Chapter 20.20


20.20.010    Permitting animals to bite prohibited.

20.20.020    Destruction prohibited pending quarantine.

20.20.030    Vicious animal.

20.20.040    Administrative hearing procedures.

20.20.050    Destruction of vicious animal.

20.20.060    Conditional release of vicious animal.

20.20.010 Permitting animals to bite prohibited.

a. No person may permit any animal that the person owns or controls to bite a person or another animal, unless the person bitten is engaged in the commission of a criminal act. It is an affirmative defense to a charge of violating this section that the victim of the bite provoked the animal into biting, or was bitten while trespassing on premises totally enclosed by chain link or similar density fencing by an animal housed therein.

b. No person may permit any dog to habitually annoy any animal or bird either domestic or wild. Any dog that evinces a disposition which makes it likely that it will without provocation bite an animal or fowl will be considered a vicious animal subject to the provisions of HCC 20.20.030(a) and (d).

c. The City shall serve notice on the owner of an animal which has bitten a person or another animal without provocation, advising the owner that the animal is now a vicious animal and is subject to destruction if at large. [Ord. 23-48(A) § 5, 2023; Ord. 16-38(S)(A) § 11, 2016; Ord. 88-1, 1988].

20.20.020 Destruction prohibited pending quarantine.

No person may kill or maim an animal which is known to have bitten a person or animal without the prior consent of the Animal Control Officer. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the killing of an animal where such destruction is necessary for the protection of life and limb, or for the purpose of preventing a further attack. One of the purposes of the enactment of this chapter is to enable the Animal Control Officer to observe any dogs and other animals which have bitten any person or animal in order to determine whether the same are infected by rabies. [Ord. 23-48(A) § 5, 2023; Ord. 16-38(S)(A) § 12, 2016; Ord. 88-1, 1988].

20.20.030 Vicious animal.

No person may:

a. Permit a vicious animal to be at large;

b. Knowingly or negligently permit a vicious animal to bite any person unless the person bitten is in the act of committing a criminal offense;

c. Permit a vicious animal to be housed or transported in or on any motor vehicle unless the animal is muzzled to prevent the animal from biting any person;

d. Permit a vicious animal to leave premises owned or controlled by the animal’s owner or their agent unless the animal is securely muzzled.

Any animal in violation of subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall, upon conviction of the owner or the agent, for that offense, be immediately seized by the City and held for destruction. [Ord. 23-48(A) § 5, 2023; Ord. 16-38(S)(A) § 13, 2016; Ord. 88-1, 1988].

20.20.040 Administrative hearing procedures.

All animals seized pursuant to HCC 20.20.030 shall be held in impound pending an administrative hearing concerning their potential destruction. The administrative hearing shall be conducted as follows:

a. The Chief of Police or their designee shall serve as hearing officer.

b. The animal’s owner or their designee shall be notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing. The hearing may not be less than three days following the service of the hearing notice on the animal owner or designee.

c. The hearing shall consider all information pertinent to the specific violation of HCC 20.20.030 which initiated the impoundment and hearing process, and may additionally consider any information concerning prior violations or incidents with this same animal, as well as any information concerning the animal owner’s or their designee’s prior violations of the Homer animal ordinances with any other animal.

d. The hearing shall address and enter its formal findings as to whether:

1. The animal is a vicious animal under HCC 20.04.020;

2. The owner or designee thereof failed to use all reasonable precautions to control their animal and protect the public;

3. The circumstances of this incident under consideration constitute a danger to the public.

e. If the hearing officer finds in the affirmative as to all three of the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, the hearing officer shall order the animal destroyed. The owner or designee, if present at the hearing, shall be notified of the findings and order within 24 hours of the hearing. Written findings shall be prepared and served upon the owner or designee. If the owner or designee is not present at the hearing, written findings and destruction order shall be served on that person as soon as possible following the hearing.

f. Absent an affirmative finding by the hearing officer as to one or more of the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, the animal shall be immediately released to its owner or designee. The hearing officer shall, in the event of release under this provision, prepare a written notice which shall be delivered or mailed to the animal’s owner, outlining the hearing officer’s recommendations as to actions that owner should take to prevent future incidents and to protect the public.

g. Any appeal of the hearing officer’s finding and destruction order shall be taken through the Alaska Court System within 30 days of the receipt of said findings and order by the owner. The filing of an appeal will automatically stay the order of destruction pending resolution of the appeal. The animal shall remain in impound at the owner’s expense pending resolution of the appeal. [Ord. 23-48(A) § 5, 2023; Ord. 16-38(S)(A) § 14, 2016; Ord. 88-1, 1988].

20.20.050 Destruction of vicious animal.

Vicious animals to be destroyed upon Administrative Hearing Officer order shall be destroyed as follows:

a. The animal shall remain in impound for 30 days following the date the owner (or their designee) is verbally notified of the hearing officer’s decision, or the date that a written finding and destruction order is served on the owner (or their designee) to allow that person to appeal the destruction order through the courts.

b. If the City is not served with a notice of appeal of the destruction order within the 30-day holding period outlined in subsection (a) of this section, the City shall immediately proceed to humanely destroy the animal. [Ord. 23-48(A) § 5, 2023; Ord. 88-1, 1988].

20.20.060 Conditional release of vicious animal.

The City may, at its option, in lieu of destruction of the animal, agree to return the vicious animal to its owner (or his lawful agent) if that person signs a conditional release agreement with the City wherein the owner agrees:

a. To immediately remove the animal from the City;

b. To the immediate seizure and destruction of the animal if it enters the City limits;

c. To defend and indemnify the City for any and all damages resulting from any act of this animal from the date of the agreement;

d. To any other reasonable provision deemed necessary by the Animal Control Officer. [Ord. 23-48(A) § 5, 2023; Ord. 88-1, 1988].