Mass. General Laws c.140 § 137A

Kennel licenses

Table of Contents


  • Amended by St.1975, c. 706, § 284
  • Amended by St.2012, c. 193, § 4
  • Amended by St.2018, c. 219, § 10, effective November 7, 2018


A person maintaining a kennel shall obtain a kennel license. An owner or keeper of less than 4 dogs, 3 months old or older, who does not maintain a kennel may elect to secure a kennel license in lieu of licensing the dogs under section 137 and shall be subject to this section, sections 137B and 137C and so much of section 141 as it relates to violations of this section to the same extent as though the owner or keeper were maintaining a kennel. In the case of an applicant for initial licensure and in the case of an applicant for license renewal, a licensing authority shall not issue a kennel license until a kennel has passed inspection by an animal control officer.


A kennel license shall be in lieu of any other license for a dog kept at a kennel during any portion of the period for which the kennel license is valid. A kennel licensee shall cause each dog kept in its kennel to wear, while it is at large, a collar or harness of leather or other suitable material, to which a tag shall be securely attached. The tag shall have inscribed upon it the number of the kennel license, the name of the city or town issuing the license and the year of issue. Tags shall be furnished to the owner or keeper by the licensing authority in quantities not less than the number of dogs kept in the kennel. The issuing city or town shall determine the period of time for which a kennel license shall be valid, including the date of issuance of the license through the date on which the license expires, inclusive, and shall further determine the fee for the issuance and renewal of the license. To determine the amount of the license fee for a kennel, a dog under the age of 6 months shall not be counted in the number of dogs kept in a kennel. The name and address of the owner of each dog kept in a kennel, if other than the person maintaining the kennel, shall be kept at the kennel and available for inspection by an animal control officer, natural resource officer, deputy natural resource officer, fish and game warden or police officer.


The licensing authority shall issue a kennel license without charge to a domestic charitable corporation incorporated exclusively for the purpose of protecting animals from cruelty, neglect or abuse or for the relief of suffering.


A person who violates this section shall be assessed a fine of $500 for a first offense and a fine of not more than $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense.

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Last updated: May 8, 2019

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