Chapter 6.05
ANIMALS

Sections:

6.05.010    Definitions.

6.05.020    Prohibited activities of animals.

6.05.030    Animals at large.

6.05.040    Cruelty to animals.

6.05.050    Potentially dangerous and dangerous animals.

6.05.060    Dangerous animals.

6.05.070    Dangerous animal designation hearing - Process.

6.05.080    Effect of designation - Civil penalty.

6.05.090    Effect of designation - Criminal penalty.

6.05.100    Administrative impoundment warrant - Impounding dangerous animal.

6.05.110    Impoundment and disposition of animals held by Lewis County.

6.05.120    Subpoenas.

6.05.140    No effect on civil liability.

6.05.150    Appeal of dangerous animal designation.

6.05.155    Judicial removal of dangerous animal designation.

6.05.160    Restitution.

6.05.170    Scope.

6.05.180    Severability.

6.05.010 Definitions.

In construing the provisions of this chapter, except where otherwise plainly declared or clearly apparent from the context, words used herein shall be given their common and ordinary meaning; in addition, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Adequate shelter” means a moisture-proof and wind-proof structure that allows the animal to turn around freely, sit easily, stand and lie normally and that keeps the animal clean, dry and comfortable.

(2) “Adoption” means transferring ownership of an animal from Lewis County to a third party.

(3) “Adult dog” and “adult cat” mean any dog or cat past the age of six months, or whose permanent canine teeth have erupted through the gum line.

(4) “Animal” means all members of the animal kingdom except humans, fish, and insects.

(5) “Animal control authority” means the Lewis County sheriff or his authorized personnel. This term as used throughout this chapter shall not be construed to limit the authority of any fully commissioned law enforcement officer.

(6) “Animal shelter” and “animal shelter division” and “Lewis County animal shelter” mean a location designated by the director of public health and social services for the purpose of housing and maintaining animals held by Lewis County.

(7) “At large” means off the premises of the owner or keeper of the animal, and not under restraint by leash or chain or not otherwise controlled by a competent person.

(8) “Competent person” means a person who is able to sufficiently care for, control, and restrain an animal, and who has the capacity to exercise sound judgment regarding the rights and safety of others.

(9) “Dangerous animal” means any animal that:

(a) On public or private property, inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation, including without limitation: causing (i) a fracture of any body part, (ii) a cut or laceration or puncture wound which bleeds, (iii) a contusion which is visible for more than 13 days, (iv) great or serious or substantial bodily harm as defined by RCW Title 9A, or (v) death; or

(b) Killed a domestic animal while at large or off the owner’s property; or

(c) Has been previously found to be potentially dangerous and, the owner having received notice of such finding under this chapter, the animal again aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans or animals. It shall be necessary to prove the initial event triggering the potentially dangerous animal designation, service of notice of the designation, and the current event of aggressively biting, attacking, or endangering the safety of humans or animals before an animal may be declared dangerous based upon a prior finding that the animal was potentially dangerous. It is not necessary that an animal have been declared potentially dangerous prior to being declared dangerous unless the basis for the dangerous animal declaration is the prior finding of potentially dangerous animal.

(10) “Designated animal holding facility” means a facility designated by the director of public health and social services for the purpose of holding animals.

(11) “Domestic animal” means those domestic beasts such as any dog, cat, rabbit, horse, mule, ass, bovine animal, poultry, duck, lamb, goat, sheep or hog, or other animal made to be domestic or lawfully owned or kept as a pet.

(12) “Hearing examiner” shall mean the hearing examiner for the county of Lewis or a deputy thereof to hear civil appeals relating to the enforcement of this title, and as defined in Chapter 2.25 LCC.

(13) “Humanely destroy” means the destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that involves instantaneous unconsciousness and immediate death, or by a method that causes painless loss of consciousness and death during such loss of consciousness. The term shall include euthanasia in a manner consistent with best veterinary practices; provided, that the term is not interpreted to exclude other humane destruction of animals without the assistance of a licensed veterinarian.

(14) “Humane officer” means any individual appointed by the Lewis County sheriff’s office with a limited law enforcement commission for the purpose of enforcement of statutes pertaining to the care and treatment of animals as well as other legislation directly related to animal neglect or abuse.

(15) “Impound” means to seize and deliver an animal to the Lewis County sheriff or the sheriff’s deputy or the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee for the purpose of housing and maintaining the animal for a period of time at the animal shelter. The Lewis County sheriff and the director of public health and social services may designate, together or separately, to whom animals are to be delivered for impoundment.

(16) “Livestock” includes, but is not limited to, horses, mules, cattle, llamas, sheep, swine, goats, poultry, and domestic rabbits.

(17) “Muzzle” means a fastening or covering of the mouth of an animal to prevent biting and made in a manner that will not cause injury to the animal or interfere with its vision or respiration.

