The following is transcribed from the Ipswich Town Meeting, May 11, 1644:
- “It is ordered that all doggs for the space of three weeks after the publishing hereof shall have one legg tyed up, and if such a dogg shall break loose and be found doing any harm, the owner of the dogg shall pay damages.
- If a man refuse to tye up his dogg’s legg and hee bee found scrapeing up fish in a corne fielde, the owner thereof shall pay twelve pence damages, beside whatever damage the dogg doth. But if any fish their house lotts and receive damage by doggs the owners of those house lotts shall bear the damage themselves.”
The town of Exeter NH just eight days later adopted a more permanent solution:
- “It is agreed that all dogs shall be clog’d and side lined in ye day and tied up in the night and if any dogs shall be found trespassing in the lots they that shall find them shall shoot them.”
John Bradstreet was presented at the Ipswich Court for “familiarity with the devil” and “bewitching a dog.” William Bartholomew testified that Bradstreet told him that he had read a book of magic, and that a voice told him to “Go make a bridge of sand over the sea; go make a ladder of sand up to heaven, and go to God and come down no more.” Based on Bartholomew’s thin testimony, Bradstreet was found guilty of witchcraft, but as punishment, he was merely fined twenty schillings “or else be whipped.”
The dog was hung as a precaution.
Ipswich Annual Town Meeting: “Dog Officer: During the year a new Division of the Police Department was established under the supervision of the Acting Chief of Police to take care of the dog problem. Mr. Joseph Leet was ap-pointed Dog Officer, and, as a result, 659 dogs have been licensed, and 10 kennel licenses issued. This new Division also provides for better care of stray dogs and relieves the regular personnel of the Police Department for more urgent duties. ”
Ipswich Annual Town Meeting: “The dog officer, John Wegzyn, reports that there were 84 dog bites in Ipswich in 1971, the owners were notified to confine the dogs for 10 days.”
Article 35: Moved by Mr. John Logan to see if the Town will vote to adopt the following By-law:
No person owning, harboring or having custody and control of a dog shall permit such dog to be at large in the Town of Ipswich elsewhere than on the premises of the owner, except it be on the premises of another person with the knowledge and assent of such other person. Any dog elsewhere shall from 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. be controlled or restrained by any chain or leash from 10:00 PM to 7:00 A.M. shall at all times be under the direct control and supervision of its owner, or his designee. No person owning, harboring, or having custody and control of a dog shall suffer, permit or allow such a dog to commit any nuisance in any park, playground, beach, public common or municipal recreation area or upon any sidewalk in the Town of Ipswich.
Disposition of complaints or violation of the by-law will be in accordance with the General Laws, Chapter 140, Section 173-A, to wit: The Clerk of the District Court shall send a notice to the person complained against, and that if such person confesses his offense either in person or by mail, the charge will be dismissed on the first offense, and there is a fine of $2.00 for the second offense; $5.00 for the third offense, $10.00 for the fourth and subsequent offenses. Seconded.
Mr. Logan, along with Mrs. Lee McKay-Smith and Mr. Fred Hines spoke in favor of this motion. Mr. Bill Clapp spoke in favor of indefinitely postponing the article. Town Manager Conti stated that the Police Department felt this article would be unenforceable. Mr. Markos stated that the Finance Committee opposes 17 this motion, and he moved for indefinite postponement. Seconded.
The motion for indefinite postponement carried with 170 voting in the affirmative, 169 opposed.
*It has been reported that this town meeting became so unruly that the police had to escort some of the voters out of the building.
Article 26: Moved by Mr. John Logan, that the following by-law of the Town of Ipswich be adopted:
No person owning, harboring or having custody and control of a dog shall permit such dog to be at large in the Town of Ipswich elsewhere than on the premises of the owner, except it be on the premises of another person with the knowledge and assent of such other person. Any dog elsewhere shall from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. be controlled or restrained by any chain or leash and from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shall at all times be under the direct control and supervision of its owner, or his designee.
