Chapter 9.10
DANGEROUS DOGS

Sections:

9.10.010    Chapter inapplicable -- Police dogs.

9.10.020    Declaration of potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog -- Procedure and notification requirements.

9.10.030    Appeal of notice of potentially dangerous or dangerous dog.

9.10.040    Certification of registration of a dangerous dog required.

9.10.050    Term of certificate of registration.

9.10.060    Potentially dangerous dog -- Confinement on and off premises of owner.

9.10.070    Dangerous dog -- Confinement off premises of owner.

9.10.080    Duty of owner to notify animal control agency of change in status of potentially dangerous or dangerous dog.

9.10.090    Potentially dangerous and dangerous dog -- Confiscation -- Conditions -- Penalties for owners of dogs that attack -- Dog Fights, penalty.

9.10.100    Severability.

9.10.010 Chapter inapplicable -- Police dogs.

This chapter shall not apply to a "police dog" which includes any breed of dog used by a law enforcement agency specially trained for law enforcement work and under the control of a dog handler.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995).

9.10.020 Declaration of potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog -- Procedure and notification requirements.

(1) The animal control agency shall identify and classify potentially dangerous dogs and dangerous dogs. The agency may find and declare an animal potentially dangerous or dangerous if the animal control officer has probable cause to believe that the animal falls within the definitions set forth in SCC 9.01.030(19) or SCC 9.01.030 (10). Probable cause may be based upon:

(a) the written statement of a citizen who is willing to testify that he or she witnessed the animal acting in a manner which causes it to fall within the definition of SCC 9.01.030(19) or SCC 9.01.030(10); or

(b) actions of the dog witnessed by any animal control officer or law enforcement officer; or

(c) other substantial evidence.

(2) Upon declaring a dog potentially dangerous or dangerous under subsection (1) of this section, the animal control agency shall prepare a written notice that the dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous. At a minimum, the notice shall state:

(a) A description of the dog including breed, color, sex and license number, if known;

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

(c) The location of the animal if not in the custody of the owner;

(d) The facts upon which the notice is based;

(e) The requirements for containment and restraint of the dog, if applicable, as determined by the animal control agency, that the requirements for containment and restraint shall be complied with immediately upon receipt of the notice and that failure to comply with the requirements of containment and restraint shall result in the immediate confiscation and impoundment of the dog, pursuant to SC 9.10.090;

(f) The criminal penalty for violation of the requirements for containment and restraint imposed by the animal control agency, including a statement advising that if the requirements are not timely met, the animal control officer shall have the authority to issue a criminal citation or report such noncompliance to the office of the prosecuting attorney, which shall also have authority to issue a criminal citation, and that if the dog is declared potentially dangerous, similar incidents in the future could result in the dog being declared dangerous pursuant to Section 9.01.030(1); and

(g) a statement advising:

(i) that the notice may be appealed to the Snohomish county hearing examiner as specified in SCC 2.02.125; and

(ii) that the failure to file a timely and complete appeal will constitute a waiver of all rights to an appeal under county code.

(h) a statement that the notice constitutes a final determination that the dog is either potentially dangerous or dangerous.

(3) The notice shall be served on the owner by one of the following methods:

(a) certified mail to the owner’s last known address. The service shall be deemed complete upon the third day following the day upon which the notice was placed in the mail; or

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

(c) if the owner cannot be located as provided in paragraph (a) or (b) of this subsection, by publication in a newspaper of general circulation. The service shall be deemed complete 14 days following the day upon which the notice was published.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995; Amended Ord. 06-134, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007).

9.10.030 Appeal of notice of potentially dangerous or dangerous dog.

(1) Any owner of a dog which has been declared potentially dangerous or dangerous by the animal control agency pursuant to SCC 9.10.020 or confiscated under SCC 9.10.090 may appeal the declaration or confiscation to the Snohomish county hearing examiner pursuant to the provisions of SCC 2.02.125.

