Chapter 7.16


7.16.010    Generally.

7.16.020    Equine animals.

7.16.030    Cattle.

7.16.040    Hogs, sows, and pigs.

7.16.050    Cats and dogs.

7.16.060    Experimentation.

7.16.070    Trapping.

7.16.080    Capturing wildlife.

7.16.090    Removal of neglected animals.

7.16.100    Authority of officers to offer relief.

7.16.110    Violation – Penalty.

7.16.120    Federal and state laws – Violation deemed misdemeanor.

7.16.010 Generally.

A. It is unlawful for any person to intentionally or carelessly injure any animal or fowl within the city or fail to immediately report the incident to the animal control authority, or fail to render aid to any injured animal or bird or to otherwise deal with it in other than a humane and compassionate manner.

B. Sanitary Keeping. It is unlawful to keep any fowls or animals within the city unless the places where they are kept are at all times maintained in a sanitary condition. If the animal control authority determines that the condition of the place where the fowls or animals are kept is unsanitary, the party so keeping the same shall have a period not to exceed five days in which to place the same in a sanitary condition in accordance with the direction of the animal control authority. If the unsanitary condition is not abated within the five days, the premises may be abated as a nuisance.

C. Castration. It is unlawful for any person other than an accredited veterinarian to castrate or spay any animal.

D. Abandonment. It is unlawful for any person to transport any animal within the city limits for the purpose of abandoning it either within or without the city limits, or to place any animal on public or private property for the purpose of abandonment.

E. Transporting or Confining in an Unsafe Manner. It is unlawful for any person to willfully transport or confine or cause to be transported or confined any domestic animal or animals in a manner, posture, or confinement that will jeopardize the safety of the animal or the public.

F. Mistreatment. It is unlawful for any person to keep or harbor an animal within the city without providing a suitable dry place for the housing thereof, or to fail to provide a suitable amount of wholesome food and clean water for the nutrition and comfort thereof, or to leave the premises upon which such animal is confined, or to which it customarily returns, for more than 24 hours without providing for the feeding and care of such animal in the absence of such person.

G. Spoiled Feed.

1. It is unlawful for any person to sell, give, barter, trade, or convey hay or feed of any kind that is mildewed or musty, or otherwise unfit for feed for stock or poultry; and

2. It is unlawful for any person to feed such unfit feed to cattle or poultry.

H. Injury by Vehicle.

1. It is unlawful for any person to willfully injure, beat, abuse, or run down any animal with a vehicle.

2. Any person who kills or injures an animal while driving a vehicle shall stop at the scene of the accident and render such assistance as practicable, shall make a reasonable effort to locate and identify himself to the owner of the animal, and shall report the accident immediately to the police department or the animal control authority.

I. Coloring or Dyeing. It is unlawful to color young chicks or rabbits or any other animals with dyes or powders, or any other substance.

J. Sales or Gifts of Young Domestic Fowl. It is unlawful to sell, give away or otherwise dispose of young domestic fowl to any one person in lots of less than six.

K. Carnival Restrictions. No person operating a carnival, concession, bazaar, etc., shall give away any live fowl or animal in connection therewith, or use any live fowl or animal for rings to be thrown over or to be shot at in any manner. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.020 Equine animals.

The following regulations shall apply to equine animals:

A. Shelter. All equine animals shall be sheltered in a warm, clean stable between the first day of October and the last day of the following March, with reasonable shelter the balance of the year.

B. Shoeing. All equine animals shall be properly shod, except when being used exclusively in the field. In icy weather the shoes shall be such as to give the animal secure footing.

C. Harness. No harness, collar, sweat-pad, bridle, blanket, saddle, or other equipment shall be used on any equine animal which may cause it pain or discomfort, all of the same shall be mended by riveting, sewing, lacing and the use of strong straps. The use of any kind of wire is prohibited.

D. Bits. Spade bits, J.I.C. bits, bits with long curb, or bits other than standard make, are prohibited.

E. Spurs. The use of spurs with sharp or pointed rowels is prohibited. Locked or wired rowels are also prohibited.

F. Lame or Injured – Working Prohibited. It is unlawful to work or ride any equine animal when it is lame or suffering from any injury or diseased condition or when it cannot masticate its hay or other rough forage properly, but such last-mentioned animal shall be kept in pasture and fed such foods as it can masticate, otherwise it shall be disposed of in a humane manner.

G. Disposal. It is unlawful for any person to dispose of or to accept from any person, any equine animal which is over age, wind-broken, spavined, diseased or permanently injured if such animal is to be used by the recipient for work, riding, or profit.

