The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
- Subchapter 001: General Provisions
§ 3341. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, or swine
A person who knowingly permits cattle, horses, sheep, goats, or swine to run at large in a public highway or yard belonging to a public building without the consent of the selectboard shall be fined not more than $10.00 nor less than $3.00. (Amended 1981, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 3342. Public park, common, or green
A person who permits cattle, horses, sheep, goats, or swine to run at large in a public park, common, or green without the consent of the selectboard shall be fined not more than $25.00 nor less than $5.00. (Amended 1981, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 3343. Yard of townhouse, church, or schoolhouse
A person who turns cattle, horses, sheep, goats, or swine into a yard belonging to a townhouse, church, or schoolhouse, which is properly enclosed, or knowingly permits them to run in such a yard, shall be fined not more than $10.00 nor less than $3.00. (Amended 1981, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2021, No. 20, § 191.)
§ 3344. Burial ground
A person who knowingly turns cattle, horses, sheep, goats, or swine into a properly enclosed burial ground, or who knowingly permits them to run within a properly enclosed burial ground, shall be fined $25.00. (Amended 1981, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2021, No. 20, § 192.)
§ 3345. Land or premises of another
A person who knowingly permits his or her cattle, horses, sheep, goats, swine, or domestic fowls to go upon the lands or premises of another, after the latter has given the owner notice thereof, shall be fined not more than $10.00 nor less than $2.00. Such person shall also be liable for the damages suffered, which may be recovered in a civil action. (Amended 1981, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 3346. Bulls
The owner or keeper of a bull may be fined not more than $100.00 if such bull is more than nine months old and found unattended outside the premises owned or occupied by the owner or keeper of such bull and shall be liable to a party damaged by such bull while outside the premises of such owner or keeper. The damages may be recovered in a civil action.
§ 3347. Rams
(a) Rams shall not be allowed to go at large between August 1 and December 1 in each year. The owner or keeper of a ram shall be liable for damages sustained by a person in consequence of such ram going at large during such time.
(b) If during such time a ram is found with sheep other than those of its owner or keeper, and not in his or her enclosure, the owner or keeper of such sheep may recover $5.00 of the owner or keeper of such ram, in a civil action.
§ 3348. Marking
(a) On or before August 1 in each year, the owner or keeper of a ram shall place on its body in durable and legible characters the initials of his or her name.
(b) If a ram is found at large out of the enclosure and possession of its owner or keeper between August 1 and December 1, without being marked as provided in subsection (a), the person taking and securing it may recover $5.00 of the owner or keeper, to be recovered in a civil action.
(c) If a person takes up and secures a ram thus found at large with such initials upon its body, he or she shall give notice within two days to the owner thereof, if known, and if not known, shall post in a public place near where the same was found, a written notice describing the marks upon its body and the place where secured. If the owner, within six days thereafter, tenders or pays to such person $3.00, the ram shall be restored, otherwise it shall become the property of such person.
§ 3349. Stallions
(a) An owner or keeper of a stallion, more than one year old, who intentionally or negligently permits the stallion to run at large out of the enclosure of the owner or keeper, shall be fined for each instance not more than $500.00 nor less than $100.00 and shall also be liable to a party injured for the damage done by the stallion while running at large.
(b) A person who owns or keeps a stallion over one year of age, between April 1 and December 1, in a private enclosure in a manner that disturbs and annoys the owner or occupant of adjoining premises shall be fined $5.00 for each week that the owner or keeper keeps the stallion after the owner or keeper has received three days’ notice from an adjoining owner or occupant to remove the stallion. (Amended 1997, No. 16, § 2; 2021, No. 20, § 193.)
§ 3350. The disposition of feral swine
(a) The General Assembly finds that feral swine, as defined in 10 V.S.A. § 4709, have the potential for spreading serious disease to domestic livestock, may cause devastating destruction to natural ecosystems, and pose a threat to human health and safety.
(b) In light of the potential impacts of feral swine, and notwithstanding the provisions of law in this chapter, the Department of Fish and Wildlife may destroy or euthanize a feral swine in accordance with the requirements of 10 V.S.A. § 4709(f).
(c) The exercise by the Department of Fish and Wildlife of the authority under 10 V.S.A. § 4709(f) shall not prevent any person from pursuing or collecting the remedies set forth in this chapter. (Added 2019, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)
- Subchapter 002: Pounds and Impounding
§ 3381. Maintenance of pounds
(a)(1) Each organized town shall maintain as many good and sufficient pounds as it may need for the impounding of animals liable to be impounded.