(2) The enforcement stay contained in SCC 2.02.125(3) shall not apply to the declaration that a dog is potentially dangerous or dangerous, except that no dog declared potentially dangerous or dangerous shall be destroyed as provided by this chapter during the pendency of an appeal as provided herein.

(3) At the hearing, the animal control agency shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the dog declared dangerous or potentially dangerous falls within the definition of SCC 9.01.030 (10) and (15) or that the dog was in violation of SCC 9.10.090 when confiscated.

(4) The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final and conclusive with an optional right of reconsideration as provided in SCC 2.02.167 and may then be reviewable by an action for writ of review filed in Snohomish County superior court as provided in chapter 2.02 SCC.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995; Amended Ord. 06-134, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007; Amended by Ord. 10-069, Sept. 8, 2010, Eff date Sept. 19, 2010).

9.10.040 Certification of registration of a dangerous dog required.

(1) It shall be unlawful for a person or persons to keep, own or otherwise maintain a dangerous dog in Snohomish county without a certificate of registration issued under this section.

(2) Following the declaration of dangerous dog, the owner of a dangerous dog must obtain a certificate of registration for the dog with the licensing authority within 15 days as provided in this section.

(3) The licensing authority is authorized to issue an annual certificate of registration to the owner of a dangerous dog upon payment of a $250.00 registration fee and if the owner presents sufficient evidence of compliance with the following requirements:

(a) that the dog is kept in a proper enclosure of a dangerous dog;

(b) that the owner maintains a policy of liability insurance, such as homeowner’s insurance, issued by an insurer qualified under Title 48 RCW and in a form acceptable to the Snohomish county risk manager in the amount of at least $250,000 per dog, insuring the owner for any personal injury inflicted by the dangerous dog. A policy of liability insurance with exclusions for off premises or off leash injuries or damage is not acceptable. The policy of insurance must be documented with either a Certificate of Insurance or a policy declaration page specifying that the dangerous dog is covered by or not excluded from the policy. Snohomish county must be listed as Certificate Holder;

(c) that the dog has been microchipped;

(d) that the dog has been licensed; and

(e) that the dog has been neutered or spayed.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995; Ord. 02-042, Sept. 18, 2002, Eff date Sept. 29, 2002; Amended Ord. 06-134, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007; Amended by Ord. 16-111, Nov. 14, 2016, Eff date Dec. 8, 2016).

9.10.050 Term of certificate of registration.

The term for a certificate of registration issued pursuant to SCC 9.10.040 is one year from the date of issuance or until the dog is moved to another address, whichever is less. Renewal applications for the certificate of registration must contain sufficient evidence of the information required in SCC 9.10.040 as well as payment of the application fees.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995; Ord. 02-042, Sept. 18, 2002, Eff date Sept. 29, 2002).

9.10.060 Potentially dangerous dog -- Confinement on and off premises of owner.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of a potentially dangerous dog:

(1) to suffer or permit the dog to be on the property where the owner resides and outside the owner’s dwelling unless the dog is contained by a secure fence or under control; or

(2) to suffer or permit the dog to leave the property where the owner resides unless the dog is under control and securely muzzled. The muzzle shall be worn in a manner which will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995, Ord. 02-042, Sept. 18, 2002, Eff date Sept. 29, 2002; Amended Ord. 06-134, Feb. 28, 2007, March 16, 2007).

9.10.070 Dangerous dog -- Confinement off premises of owner.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of a dangerous dog to suffer or permit the dog to be outside the proper enclosure of a dangerous dog unless the dog is securely muzzled and under control. The muzzle shall be worn in a manner which will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995; Amended Ord. 06-134, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007).

9.10.080 Duty of owner to notify animal control agency of change in status of potentially dangerous or dangerous dog.

(1) The owner of a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog shall immediately notify the animal control agency when the dog:

(a) is loose or unconfined off the premises of the owner;

(b) has bitten or injured a human being or another animal;

(c) is sold, given away, or moved to another address; or

(d) dies.

