TOWN OF HAMILTON
BOARD OF HEALTH
DRAFT Minimum Standard For Keeping of Animals
The Board of Health of the Town of Hamilton, Massachusetts, as authorized by Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111, Sections 31 and 155, hereby amends Board of Health Regulation, Chapter VIII. This regulation has been promulgated to provide minimum standards for the protection of public health, animals, and the environment. The following rules, regulations, and standards are deemed by the Board of Health to be generally adequate to protect the public health, comfort, and the environment in the interests of present and future citizens of Hamilton.
Regulation 1. Definitions
Abutter: shall mean the owners or tenants of property which adjoins the lot
upon which animals are to be kept, whether or not said properties
are separated by a public way.
Animal: shall mean any animal such as but not limited to poultry, bird,
reptile, fish, cow, horse.
Board of Health:. means the legally designated health authority of the Town
of Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Coop: shall mean any building, lot, structure, enclosure, or premises or
portion thereof where poultry are kept.
Facility: shall mean any corral, building, drylot, enclosure, paddock, coop,
run, shed, stable, stall, or structure used for storage of food
supplies and/or equipment normally associated with the keeping of
animals, or for the keeping or restraining of any animal except
such of those that are subject to regulation under the provisions
A. Section 2B of Chapter 128 of the General Laws pertaining to
commercial riding stables;
B. Section 39A of Chapter 129 of the General Laws pertaining to
pet shops; and
C. Sections 136A through 175 of Chapter 140 of the General Laws
Pertaining to dogs.
Feed: means a food mixture or preparation used for consumption by
animals kept at a facility.
Regulation 1. Definitions (continued)
Unsanitary: means that state of being of a facility which, in the opinion
of the Board of Health, is conducive to or results in:
A. breeding of flies
B. creation of malodors
C. vermin infestation
D. liquid effluent
F. disease carriers
in such concentrations and of such duration as to:
1. be injurious or, on the basis of current information,
potentially injurious to human health
J. unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.
License: shall mean written authorization from the Board of Health to
construct and maintain a structure for the keeping of animals.
Livestock: shall mean horses, ponies, cows, bulls, cattle, sheep, goats and
Malodor: means a noxious odor.
Manure: excrement and used bedding from livestock & poultry.
Owner: shall mean every person who alone, or jointly, or severally with
A. has legal title to any dwelling or dwelling unit, or
B. has care, charge or control of any dwelling or dwelling
unit as agent, executor, administrator, trustee, lessee or
guardian of the estate or the holder of legal title. Each
such person thus representing the holder of legal title is
bound to comply with the provisions of these regulations as
if he were owner.
Paddock: shall mean a fenced in area for turn out and/or exercising animals.
Pasture: shall mean a plot of fenced in land used for grazing and/or feeding
Permit: shall mean written authorization from the Board of Health to keep
Person: shall mean any individual, partnership, corporation, firm,
association or group, including a city, town, county or other
governmental unit, owning property or carrying on activity
governed by the regulations.
Poultry: shall mean all domesticated or semi-domesticated edible fowl such
as but not limited to chickens, turkeys, ducks, guinea fowl,
pheasants, and pigeons.
Runoff: shall mean any liquid or solid suspended in liquid that flows over
the surface of the ground.
Shelter: shall mean the minimum housing required for horses, ponies, cattle,
sheep, goats and swine.
Small Animal: rabbits and poultry, and other similar small animals.
Stable: means a building or structure in which animals are housed and/or
Stall: means a compartment in a stable used for the keeping of one or
Swine: shall mean any hoofed mammal of the porcine species.
Vermin: shall mean any of various destructive insects or small animals
including, but not limited to, flies, mosquitoes, lice, mice, and
Wetland: as defined under M.G.L. Ch. 131, S.40, 310 CMR 10.00, the Wetlands
Protection Act, and Town of Hamilton By-Law, Chapter 16, as
amended from time to time.
Regulation 2. Keeping of Animals Permit.
2.1 A Keeping of Animals permit issued by the Hamilton Board of Health shall
be required for the keeping of horses, goats, sheep, swine, and other
large animals and when 10 (ten) or more small animals are kept. This
permit shall expire June 30th and must be renewed annually.
2.2 A Keeping of Animals permit shall be issued by the Board of Health when
the application is approved by the Board or its Agent.
2.3 A Keeping of Animals permit shall be kept on the premises for which it is
issued, and shall be produced upon demand of the Hamilton Animal
Inspector or any agent of the Hamilton Board of Health.
2.4 The Keeping of Animals permit fee as approved by the Board of Health
2.5 Animals not normally found or kept as domesticated animals such as, but
not limited to, feral animals shall not be permitted except by written
consent of the Board of Health and other approving authorities.
2.6 If an abutter’s dwelling is within 40 (forty) feet from the common
property line, the fence setback for the Keeping of Animals shall be 10
(ten) feet from said common property line.
2.7 Appropriate shelter shall be provided for the animals kept.
Regulation 3. Stable License.
3.1 No person or owner shall erect, occupy or use for a stable, barn, coop,
or animal shelter (hereinafter collectively referred to as stable) any
building in town unless such use is permitted by the Board, and in such
cases, only to the extent so permitted. Within 60 days of the passage of
this regulation, each person having a stable shall apply for this
3.2 Application shall be made to the Board or its Agent on a form provided by
3.3 For the initial license application under this Regulation, a sketch shall
be submitted locating stable, paddock(s) and manure area, and any septic
system, private or public well, surface watercourses and any wetlands
within 100 (one hundred) feet of the stable, paddock(s) and/or manure
area. Additionally, lot lines and abutting streets shall be shown on the
3.4 Each application shall also include a proposal for the storage, handling
and disposal of manure.
