Chapter 8.08


8.08.010    Poundmaster.

8.08.020    Interference with poundmaster.

8.08.030    Authority to enter premises.

8.08.040    Impoundment duties.

8.08.050    Citations.

8.08.060    Prima facie evidence of violations.

8.08.070    Administration and enforcement – Penalties for violations.

8.08.080    Dog capture or dispatch powers.

8.08.100    Property owners authorized to capture.

8.08.110    Badges.

8.08.120    Statements by dog owners – requirements.

8.08.130    Detention and destruction of animals declared to be vicious or habitual offenders.

8.08.140    Appeals.


The office of poundmaster is created. The poundmaster shall supervise the animal shelter and the care of animals impounded therein and shall administer and enforce this title and all laws concerning animal shelters, animals and the impounding thereof within the city. He shall also enforce such other provisions of this code or of ordinances or state laws relative to the care, treatment or impounding of animals for the prevention of cruelty thereto. It is the further duty of the poundmaster to: (1) call for, take up, seize and impound any and all stray animals on the streets of the city and from the possession and custody of any person upon whose property the same may be, upon the call or request of such person, and to dispose of same in the manner provided by this title; (2) to patrol the city streets for violations of this title and to seize and impound said animals from the public streets of the city; and (3) to call for, take up, take away and dispose of animals if such have died and are upon the public streets or upon property of any person not the owner thereof.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988: Ord. 70-7 § 1 (part), 1970).


It is unlawful for any person to resist or interfere with the poundmaster or deputy poundmasters in the discharge of their official duties.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988: Ord. 70-7 § 1 (part), 1970).


Animal control officers and city police are authorized to enter and inspect any premises upon which any animal is kept. Such officer may demand that the owner produce proof that the animal is licensed in compliance with this title.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988: Ord. 70-7 § 1 (part), 1970).


It shall be the duty of the poundmaster and his deputies to take up and deliver to the animal shelter those animals which are directed to be taken up and impounded by this title or which are found or kept contrary to the provisions of this title.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988: Ord. 70-7 § 1 (part) 1970).

8.08.050 CITATIONS.

For the purpose of discharging the duties imposed by this title, the poundmaster and animal control officers are authorized to arrest persons for violations of this title and to issue citations to persons arrested pursuant to Section 853.6 of the Penal Code of the state of California.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988: Ord. 70-7 § 1 (part), 1970).


Upon proof by the poundmaster that a dog was found running at large in violation of the provisions of this title, together with proof that the defendant was the owner or was a person having charge, care or control of such dog at the time, shall constitute prima facie evidence that the owner or such other person did allow or permit the dog to run at large.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988: Ord. 70-7 § 1 (part), 1970).


Any person in violation of any provision of this title shall be subject to the penalties provided in Title 4.

(Ord. 2021-18 § 19, 2021; Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988: Ord. 70-7 § 1 (part), 1970).


Animal control officers are hereby expressly authorized, when acting in the course and scope of their official duties, to capture or, if no other reasonably effective means of control is available, to kill any dog found at large in the act of violating Section 8.14.430.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988).


Any person who finds any dog upon his or her property without permission, in violation of this chapter, may use any reasonable means to capture such dog for the purpose of delivering it to the poundmaster for impoundment.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988).

8.08.110 BADGES.

Animal control officers, while engaged in the execution of their duties, shall wear in plain view a badge having, in the case of the poundmaster, the word “Poundmaster,” and in the case of the deputy poundmaster, the words, “Deputy Poundmaster” engraved thereon.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988).


Upon request of an animal control officer or any peace officer, the owner of any dog shall state his/her true name and residence address and produce evidence that the dog has a current rabies vaccination or the license certificate required by this title.

(Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988).


(a)    Whenever the poundmaster or his or her deputy lawfully impounds any animal and he or she has reasonable cause to believe that the impounded animal is a habitual offender as defined in subsection (d) of this section, the poundmaster may declare the animal a habitual offender.

(b)    Whenever the poundmaster or his or her deputy lawfully impounds any animal for acting as a vicious animal as defined in Section 8.04.010(q) (based upon the observations of the officer or the sworn written statement of one or more persons), the poundmaster may declare the animal a vicious animal.

(c)    Upon declaring an animal either a habitual offender or a vicious animal, the poundmaster shall serve upon the owner of the animal either personally or by first-class mail with return receipt requested, written notice that such animal shall be destroyed or otherwise subject to appropriate mitigation measures, upon the expiration of the appeal period, unless the owner requests a hearing before the city’s administrative enforcement hearing officer. The notice shall contain: (1) the name, business address and telephone number of the person providing the notice; (2) the authority for the order; (3) a description of the animal, including any known identification upon the animal; (4) a copy of the complainant’s statement and report of the poundmaster, if any; (5) a statement from the poundmaster specifying whether the animal shall be destroyed or proposing mitigation measures; and (6) notice of the owner’s right to request a hearing before the hearing officer to appeal the poundmaster’s order by signing and returning the enclosed declaration of ownership or right to keep the animal to the poundmaster within three days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, of the date on the notice. Having served such notice, the poundmaster shall detain the animal at the owner’s expense until the animal is destroyed, or appropriate mitigation measures are ordered, or a hearing held. At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer may order the animal’s destruction or may order appropriate mitigation measures. If the hearing officer determines that the animal was not lawfully impounded, the animal shall be returned to its owner and no impound charges of any kind shall be imposed.

(d)    As used in this section, the term “habitual offender” shall refer to any offending animal which has violated the provisions of Title 8 on three or more separate occasions. To be a habitual offender the animal need not violate the same provision of Title 8 three times but, rather, have a total of three violations of one or more of Title 8’s provisions.

(Ord. 2001-09 § 1, 2001: Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988).

8.08.140 APPEALS.

The owner served with a notice pursuant to Section 8.08.130(c) may appeal the decision of the poundmaster to the city’s administrative enforcement hearing officer in the manner specified in Chapter 4.20 of the Santa Cruz Municipal Code and for purposes of that chapter, the poundmaster’s order shall be considered an administrative abatement notice and order. However, notwithstanding Section 4.20.010(1), the appeal of any such administrative abatement notice and order must be filed in writing within three days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, of the date on the administrative abatement notice and order. When appealed, the poundmaster’s order shall not be carried out until an appeal hearing is held and the hearing officer either upholds or overturns the order.

(Ord. 2001-09 § 2, 2001: Ord. 88-63 § 2, 1988).