(18) “Owner” or “keeper,” in addition to their ordinary meanings, are terms that can be used interchangeably within this chapter and mean any person, firm, corporation, organization, department or other entity possessing, harboring, keeping, having or claiming an interest in, or having control or custody of an animal for at least three calendar days, whether or not all of the traditional rights of ownership are vested in the entity. The terms also refer to any entity performing any of the acts of providing care, shelter, protection, refuge, food, water, or nourishment in such manner as to control or attempt to control the animal’s actions or habits, when the entity provides any of these acts or exercises control for three calendar days or more. An entity is an owner or keeper when an animal is apparently spending the majority of its time at a location under that entity’s control for a period of at least three calendar days. When the terms are used to mean the owner or keeper of something other than an animal, the terms shall have their plain and ordinary meanings.

(19) “Police dog” means a dog used by a law enforcement agency that is specially trained for law enforcement work.

(20) “Potentially dangerous animal” means any animal that, when unprovoked:

(a) Inflicts bites on a human or a domestic animal either on public or private property; or

(b) Chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, or any animal with a particularly known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or otherwise to threaten the safety of humans or domestic animals.

(21) “Premises” means any parcel of land and the structures thereon.

(22) “Proper enclosure” means 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 floor and shall also provide protection from the elements for the animal and shall comply with the current standards of a national veterinarian, zoological, or animal protection organization for the humane and secure enclosure of the individual animal species. A motor vehicle is not a proper enclosure for the purposes of this chapter.

(23) “Property” means anything of value, whether tangible or intangible, real or personal. Animals are personal property.

(24) “Provocation” includes, but is not limited to, a person apparently committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the animal, or tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the animal, in any location, or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have tormented, abused, or assaulted an animal or has or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.

(25) “Public nuisance” means and includes, in addition to its statutory and common law definitions, any material violation of the provisions of this title. It also means and includes any unlawful act of omission or commission, which without any direct physical contact or interference endangers the lives, safety, health, comfort or property of the public.

(26) “Quarantine” means the strict confinement, isolation and observation of a domestic dog, cat, or ferret that has inflicted a bite upon any person and where such bite has broken the skin. A quarantine shall last for a minimum of 10 days, where required.

(27) “Service animal” means any animal, which is trained or being trained to aid a person who is blind, hearing impaired, or otherwise disabled, is used for that purpose and is registered with a recognized service animal organization. The term also includes every animal so defined by federal or Washington State statutes or rules, whether or not the animal is registered.

(28) “Sterilized” means animals rendered permanently incapable of reproducing by surgical alteration, implantation of a device, or other physical means.

(29) When any provision of this chapter makes liability contingent upon a degree of culpability, the definition of that degree of culpability shall be the same as defined in RCW 9A.08.010, as it exists now or as it is amended. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.020 Prohibited activities of animals.

An owner or keeper of any animal shall be strictly liable if he or she permits that animal to:

(1) Habitually bark, howl, yelp, or make any other noise which disturbs the peace and quiet of any person to an unreasonable degree within Lewis County. In addition to its ordinary meaning, an animal is habitually making noise which disturbs the peace and quiet of any person to an unreasonable degree when the animal makes constant or repeated noise or noises extending for 30 minutes or more between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. when that noise is audible within a residence belonging to a person other than the animal’s owner or keeper.

(2) Snap, snarl, growl, bite, jump at or upon or otherwise threaten persons, livestock, domestic animals or vehicles when such persons, livestock or vehicles are upon the sidewalks, roads or public rights-of-way or are in any other location other than upon real property belonging to the offending animal’s owner or keeper.

(3) Destroy or damage any plant or animal or any other property or thing of value or to open a closed garbage container or scatter the contents therefrom or to deposit excrement or other solid waste on the property of persons other than the owner of the offending animal.

(4) Be in the water of a designated swimming area of a public beach, unless the area is posted for use by animals.

(5) Be in a park, public beach, pond, fountain or upon any public playground or school grounds and not under the immediate physical restraint of a competent person by tether or leash of 10 feet or less in length; provided, that this section shall not apply to any police dogs or service animals; provided further, that this section shall not apply to animal shows or exhibitions, or organized dog training classes where approval is secured from the director of the Lewis County department of public health and social services.

(6) Be a female animal in estrus (heat) while not confined in a building or proper enclosure which prevents the female animal from coming into contact with a male of the species, or to be a male animal which strays and gains access to a female animal of the same species which is properly confined while that female animal is in estrus and subsequently impregnates or attempts to impregnate the female. This provision does not apply to planned or otherwise authorized breeding.

(7)(a) The animal control authority or any commissioned law enforcement officer or the prosecuting attorney may cite an owner or keeper upon probable cause that a violation of this section has occurred, whether or not the violation took place in the citing authority’s presence.

(b) Any owner or keeper who is found, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have violated any portion of this section shall be subject to the civil penalties in LCC 1.20.040.

(c) In addition, any violation of this section shall constitute a public nuisance.

(d) Upon probable cause that a violation of this section is presently occurring, the animal may be impounded under an administrative warrant issued pursuant to this chapter and held pending resolution of the matter. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.030 Animals at large.

