Chapter 9.12
ENFORCEMENT, PENALTIES AND PROCEDURE

Sections:

9.12.010    Enforcement power.

9.12.020    Misdemeanor.

9.12.030    Civil penalty.

9.12.040    Impounding.

9.12.050    Legal or equitable relief.

9.12.055    Animal relinquishment fee.

9.12.060    Enforcement -- Nuisance -- Abatement.

9.12.070    Dangerous dog, potentially dangerous dog or vicious animal restraint.

9.12.080    Cruelty to animals.

9.12.090    Notice of violation.

9.12.101    Appeals -- Procedure.

9.12.105    Compromise, settlement and disposition of suits.

9.12.110    Redemption - cost recovery.

9.12.115    Dead/injured animals.

9.12.120    Habitual violator.

9.12.125    Habitual attacker.

9.12.130    Rabies control.

9.12.135    Personal obligation.

9.12.140    Costs of enforcement action.

9.12.010 Enforcement power.

(1) The director of the animal control agency and his authorized personnel are hereby authorized to take such lawful action as may be required to enforce the provisions of this title and the laws of the state of Washington as they pertain to animal cruelty, shelter, welfare and control.

(2) The director of animal control agency and/or his authorized personnel, while pursuing any animal observed by him to be in violation of the resolution codified herein, may enter upon any public or private property, except any private residence, for the purpose of abating the animal violation being pursued. Entry into a building designated for and used for private purposes may be accomplished upon the issuance of a proper search or arrest warrant by a court of competent jurisdiction showing that the officer has reasonable cause to believe an animal is being maintained in the building in violation of this title.

(3) No person shall deny, prevent or obstruct an animal control officer from enforcing any provisions of this title.

(§ 9 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; Res. adopted July 9, 1973).

9.12.020 Misdemeanor.

(1) Unless otherwise specifically provided in this title, any violation of this title is a misdemeanor punishable as provided in SCC 1.01.100.

(2) This section shall not apply to violation of:

(a) SCC 9.04.010, relating to dog and cat licenses;

(b) SCC 9.12.060(1), relating to frequent or repetitive sounds;

(c) SCC 9.12.060(3), relating to domesticated animals and vehicles;

(d) SCC 9.12.060(5), relating to nondomesticated animals;

(e) SCC 9.12.060(6), relating to dogs running in packs;

(f) SCC 9.12.060(7), relating to female domesticated dogs in heat;

(g) SCC 9.12.060(8), relating to domesticated animals running at large;

(h) SCC 9.12.060(9), relating to animals and food;

(i) SCC 9.12.060(10), relating to animals on public property without consent;

(j) SCC 9.12.060(12), relating to animals on public property not under control;

(k) SCC 9.12.060(16), relating to violation of chapter 9.14 SCC;

(l) SCC 9.14.030, relating to dogs off premises not under control; or

(m) SCC 9.16.010, relating to livestock.

(Res. adopted July 9, 1973; Amended by Amended Ord. 06-133, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007; Amended by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

9.12.030 Civil penalty.

In addition to or as an alternative to any other penalty provided herein or by law, any person whose animal is maintained in violation of this title shall incur a civil penalty as provided in SCC 9.12.090. Chapter 10.70 SCC does not apply to the civil penalty imposed by this section.

(Res. adopted July 9, 1973; Amended by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

9.12.040 Impounding.

The director of the county animal control agency and/or his authorized personnel may apprehend any animals found doing or involved in any of the acts defined as a public nuisance and/or being subjected to cruel treatment as defined by law. Domesticated animals found running at large in the county may be deposited by residents of the county at any animal shelter authorized to provide the county with shelter services. After such animals are apprehended, the county animal control agency shall determine whether they are licensed, or otherwise identifiable and if reasonably possible, return the animal to the owner together with a notice of violation of the code. If it is not reasonably possible to return immediately the animal to its owner, the county animal control agency shall notify the owner of the animal within a reasonable time by telephone or certified mail or direct personal contact that the animal has been impounded and may be redeemed at the designated animal holding facility. Any unlicensed animal impounded pursuant to this title shall be held for the owner at least 72 hours which is to toll beginning with apprehension. For licensed animals, the tolling shall begin upon notification to the owner of said impoundment. Said notice shall either be personal, by telephone, or by mail. Delivery of a copy of said notice of impoundment to any person of suitable age and discretion residing upon the owner’s premises shall be deemed sufficient personal notice. If the notice is by mail, owner is not deemed notified until receipt of the notice. If reasonable attempts have been made by the appropriate authority to notify said owner but without success, the licensed animal shall be held for at least 10 days from date of apprehension. All impound periods shall continue to toll during those hours when the designated impound facility is not open for business. Any animal not redeemed by its owner during the prescribed time, or which is suffering from serious injury or disease, may be humanely destroyed, or in the discretion of the impounding authority may be held for a longer period and redeemed by any person upon payment of reasonable medical, impound and holding costs. No live animals shall be used, sold or donated for experimentation purposes. The owner of any animal impounded pursuant to the provisions of this title may recover said animal or animals pursuant to the provisions of SCC 9.12.110.