(2) The pound may be kept in an adjacent town if the adjacent town consents and the poundkeeper may be a resident of an adjacent town.
(b) Each town may regulate the operation of its pounds except as to matters regulated by law. (Amended 1963, No. 74, § 1; 2017, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.)
§ 3382. Repealed. 2017, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.
§ 3383. Impounding when no pounds
If a town does not have such pound, a person wishing to impound an animal may use his or her barn or some other enclosure for that purpose, notifying the owner of such animal where the same is impounded.
§ 3384. Security to poundkeeper
When a person impounds an animal, the poundkeeper may require sufficient security to indemnify him or her for liability for detaining the animal and for supplying it with food and drink while in the pound. If the person so impounding does not furnish such security within 24 hours, he or she may release the animal and deliver the same to the owner or keeper, and the person impounding the animal shall be liable to the poundkeeper for his or her costs, trouble, and expense.
§ 3411. Right to impound
A person may impound an animal found in his or her enclosure doing damage.
§ 3412. Poundkeeper’s duties and liabilities
The poundkeeper shall supply such animal with food and drink while in the pound, and such keeper shall be liable to pay the owner of such animal damages occasioned by neglecting so to do.
§ 3413. Notice by impounder
The person impounding such animal, within 24 hours thereafter, shall give notice thereof to the owner or person having the care of such animal, either personally or by a written notice left at his or her dwelling house. Such notice shall require such owner or keeper to appear at the dwelling house of the impounder within 24 hours to appoint appraisers to fix the damage done by such animal.
§ 3414. Liability for failure to give notice
If a person so impounding an animal does not give such notice, he or she shall forfeit to such owner or keeper $0.50 for every 24 hours’ neglect so to do, and shall pay the damages that such owner or keeper sustains in consequence thereof, to be recovered with costs in a civil action.
§ 3415. Appraisers of damages
If the owner or keeper appears, he or she may appoint one person and the impounder another to appraise such damage. If such appraisers do not agree, they may appoint a third.
§ 3416. Ascertainment of damages; discharge on payment
The appraisers shall ascertain the damages done by the animal, and make a certificate of the amount of damages, and promptly transmit the certificate to the poundkeeper. An impounded animal shall not be discharged until the damages, charges, and costs are paid, nor shall an animal be detained after payment is made. (Amended 2021, No. 20, § 194.)
§ 3417. Application to Superior judge
If the owner or keeper of an animal impounded does not appear, or does not appoint an appraiser, or if the appraisers appointed by the parties do not agree upon a third person, the impounder may apply to a Superior judge who by law can judge between the parties in civil causes, who shall appoint one or more appraisers, as the case requires. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, eff. Feb. 1, 1967; 1973, No. 249 (Adj. Sess.), § 74, eff. April 9, 1974.)
§ 3418. Forfeiture for failure to replevy or redeem
If the owner or keeper of an animal impounded does not, within 48 hours after notice of the impoundment pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, either replevy or redeem the animal, he or she shall be liable to the poundkeeper for $3.00 for each animal left in pound, plus an additional $3.00 for each additional day the animal is left in pound. The poundkeeper may recover the amount in a civil action. (Amended 1981, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2021, No. 20, § 195.)
§ 3419. Sale of animals
If the owner or keeper of an animal impounded does not, within 48 hours after notice thereof, replevy or redeem the same, the impounder may advertise and sell the animal, as provided when the owner is unknown.
§ 3420. Procedure when owner unknown
If the owner of an animal taken in an enclosure, doing damage and impounded, is unknown, the impounder shall, within 48 hours, post an advertisement in some public place in the town in which the animal was impounded, and in two adjoining towns, describing such animal and stating the time when and place where the same was impounded.
§ 3421. Payment of damages and charges or sale of animals
If the owner, within 30 days after the posting of such advertisement, appears and claims the animal, he or she may receive the same on paying the damages done by it and the charges of impounding, keeping, and advertising. If the owner does not appear within the time and claim such animal, the impounder may sell the same at public auction, after six days’ notice posted in some public place in the town.
§ 3422. Proceeds of sale
The avails of the sale shall be applied to the payment of the damages done by the animal, to be ascertained by the fence viewers, and the expense of impounding, keeping, advertising, ascertaining the damages done, town clerk’s fees, and selling the animal. The balance shall be paid to the treasurer of the town in which the animal was impounded, to the use of the owner, if demanded within one year, otherwise to the use of the town.
§ 3423. Record of sale
Immediately after the sale, the impounder shall cause a description of the animal, with an account of the associated damages, charges, and expenses pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, and the sum for which it was sold, to be recorded in the office of the clerk of the town. (Amended 2021, No. 20, § 196.)
