificate, subscribed and sworn to, of the fact of the issue of such warrant, and whether the same has been duly executed and returned agreeably to the provisions of this chapter, to the state's attorneys of their respective counties, who shall prosecute town officers who fail to comply with the provisions of this subchapter.

  • § 3627. Repealed. 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 32, eff. June 15, 1994.


  • Subchapter 003: KENNELS
  • § 3681. Pet dealer permit

    A pet dealer shall apply to the municipal clerk of the town or city in which the cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids are kept for a pet dealer permit to be issued on forms prescribed by the Secretary and pay the clerk a fee of $25.00 for the same. A pet dealer who acquires a pet dealer permit shall allow inspections of the pet dealer's premises pursuant to section 3682 of this title as a condition of receiving and retaining the permit. The provisions of subchapters 1, 2, and 4 of this chapter not inconsistent with this subchapter shall apply to the pet dealer permit, which shall be in addition to other permits required. A pet dealer permit shall expire on March 31 next after issuance and shall be displayed prominently on the premises on which the cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids are kept. If the permit fee is not paid by April 1, the owner or keeper may thereafter procure a permit for that license year by paying a fee of 50 percent in excess of that otherwise required. Municipal clerks shall maintain a record of the type of animals being kept by the permit holder. Upon issuance of the pet dealer permit, the municipal clerk shall provide the pet dealer with a copy of Part 3 (Standards) of the Animal Welfare Regulations adopted by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets relating to cats, dogs, and wolf-hybrids. The municipal clerk shall also provide the pet dealer with contact information for the Animal Health Section within the Division of Food Safety and Consumer Protection of the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and with information from the Department of Taxes on sales tax obligations for the sale of pets. (Amended 1971, No. 27, § 2, eff. March 24, 1971; 1971, No. 84, § 12; 1977, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. April 12, 1978; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 20, eff. April 1, 1995; 2013, No. 30, § 4.)

  • § 3682. Inspection of premises

    (a) The pet dealer's premises may be inspected upon the issuance of the pet dealer permit or at any time the pet dealer permit is in effect. Inspections may be conducted by a municipal animal control officer, a law enforcement officer as that term is defined in 23 V.S.A. § 4(11), or a representative of the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. The inspector may, at his or her discretion and with the approval of the municipality, be accompanied by a veterinarian or an officer or agent of a humane society incorporated in Vermont. This section shall not create an obligation on the part of any municipal legislative body to conduct inspections.

    (b) Inspections shall be scheduled in advance with the pet dealer or pet dealer's agent. Inspections shall be conducted to facilitate compliance with the applicable standards in Part 3 (Standards) of the Animal Welfare Regulations adopted by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets relating to cats, dogs, and wolf-hybrids. The person or persons authorized to inspect the pet dealer's premises shall be accompanied by the pet dealer or pet dealer's agent. If the pet dealer's premises are also used for human habitation, the inspection may occur only in those areas of the premises used for animal housing, animal care, birthing, and storage of food and bedding. Photographs or videos of the pet dealer's premises or property shall not be taken during an inspection and while on the pet dealer's premises without the written consent of the permit holder. Repeated failure to consent to an inspection may result in a revocation of the pet dealer permit.

    (c) If an inspector, during the course of an inspection under this section, has reason to believe that a criminal animal welfare violation exists on the pet dealer's premises, nothing in this chapter shall preclude a criminal investigation into the suspected violation or shall preclude seeking the remedies available under 13 V.S.A. chapter 8. Assessment of an administrative penalty under this chapter shall not prevent assessment of a criminal penalty under 13 V.S.A. chapter 8.

    (d) The inspector shall record the results of each inspection in a log and sign and date each entry. The entries shall be submitted to the municipality, which shall maintain records of all pet dealer inspections. A copy of the inspection results shall be provided to the permit holder. (Amended 1971, No. 27, § 3, eff. March 24, 1971; 1989, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 10(a), eff. Jan. 1, 1991; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2013, No. 30, § 5.)