No person owning, harboring or having custody and control of a dog shall suffer, permit or allow such a dog to commit any nuisance in any park, playground, beach, public common or municipal recreation area or upon any sidewalk in the Town of Ipswich.
Disposition of complaints or violation of this by-law will be in accordance with the General Law, Chapter 140, Section 173-A, to wit: The Clerk of the District Court shall send a notice to the person complained against, and that if such person confesses his offense either in person or by mail, the charge will be dismissed on the first offense, and there is a fine of $2.00 for the second offense, $5.00 for the third offense, $10.00 for the fourth and subsequent offense.
Mr. Logan stated that the dog population was exploding, and that Ipswich had 735 registered dogs and over 300 not registered. He and the proponents of the by-law thought this a good way to control the dogs. Mr. David Scudder stated that the Finance Committee recommended against this article. Mr. Fred Hines complained that his coat had been torn by a dog while he (Mr. Hines) was out walking. Mr. William Markos said that he had talked with a man from Newton who was working on a model leash law and who claims that present leash laws are impossible to enforce. Mr. Fred Paulitz, Mrs. Cynthia Sirois, and Mr. Dave Walters all spoke in favor of enforcing the present laws before making new ones. Mr. Sig Todd urged voters to pass this motion, while Mr. Rolland Gallant spoke against it.
The motion was defeated with 447 voting in the affirmative, 482 opposed.
Article 20: To see if the Town will vote to adopt the following by-law:
Mrs. Joan Logan moved to see if the Town will vote to adopt the following by-law: A person who owns or keeps a dog within the territorial limits of the Town of Ipswich shall not permit nor allow such a dog to be at large in the Town, other than on the premises of its owner or keeper or premises demised to its owner or keeper, unless said dog is restrained by being kept on a leash not exceeding six feet in length.
Disposition of complaints of violations of this by-law will be in accordance with the General Laws, Chapter 140, section 173-A.
Mrs. Logan said there is a very bad problem regarding dogs; this program will be costly but something must be done to protect children, elderly citizens, property. Edward Nagus for the Finance Committee informed that it recommended 7-2 against, feeling that the proposed by-law should be more fully investigated as to cost and enforcement. Mr. Cobb for the Board of Selectmen said it was 4-1 against the motion.
John Macken, a professional dog 25 trainer, asked that voters use sense of common responsibility and civic pride, and vote in favor. Claire Farrell, James Douglas spoke in favor of the article; both have had unpleasant experiences. Robert Jackson mentioned that other towns have laws requiring that dogs be restrained during and after bussing hours to keep them away from schoolyards.
The motion carried with 705 voting in the affirmative, 400 in the negative.
1976 Ipswich Town Report
DOG OFFICER John B. Macken reported “Dog bites: 49. The dog control problem is far from being solved but there has been vastly increased awareness and cooperation from dog owners.”
1980 Town Report
Chief Brouillette moved that the Town vote to amend its By-laws, Chapter XV, Section 5, as amended, by adding a new subsection (c) as follows: “(c) Every owner of a female dog in heat shall cause such female dog to be confined in a building or secure enclosure in such manner that such female dog cannot come into contact with another animal except for planned breeding. A violation of this section shall be punishable in the same manner as established in Section (b) of this animal control law.”
Dog Officer Harry Leno said that there were three reasons this law was needed: (1) Beneficial to non-dog own- ers; (2) Beneficial to dog owners who have to cope with packs of male dogs in pursuit of females in heat; (3) beneficial to dogs with irresponsible owners. Mr. Damon reported that the Board of Selectmen recommended; Mr. Nagus that the Finance Committee recommended, though it questioned the enforceability of the law.
Motion carried on voice vote.
In 2014, Ipswich Animal Control Officer Matt Antczak proposed a new town ordinance that would test the DNA from dog excrement and fine the dog’s owner $200. The proposal was very controversial. Matt’s reply was,”They’ve been calling me the poop nazi for years.”