The above return and notification requirements shall not apply to any animal that is deemed abandoned under the provisions of chapter 16.54 RCW. For purposes of this section, such animals shall be deemed to be without owner.

(§ 10 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; Res. adopted July 9, 1973; Amended Ord. 87-131, § 1, Dec. 23, 1987).

9.12.050 Legal or equitable relief.

The director of the Snohomish county animal control agency, in addition to the use of any other remedy herein set out, may seek legal or equitable relief to enjoin acts or practices and abate any conditions which constitute a violation of this title or other regulations here adopted.

(Res. adopted July 9, 1973).

9.12.055 Animal relinquishment fee.

(1) Residents of unincorporated Snohomish County may for a fee of $25.00 per animal deliver and relinquish ownership of unwanted dogs or cats owned by them to any animal shelter providing that service pursuant to a contract with the County. Residents may deliver stray dogs or cats without payment of a fee to any animal shelter providing that service pursuant to a contract with the County.

(2) The fee shall be paid directly to the animal shelter by the person relinquishing the animal at the time of release.

(3) All fees become the property of Snohomish County and shall be transmitted to the county in the same manner as other fees collected and remitted according to the process specified in the current shelter services contract.

(Added Amended Ord. 08-151, Dec. 10, 2008, Eff date Jan. 1, 2009; Amended by Ord. 11-014, May 25, 2011, Eff date June 10, 2011)

9.12.060 Enforcement -- Nuisance -- Abatement.

It is unlawful for an owner to cause, allow, permit or participate in any of the following, which are, singly or together, declared to be a public nuisance:

(1) Frequent or repetitive sounds, including those from facilities licensed under chapter 6.06 SCC, made by one or more animals, whether or not continuous, occurring at least ten (10) minutes or more during any half hour period, which unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort, and repose of any person within hearing distance of the sounds; provided however, that such sounds made by pigs, cattle, sheep, horses, goats and poultry, and from dogs while used to control or protect domesticated animals or livestock or used to guard farm premises where the owner or caretaker resides in unincorporated areas outside of the area bounded by Puget Sound on the west, the Snohomish county/King county line on the south, 164th Street SE on the north and the Bothell Highway (SR 527) on the east shall be exempt under this subsection.

(2) Any domesticated animal that while off the owner’s property damages or destroys any real or personal property.

(3) Any domesticated animal which chases, runs after, or jumps at vehicles using the public streets and alleys.

(4) Any domesticated animal which engages in vicious behavior or otherwise threatens a human lawfully using public sidewalks, streets, alleys or other public ways.

(5) Any non-domesticated animal, either predatory or nonpredatory, in the custody, possession or control of any person within the county, which due to its size, habits, natural propensities or instincts represents a danger or potential danger to people or property, if such animal is not securely confined, restricted or restrained or under control.

(6) Dogs running in packs.

(7) A female domesticated animal, while in heat, running at large or not confined and accessible to other animals except for controlled and planned breeding.

(8) Any domesticated animal, which runs at large; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that this section does not apply to animals participating in animal shows or exhibitions in areas specifically designated for such events; dogs directly supervised by their owners while using designated off leash areas on county park property; or to dogs participating in organized dog training classes on county park property where written approval is obtained in advance from the Snohomish county department of parks and recreation.

(9) Any animal entering any place where food is prepared, served, stored or sold to the public; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that this section does not apply to any person using a service animal or duly authorized law enforcement officers using dogs in performance of their duties.

(10) Animals confined, staked, tethered or kept on public property without prior consent of the public entity having custody, control, or ownership of the property.

(11) Animals kept, harbored or maintained and known to have a contagious disease, unless under the treatment of a licensed veterinarian or being kept for medical research by a licensed facility as lawfully authorized.

(12) Animals on public property not under control, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that this section does not apply to dogs directly supervised by their owners while using designated off leash areas on county park property or otherwise exempted in SCC 9.14.020.

(13) Any species of animal designated by the state board of health pursuant to WAC 248-100-450, together with amendments thereto, as dangerous to the public including any skunk, fox or raccoon, except as lawfully authorized for fur farming by a licensed facility.

(14) Any vicious animal which runs at large.

(15) The taking from the wild, or the holding in captivity, or the having in one’s possession, or the exportation from or importation into the county of any species designated in WAC 232-12-015, 232-12-030 and 232-12-040 together with amendments thereto, as protected wildlife, as furbearing animals, or as game fish, birds, or animals, except as lawfully authorized.

