On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife will hold a public Hearing at 7 p.m., at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MassWildlife) Field Headquarters, Richard Cronin Building, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, off North Drive, Westborough, Massachusetts, to amend and establish rules relating to the leashing of dogs, and the restraint of domesticated animals (as listed in 321 CMR 9.02(3)), on MassWildlife Wildlife Management Areas.
The Burrage Pond Wildlife Refuge is one of the areas that would be affected by this change and visitors to the refuge from Halifax and other communities, whether they visit with or without dogs, may be interested in this.
Here are links to two versions of the proposed change:
There is a synopsis of the changes:
Summary of Proposed Leash and Waste-disposal Requirements for Dogs on Wildlife Management Areas
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) has a long tradition of welcoming dogs on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), and dogs are still welcome on WMAs under this proposal.
MassWildlife proposes to take this action due to repeated complaints from WMA users about negative and unsafe encounters with unleashed dogs and issues with dog waste. MassWildlife protects and manages its WMAs primarily for wildlife to thrive and for wildlife-related recreation such as hunting, fishing, and wildlife-watching. At the same time, MassWildlife strives to provide a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience for all visitors.
1. The proposed regulations require the leashing of dogs and other domestic animals on WMAs. Dogs may be off-leash only when hunting or hunt-training with licensed hunters or at permitted field trials. Leashing dogs decreases conflicts with both people and other dogs, resulting in a safer and more positive experience for everyone.
2. The proposal requires dog owners to pick up dog waste and dispose of it offsite. Removing dog waste reduces nuisance and health risks for dogs and other pets, people, and wildlife.
The Fisheries and Wildlife Board will accept written comment on the proposals at any time prior to the public hearings, and will accept either written or oral comment at public hearings. Unless otherwise noted, the Board typically extends the comment period on regulations for an additional 2 weeks following the public hearing, and votes on the proposal at its next regularly scheduled meeting. Comments (both oral and written) must focus on the changes to the regulation as proposed.
Send written comments to:
Chairman, Fisheries and Wildlife Board, c/o Director of MassWildlife, Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581 - Comments by e-mail may be sent to Susan.Sacco@state.ma.us, to the attention of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board.
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has suggested that the Town of Halifax send someone to the hearing to provide testimony concerning the proposed changes in the regulations (I'm not sure whether someone will be sent). The Board of Selectmen has not discussed this matter but it will be on the list of items to be discussed at the Board’s meeting on Tuesday, January 23. Residents can send any comments, questions, or concerns to the Board (499 Plymouth Street or fax to 781-294-7684 or e-mail to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post here on Halifax Locals (I’ll print it out and make copies for the Board)). Of course, anyone can send comments directly to the Fisheries and Wildlife Board at the addresses listed above.
Please note that Burrage Pond is not a Town facility and neither the Board of Selectmen nor any other Town official has any jurisdiction in this matter. The regulations are not specific to Burrage Pond; that’s why the hearing is being held at a location that is not near Halifax.