Chapter 6.20
IMPOUNDMENT

Sections:

6.20.010    Animals at large.

6.20.020    Impoundment of vicious animals.

6.20.040    Care of animals.

6.20.050    Charges for impoundment—Basic.

6.20.055    Charges for impoundment—Daily costs.

6.20.060    Charges for impoundment—Hearing.

6.20.070    Disposal of animals—On owner’s request.

6.20.080    Disposal of animals—Infirm or dangerous animals.

6.20.090    Reclaiming impounded animals.

6.20.100    Adoption of impounded animals.

6.20.105    Spaying or neutering of adopted animals.

6.20.110    Disposal of unclaimed animals.

6.20.115    Furnishing animals for research purposes.

6.20.120    Recordkeeping requirements.

6.20.010 Animals at large.

It shall be the duty of the Director of Animal Control Services to impound on sight, after making such investigation as is reasonable under the circumstances for the purpose of locating the owner, any animal found at large contrary to any of the provisions of Chapters 6.04 through 6.12 and 6.24 SCCC or of Division 14 of the Agricultural Code (commencing with Section 30501), and to keep any such animal so impounded as provided in this chapter and Chapters 6.04 through 6.12 and 6.24 SCCC. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 5, 1986; Ord. 2393, 1977; Ord. 540, 1957; prior code § 8.05.200].

6.20.020 Impoundment of vicious animals.

(A)    Whenever an animal is in violation of SCCC 6.12.100, 6.12.110, 6.12.130 or 6.12.140, or whenever a vicious animal as described in SCCC 6.04.020(W) has done any of the acts described in that section, the victim or any citizen with personal knowledge may submit to the Director of Animal Control Services a signed written statement describing the incident and the animal or animals involved.

(B)    If, after making such investigation as is reasonable under the circumstances to determine the validity of the allegations contained in the statement, the Director of Animal Control Services or his or her designated deputy finds that the animal or animals should be impounded, the Director shall personally serve upon the owner written notice of his intent to impound said animal or animals at the expiration of 72 hours, and the reasons therefor, a copy of the victim or citizen’s statement and notice of the owner’s right to request an administrative hearing prior to the impoundment. The administrative hearing shall be held within two days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, after receipt of the request. The Director of Animal Control Services, or some other officer, employee or outside hearing officer designated by the Director, may conduct the hearing. Failure of the owner or keeper, or his or her agent, to request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result in a forfeiture of any right to challenge the Director’s impound order.

(C)    Upon the expiration of the 72-hour period, the Director of Animal Control Services is expressly authorized to impound the animal or animals whether found on or off the premises of its owner, and to keep or abate any such animal so impounded as provided in this title.

(D)    However, if after making his or her investigation, the Director of Animal Control Services or his or her designated deputy finds that extraordinary circumstances exist such that immediate seizure of the animal or animals is necessary to protect the personal safety of the public, the Director is expressly authorized to immediately impound the animal or animals, whether found on or off the premises of its owner, and to keep or abate any such animal so impounded as provided in this title, without otherwise complying with the requirements of subsection (B) of this section.

(E)    Refusal of the owner to release or deliver the animal to the Director of Animal Control Services or his or her designated deputy, upon demand made pursuant to this section, is a misdemeanor. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 5, 1986; Ord. 2393, 1977; Ord. 540, 1957; prior code § 8.05.200].

6.20.040 Care of animals.

When any animal is so impounded, it shall be provided with proper and sufficient food and water by the Director of Animal Control Services. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 540, 1957; prior code § 8.05.220].

6.20.050 Charges for impoundment—Basic.

(A)    The Director of Animal Control Services shall charge, and collect from the owner, the charges for impounding animals as established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.

(B)    For cats and dogs impounded for the first time, the Director of Animal Control Services may waive the impounding fee for any unaltered dog or cat when, prior to the release of the animal, the reclaiming owner volunteers his animal for spaying or neutering, and deposits the fees for the spaying or neutering with the Director.