  • § 3683. Quarantine of premises

    In the event such officer, representative or agent and veterinarian shall find that domestic pets or wolf-hybrids are kept under unsanitary or inhumane conditions, that there is communicable disease among them, or that the condition of the domestic pets or wolf-hybrids is such as to jeopardize or endanger the health or safety of persons, they shall quarantine said premises by an order in writing delivered to the holder of the permit, which quarantine shall remain in effect until the conditions affording a basis for such quarantine order have been remedied. (Amended 1971, No. 27, § 4, eff. March 24, 1971; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 21, eff. April 1, 1995.)

  • § 3684. Offenses; bill of costs in prosecution

    The person operating a kennel who is found to have neglected to remedy conditions specified in said quarantine order, other than the prevalence of contagious disease, within ten days after receiving notice of such order, or who sells, gives away or otherwise removes a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid under quarantine or affected with a contagious disease, shall be subject to the penalty provided in 13 V.S.A. § 353(a)(1). Necessary fees and expenses of a veterinarian designated by such officer or agent shall be included in the bill of costs in a prosecution made hereunder and shall be taxed to the respondent. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 22, eff. April 1, 1995.)


  • Subchapter 004: DAMAGES BY DOGS
  • §§ 3741-3747. Repealed. 2011, No. 155 (Adj. Sess.), § 4.


  • Subchapter 005: CONTROL OF RABIES
  • § 3801. Rabies control authority

    (a) In the event of an outbreak of rabies, the secretary of agriculture, food and markets, the commissioner of fish and wildlife, and the commissioner of health shall work together to assist the affected towns. In addition to the responsibilities provided by this chapter, the agency of agriculture, food and markets shall generally be responsible for management of rabies in livestock, education of veterinarians and livestock owners concerning rabies and vaccination recommendations for livestock. The department of fish and wildlife shall generally be responsible for management of rabies in wildlife and the education of the sporting community, municipal officials and the general public about rabies in wildlife. The department of health shall generally be responsible for the prevention of rabies in humans, management of rabies in animals that may have exposed humans, and assisting with diagnosis of rabies in animals that may have exposed humans and supervision of health officials' education.

    (b) In addition to any other applicable authority, the agency of agriculture, food and markets, the department of health, and the department of fish and wildlife, may individually, or jointly, adopt rules to control the spread of rabies within a specific region, or within the state as a whole. The secretary of agriculture, food and markets is authorized to adopt rules necessary to control the spread of rabies in domestic animals, domestic pets and wolf-hybrids, including mandating the vaccination of specific species of animals, the conditions under which rabies inoculation clinics may be operated and establishing quarantines for domestic animals. The commissioner of fish and wildlife is authorized to adopt rules necessary to control the spread of rabies in wildlife, including mandating the vaccination of specific species of wild animals, translocation of wild animals and the destruction of wild animals through the use of registered pesticides, trapping or other means as may be necessary. The commissioner of health is authorized to adopt rules requiring the reporting of incidents of animals biting humans, the confinement, quarantine, observation and disposition of animals that are suspected of exposing humans to rabies, and the disposition of animals bitten by animals suspected of carrying rabies and other rules as necessary to protect the general public from rabies.

    (c) The agency of agriculture, food and markets, the department of health, and the department of fish and wildlife, may cooperate with other federal, state and local officials in controlling the spread of rabies within the state and within the region. (Amended 1965, No. 36, § 4, eff. April 28, 1965; 1983, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), eff. April 13, 1984; 1989, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 10(a), eff. Jan. 1, 1991; 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 23, eff. June 15, 1994; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)

  • § 3802. Quarantine

    With the approval of the governor, a town, county or the entire state may be placed under quarantine for such time as may be considered necessary by the commissioner of health, or the secretary of agriculture, food and markets. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 24, eff. June 15, 1994; 2003, No. 42, § 2.)

