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On Tuesday, November 5, residents in the town of Middleton, Massachusetts, are being asked at a Special Town Meeting to vote on a new dangerous dog bylaw that could categorize dogs as “nuisance” or “dangerous” indefinitely.

Article 13 is a petition by the Board of Selectman amending the Middleton General Bylaws, Chapter 107: Animals, by adding definitions and a procedure for categorizing dogs that bark excessively or threaten others as a “nuisance”; and dogs that, without justification, attack others or “behave in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an unjustified imminent threat of physical injury” as “dangerous”.  Owners of categorized dogs could be held responsible for confinement, insurance coverage, mandatory spay/neuter, or euthanasia.  As written, the bylaw would result in dogs being labeled without an option for remediation training and removal of the designation.

The AKC believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs.  We support laws that establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as “dangerous” based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous.


Residents should attend the town meeting to express their concerns and propose helpful changes:

  • Establish measurable, objective criteria for determining that a dog is dangerous based on the severity of behavior.
  • Provide a process for a dog to have its “nuisance” or “dangerous” designation removed if a dog has successfully completed a training class and/or reasonable amount of time has passed with no additional behavioral incidents


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The Gymnasium at Howe-Manning School

26 Central Street
Middleton, MA 01949

For more information on these or other legislative issues in Massachusetts, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720 or; or MassFed at