(1) It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any animal to negligently allow such animal to enter or trespass onto private property of another without the express permission of the owner or caretaker of said property; or to allow said animal to run at large onto any public property within Lewis County.

(a) The animal control authority or any commissioned law enforcement officer or the prosecuting attorney may cite an owner or keeper upon probable cause that a violation of subsection (1) of this section has occurred, whether or not the violation took place in the citing authority’s presence.

(b) Any owner or keeper who is found, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have violated any portion of subsection (1) of this section shall be subject to the civil penalties in LCC 1.20.040.

(2) It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of an animal to knowingly allow that animal to be at large under subsection (1) of this section when that animal due to its size, habits, or natural propensities or instincts represents a potential threat of substantial bodily injury to people or damage to property and is not under the physical restraint of a competent person; provided, however, this section shall not apply to police dogs as defined in RCW 4.24.410.

(a) The prosecuting attorney or a fully commissioned law enforcement officer may cite an owner or keeper upon probable cause that a violation of subsection (2) of this section has occurred. A law enforcement officer may arrest the violator if the violation took place in the officer’s presence or in the presence of another law enforcement officer. The animal control authority may not cite an owner or keeper under this subsection (2).

(b) Any owner or keeper who is found, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have violated this subsection (2) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term fixed by the court of up to 90 days, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court of not more than $1,000 plus statutory assessments, or by both such imprisonment and fine. Further, upon probable cause that this crime has occurred, the animal may be impounded under an administrative warrant issued pursuant to this chapter and held pending resolution of the matter. Upon conviction, the owner or keeper shall be stripped by the court of all ownership interest in the animal and the animal shall become the property of Lewis County and may be humanely destroyed; provided, where the animal has been declared dangerous, the animal shall be humanely destroyed and not held for adoption or sale and shall not become the property of Lewis County. Upon acquittal, the animal shall be returned to the owner or keeper. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.040 Cruelty to animals.

It shall be unlawful for any person to:

(1) Recklessly cause an animal to experience substantial pain or suffering by (a) killing, (b) injuring, (c) torturing, or (d) tormenting any such animal. It shall be an affirmative defense that actions taken in violation of this subsection were otherwise lawful and justified under the circumstances.

(2) With criminal negligence, fail to render aid or attempt to alleviate substantial pain, suffering or injury he or she proximately caused to any animal.

(3) With criminal negligence, fail to provide adequate daily rations of food, water, air, light, space or shelter to any animal within his or her care, custody or control.

(4) With criminal negligence, tether, confine or restrain any animal in such a manner as to render said animal incapable of consuming food or water, or render such animal incapable of accessing shelter, or to confine or restrain said animal in such a manner that it is forced to lie in its own feces or any other material detrimental to its health.

(5) Knowingly abandon any animal by dropping off or leaving said animal on the street, road, or highway, or in a public place or private property not belonging to the owner or keeper of the animal. It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge under this subsection that the animal was left (a) at the designated animal shelter during the shelter’s regular business hours and (b) in the immediate care of the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee or the Lewis County sheriff or the sheriff’s designee.

(6) Recklessly confine an animal in a parked motor vehicle for more than 15 minutes when the temperature outdoors is at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and when there is no competent person within the vehicle. It is an affirmative defense that the motor vehicle is a motor home with working and adequate climate control.

(7) Any owner or keeper who is found, beyond a reasonable doubt, in a criminal proceeding to have violated any portion of this section shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term fixed by the court of up to 364 days, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court of not more than $5,000 plus statutory assessment, or by both such imprisonment and fine. Further, upon probable cause that this crime has occurred, the animal may be impounded under an administrative warrant issued pursuant to this chapter and held pending resolution of the matter. Upon conviction, the owner or keeper shall be stripped by the court of all ownership interest in the animal and the animal shall become the property of Lewis County and may be humanely destroyed; provided, where the animal has been declared dangerous, the animal shall be humanely destroyed and not held for adoption or sale and shall not become the property of Lewis County. Upon acquittal, the animal shall be returned to the owner or keeper. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.050 Potentially dangerous and dangerous animals.

(1) Finding. The animal control authority may find and declare an animal potentially dangerous if it has probable cause to believe that the animal falls within the definition of a potentially dangerous animal under this chapter.

(2) Notice. The owner or keeper of an animal found and declared to be potentially dangerous shall be informed of such by the animal control authority within 20 calendar days of such finding and declaration. The notice shall be in writing. The notice shall be served upon the owner or keeper of the animal by (a) mailing such notice to the owner’s or keeper’s last known address by certified mail, (b) personal service, or (c) if the owner or keeper cannot be reasonably located, by publication once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation within Lewis County, Washington.