3.5 A new application for a stable license shall be submitted 60 (sixty) days
prior to any change in the location of the stable, paddock(s) or manure
area; or if the areas of the original stable, paddock(s) or manure area
are increased; or if any new stable, paddock(s) or manure area(s) are
built or established; or if ownership of the stable changes. The new
application shall be made in accordance with Regulation 3.
3.6 All stable licenses shall expire June 30th and must be renewed annually
Regulation 4. Location
4.1 Each stable shall be located on land with good drainage ability and not
subject to flooding. The stable shall be at least loo (one-hundred) feet
from any wetlands 100 (one-hundred) feet from any well, and 100
(one-hundred) feet from occupied dwelling of abutter.
4.2 No manure area shall be located within:
a. 100 (one-hundred) feet of wetlands or watercourse as defined by MGL
ch. 131, a 40.
b. 50 (fifty) feet of a lot line or public way without special Board of
C. 100 (one-hundred) feet of wells for potable water.
4.3 No paddock, pen or animal exercise area shall be located over the
leaching facility of a subsurface sewage disposal system without
permission of the Board of Health.
Regulation 5. Maintenance of Premises and Care of Animals.
Animal owners, stable owners and operators shall:
5.1 Maintain all buildings, premises and conveyances in such a manner so as
not to create an insanitary condition.
5.2 Provide for the storage or disposal of waste material so as to control
vermin, insects and noxious odors.
5.3 Provide adequate shelter for the welfare of any animals on the premises.
Stalls shall be of adequate size for the comfort and safety of the animal
contained herein. Standing stalls are permissible.
5.4 Take all reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of infectious or
5.5 Provide adequate space for the safety of group housed animals.
5.6 Ensure that paddocks contain adequate shade and that they be free of
glass, wire, and other materials which might cause injury to the animals.
Regulation 6. Keeping of Equines
6.1 Area requirements for the keeping of horses will be eighty thousand
square feet (80,000 S.F.) of suitable land. A maximum of three (3)
horses will be allowed on eighty thousand square feet (80,000 S.F.); an
additional twenty thousand square feet (20,000 S.F.) of suitable land
will be required for each additional horse, provided that the granting of
such permit will not adversely affect the public health, safety and
6.2 Under no circumstances shall a horse be allowed to roam free; nor should
it be left tethered, unless attended by a responsible person. Repeated
violation of this regulation will result in suspension of this permit.
6.3 Fencing shall be post and board or split rail or wire or other suitable
fencing material to contain animals.
Regulation 7. Keeping of Pigeons
7.1 Permit shall distinguish between pigeons permanently cooped and pigeons
allowed free flight.
7.2 Every effort and precaution shall be taken to minimize flying or roosting
on, above, within or proximate to abutting properties. It shall be
adequate cause for revoking a permit for the keeping of pigeons if the
flying of said pigeons habitually interferes with the comfortable
enjoyment of surrounding properties.
7.3 Facilities for the keeping of pigeons shall be maintained in a sanitary
7.4 Facilities for the keeping of pigeons shall not be located within 100
(one hundred) feet of any dwelling, lot line or street.
Regulation 8. Keeping of Swine
8.1 Swine may be kept in accordance with the regulations set by the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts and with permission of the Board of Health.
Regulation 9. Keeping of Bees
9.1 A permit shall be required for the keeping of bees.
9.2 Hives shall be kept no closer than 100 (one-hundred) feet to any abutting
dwelling or dwelling unit, and not within 50 (fifty) feet of any property
line or public way.
Regulation 10. Keeping of Animals in the school system
10.1 All preceding regulations shall apply to animals kept in schools.
Regulation 11. Existing Facilities
11.1 If a permit and license of an existing facility are not obtained within
one year of promulgation of these regulations, an existing facility will
be treated as a new faciliity when obtaining a Keeping of Animals Permit
and a Stable License
Regulation 12. Enforcement
12.1 The Board of Health may deny, revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew a
permit or license upon finding by the Hamilton Board of Health Animal
Inspector or Health Agent that the person has:
A. violated any provision of MGL, ch 272, a 77 or 78A;
B. violated any provision of this Regulation;
C. violated a quarantine order; of
12.2 No permit shall be denied, suspended, or renewal thereof refused except
by decision of the Board of Health after a Hearing.
Regulation 13. Appeal
13.1 Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Board of Health may seek
relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by
the laws of this Commonwealth.
Regulation 14. Penalties
14.1 Violators of any provision of this regulation shall, upon conviction be
fined $200 (two-hundred dollars). Each days failure to comply with an
order shall constitute a separate offense.
Regulation 15. Severability
15.1 Each part of this Regulation shall be construed as separate to the end
that if any part of the Regulation, or sentence, clause or phrase thereof
shall be held invalid for any reason, the remainder of the Regulation
shall continue in full force.
Regulation 16. Adoption and Effect
16.1 These rules and regulations were adopted by unanimous vote of the Board
of Health, Town of Hamilton, Massachusetts and are to be in full force
and effect on and after January 1, 1989 and shall, before said effective
date, be published in a newspaper published in this town and a copy
thereof shall be deposited in the office of the Town Clerk.