The Vermont Statutes Online
Subchapter 001 : GENERAL PROVISIONS(Cite as: 20 V.S.A. § 3550)
§ 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.)