Chapter 6.14
DOMESTIC ANIMAL BITE AND ATTACK INCIDENTS

Sections:

6.14.010    Domestic animal bite and attack incidents.

6.14.020    Determination.

6.14.030    Repealed.

6.14.040    Repealed.

6.14.045    Repealed.

6.14.050    Repealed.

6.14.055    Animals which reside outside the city limits.

6.14.060    Owner compliance.

6.14.065    Right to appeal.

6.14.070    Conduct of hearing.

6.14.075    Filing fees.

6.14.080    Animal fees upon appeal.

6.14.085    Appeals to superior court.

6.14.010 Domestic animal bite and attack incidents.

A. The chief shall investigate each reported animal bite or attack incident and shall determine whether each animal involved may be vicious, dangerous or neither.

B. No police animal is considered dangerous or vicious if the approach, injury or damage occurred while the animal was engaged in the performance of law enforcement activity.

C. No animal is considered dangerous or vicious if the approach, injury or damage caused by the animal was accidental or sustained by a person of sufficient age and understanding who:

1. At the time, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises to which the owner had the legal right of possession; or

2. Was tormenting, abusing or assaulting the animal, or has in the past tormented, abused or assaulted the animal; or

3. Was committing or attempting to commit a crime. (Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007; Ord. 631 § 7, 2004; Ord. 416 § 5, 1990; Ord. 406 § 3, 1989)

6.14.020 Determination.

A. In order for the chief to determine that an animal is dangerous or vicious, the chief shall determine that the animal meets the following criteria and shall classify the animal accordingly:

1. Its actions are not excused under PMC 6.14.010(C);

2. Dangerous, meaning the animal has, without provocation, approached, in a threatening or terrorizing manner, any person in an apparent attitude of attack, where the approach was not made upon the premises to which the owner had the legal right of possession;

3. Vicious, meaning the animal:

a. Has bitten, inflicted injury, assaulted or otherwise attacked or endangered the safety of a human being; or

b. Has, without provocation, bitten, inflicted injury, assaulted or otherwise attacked or endangered the safety of a domestic animal; or

c. Has been found dangerous or vicious on a prior occasion by the chief; or

d. Is in violation of a previous order where the animal was classified as a dangerous or vicious animal.

B. If the chief classifies an animal as dangerous or vicious, the chief shall require that the animal be registered with the police department (unless the animal is to be destroyed and, in such case, documentation of the animal’s destruction shall be delivered to the police department) and determine whether to impose additional conditions if the animal is to remain in the city. The registration application shall contain the name and address of the owner, the breed, age, sex, color, and any other identifying marks of the animal, the location where the animal is to be kept, the registration fee established in the current, adopted budget and two color photographs, three inches by five inches, clearly showing the color and approximate size of the animal. Each animal registered shall be assigned an official registration number by the department. A certificate of registration shall be issued to the owner upon payment of the registration fee and proof of sufficient evidence that the owner has complied with all of the orders prescribed by the chief.

C. If the chief determines that additional conditions are required, the chief shall consider the following:

1. The observed and reported past and present behavior of the animal;

2. The circumstances of the incident and the extent of the injury to the attacked person or animal;

3. The reasonably foreseeable harm that could occur if no conditions are imposed;

4. The owner’s past history of compliance with this title, including compliance with redemption conditions which the chief has previously imposed on the owner; and

5. The nature and location of any restraint or confinement system which the owner has in place at the time the chief makes his decision.

D. The chief may order the owner to comply with some or all of the following conditions:

1. Confinement. The chief may order the owner of a dangerous or vicious animal to confine the animal, at all times, either indoors or, if outdoors, in a proper enclosure for a dangerous or vicious animal up to and including one consisting of a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children, or any part of their bodies or other foreign objects, and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. The pen or structure shall have secure sides, and prevent the animal from digging out through the bottom or escaping over the top. The pen or structure shall also provide the animal protection from the elements. All pens and enclosures must comply with all zoning and building regulations of the city. The owner shall also display in a conspicuous manner a sign using the words “Beware of Dog” on the pen or structure or near the entrances to the residence where the animal is kept. At any time when the animal is not confined as required, the animal shall be muzzled in a manner as to prevent it from escaping, biting or injuring any person, and kept on a leash no longer than four feet with the adult owner or some other responsible adult attending the animal.

2. Liability Insurance. The chief may order the owner of a dangerous or vicious animal which has caused an injury to any person or severe injury to any animal to maintain, in full force and effect, a liability insurance policy issued by an insurance company authorized to sell insurance in Alaska or by an “eligible surplus line insurer,” as defined in AS 21.34.900(2), in the amount of at least $100,000 for coverage against any damage or injury that may be caused by the animal during the period for which licensing is sought. The insurance shall contain a provision requiring the city be named as an additional insured for the sole purpose of being notified by the insurance company of any cancellation, termination or expiration of the policy.

3. Spaying or Neutering. The chief may order the owner of a dangerous or vicious animal to arrange for the alteration of the reproductive capacity, through spaying or neutering, of the animal. Alteration shall be at the owner’s expense.

4. Obedience Class. The chief may order that the animal be enrolled in and complete obedience classes. The classes shall be at the owner’s expense.

5. Humane Euthanasia. The chief may order the humane destruction of any animal that has been found to be vicious. Euthanasia shall be at the owner’s expense.