(16) Any dog in violation of the provisions of chapter 9.14 SCC.

(§ 11 of Res. 1973; Res. adopted July 9, 1973; § 1 of Res. adopted October 4, 1978; Amended Ord. 87-043, § 1, July 1, 1987; Amended Ord. 87-047, § 3, July 8, 1987; Amended Ord. 93-049, July 7, 1993, Eff date July 17, 1993; Amended Ord. 97-020, § 22, May 7, 1997, Eff July 1, 1997; Amended Ord. 06-133, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007; Amended by Amended Ord. 10-070, Sept. 8, 2010, Eff date Sept. 19, 2010).

9.12.070 Dangerous dog, potentially dangerous dog or vicious animal restraint.

Upon filing of a public nuisance action in a court in Snohomish county alleging that a specific animal is vicious, the owner of such animal shall cause the animal to be restrained or confined thereafter until the conclusion of any court proceedings.

(Res. adopted July 9, 1973; Amended Ord. 87-047, § 4, July 8, 1987; Amended Ord. 06-133, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007).

9.12.080 Cruelty to animals.

The following, singly or together, are deemed to constitute cruel treatment to animals. Therefore, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to:

(1) Wilfully and cruelly kill, injure, torture or torment any animal;

(2) Intentionally or negligently cause or allow any animal to endure pain, suffering, injury or to fail or neglect to aid or attempt to alleviate pain, suffering or injury he has so caused to any animal;

(3) Neglect to provide adequate daily rations of food or water to any animal within his care, custody or control;

(4) Tether, stake, tie, restrain or otherwise confine any animal in such a manner in which it becomes frequently entangled or incapable of consuming food or water provided for it or accessing shelter for protection from inclement weather; or

(5) Abandon any animal by dropping off or leaving said animal on the street, road, or highway, or in a public place, or the private property of another person.

(§ 2 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; § 1l of Res. adopted December 17, 1973; Res. adopted July 9, 1973; Amended by Amended Ord. 10-070, Sept. 8, 2010, Eff date Sept. 19, 2010).

9.12.090 Notice of violation.

(1) Whenever an authorized county animal control officer has reasonable grounds to believe that an animal is violating or being maintained in violation of this title, the officer shall be authorized to issue to the violator a notice of violation containing:

(a) The names and address, if known, of the owner or person in violation of this title.

(b) A statement that the animal control officer has found the animal is violating, or being maintained in violation of this title with a brief description of the violation.

(c) A statement assessing a civil penalty for each violation and that the penalty shall be paid to the county within 15 days from the date of service. The penalties assessed shall be as follows: $100.00 for the first violation; $250.00 for the second violation; and $500.00 for each subsequent violation.

(d) A statement setting out an order of abatement and a reasonable period during which to comply as determined by the Snohomish county animal control officer.

(e) A statement advising that if any required abatement is not commenced within the time specified, or any civil penalty is not timely paid, the animal control officer shall have the authority to refer such noncompliance to the office of the prosecuting attorney, which shall have authority to issue a criminal citation, charging such person with violation of this title.

(f) A statement advising:

(i) that the notice of violation may be appealed to the Snohomish county hearing examiner pursuant to the provisions of SCC 2.02.125 and SCC 9.12.101;

(ii) that any per diem civil penalty shall not accrue during the pendency of such administrative appeal; and

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

(2) The notice of violation shall be served on the owner or keeper of the animal in violation of this title either personally or by mailing a copy of such notice by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, to the person at his last known address. If service is by certified mail, the service shall be deemed complete upon the third day following the day upon which the notice was placed in the mail.

Proof of personal service of the notice shall be made at the time of service by a written declaration under penalty of perjury executed by the person effecting service, declaring time, date and manner in which service was made.

(Ord. 80-115 § 2, adopted December 29, 1980; § 13 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; Res. adopted July 9, 1973; Amended Ord. 93-077, Sept. 8, 1993, Eff date Jan. 1, 1994; Amended Ord. 06-133, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007; Amended by Ord. 16-111, Nov. 14, 2016, Eff date Dec. 8, 2016).

9.12.101 Appeals -- Procedure.

(1) Any person aggrieved by the issuance of any license required by this title, or the issuance of a notice of violation pursuant to SCC 9.12.090 may appeal to the hearing examiner. Appeals shall be filed and processed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 2.02 SCC.

(2) The enforcement stay contained in SCC 2.02.125(3) shall not apply to the impoundment of an animal which is vicious or cruelly treated.

(3) At the hearing, the director of the animal control agency and his officers shall have the burden of proving the violation, which burden shall be met by a preponderance of the evidence.

