WILTON — On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen set a public hearing on a new animal control ordinance to replace the dog control ordinance adopted in 1998.

The hearing is set for 7 p.m. April 1 at the Town Office prior to the board’s regular meeting. 

Meanwhile, the draft will be amended, sent to the town attorney for review and added to the warrant for the June town meeting, Town Manager Rhonda Irish told the board.

The dog control ordinance was adopted in 1998 and amended in 2002, she said.

The 10-page animal control ordinance is based on those from other towns. Copies are available at the Town Office.

Irish said barking dogs, dangerous dogs and animal waste disposal seem to be the main issues that prompted the new ordinance.

The dog ordinance states, “No person shall own, keep or harbor any dog which by loud, frequent or habitual barking, howling or yelping shall disturb the peace of a person or persons.”

The proposed ordinance defines a barking dog as one that barks “one hour or intermittently for three hours,” and the barking or yowling can be heard beyond the property boundaries.

The proposed ordinance includes penalties of “not less than $50 nor more than $250” for the first violation. For each subsequent violation, the penalty increases by $50. If there are more than six violations in a year the fine doubles. Owners of dogs that bark between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. may be subject to double fines.

The current ordinance has a $50 fine for a first offense and an additional $50 for each subsequent offense.

The proposed ordinance defines dangerous dogs and special restraints, and includes a liability insurance provision of not less than $300,000 that the owner must provide. 

Penalties for dangerous dogs are $500 for a first offense, $750 for the second, $1,000 for the third, and an additional $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

Some selectmen questioned wording and ways of enforcement, particularly in regard to the board deciding “when a puppy can swim in Wilson Lake,” Selectman Terry Brann said.

The board agreed to bring it to voters April 1.

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