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Expired Dog License Leads to Arrest

dog license

BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WGGB) — A Turners Falls woman learned the hard way that you need to license your dog with your city or town after her failure to renew a license landed her in handcuffs.

Sylvia Buzzell is a single mother of two living in Turners Falls. Saturday night, just after putting her son to bed, Sylvia got the surprise of her life.

“I heard a loud knock at my door, I answered the door and found two police officers standing there,” Buzzell says. “They asked if I was Sylvia Buzzell I answered yes and then they informed me that they had a warrant for my arrest.”

The arrest stemmed from her failure to license her dog in Belchertown where she had previously lived.

When a dog goes unlicensed in Belchertown, the town’s clerks office will issue five different notices.

The case is then handed over to the town’s animal control officer, who will issue a notice of violation, which gives the resident 21 days to comply or the case will be handed to the court system.

“I received absolutely no notification,” Buzzell explains.  “If I had received notification I would have let Belchertown know that I was no longer a resident.”

Her lack of response caused the animal control officer to issue a formal complaint with the court. They in turn issued a summons to her for a hearing.

When she failed to appear, another summons was issued, then after no response, a warrant.

Buzzell said she never received any notifications from the court either.

After her arrest she was booked, but the charge was dismissed before her arraignment.

She’s now making it a priority to get her dog licensed in Turners Falls.

Belchertown animal control said they filed about 70 criminal complaints over unlicensed pets with the court, most do not result in warrants.

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  • 36 Muddy Paws

    Obviously this wasn’t high on her agenda as she now lives in another town and hasn’t licensed the dog in that town either. Makes me wonder where all those notices went – the post office does forward mail for a year when provided with a change of address so she either got the notices and tossed them away or they were returned to sender as undeliverable/moved, left no address. If the latter was the case, Belchertown would have stopped sending notices as if she was still a resident of that town.

  • alpinequeen

    Grow up all you scofflaws. Obey the laws or pay the price. You are not able to pick and choose which laws you want to obey.

  • http://HaggisBrain.com Hagis to he”

    This will teach you to own dogs. Dogs are bad and bring you bad luck. This country needs stronger dog laws, and more background checks before you can own a dog, if at all.

  • Cruizer

    The clerk in Belchertown should be fired for this as clearly he/she is clearly on a power trip

  • Yves

    Really is that how Belchertown wants to spend their tax $. What a waste and frankly abuse and reach by the town.