(4) The decision of the hearing examiner shall be final and conclusive with an optional right of reconsideration as provided in SCC 2.02.170 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 Amended Ord. 93-077, Sept. 8, 1993; Eff date Jan. 1, 1994; amended by Ord. 95-098, § 3, Dec. 20, 1995; Amended Ord. 96-003, § 18, Feb. 21, 1996, Eff date April 1, 1996; Amended Ord. 06-133, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007).

9.12.105 Compromise, settlement and disposition of suits.

The prosecuting attorney of Snohomish county is authorized to enter into negotiations with the parties or their legal representatives named in a lawsuit involving any provision of this title for the collection of civil penalties to negotiate a settlement, compromise or otherwise dispose of a lawsuit when to do so will be in the best interests of the county; PROVIDED, That a report shall be submitted to the board of county commissioners in any instance where a compromise settlement is negotiated.

(§ 15 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978).

9.12.110 Redemption - cost recovery.

Any animal impounded or confiscated pursuant to the provisions of this title may be redeemed upon payment of the fees as herein provided and demonstration that the violation has been corrected. The correction of a violation includes the licensing of any unlicensed animal required by this title to be licensed. The redemption fee for an animal shall be established by the director of the animal control agency not later than January 1st each year, subject to approval by the county council by motion. The redemption fee shall include all fees and costs associated with apprehension, transportation, impoundment, care, boarding, shelter capital facilities and any veterinary costs incurred including euthanasia and disposal of the animal, if applicable. The fees for all animals shall be based on the direct cost to the County as determined by the director of the animal control agency.

(§ 16 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; Res. adopted July 9, 1973; Amended Ord. 89-057, July 5, 1989; Ord. 04-017, Mar. 24, 2004, Eff date April 18, 2004; Amended Ord. 06-133, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007; Amended by Ord. 11-014, May 25, 2011, Eff date June 10, 2011).

9.12.115 Dead/injured animals.

The director of the animal control agency shall have the authority to assess a fee for the picking up, and disposing of or caring for, any dead or injured animals not provided for in SCC 9.16.020 from private property when requested by the property owner. Fees shall be assessed pursuant to SCC 9.12.110. The assessment may be made against the animal’s owner if such can be determined, or against the owner of the property upon which the animal is found, or both.

(§ 16 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; Amended Ord. 06-133, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007).

9.12.120 Habitual violator.

In addition to any legal remedy available under the provisions of this title, the county animal control agency may notify and direct the person receiving more than three notices of violation in a one year period, to abate and remove said animal from the county within 96 hours from the date of said notice, or in the alternative, to abate and transfer ownership and possession of said animal to another person not living at the same place of residence. If such animal is found in violation of the abatement notice after 96 hours have elapsed from the date of notice, said animal shall be abated and removed by the Snohomish county animal control agency by impoundment, subject to all impoundment procedures; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, Said animal may not be returned to the same residence or property from which it was impounded or resided.

(§ 18 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; Res. adopted July 9, 1973).

9.12.125 Habitual attacker.

In addition to any legal remedy available under the provisions of this title, the animal control agency shall notify and direct the owner or keeper of any animal other than a dog animal which shall bite or attack one or more persons twice without provocation, to abate and remove said animal from the county within 96 hours from the date of said notice. If such animal is found within Snohomish county after 96 hours have elapsed from date of notice, said animal shall be apprehended and removed by the animal control agency, and disposed of immediately with no right of redemption by any person.

The rabies control section of SCC 9.12.130, when applicable will preempt any conflicting provisions of this section.

(§ 19 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; Amended Ord. 87-047, § 5, July 8, 1987).

9.12.130 Rabies control.

In the event that any animal has bitten a human and the animal control agency has reason to suspect that the animal is rabid, or in the event that the animal control agency has reason to suspect that an animal is rabid, the appropriate officials of the Snohomish health district shall be notified and the animal control agency shall coordinate any further activities with said health district.

(§ 20 of Res. adopted July 10, 1978; Amended Ord. 06-133, Feb. 28, 2007, Eff date March 16, 2007).

9.12.135 Personal obligation.

The civil penalty and costs of abatement are personal obligations of the animal owner. The county shall be authorized to collect such costs, fees, penalties, as shall be owing.

(Res. adopted July 9, 1973; Amended by Ord. 16-111, Nov. 14, 2016, Eff date Dec. 8, 2016).

9.12.140 Costs of enforcement action.

In addition to costs and disbursements provided for by statute, the prevailing party in a collection action under this title may, in the court’s discretion, be allowed a reasonable attorney’s fee. The prosecuting attorney shall seek such costs and attorney’s fees on behalf of the county, when the county is the prevailing party.

(Res. adopted July 9, 1973).