§ 3451. Cattle, horses, or swine
If a person suffers his or her neat cattle, horses, or swine to run at large on the highways or commons, any person may impound them. The owner shall pay the charges of the impounder and poundkeeper, and the poundkeeper shall not release such animals until the charges are paid.
§ 3452. Notice
When such animals are impounded, the poundkeeper shall, within 24 hours, post a notice in a public place in the town, describing the animals and stating the time and place of impounding and the time and place of sale.
§ 3453. Sale
If the owner of the animals, within 20 days, pays the poundkeeper his or her fees, including his or her reasonable expenses for advertising and the reasonable expense of keeping, with the impounder’s fees, the animals shall be released, otherwise they shall be sold by the poundkeeper at public auction, and the avails shall be applied as in case of the sale of animals taken doing damage when the owner is unknown. (Amended 1959, No. 262, § 34, eff. June 11, 1959.)
§ 3454. Stallions
A stallion found running at large may be impounded. Within 48 hours, the impounder shall notify the owner or keeper thereof. If the owner or keeper does not, within three days after such notice, pay to the impounder such damages as are assessed by three disinterested freeholders, appointed by a justice of the peace or a Superior judge of the county, with the costs and expenses of impounding, appraising, and the poundkeeper’s charge of $50.00 per day, the impounder may sell the stallion at public auction to satisfy the same, giving four days’ notice of the time and place of sale, and the balance, after paying the damage and expenses, shall be paid to the treasurer of the town in which the stallion was impounded, for the use of the owner, if demanded within one year, otherwise to the use of the town. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, eff. Feb. 1, 1967; 1997, No. 16, § 3.)
§ 3481. Breaking open pound; unlawful release
A person who breaks open a pound, or directly or indirectly releases an animal impounded, without authority so to do, shall be fined $25.00 and shall be liable to the person impounding for the damages occasioned thereby.
§ 3482. Escapes and rescues
If an animal escapes, or is unlawfully rescued from a pound, such animal may, within five days thereafter, be retaken wherever found and again impounded by the keeper of the pound, or by the person impounding it, and the animal shall be held for the payment of the fees and charges, as in this chapter provided. In case the animal was rescued with the knowledge and assent of the owner or keeper, it shall be held for the payment of the reasonable expense and trouble that accrues in retaking the same, to be paid to the poundkeeper, like other charges and expenses.
§ 3483. Hindering retaking
A person who hinders or impedes a poundkeeper or impounder in retaking an animal shall be fined $10.00 and shall pay the damages to the person injured.
§ 3484. Taking animal from or impeding impounder
A person who rescues an animal from the custody of a person driving or about to drive it to pound, or resists him or her in so doing, shall be fined $10.00 and shall pay the damages to the person injured.
§ 3485. Limitation of prosecution
Prosecutions under the provisions of this subchapter shall be commenced within one year after the commission of the offense, and not after.
- Subchapter 003: Abandoned Animals
§ 3511. Abandoned animals; definition
An animal shall be deemed to be abandoned when it is placed in the custody of a veterinarian, veterinary hospital, boarding kennel, stable, or other person or establishment for treatment, board, or care, and:
(1) having been placed in custody for a specific period of time, the animal is not removed at the end of the specific period, and a notice to remove the animal within ten days thereafter has been given to the person placing the animal in custody by means of registered mail addressed to the last known address of the person; or
(2) having been placed in custody for an unspecified period of time, the animal is not removed within ten days after notice to remove the animal has been given to the person placing the animal in custody by means of registered mail addressed to the last known address of the person. (Added 1967, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Feb. 8, 1968.)
§ 3512. Waiver of lien
The giving of notice as prescribed in section 3511 of this title shall be deemed a waiver of any lien on the animal for the treatment, board, or care of the animal but shall not relieve the owner of the animal of his or her contractual liability for the treatment, board, or care furnished. (Added 1967, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Feb. 8, 1968.)
§ 3513. Disposal of abandoned animals
Any person having in his or her care, custody, or control any abandoned animal as defined in section 3511 of this title may deliver the animal to any humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or in the case of dogs, cats, or other small animals, to any pound maintained by or for any town within which the animal was abandoned, or he or she may sell the animal, the proceeds from the sale to be applied to the contractual liability incurred by the person placing the animal. If the person to whom the animal was abandoned is unable to sell the animal, it may be humanely euthanized by any veterinarian licensed to practice in Vermont. (Added 1967, No. 240 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. Feb. 8, 1968.)