Chapter 6.08
DANGEROUS DOGS

Sections:

6.08.010    Definitions.

6.08.015    Potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog outside enclosure.

6.08.020    Dangerous dogs—Certificate of registration required—Prerequisites.

6.08.025    Dangerous dogs and potentially dangerous dogs required to be microchipped.

6.08.030    Declaration of potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog—Procedure and notification requirements.

6.08.035    Appeal of notice of potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog.

6.08.040    Applicability to adult dogs only.

6.08.045    Dangerous dogs—Confiscation.

6.08.050    Penalties.

6.08.010 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

A.    “Owner” means any person or legal entity having a possessory property right in a dog or who harbors, cares for, exercises control over, or knowingly permits any animal to remain on premises occupied by them.

B.    “Potentially dangerous dog” means:

1.    Any dog that when unprovoked chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, or any dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to cause injury or otherwise to threaten the safety of humans or domestic animals; or

2.    Any dog that when unprovoked inflicts bites on a human or a domestic animal either on public or private property; or

3.    Any dog known by the owner to be a pit bull terrier, which shall be defined in this chapter as any American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog or any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier.

C.    “Dangerous dog” means any dog that (1) inflicts severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property, (2) kills a domestic animal without provocation while the dog is off the owner’s property, or (3) has been previously found to be potentially dangerous because of injury inflicted on a human, the owner having received notice of such, and the dog again aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans or domestic animals.

D.    “Severe injury” means any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.

E.    “Proper enclosure of a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog” means, while on the owner’s property, a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top, and shall also provide protection from the elements for the dog.

F.    “Physical restraint” means that the person who has the potentially dangerous or dangerous dog under restraint has sufficient control over the dog to prevent it from attacking a human or domestic animal that is within the immediate area surrounding the dog.

G.    “Animal control authority” means an entity acting alone or in concert with other local governmental units for enforcement of the animal control laws of the city, county, and state and the shelter and welfare of animals.

H.    “Animal control officer” means any individual employed, contracted with, or appointed by the animal control authority for the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of this chapter or any other law or ordinance relating to the licensure of animals, control of animals, or seizure and impoundment of animals, and includes any state or local law enforcement officer or other employee whose duties in whole or in part include assignments that involve the seizure and impoundment of any animal.

I.    “Police dog” means a dog used by a law enforcement agency specially trained for law enforcement work and under the control of a dog handler.

J.    “Dog handler” means a law enforcement officer who has successfully completed training as prescribed by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission in police dog handling. (Ord. 2782-04 § 1, 2004: Ord. 2393-99 § 1, 1999: Ord. 1257-86 § 1, 1986; Ord. 1228-86 § 2, 1986)

6.08.015 Potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog outside enclosure.

A.    It is unlawful for an owner of a potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside the proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint of a responsible person. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal.

B.    The muzzle requirement described in subsection A of this section shall apply only to a dog declared to be potentially dangerous under Section 6.08.010(B)(1), or declared to be potentially dangerous under Section 6.08.010(B)(2) if there was any bite on a human or a bite on a domestic animal that resulted in severe injury. (Ord. 2782-04 § 2, 2004: Ord. 2393-99 § 3, 1999)

6.08.020 Dangerous dogs—Certificate of registration required—Prerequisites.

A.    It is unlawful for an owner to have a dangerous dog in the city of Everett without a certificate of registration issued under this section. This section shall not apply to police dogs.

B.    The Everett animal control may issue a certificate of registration to the owner of a dangerous dog upon payment of a one-hundred-dollar registration fee if the owner presents to the Everett animal control sufficient evidence of:

1.    A proper enclosure to confine a dangerous dog and the posting of the premises with a clearly visible warning sign that there is a dangerous dog on the property. In addition, the owner shall conspicuously display a sign with a warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous dog; and

2.    Either:

a.    A surety bond issued by a surety insurer qualified under Chapter 48.28 RCW in a form acceptable to the Everett animal control and the city attorney in the sum of at least two hundred fifty thousand dollars, payable to any person injured by the vicious dog; or

b.    A policy of liability insurance, such as homeowner’s insurance, issued by an insurer qualified under RCW Title 48 in the amount of at least two hundred fifty thousand dollars, insuring the owner for any personal injuries inflicted by the dangerous dog.