(2) If a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog is sold, given away, or moved to another location, the owner shall provide the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner, or the address and telephone number of the new location is retained by the same owner, to the animal control agency prior to moving the dog, whether within or outside of Snohomish county. All requirements of this chapter must be met by the new owner prior to moving the dog if the dog remains within Snohomish county. If the dog is retained by the same owner, but moved to another address, the requirements of this chapter must be met prior to moving the dog.

(3) If a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog dies, the owner shall supply to the animal control agency within 30 days of death, a veterinarian certificate of death or other proof that the dog has died.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995).

9.10.090 Potentially dangerous and dangerous dog -- Confiscation -- Conditions -- Penalties for owners of dogs that attack -- Dog Fights, penalty.

(1) Any potentially dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by the animal control agency if:

(a) the dog is either not contained by a secure fence or under control while on the property where the owner resides and outside of the owner’s dwelling; or

(b) the dog is off the property where the owner resides, and the dog is either not under control or not securely muzzled.

In addition, the owner shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable in accordance with RCW 9A.20.021.

(2) Any dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by the animal control agency if:

(a) the dog is not validly registered pursuant to SCC 9.10.040;

(b) the owner fails to maintain compliance with the requirements of SCC 9.10.040(3)(a)-(e) throughout the year for which the certificate of registration was issued; or

(c) the dog is not in a proper enclosure of a dangerous dog and not under control and securely muzzled.

In addition, the owner shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable in accordance with RCW 9A.20.021.

(3) If a dog is confiscated under subsection (1) or (2) of this section, the animal control agency must serve notice pursuant to this chapter upon the dog owner within 72 hours of the confiscation, specifying the reason for the confiscation of the potentially dangerous or dangerous dog, that the owner is responsible for redemption of the dog pursuant to SCC 9.12.110, 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 15 calendar days of the receipt of the notification unless an appeal is filed under SCC 2.02.125. The animal control agency shall destroy the confiscated potentially dangerous or dangerous dog in an expeditious and humane manner if any deficiencies required by the notice are not corrected within 15 days of service of the notification and an appeal has not been filed under SCC 2.02.125.

(4) Any dog which threatens the safety of any animal or person may be immediately confiscated by the animal control agency prior to a notice being served pursuant to SCC 9.10.020. Within 72 hours of the confiscation, the animal control agency shall serve notice under SCC 9.10.020 on the owner. If the requirements included in the notice are satisfied and the dog is redeemed pursuant to SCC 9.12.110, the dog shall be released. The animal control agency shall destroy the confiscated dog in an expeditious and humane manner if the requirements included in the subsequent notice are not satisfied or the dog is not redeemed within 15 calendar days of the notification and an appeal has not been filed under SCC 2.02.125.

(5) An owner of a dog confiscated under this section may appeal the confiscation of the dog pursuant to SCC 9.10.030.

(6) If a potentially dangerous dog of an owner with a prior conviction under this chapter attacks or bites a person or a domestic animal, the dog’s owner is guilty of a misdemeanor, 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 potentially dangerous dog pursuant to this chapter 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.

(7) If a dangerous dog of an owner with a prior conviction under this chapter 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 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 the animal control agency, placed in quarantine for the proper length of time, and thereafter destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.

(8) The owner of any dog that aggressively attacks and causes severe injury or death of any human, whether or not the dog has previously been declared potentially dangerous or dangerous, shall 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:

(a) trespassed on the defendant’s real or personal property which was enclosed by fencing suitable to prevent the entry of small 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 dog; or

(b) 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 small 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 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. 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 the animal control agency, quarantined, and upon conviction of the owner destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.

(9) Any person entering a dog into a dog fight is guilty of a class C felony punishable in accordance with RCW 9A.20.021.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995; Amended Ord. 06-134, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007; Amended by Ord. 10-069, Sept. 8, 2010, Eff date Sept. 19, 2010; Amended by Ord. 16-111, Nov. 14, 2016, Eff date Dec. 8, 2016).

9.10.100 Severability.

If any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this chapter or the application of the provisions of chapter 9.10 SCC is not affected.

(Added Ord. 95-098, § 2, Dec. 20, 1995).