(3) Content of Notice. The written notice shall state, at a minimum:

(a) A description of the animal;

(b) The name and address of the owner or keeper, if known;

(c) The location of the animal, if known;

(d) The facts upon which the declaration is based; and

(e) The following notice:

Your animal has been found to be and is declared to be potentially dangerous and due to its size, habits, or natural propensities or instincts represents a potential threat of substantial bodily injury to people or damage to property. If your animal again bites, attacks, endangers the safety of humans or animals, or is at large, your animal may be declared dangerous. This potentially dangerous animal designation has no legal effect other than to inform you that your animal represents a potential threat of substantial bodily injury to people or damage to property and action may be taken against you and your animal in the event that your animal bites, attacks, endangers the safety of humans or animals, or is at large in the future.

[Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.060 Dangerous animals.

An animal may be declared dangerous if the animal control authority can prove at a hearing by clear and convincing evidence that the animal meets the definition of a dangerous animal under this chapter. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.070 Dangerous animal designation hearing - Process.

(1) Initiation of Process. The animal control authority may initiate the designation of a dangerous animal by giving the owner or keeper of such animal notice that the animal control authority has probable cause to believe that the animal is dangerous and that a hearing to determine whether the animal is dangerous will be held.

(2) Notice. Notice of a dangerous animal declaration hearing may be served by (a) personal service on the animal’s owner or keeper or (b) mailing, by certified mail, a copy of the notice to the owner or keeper’s last known address. Notice must be given at least 14 calendar days prior to the hearing, plus an additional three calendar days if notice is served by mail. The date of service or deposit in the mail and the date of the hearing shall not be calculated as one of the 14 calendar days nor as one of the additional three days if service is by mail. The hearing must be scheduled no more than 120 calendar days from the date of service, unless a continuance is warranted for good cause.

(3) Contents of Notice. The notice must, at a minimum, include the following:

(a) The date, time, and location of the hearing;

(b) Notice that the owner or keeper may be represented by a lawyer at the hearing;

(c) Notice that the owner or keeper is entitled to any report generated by the animal control authority related to the facts at issue;

(d) Notice that the owner or keeper may call witnesses, including by subpoena, to testify, and that he or she may cross-examine any witnesses called by the animal control authority;

(e) Notice that failure to appear for the hearing may result in a default judgment against the owner or keeper;

(f) Notice that testimony by affidavit may be admissible unless a written objection is received by the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee at least five business days prior to the hearing, and;

(g) Notice that an adverse finding may be appealed in accordance with this chapter.

(4) The director of public health and social services or the director’s designee shall hold and preside over a hearing to determine whether an animal is dangerous. This presiding officer must not be the same individual who initiated the dangerous animal proceedings.

(5) Every portion of the hearing determining whether an animal is dangerous shall be open to the public in a manner consistent with open court proceedings and shall be held on the record, either by use of a court certified transcriptionist or by a reliable means of electronic audio recording. Such record shall be maintained by the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee per the record retention schedules published periodically by the Washington Secretary of State, but in no case for less than 20 years, and shall be a public record.

(6) The animal control authority may be represented by an employee of the animal control authority or by the Lewis County prosecuting attorney. The owner or keeper of the animal may represent himself or herself, or may be represented by an attorney.

(7) The animal control authority and the animal’s owner or keeper shall have an opportunity to call witnesses and present evidence and make argument. The presiding officer shall have the power to subpoena witnesses for the hearing at the request of the parties as outlined in this chapter.

(8) The animal control authority shall have the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the animal meets the definition of a dangerous animal as defined in this chapter.

(9) Evidence. Evidence, including hearsay evidence, is admissible if in the judgment of the presiding officer it is the kind of evidence on which reasonably prudent persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of their affairs. The presiding officer shall exclude evidence that is excludable on constitutional or statutory grounds or on the basis of evidentiary privilege recognized in the courts of this state. The presiding officer may exclude evidence that is irrelevant, immaterial, unduly repetitious, unfairly prejudicial when considering its probative value, or a waste of time. The presiding officer shall refer to the Washington Rules of Evidence as guidelines for evidentiary rulings, but shall not be bound by those rules, unless otherwise required by law.

All testimony of parties and witnesses shall be made under oath or affirmation. Testimony by affidavit shall be admissible unless objected to, in writing, at least five business days prior to the hearing.

The presiding officer may take notice of facts of common knowledge which are generally known and capable of accurate and ready determination and are not reasonably in dispute. Such notice must be requested, on the record, by the parties before the presiding officer can take such notice.

The presiding officer shall have broad discretion to control the presentation of evidence and the procedure of the hearing in order to ensure a just and orderly hearing and determination.

(10) Failure of the owner or keeper of the animal to appear at the hearing shall result in a default judgment in favor of the animal control authority and shall result in the animal being declared dangerous without further inquiry. Upon such a failure to appear, the presiding officer may, in his or her discretion and for good cause delineated in a written order, continue the hearing not more than one time in lieu of entering a default judgment; provided, that such continuance does not extend the date of the hearing beyond 120 days from the date of service unless the animal control authority agrees to the continuance.

