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Petitions for review of dog orders and their disposition pursuant to G.L. c. 140, § 157 shall be set forth on forms prescribed by the Chief Justice of the District Court Department. The statutory filing fee shall be paid upon the filing of a petition in the District Court or Boston Municipal Court Departments.
Hearings held by magistrates on petitions for review of dog orders shall be conducted in courtrooms whenever feasible. The rules of evidence shall not apply at such hearings. All evidence shall be given such weight as deemed appropriate by the magistrate. All witnesses shall be placed under oath by the magistrate and both the petitioner and respondent shall be allowed to cross-examine adverse witnesses. Proceedings shall be electronically recorded if equipment necessary for such recording is available.
Pursuant to G.L. c. 140, § 157, the magistrate shall review the action of the body or person having issued the order, shall hear any witnesses and shall affirm the order unless it shall appear that it was made without proper cause or in bad faith, in which case the order shall be reversed. The magistrate's decision shall be entered promptly and notice of the decision showing the date of entry shall be sent to the parties immediately upon entry.
A request for a de novo hearing before a justice must be received within 10 days after the entry of the decision of the magistrate. The de novo hearing shall be held promptly.