C.    The term for a certificate of registration is one year from the date of issuance or until the dog is moved to another address outside the corporate limits of the city of Everett, whichever is less. The owner of a dangerous dog must renew the certificate of registration annually, unless the dog is moved to another address outside the corporate limits of the city of Everett. (Ord. 2782-04 § 3, 2004: Ord. 2393-99 § 5, 1999)

6.08.025 Dangerous dogs and potentially dangerous dogs required to be microchipped.

Any dog which is declared to be a “potentially dangerous dog” or “dangerous dog” pursuant to this chapter or Chapter 16.08 RCW shall be required to be microchipped by a veterinarian of the owner’s choice, at the owner’s expense. This shall be in addition to the normal requirements for licensing as defined within this title. This must be accomplished within thirty days after receipt of the dangerous dog declaration issued by the Everett animal control, pursuant to Section 6.08.030. (Ord. 2782-04 § 4, 2004: Ord. 2393-99 § 6, 1999)

6.08.030 Declaration of potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog—Procedure and notification requirements.

A.    The Everett animal control shall identify and classify potentially dangerous dogs and dangerous dogs. The Everett animal control may find and declare a dog potentially dangerous or dangerous if the animal control officer has probable cause to believe that the dog falls within the definitions set forth in Section 6.08.010(B) or (C). Probable cause may be based upon:

1.    The written complaint of a citizen who is willing to testify that he or she witnessed the dog acting in a manner which causes it to fall within the definition of potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog;

2.    Dog bite reports filed with the Everett animal control;

3.    Actions of the dog witnessed by any animal control officer or law enforcement officer; or

4.    Other substantial evidence.

B.    Upon determining that probable cause exists to believe that a dog is potentially dangerous or dangerous, the Everett animal control may issue a written notice to the owner of the dog. The notice shall contain the following:

1.    The name and address of the owner of the dog;

2.    A brief description of the dog;

3.    A brief statement of why the dog has been found to be a potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog;

4.    The specific provision or provisions of Section 6.08.010(B) or (C) under which the animal control officer has found the dog to be a potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog;

5.    The requirements for restraint of the dog, if applicable, as determined by the Everett animal control, and when these requirements must be complied with;

6.    The criminal penalty for violation of the requirements for restraint imposed by the Everett animal control, including a statement that, if the requirements are not timely met, the Everett animal control has the authority to issue a criminal citation or report such noncompliance to the Everett city attorney’s office, which has the authority to initiate a criminal action; and

7.    A statement advising:

a.    That the notice may be appealed;

b.    That the failure to file a timely and complete notice of appeal will constitute a waiver of all rights to an appeal under this chapter.

C.    The notice shall be served on the owner in one of the following methods:

1.    First class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested, to the owner’s last known address; or

2.    Personally. If the notice is personally served, proof of personal service of the notice shall be made by a written declaration under penalty of perjury executed by the person effecting service, declaring the time, date and manner in which service was made.

“Personal service” means handing it to the owner’s attorney or to the owner; or leaving it at their office with their clerk or other person in charge thereof; or, if there is no one in charge, leaving it in a conspicuous place therein; or, if the office is closed or the owner has no office, leaving it at their dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein. (Ord. 2393-99 § 7, 1999)

6.08.035 Appeal of notice of potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog.

A.    Any owner of a dog which has been declared potentially dangerous or dangerous by the Everett animal control, pursuant to Section 6.08.030 of this chapter may appeal the notice by filing at the Everett animal shelter, within fourteen days from the date of the notice, a written notice of appeal. Said written notice of appeal shall be on a form provided for that purpose by the Everett animal control or other written notice, but must contain the following items:

1.    A caption reading: “Appeal of _________,” giving the name of the appellant;

2.    A brief statement of the finding being appealed, together with any material facts claimed to support the contentions of the appellant;

3.    A brief statement of the relief sought, and the reasons why the finding should be reversed, modified or otherwise set aside;

4.    The current address of the appellant; and

5.    A verification, by declaration under penalty of perjury, made by the appellant as to the truth of the matters stated in the appeal.

B.    Failure to file a timely and complete notice of appeal constitutes a waiver of all rights to an appeal under this chapter.

C.    Upon receipt of a timely filed and completed notice of appeal, a notice of hearing shall be sent to the appellant, setting the date, time and place of the appeal hearing.

D.    The hearing shall be set no less than ten nor more than thirty business days following receipt of a timely filed and complete notice of appeal. The filing of a notice of appeal shall not stay the requirements for restraint of the dog provided to the owner pursuant to Section 6.08.030(B)(5) of this chapter.

E.    The hearing examiner shall be an elected or pro tempore Everett municipal court judge, unless the mayor designates another as hearing examiner.

F.    At the hearing, the owner of the dog found to be a potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog shall be permitted to present evidence in support of their position at the hearing.