(11) Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the presiding officer shall enter a written order, finding that the animal either is or is not dangerous. The order must be supported by written findings of fact and conclusions of law. The presiding officer may either issue the order immediately or after taking the matter under advisement, but in no case can the ruling be deferred for more than 30 calendar days after the conclusion of the hearing, except by stipulation of the parties or for good cause.

(12) The written order must be served on both parties either (a) personally or (b) by certified mail to the party’s last known address. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.080 Effect of designation - Civil penalty.

(1) The owner or keeper of an animal which has been declared dangerous pursuant to this chapter or was declared dangerous in another jurisdiction with a substantially similar designation shall, within five business days of the designation in Lewis County or within five business days of moving into Lewis County from another jurisdiction, do one of the following:

(a) Yearly obtain a certificate of compliance from the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee, certifying compliance with the dangerous animal designation requirements;

(b) Provide proof to the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee that the owner or keeper has humanely destroyed the animal; or

(c) Provide proof to the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee that the owner or keeper has permanently removed the animal from Lewis County and has identified the animal in compliance with this section.

(2) Certificate of Compliance. The director of public health and social services or the director’s designee shall issue a certificate of compliance certifying compliance with the dangerous animal designation requirements under this chapter, upon proof that the owner or keeper of a dangerous animal has:

(a) Paid the yearly registration fee in an amount as published in the fee schedule published pursuant to LCC Title 18;

(b) Available a proper enclosure for the animal;

(c) Provided the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee an affidavit stating that the animal will be maintained in the proper enclosure;

(d) Posted clearly visible warning signs at all points of ingress and egress to the property that there is a dangerous animal on the property, including imagery that informs children of the presence of a dangerous animal;

(e) Identified the animal in compliance with this section;

(f) Provided the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee with veterinary records indicating that the animal is current on all vaccinations against diseases potentially harmful to humans or animals, unless a licensed, practicing veterinarian provides an affidavit indicating that specified vaccines are not reasonably available or not USDA licensed for the particular species; and

(g) Current bond or insurance which extends for a period of not less than the duration of the certificate of compliance, and which covers injury or damage caused by the dangerous animal, whether on or off the owner or keeper’s real property, in an amount not less than $500,000. The insurance may be in the form of a surety bond issued by a surety insurer qualified under Chapter 48.28 RCW or in the form of a liability insurance policy issued by an insurer qualified under RCW Title 48.

(3) Identification. The owner or keeper of an animal which has been declared dangerous pursuant to this chapter or was declared dangerous in another jurisdiction with a substantially similar designation shall, within five business days of the designation in Lewis County or within five days of moving into Lewis County from another jurisdiction, cause the dangerous animal to be permanently identified and identifiable by tattoo on the animal in substantially the following form with numbers ascending from 0001: “LCDD0001.” The director of public health and social services shall assign the number for the animal in ascending order as animals are designated dangerous and shall keep a permanent record associating the dangerous animal with the specific certificate of compliance. The director of public health and social services may, but is not required to, provide for alternative methods of identification if appropriate and upon request of the owner or keeper.

(4) Penalty. Any owner or keeper who is found, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have violated any portion of this subsection shall be subject to the civil penalties in LCC 1.20.040. Upon probable cause that a violation has occurred, the animal may be impounded under an administrative warrant issued pursuant to this chapter and held pending resolution of the matter. Additionally, upon a finding of violation, the owner or keeper shall be stripped by the court of all ownership interest in the animal and the animal shall be humanely destroyed. If no violation is found, the animal shall be returned to the owner or keeper, but the dangerous animal designation shall remain. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.090 Effect of designation - Criminal penalty.

(1) It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of a dangerous animal to permit by criminal negligence the animal to:

(a) Be outside of the proper enclosure unless the animal is (a) muzzled in such a manner as to prevent the animal from biting any person or property and (b) restrained by a sufficient leash not more than six feet in length, and (c) under the immediate control of a competent person; or

(b) Cause any degree of damage to (a) a person, (b) an animal not owned by the owner or keeper, whether domestic, feral, or wild, (c) personal property not owned by the owner or keeper, or (d) real property not owned by the owner or keeper.

(2) Any owner or keeper who is found, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have violated any portion of this section shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum term fixed by the court of up to 364 days, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court of not more than $5,000 plus statutory assessments, or by both such imprisonment and fine. Additionally, upon conviction, the owner or keeper shall be stripped by the court of all ownership interest in the animal and the animal shall be humanely destroyed. Upon acquittal, the animal shall be returned to the owner or keeper, but the dangerous animal designation shall remain.

(3) Upon probable cause that this crime has occurred, the animal may be impounded under an administrative warrant issued pursuant to this chapter and held pending resolution of the matter. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.100 Administrative impoundment warrant - Impounding dangerous animal.

