Animal Control Officer and Poundkeeper
Robyn Champine – (802) 430-9564
The poundkeeper is the individual who cares for animals that are impounded by the town. The poundkeeper is responsible for feeding and caring for the animals until they are reunited with their owner, adopted, or humanely destroyed.
The Animal Control Officer (ACO) is responsible for enforcing the Shaftsbury Dog Ordinance and Vermont State dog licensing laws. The dog ordinance covers a wide range of nuisance dog violations and defines steps that can be taken to enforce the ordinance. It is the responsibility of dog owners to make themselves familiar with the Dog Ordinance and take necessary measures to care for and control their pets.
Dogs picked up that are in violation of the Dog Ordinance will normally be held in the poundkeepers facility. Dogs that remain unclaimed after five days are assessed for suitability as pets and those judged suitable are placed into an adoption program run by the ACO. If, as sometimes happens, the dog requires the care of a veterinarian, the owner is responsible for any expenses incurred.
In 2001 there was a dramatic increase in the number of animals testing positive for rabies in Bennington County. Consequently, enforcement of vaccination and licensing of town dogs has become one of the most important aspects of the ACO’s duties. The ACO is also an appointed Deputy Health Officer, solely for the purpose of handling animal bite cases. Our town dog ordinance has been updated to make it possible to enforce licensing (which requires a current rabies vaccination) through the use of fines of up to $150. These can be issued to owners not responding to previous warnings received through letters and/or phone calls.
In addition enforcing the ordinance, the animal control officer, who has an extensive background in dog behavior, training, and care, spends a good deal of time educating and counseling dog owners. The hope is that this will reduce future problems with dogs and increase the number of responsible dog owners in the Town of Shaftsbury.
Area animal contact numbers
- Arlington Animal Control 375-6121
- Bennington Animal Control 442-1048
- Second Chance Animal Center (Animal Humane Agent) 375-2898
- Shaftsbury Animal Control 430-9564
The dog ordinance requires a dog to be securely held by a leash no longer than 10 feet except under carefully prescribed circumstances. The ordinance also prohibits harboring of dogs that habitually bark or make other noises sufficient to disturb the peace.
All dogs more than 6 months of age need to be licensed in the town of Shaftsbury after January 1st of every year. They need to be licensed no later than April 1st.