(C)    Upon the second or subsequent impoundment of a dog or cat, the Director of Animal Control Services may not waive the impounding fee for any such unaltered animal. Prior to the release of this subsequently impounded dog or cat, the Director shall require that the animal be spayed or neutered and shall require the owner to pay the impounding fee as established by resolution, and to deposit the fees for the spaying or neutering with the Director.

(1)    The Director shall serve upon the owner of the animal either personally or by first-class mail with return receipt requested, written notice that said animal shall be spayed or neutered upon the expiration of the appeal period, unless the owner requests an administrative hearing.

(2)    The notice shall contain: (a) the name, business address and telephone number of the person providing the notice; (b) the authority for the order to spay or neuter the animal; (c) a description of the animal, including any known identification upon the animal; (d) notice of the owner’s right to request an administrative hearing to appeal the Director’s order by signing and returning the enclosed declaration of ownership or right to keep the animal to the Director within three days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, of the date on the notice. Having served such notice, the Director shall continue to detain the animal at the owner’s expense until a hearing is held or the animal is spayed or neutered. The notice shall also include a statement that the cost of caring and treating any animal is a lien on the animal, and that the animal shall not be returned to its owner until the charges are paid.

(3)    The administrative hearing shall be held within two days, excluding weekends and legal holidays, after receipt of the request. The Director of Animal Control Services, or some other officer, employee or outside hearing officer designated by the Director, may conduct the hearing as long as the hearing officer was not involved with the impoundment and is not junior in rank to that person. Failure of the owner or keeper, or his or her agent, to request or to attend a scheduled hearing shall result in a forfeiture of any right to challenge the Director’s order to spay or neuter the animal.

(4)    The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed to the Animal Nuisance Abatement Appeals Commission pursuant to Chapter 2.66 SCCC. The Commission may order the animal spayed or neutered, or returned to its owner without being spayed or neutered. Except as modified by the provisions of this section, the procedures established, and fees required by Chapter 2.66 SCCC shall govern any appeal to the Commission.

(5)    The owner shall pay all impound charges required by law before the animal is released from the shelter. If the owner refuses to make such payment, the Director shall dispose of the animal as provided in SCCC 6.20.100 or 6.20.110. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 8, 1986; Ord. 2551, 1978; Ord. 2170, 1975; Ord. 1670, 1972; Ord. 1220, 1966; Ord. 540, 1957; prior code § 8.05.230].

6.20.055 Charges for impoundment—Daily costs.

In addition to the charges specified in SCCC 6.20.050, the Director of Animal Control Services shall charge and collect from the owner for care and feeding of impounded animals the following charges for each day or portion thereof following the day in which the animal was impounded: for each animal, the reasonable cost incurred in caring for and feeding the animal, as established by Board of Supervisors’ resolution. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 9, 1986; prior code § 8.05.231].

6.20.060 Charges for impoundment—Hearing.

(A)    Whenever an owner objects to payment of impound charges on the ground that the impoundment of his or her animal was not lawfully accomplished as provided in this title, the owner shall be notified that he or she has a right to an administrative hearing before the Director of Animal Control Services personally (or before some other impartial officer or official designated by the Director for this purpose) on the sole issue of the lawfulness of the seizure of the animal. Such hearing shall be held no later than 12 hours after a request is made by the owner.

(B)    The hearing shall be informal in nature, and the owner, the impounding officer, and any other person having personal knowledge of any fact relevant to the issue of the lawfulness of the seizure of the animal may appear and testify.

(C)    If no hearing is requested within 48 hours after notification of a right to hearing, or if a hearing is held and the hearing officer determines that the animal was lawfully impounded, the owner shall pay all impound charges required by law before the animal is released from the pound. If the owner refuses to make such payment, the Director of Animal Control Services shall dispose of the animal as provided in SCCC 6.20.100 or 6.20.110. If, after hearing, the Director 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. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 10, 1986; Ord. 2393, 1977; prior code § 8.05.235].