(1) A judge of a superior court or a judge of the Lewis County district court, upon proper oath or affirmation showing probable cause, may issue an administrative warrant for the purpose of entering and inspecting real or personal property to effectuate the seizure and impoundment of an animal kept or acquired in violation of this chapter. For purposes of the issuance of administrative warrants, probable cause exists upon a showing under oath or affirmation that the owner or keeper of an animal is in civil or criminal violation of this chapter.

(2) A warrant shall issue only upon application by sworn affidavit of the prosecuting attorney or his or her deputy or a fully commissioned law enforcement officer having knowledge of the facts alleged, and establishing the grounds for issuing the warrant. If the judge is satisfied that grounds for the application exist or that there is probable cause to believe they exist, he or she shall issue a warrant identifying the area, premises, building, or conveyance to be inspected, the purpose of the inspection, and a description of the animal to be seized and impounded. The warrant shall:

(a) State the grounds for its issuance and the name of each person whose affidavit has been taken in support thereof;

(b) Be directed to any peace officer in Lewis County, Washington, to execute it;

(c) Command the person to whom it is directed to enter the area, premises, building, or conveyance identified for the purpose of seizing and impounding the animal;

(d) Identify the animal to be seized and impounded; and

(e) Direct that it be served and designate the judge to whom the warrant shall be returned.

(3) A warrant issued pursuant to this section must be executed and returned within 10 calendar days of its issue date unless, upon a showing of a need for additional time, the court orders otherwise. If the animal is impounded pursuant to a warrant, a copy shall be given to the person from whom or from whose premises the animal is taken, together with a receipt for the animal taken. The return of the warrant shall be made promptly, accompanied by a written inventory of any animal taken. The inventory shall be made in the presence of the person executing the warrant and of the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, if present, or in the presence of at least one credible person other than the person executing the warrant. A copy of the inventory shall be delivered to the person from whom or from whose premises the animal was taken and to the applicant for the warrant.

(4) The judge who has issued a warrant shall attach thereto a copy of the return and all papers returnable in connection therewith and file them with the clerk of the court.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, the availability of an administrative warrant shall not be construed to limit the ability of a court of competent jurisdiction to issue a warrant or other order which would otherwise ordinarily be available. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.110 Impoundment and disposition of animals held by Lewis County.

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, an animal may be impounded by:

(a) The animal control authority or any commissioned law enforcement officer if:

(i) The animal control authority or law enforcement officer is acting at the direction of a valid warrant or other court order;

(ii) The animal is on public property and there is probable cause to believe that the animal is in or is presently being kept in violation of any law or is at large or the animal to be impounded is on public property and the animal is clearly abandoned; or

(iii) The animal is on real property and there is probable cause to believe that the animal is in or is presently being kept in violation of any law and the animal control authority or law enforcement officer has the express, written permission of the property owner to enter the property and seize the animal.

(b) Any person if the animal is at large and is:

(i) On the person’s own property;

(ii) On public property and the animal is threatening any person or property or animal; or

(iii) Being pursued by the animal control authority or law enforcement officer and the animal control authority or law enforcement officer requests assistance.

(2)(a) Nothing in this section is to be construed as allowing anyone other than a fully commissioned law enforcement officer to forcibly seize an animal from the immediate presence of any other person claiming or apparently asserting by word or action an interest in the animal.

(b) Any time an animal is impounded, the animal must be delivered to the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee or the Lewis County sheriff or the sheriff’s deputy within 24 hours. The Lewis County sheriff and the director of public health and social services may designate, together or separately, where or to whom animals are to be delivered for impoundment. If the location is other than the designated animal shelter, the animal must then be delivered to the animal shelter within one business day by the designated person receiving the animal.

(3) Once an animal has been impounded at the animal shelter, the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee shall take reasonable steps to ascertain the contact information of the animal’s owner or keeper and notify the owner or keeper within 48 hours of receipt of the animal that the animal has been so impounded and that the animal may be redeemed from the animal shelter if redemption is authorized under the circumstances. Notice may be given to the owner or keeper by any means reasonably calculated to give the owner or keeper actual notice.

(4)(a) Any animal impounded or held by the animal shelter must be held for the owner or keeper for a period of at least three business days during which the animal shelter is open for regular business. During this holding period, the animal’s owner or keeper may redeem the animal, where redemption is authorized, by claiming the animal and paying Lewis County for all costs actually incurred by Lewis County in the impoundment and holding process, in an amount set in the schedule of fees published in or pursuant to LCC Title 18 effective on the date of impoundment, plus veterinary costs which may be greater and shall be determined by reference to billing receipts from the veterinary clinic providing services, and plus the actual costs of transportation of the animal. In the event that the animal is not redeemed by the owner or keeper, the animal may be humanely destroyed at the expiration of the three business days, or at the discretion of the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee for good cause the animal may be held on behalf of the owner for longer than three business days.

(b) Subsection (4)(a) of this section does not apply when an animal has been seized and impounded pursuant to a criminal, civil, or administrative warrant issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. In such cases, the animal must be held pursuant to the warrant and in compliance with all applicable law.