G.    1. Dogs shall not be declared potentially dangerous or dangerous by the hearing examiner if a threat, injury, or damage sustained by a person forms the probable cause to believe the dog is potentially dangerous or dangerous, and the threat, injury, or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a wilful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the dog, or was tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog, or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.

2.    At the hearing, the burden shall be on the owner of the dog, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one or more of the circumstances set forth in subsection (G)(1) of this section exist.

3.    Subsection (G)(1) of this section shall not apply if the dog is believed to be a potentially dangerous dog pursuant to Section 6.08.010(B)(3).

H.    1. At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing examiner shall issue a written decision.

2.    At the conclusion of a hearing to determine whether a dog is to be declared dangerous, the decision of the hearing examiner may be:

a.    The dog in question is declared to be a dangerous dog; or

b.    The dog in question is declared to be a potentially dangerous dog; or

c.    The dog in question is declared to be a potentially dangerous dog; with additions, deletions and/or modifications made to the restrictions initially proposed to be placed on the dog by the Everett animal control; or

d.    The dog in question is declared to be neither dangerous or potentially dangerous.

3.    At the conclusion of a hearing to determine whether a dog is to be declared potentially dangerous, the decision of the hearing examiner may be:

a.    The dog in question is declared to be a potentially dangerous dog; or

b.    The dog in question is declared to be a potentially dangerous dog, with additions, deletions and/or modifications made to the restrictions initially proposed to be placed on the dog by the Everett animal control; or

c.    The dog in question is declared to not be a potentially dangerous dog.

4.    The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final. Proceedings to review the decision must be instituted within fifteen days of the date of the written decision. (Ord. 2393-99 § 8, 1999)

6.08.040 Applicability to adult dogs only.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to adult dogs only, which means any dog over the age of six months. (Ord. 1257-86 § 1, 1986)

6.08.045 Dangerous dogs—Confiscation.

A.    Any dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by the Everett animal control if the:

1.    Dog is not validly registered under this chapter or RCW 16.08.080;

2.    Owner does not secure the liability insurance coverage required under this chapter or RCW 16.08.080;

3.    Dog is not maintained in the proper enclosure; or

4.    Dog is outside of the dwelling of the owner, or outside of the proper enclosure and not under physical restraint of the responsible person. The owner must pay the costs of confinement and control. The Everett animal control must serve notice upon the dog owner in person or by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, specifying the reason for the confiscation of the dangerous dog, that the owner is responsible for payment of the costs of confinement and control, and that the dog will be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner if the deficiencies for which the dog was confiscated are not corrected within twenty days. The animal control authority shall destroy the confiscated dangerous dog in an expeditious and humane manner if any deficiencies required by this subsection are not corrected within twenty days of notification. In addition, the owner shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable in accordance with Section 6.08.050.

B.    If a dangerous dog of an owner with a prior conviction under this chapter or Chapter 16.08 RCW attacks or bites a person or another domestic animal, the dog’s owner is guilty of a Class C felony, punishable in accordance with RCW 9A.20.021. It is an affirmative defense that the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she was in compliance with the requirements for ownership of a dangerous dog pursuant to this chapter or Chapter 16.08 RCW and the person or domestic animal attacked or bitten by the defendant’s dog trespassed on the defendant’s real or personal property or provoked the defendant’s dog without justification or excuse. In addition, the dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine for the proper length of time, and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.

C.    The owner of any dog that aggressively attacks and causes severe injury or death of any human, whether the dog has previously been declared potentially dangerous or dangerous, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class C felony punishable in accordance with RCW 9A.20.021. It is an affirmative defense that the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the human severely injured or killed by the defendant’s dog: (1) trespassed on the defendant’s real or personal property which was enclosed by fencing suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping and marked with clearly visible signs warning people, including children, not to trespass and to beware of the dog; or (2) provoked the defendant’s dog without justification or excuse on the defendant’s real or personal property which was enclosed by fencing suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping and marked with clearly visible signs warning people, including children, not to trespass and to beware of the dog. In such a prosecution, the state has the burden of showing that the owner of the dog either knew or should have known that the dog was potentially dangerous as defined in this chapter or Chapter 16.08 RCW. The state may not meet its burden of proof that the owner should have known the dog was potentially dangerous solely by showing the dog to be a particular breed or breeds. In addition, the dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, quarantined, and upon conviction of the owner destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. (Ord. 2782-04 § 5, 2004: Ord. 2393-99 § 9, 1999)

6.08.050 Penalties.

Unless otherwise provided, any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine and/or imprisonment up to maximum fine amount and term of imprisonment set forth in Section 10.04.080(A). (Ord. 3236-11 § 6, 2011: Ord. 2393-99 § 4, 1999: Ord. 1228-86 § 5, 1986)