6.20.070 Disposal of animals—On owner’s request.

It shall be the duty of the Director of Animal Control Services to dispose of any domestic animal pet or pets at the request of the owner thereof when such owner delivers the pet to the Director. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 1371, 1968; prior code § 8.05.245].

6.20.080 Disposal of animals—Infirm or dangerous animals.

The Director of Animal Control Services is authorized, directed and empowered forthwith to destroy in a humane manner any animal lawfully impounded which is by reason of disease or injury unfit for further use, or is dangerous to keep impounded. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 11, 1986; Ord. 540, 1957; prior code § 8.05.240].

6.20.090 Reclaiming impounded animals.

The owner of any impounded animal shall have the right to reclaim the same at any time prior to the lawful disposition thereof, provided payment is made to the Director of Animal Control Services of the costs and charges specified for the impounding and keeping of the animals; and provided further, that as to any dog without a current license, a deposit is made with the Director to cover the license fee and the cost of a rabies vaccination. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 13, 1986; Ord. 1572, 1971; Ord. 540, 1957; prior code § 8.05.260].

6.20.100 Adoption of impounded animals.

Unless impounded animals without proper identification are redeemed within 72 hours, or animals with proper identification or under protective custody status are redeemed within seven days, they may be offered for adoption by the Director of Animal Control Services, provided all reasonable effort has been made to notify the owner of the animal; and provided further, that the adopter shall not be given possession of any dog or dogs, including dogs under six months of age, until he has deposited with the Director a sum sufficient to cover the cost of a rabies vaccination for any dog which does not have a current vaccination. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 14, 1986; Ord. 1573, 1971; Ord. 1447, 1969; Ord. 540, 1957; prior code § 8.05.270].

6.20.105 Spaying or neutering of adopted animals.

Unless a licensed veterinarian states in writing that the date specified in the adoption agreement is inappropriate for the animal in question, any person adopting an unspayed or unneutered dog or cat from any animal shelter, humane society, or SPCA shelter in the County shall have the animal spayed or neutered on or before a date specified in the adoption agreement. On submission of a written statement from a licensed veterinarian to the officer at the shelter or pound responsible for ensuring compliance with this section, the adoption agreement will be modified accordingly. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 15, 1986; prior code § 8.05.275].

6.20.110 Disposal of unclaimed animals.

(A)    The Director of Animal Control Services may, and is authorized and empowered to, destroy in a humane manner, or otherwise dispose of, any animal lawfully impounded without proper identification which remains unclaimed by its owners, if any, for more than 72 hours excluding weekends and legal holidays.

(B)    Stray dogs and cats with proper identification or under protective custody status, that are impounded by the Director of Animal Control Services, shall be held for a minimum of seven days. During the period that the animal is held by the Director of Animal Control Services, the Director shall attempt to inform the owner of the location of the impounded animal and how the owner may claim the animal. If telephone contact is unsuccessful, the owner shall be notified by mail sent to the last recorded address of the owner. Seven days after mailed notice is sent, the Director may destroy or otherwise dispose of such animal in a humane manner.

(C)    Disposal of unclaimed livestock shall be in accordance with Food and Agriculture Codes and regulations. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 12, 1986; Ord. 2170, 1975; prior code § 8.05.250].

6.20.115 Furnishing animals for research purposes.

The Director of Animal Control Services shall not furnish any animals from the animal shelter for research purposes. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 3728 § 16, 1986; prior code § 8.05.285].

6.20.120 Recordkeeping requirements.

The Director of Animal Control Services shall keep a record of the number of all animals impounded showing in detail in the case of each animal the description, dates of receipt, the date and manner of disposal, the name of any person redeeming or adopting, and any fees and charges received on account thereof, and such additional records as may be required by the Board of Supervisors. [Ord. 4490 § 11, 1998; Ord. 1220, 1966; prior code § 8.05.280].