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an animal held by the animal shelter under subsection (4) of this section may be humanely destroyed at the discretion of the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee if the animal poses a health or safety risk to people or property at the animal shelter or the animal is suffering from a condition likely to result in death or the need for immediate veterinary care likely to exceed $100.00 in costs. If the animal is to be humanely destroyed under this provision and the identity and contact information of the owner or keeper of the animal is known or reasonably ascertainable, there must be a reasonable attempt to notify the owner or keeper of the animal of the intent to destroy the animal, and the owner or keeper must be given the opportunity to claim the animal within eight business hours, unless providing such opportunity would constitute animal cruelty under any applicable law, in which case the applicable facts must be documented and the humane destruction may take place immediately and without notice. This provision does not apply to animals being held pursuant to any warrant or as evidence in a criminal case.

(6) Adoption and Sale.

(a) In lieu of humanely destroying an animal as authorized under this chapter, the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee may declare the animal to be property of Lewis County and offer the animal for adoption, or in the case of livestock either offered for adoption or sold at public auction with the proceeds from any such auction deposited in Lewis County’s general fund; provided, that no live animal shall be adopted out or otherwise transferred for the purpose of experimentation; and provided further, that an animal declared dangerous must be humanely destroyed and may not become the property of Lewis County or sold or adopted out to a third party.

(b) In the event that Lewis County becomes the owner of an animal by a means not otherwise specified in this chapter, the animal may be held for adoption, and in the case of livestock sold at public auction or held for adoption; provided, that a dangerous animal may not be held for adoption or sale and must be humanely destroyed within one business day. Alternatively, the animal may be humanely destroyed at the discretion of the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee; provided, that doing so would not violate any law, order, or code provision.

(c) In the event that a dog or cat is to be held for adoption, the animal must be sterilized prior to adoption.

(d) In the event that an animal is to be held for adoption, Lewis County may charge an adoption fee in an amount to be set in the schedule of fees published pursuant to LCC Title 18, as adopted by the Lewis County board of county commissioners.

(e) Proceeds from any sale of livestock must be placed in Lewis County’s general fund.

(7) No animal being held by Lewis County which is the subject or res of any court action may be destroyed or held for adoption or sold except by court order, or as otherwise authorized by law. All such animals must be held and maintained in the animal shelter and provided veterinary care, as needed. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.120 Subpoenas.

(1) The director of public health and social services or the director’s designee is authorized to issue subpoenas for witnesses related to dangerous animal hearings. Such subpoenas shall be valid for the named witness when the named witness is served within the unincorporated areas of Lewis County. Witness fees shall be paid by the party requesting the subpoena in an amount consistent with witness fees assessed in civil matters in the Lewis County district court; provided, that no party to the action may collect a witness fee.

(2) Every subpoena shall identify the party requesting issuance of the subpoena and shall state the name of the director of public health and social services or the director’s designee and the title of the proceeding and shall command the person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony or produce designated books, documents, or things under his or her control.

(a) A subpoena to a person to provide testimony at a hearing shall specify the time and place set for hearing.

(b) A subpoena duces tecum requesting a person to produce designated books, documents, or things under his or her control shall specify a time and place for producing the books, documents, or things. That time and place may be the time and place set for hearing, or another reasonably convenient time and place in advance of the hearing.

(3) A subpoena may be served by any suitable person over 18 years of age who is not a party to the action, by exhibiting and reading it to the witness, or by giving him or her a copy thereof, or by leaving such copy at the place of his or her abode. When service is made by any other person than an officer authorized to serve process, proof of service shall be made by affidavit or declaration under penalty of perjury.

(4) The presiding officer, upon motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith, may (a) quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or (b) condition denial of the motion upon the advancement by the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued of the reasonable cost of producing the books, papers, documents, or tangible things.

(5) If a witness under subpoena fails or refuses to attend the hearing, provide testimony, or produce the items as commanded, that witness may be cited by the presiding officer. If that witness is found, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have violated a subpoena under this section, he or she shall be subject to the civil penalties in LCC 1.20.040. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.140 No effect on civil liability.

Nothing in this chapter is intended to affect the rights or liabilities of any party to a civil action other than the civil actions expressly created by this chapter. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.150 Appeal of dangerous animal designation.

(1) Following a hearing in which an animal has been declared dangerous, an owner or keeper may appeal the decision to the hearing examiner pursuant to LCC 2.25.130.

(2) The review shall be a review of the record and shall be limited to a review for sufficiency of the evidence and errors of law.

(3) The hearing examiner decision can be appealed pursuant to Chapter 2.25 LCC. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.155 Judicial removal of dangerous animal designation.

(1) Any person claiming an interest in an animal which has been designated as a dangerous animal pursuant to the provisions of this chapter may file an action in the district court of Washington for Lewis County seeking an order rescinding that designation.

(a) The district court is requested to hear any action brought pursuant to this section on an expedited basis.