  • § 3803. Notice

    When a quarantine is established as provided in section 3802 of this title notice of such quarantine shall be sent to the chairman of boards of selectmen, mayors, health officers and to the town clerk of each municipality in the quarantined area. Notice of such quarantine shall be printed in one or more newspapers circulating in the quarantined area.

  • §§ 3804, 3805. Repealed. 1965, No. 36, § 6, eff. April 28, 1965.

  • § 3806. Confining or impounding a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid

    (a) Any person authorized to enforce state livestock disease control, health, wildlife, or criminal laws and any person authorized to enforce local ordinances may confine, or impound any domestic pet or wolf-hybrid when:

    (1) It is suspected of having been exposed to rabies.

    (2) It is believed to have been attacked by another animal which may be rabid.

    (3) It has been attacked by a wild animal.

    (4) It has been running at large in violation of any of the provisions of this subchapter.

    (5) It has an unknown rabies vaccination history.

    (b) In the event that a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid is confined or impounded under this section, the owner, if known, shall be notified within 24 hours. Notification may be accomplished by in-person communication, by telephone call, or by written statement sent to the last known address of the owner. If the owner's address is not known, notification may be posted in the municipal clerk's office and other usual places for public notice for a one-week period.

    (c) Any domestic pet or wolf-hybrid which is considered a rabies suspect shall be managed in accordance with the rules of the department of health. Rules adopted by the department of health in accordance with this chapter shall provide for management of domestic pets or wolf-hybrids for whom there is no approved rabies vaccine. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 25, eff. June 15, 1994.)

  • § 3807. Killing a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid

    (a) When the legislative body, a municipal officer designated by the legislative body, the commissioner of the department of fish and wildlife, the commissioner of the department of health, or the secretary of the agency of agriculture, food and markets reasonably suspects that a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid impounded under section 3806 of this title has been exposed to rabies, has been attacked by a rabid animal or has been running at large in violation of any of the provisions of this subchapter the official shall order the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid to be killed. However, if the official finds that it is not reasonable to suspect that a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid impounded under section 3806 of this title is rabid or has been exposed to rabies, the official may deliver the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid to the owner. When it is impractical to confine or impound a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid pursuant to section 3806 of this title, or when the owner of a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid confined or impounded cannot be ascertained, the officials may immediately order the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid to be killed.

    (b) In the event that a domestic pet is suspected of exposing a human, pet, wolf-hybrid, or domestic animal to rabies, it shall be managed in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter and the rules of the department of health.

    (c) Since there is no approved preexposure rabies vaccine for wolf-hybrids, until the commissioner finds and approves a rabies vaccine, any wolf-hybrid which bites or otherwise exposes a human, pet, or domestic animal to rabies shall immediately be destroyed and its head shall be sent to the state department of health for the purpose of testing its brain tissue for the presence of the disease. If an alternative means of testing is provided by rule of the department of health, that procedure may be substituted for the procedure described in this subsection. The legislative body of the municipality or a municipal officer designated by the legislative body shall be responsible for ensuring the provisions of this subsection are carried out. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 26, eff. June 15, 1994; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)

  • § 3808. Fees for killing domestic pets or wolf-hybrids

    Officers shall be entitled to the same fees for killing domestic pets or wolf-hybrids under the provisions of this subchapter as are provided in section 3624 of this title. The owner of an impounded domestic pet or wolf-hybrid or the town, in case the owner of the domestic pet or wolf-hybrid cannot be identified, shall be liable for all such fees. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 27, eff. June 15, 1994.)

  • § 3809. Killing a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid which attacks a person or domestic animal

    Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed as preventing any person from killing a suspected rabid domestic pet or wolf-hybrid which attacks a person, another domestic pet or wolf-hybrid or domestic animal. A person so killing such domestic pet or wolf-hybrid shall not be held liable for damages for such killing. (Amended 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. June 15, 1994.)

  • § 3810. Repealed. 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 32, eff. June 15, 1994.

