Non Criminal Ticketing Procedure

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40, Section 21D allows cities and towns to enforce their bylaws through non-criminal disposition, which allows a town, through a designated enforcing person, to issue a violation notice or “ticket” which provides for a specific sum of money to be paid as a penalty for the violation of a local bylaw. The penalty must be paid, or a request made by the offender in writing to the district court for a hearing, within 21 days following the date the ticket is written. Weston has adopted this ticketing procedure by means of an affirmative vote at Town Meeting.

The reasoning for the Town’s desire to accept this process is simple; by-laws that require enforcement in order that people can enjoy the quality of life have not been enforced due to the cumbersome process that requires Town Officials to bring violators to court for offenses that could well be handled in a much simpler fashion. The majority of towns in Massachusetts have adopted this process for just that reason.

Dog Behavior By-laws
One issue in particular that voters insisted should be addressed is the behavior of dogs, dog owners and dog handlers. In 2007 the police department received 87 complaints of violations of the dog by-laws ranging from noise complaints to dog attacks and non control by people who walk dogs, and there are many more incidents that went unreported for 1 reason or another. When spread over the months that people traditionally walk dogs or leave them outside that averages out to about 3 calls per week for some type of dog complaint. Next to traffic issues dog regulation violations have generated the second largest call volume for the police and that is the problem addressed in this informational flyer. The section of the Weston by-laws dealing with dog walking, which is what generates the majority of complaints, states in part:

No owner or keeper of any dog shall permit such dog to run out of the owner’s or keeper’s direct control by voice or lead at any time. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to dogs participating in any dog show, nor to "seeing-eye" dogs properly trained to assist blind persons for the purpose of aiding them in going from place to place, nor to any dogs properly trained and under the control of and aiding the deaf or other persons with severe disabilities, nor to any dogs being trained or actually being used for hunting, sporting or obedience purposes, nor to any dogs on private property with the permission of the property owner.
Every owner or keeper of a dog shall exercise proper care and control of their dog so as to prevent said dog from becoming a public nuisance if any dog should trespass upon public or private property.

Conservation Commission regulations state: Anyone walking more than 3 dogs on conservation land must have ALL dogs leashed.
Note: In all cases any dog whether leashed or not MUST be under control of the handler. Dogs that run out of earshot, confront people or other dogs or jump up on people even if only to be friendly are considered not under control and this constitutes a violation.

This notice is being issued as a courtesy to educate those who use Weston land for the recreation of their dogs. Most dog owners / walkers are responsible and considerate, unfortunately the number of complaints and the seriousness of violations by irresponsible dog handlers have made this an issue that the Weston Police must enforce aggressively. The Town has appointed a committee to review dog regulations and any updates or changes voted in will be posted on Weston’s website under Town by-Laws and Regulations.

Please be responsible, control your dogs and let everyone enjoy their time walking on Weston lands.