(b) Such an action may not be brought prior to the expiration of the period in which to bring an appeal pursuant to LCC 6.05.150. Failure to bring such an appeal shall not bar any person from instituting a proceeding pursuant to this section.

(c) Lewis County shall be named as the defendant in such an action. Any person whom the plaintiff knows to claim an interest in the animal also shall be named as a defendant.

(i) With 10 days of service of the complaint upon Lewis County, it shall mail a copy thereof to any person whom it believes may claim, or may have claimed, or may wish to claim an interest in the animal. Lewis County then shall file a proof of service with the court.

(d) Any person claiming an interest in the animal may, at any time prior to a hearing on the merits, join as a party defendant by filing a notice of appearance and serving copies thereof upon each of the other parties to the proceeding. Such person then shall file a proof of service with the court.

(e) Lewis County shall not destroy the animal, or cause the animal to be destroyed, during the pendency of the proceeding, unless its destruction is required for reasons unrelated to its allegedly dangerous propensities.

(2) The court shall determine whether the animal in question is a dangerous animal, as defined in LCC 6.05.010(9) and (20).

(a) The court shall make its determination after consideration of all testimonial and documentary evidence admissible under the standard set out in RCW 34.05.452.

(b) The court shall not be limited to consideration of evidence presented at the hearing referred to in LCC 6.05.070. The court may consider evidence which was unavailable, or which was not made available, to the hearing officer at the time of the dangerous animal designation hearing referred to in LCC 6.05.070. The court may consider evidence which only became available subsequent to the hearing, including but not limited to evidence of the present behavior, character, and disposition of the animal.

(3) Following its hearing the court shall rule as to whether the animal is or is not a dangerous animal at the present time.

(a) If the court rules that the animal is not a dangerous animal, then the court shall issue an order rescinding Lewis County’s designation of it as a dangerous animal. A copy of that order shall be transmitted by the clerk of the district court to the county’s director of health and social services, who shall supplement the county’s records accordingly.

(4) If the court finds that the animal is not a dangerous animal, then the court shall order the county not to destroy it.

(5) If the court finds the animal is not a dangerous animal, then the court shall order:

(a) That the animal:

(i) Be the property of the plaintiff; and

(ii) Be placed by Lewis County into the care and custody of the plaintiff.

(b) If more than one party (whether a party plaintiff or a party defendant) claims an interest in the animal, then the court shall adjudicate upon such claims and determine which party shall be awarded ownership of the animal. The court may make such determination ex aequo et bono.

(6) If the court rules that the animal is a dangerous animal, then the court shall order that it be humanely destroyed by Lewis County. In that event the animal shall be humanely destroyed no later than the second business day following the date of service of the court’s order upon the county.

(7) In the alternative to the order required by subsection (6) of this section:

(a) The court may rule that the animal currently harbors a potential to do harm to people or to domestic animals, but can be released safely to a party to the action. The court then shall order the animal to be released to that party;

(b) The court may rule that the animal currently is likely to cause harm to people or domestic animals, but can be released safely to a party to the action. The court then shall order the animal to be released to that party;

(c) The court may rule that the animal currently harbors a potential to do harm to people or to domestic animals, but can be housed and maintained safely, under specified conditions. In such event the judge may release the animal to a party to the action, subject to proof of compliance with such conditions as the court may deem appropriate; or

(d) The court may rule that the animal currently is likely to cause harm to people or domestic animals, but can be housed and maintained safely, under specified conditions. In such event the judge may release the animal to a party to the action, subject to proof of compliance with such conditions as the court may deem appropriate.

(8) In any action pursuant to this section each party shall bear its own costs, disbursements, and attorney fees.

(9) This section shall apply retrospectively to all animals which have been designated as dangerous animals and which are in the possession of Lewis County’s animal shelter on the date of its enactment.

(10) If any provision of this section is or comes to be in direct conflict with any constitutional or statutory provision of the state of Washington or of the United States, that provision shall be deemed inoperative and null and void insofar as it may conflict, and shall, if possible, be deemed modified to conform to such constitutional or statutory provision. [Ord. 1280, 2017; Ord. 1275 §1, 2017]

6.05.160 Restitution.

Upon conviction for any criminal law violation of this chapter, the defendant shall be liable to Lewis County for all costs actually incurred in the investigation and prosecution of the case. The costs shall include the costs of investigating the violation including the hourly rate of pay for Lewis County staff involved in the investigation process, transportation and housing and veterinary costs for any animals related to the matter or held by Lewis County, and any other incidental costs of investigation or prosecution, excluding attorney fees. The court shall impose all such costs as restitution. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.170 Scope.

The provisions of this chapter shall be effective in and throughout the unincorporated areas of Lewis County, Washington. [Ord. 1260, 2014]

6.05.180 Severability.

Should any section, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter, or its application to any person or circumstance, be declared unconstitutional or otherwise invalid for any reason, or should any portion of this chapter be preempted by state or federal law or regulation, such decision or preemption shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter or its application to other persons or circumstances. [Ord. 1260, 2014]