  • § 3811. Carcass disposal

    In order to protect the public health, the legislative body of a municipality or a municipal officer designated by the legislative body may dispose of the carcass of any animal suspected of having been exposed to rabies through incineration. Disposal of animal carcasses in the manner provided by this section shall not be subject to the provisions of chapter 23 of Title 10 and the rules promulgated thereunder. (Added 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 29, eff. June 15, 1994.)

  • § 3812. Immunity from liability for volunteers

    Any person who as a volunteer conducts or assists at a nonprofit public clinic for inoculating domestic pets, wolf-hybrids, and domestic animals against rabies shall not be liable to any other person for injuries resulting from the loss of animals, animal bites and from the inoculation process. (Added 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 30, eff. June 15, 1994.)

  • § 3813. Vaccination administration

    (a) The commissioner may purchase rabies vaccine for distribution at reduced cost to the public through rabies clinics.

    (b) The commissioner shall ensure that reduced cost rabies clinics take place in all geographic areas of the state and shall cooperate with the veterinary profession to make certain that all owners of domestic pets and wolf-hybrids have access to reasonably priced rabies vaccines.

    (c) Veterinarians shall provide an owner of a domestic pet or wolf-hybrid with a completed rabies vaccination form and tag for each animal which has been inoculated against rabies. (Added 1993, No. 213 (Adj. Sess.), § 31, eff. June 15, 1994.)


  • Subchapter 006: DOG, CAT, AND WOLF-HYBRID SPAYING AND NEUTERING PROGRAM AND FUND
  • § 3814. Findings

    The general assembly finds:

    (1) The supply of dogs, cats, and wolf-hybrids in Vermont is a major concern.

    (2) There are insufficient resources in this state to care for or provide homes for these animals.

    (3) Many of these animals are ultimately euthanized or become victims of accidents, starvation, or disease.

    (4) Pet owners who have limited economic resources have great difficulty affording the cost of professional spaying and neutering services. (Added 2003, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 39.)

  • § 3815. Dog, cat, and wolf-hybrid spaying and neutering program

    (a) The agency of human services shall administer a dog, cat, and wolf-hybrid spaying and neutering program providing reduced-cost spaying and neutering services and presurgical immunization for dogs, cats, and wolf-hybrids owned or cared for by low income individuals. The agency shall implement the program through an agreement with a qualified organization consistent with the applicable administrative rules.

    (b) The program shall reimburse veterinarians who voluntarily consent to spay or neuter dogs, cats, and wolf-hybrids under the auspices of the program. The reimbursement shall be less any co-payment by the owner of a dog, cat, or wolf-hybrid for the cost of each spaying or neutering procedure.

    (c) The secretary of human services, in consultation with the chair of the Vermont Board of Veterinary Medicine, may adopt and amend rules pursuant to chapter 25 of Title 3 to enable the agency to carry out the purposes of this act. (Added 2003, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 39; amended 2009, No. 54, § 77, eff. June 1, 2009; 2011, No. 57, § 1.)

  • § 3816. Animal spaying and neutering fund; creation

    (a) There is created, pursuant to subchapter 5 of chapter 7 of Title 32, in the agency of human services the dog, cat, and wolf-hybrid spaying and neutering special fund to finance the costs of the dog, cat, and wolf-hybrid spaying and neutering program established in section 3815 of this title.

    (b) Revenue for the fund shall be derived from:

    (1) The surcharge payment paid to a municipality pursuant to subdivision 3581(c)(1) of this title.

    (2) Gifts from private donors.

    (3) Any appropriation which the general assembly makes to the fund.

    (c) Interest earned on the fund shall be retained in the fund.

    (d) The agency of human services shall use the revenue in the fund created in subsection (a) of this section for administering the dog, cat, and wolf-hybrid spaying and neutering program. (Added 2003, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 39; amended 2011, No. 3, § 86, eff. Feb. 17, 2011; 2011, No. 57, § 2.)

  • § 3817. Rules adoption authority

    The agency of agriculture, food and markets may adopt rules to implement this subchapter. (Added 2003, No. 163 (Adj. Sess.), § 39.)