E. In the event the animal has already been impounded and if the owner consents to the conditions as set by the chief, the animal, unless destroyed, shall be released to the owner upon compliance with the conditions of release and payment of required fees. If the owner does not consent to the conditions, the chief may order the animal humanely destroyed no sooner than 96 hours (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays excluded) after service upon the owner of the chief’s decision. Oral notice to the owner at the hearing shall constitute one means of service.

F. If the chief determines that the owner has trained or conditioned an animal to be vicious or allowed or permitted the training or conditioning, the chief may require that the owner comply with any or all of the subsections contained in subsection (D) of this section (other than subsection (D)(5) of this section) as a condition to owning another animal in the city. The requirements may not extend beyond three years, commencing with a determination and classification of the owner’s animal as vicious. (Ord. 07-029 § 21, 2007; Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007; Ord. 631 § 7, 2004; Ord. 525 § 5, 1997; Ord. 416 § 4, 1990; Ord. 406 § 4, 1989)

6.14.030 Scope of hearings before the animal control board.

Repealed by Ord. 631. (Ord. 416 § 4, 1990; Ord. 406 § 4, 1989)

6.14.040 Hearing procedure.

Repealed by Ord. 07-009. (Ord. 631 § 7, 2004; Ord. 424 § 3, 1991; Ord. 416 § 4, 1990; Ord. 406 § 4, 1989)

6.14.045 Board determination.

Repealed by Ord. 07-009. (Ord. 631 § 7, 2004)

6.14.050 Animal control board.

Repealed by Ord. 631. (Ord. 453 § 3, 1992; Ord. 416 § 4, 1990; Ord. 406 § 4, 1989)

6.14.055 Animals which reside outside the city limits.

If an incident occurring in the city limits has been referred to the chief and the animal resides outside the city limits, the chief shall follow the normal course and, after rendering his or her determination, provide written notification of his or her findings to the animal control board or animal board of the municipality in which the animal resides. Should the animal resume residence within the city, the chief can order that the animal be registered with the city or alternatively, if circumstances warrant, that the animal be humanely euthanized. (Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007; Ord. 647 § 3, 2004; Ord. 631 § 7, 2004)

6.14.060 Owner compliance.

A. The owner shall comply with all the requirements of the chief’s order within 10 business days of notification. Personal notification shall be made by a Palmer police department officer.

B. In addition, the owner shall notify the chief within the 10-business-day period that the owner has complied with all the requirements of the order. If within the 10-business-day period the owner fails to comply or fails to so notify the chief, the owner shall be fined as stated in PMC 6.28.010. (Ord. 14-026 § 3, 2014; Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007; Ord. 631 § 7, 2004)

6.14.065 Right to appeal.

A. An animal owner aggrieved by the chief’s classification of an animal as dangerous or vicious is entitled to a hearing before a hearing officer, pursuant to the following procedures:

1. A request for a hearing shall be in writing and filed with the clerk within five business days of the date the animal owner is served with the chief’s written administrative order.

2. Within five business days of receipt of the written request for a hearing by the clerk, a hearing date shall be set no sooner than 20 calendar days, nor later than 30 calendar days, after receipt of the request.

3. The chief shall file the record with the clerk regarding the case within five business days after receipt of notice of appeal.

4. Witness lists, written briefs by the animal owner and chief, and other information to be considered by the hearing officer shall be filed by the parties no less than five business days before the hearing.

B. A person who files an appeal under this section may withdraw that appeal by a written request to the clerk. (Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007)

6.14.070 Conduct of hearing.

A. The meeting at which the hearing officer deliberates and decides an appeal shall be open to the public and a record of the hearing shall be made.

B. The hearing shall be subject to the following order and time limitations:

1. Chief: 10 minutes to present his or her decision;

2. Animal owner: 15 minutes;

3. Appellee: 15 minutes;

4. Interested persons: three minutes each;

5. Animal owner, for rebuttal: five minutes.

C. Upon hearing the evidence, the hearing officer shall deliberate and issue written findings and conclusions based on the evidence on the record within 10 business days of the hearing. The decision shall include an order stating the amount of fees and costs associated with the care of the animal while the case was pending. (Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007)

6.14.075 Filing fees.

A. A $100.00 filing fee shall accompany an appeal to the hearing officer from a determination and related administrative order.

B. If an appeal is withdrawn, the filing fee shall be reimbursed to the person who filed the appeal based on the following schedule:

1. Filing date through 10 business days: 75 percent.

2. More than 11 business days after filing date: zero percent. (Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007)

6.14.080 Animal fees upon appeal.

An animal whose owner is awaiting a decision on appeal may remain in impoundment at the chief’s sole discretion. The owner is responsible for all fees and expenses reasonably incurred from the date of impoundment. A request to appeal a decision of the chief to the hearing officer shall be accompanied by advance payment of room and board fees calculated from the date of the decision of the chief to the date set for hearing by the hearing officer. (Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007)

6.14.085 Appeals to superior court.

A. Appeals by the animal owner from the written decision of the hearing officer shall be to the superior court in Palmer, Alaska, and governed by the 600 series of the Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure. The clerk shall estimate the cost of preparing the transcript of the hearing and compiling the record on appeal. The animal owner shall deposit the estimated costs for preparation of the transcript and record with the clerk in advance. Upon completion of the record on appeal, the clerk shall refund any excess deposit or charge to the animal owner for costs exceeding the deposit.

B. The hearing before the superior court is an administrative appeal heard solely on the record established before the hearing officer. (Ord. 07-009 § 5, 2007)