H. Riding Academies. Owners or operators of riding academies shall arrange such a schedule that each horse used for hire shall have one full day of rest each week, not to exceed seven hours of riding per day. A well-ventilated stable, devoid of direct draft and with a dry earthen or wooden floor and a reasonable amount of dry bedding shall be provided.

I. Overloading. It is unlawful to overwork any equine animal, or combination thereof, or to drive any such when sick, lame, or crippled; nor shall any mare be worked until after a reasonable rest period after foaling.

J. Endangering Health. It is unlawful to negligently or willfully endanger the life or health of any equine animal by failing to provide it with food, light, air, water or space fairly sufficient for its needs and comfort.

K. Drugging. It is unlawful to give a horse a drug or substance for the purpose of pepping up such animal to increase its ability to work when lame or injured, to increase its salability, or to win a race.

L. Condemnation Board. It is unlawful to work an equine animal which is decrepit through old age or otherwise. Any person who owns such animal shall either cease working such animal and provide proper care therefor, or shall immediately dispose of such animal in a humane manner. The municipal court is authorized in the proper case to order the immediate disposal of such animal for humane purposes. In the matter of the disposal of such animals, a condemnation board is created to advise the court in such cases. Such board may call to the attention of the court any case of this character, and the court may, in its discretion, consult with and ask the advice of such board. Such condemnation board shall consist of two accredited veterinarians of the state, one humane officer of the humane society, or a police officer of the city to be appointed by the acting president of the humane society. Such board members shall serve without pay or compensation for expenses. The board, upon request of the court as aforesaid, shall examine any animal, and return their findings and recommendations in writing to the court. If the court determines that such animal shall be destroyed and disposed of, it shall issue such order to the police chief of the city and he shall see that such order is carried out as soon as convenient. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.030 Cattle.

The following regulations shall apply to bovine animals:

A. Milking. All cows must be milked at least twice each day, except during the drying-up period, and within 12-hour periods.

B. Salt Licks. Salt licks shall be provided at points easily accessible to cows and young stock at all times.

C. Cleanliness. All stables, corrals, or pens in which cattle are confined shall be kept dry and clean, and containers for salt, food, and water shall be kept in a like condition.

D. Disposition of Dead Animals. No dead carcasses shall be allowed to remain at any time in the vicinity of a place where cattle graze or are kept, but shall be removed and burned or buried at once.

E. Isolation of Diseased Animal. As soon as disease is discovered in any animal, it shall be isolated from other cattle as soon as possible.

F. Storm Protection. Each pasture shall be provided with a storm shelter for the protection of the cattle.

G. Mechanical Pokes Illegal. It is unlawful to pierce the hide of any animal or to attach any mechanical device for the purpose of breaking it from fence breaking or jumping, but wooden pokes may be used to break it from such habit.

H. Goad Sticks. It shall be unlawful to use a goad stick with sharpened or metal point or any electrical device designed as a goad on any cattle at any time. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.040 Hogs, sows, and pigs.

The following regulations shall apply to hogs, sows, and pigs:

A. Sanitary Shelter. Hogs, sows, and pigs shall be provided with a dry pen with clean, dry bedding to be changed at intervals frequently enough that the animals are kept free from lice and vermin.

B. Killing. These animals shall be killed in as humane a manner as possible, either by shooting with a rifle in the forehead, then sticking; or stunning with a heavy hammer, then sticking. But at no time shall the animal be stuck without first having been stunned.

C. Care of Sows and Little Pigs. Owners of sows about to bear litters shall give such sows special attention and provide them with bone meal and other feed that is required by a sow in that condition. No pig under six weeks old shall be weaned from the sow. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.050 Cats and dogs.

The following regulations shall apply to cats and dogs:

A. Female Dogs in Season. All female dogs while in season shall be confined in a clean enclosure inaccessible to other dogs and kept there during that entire period.

B. Collars, Etc. Collars, leashes, sweaters, harnesses, muzzles, etc., shall so fit a dog as to cause it no discomfort or pain.

C. Tying. No dog shall be allowed less than 10 feet of rope, chain, wire, etc., when tied up. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.060 Experimentation.

A. No living animal, reptile or fowl shall be used for any public experiment or scientific use, where that creature will be subject to cutting, electricity, heat, water, chemicals, powders, or injections of serums, except for the purpose of saving the creature’s life or the making of antitoxin for the purpose of saving either human or animal life.

B. Any person owning or having charge of any building used for such illegal purpose set out in subsection (A) of this section, shall be held equally guilty with the experimenter if he has knowingly permitted the same. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.070 Trapping.

No person shall be allowed to trap any animal, with the exception of rats and mice, except with a box trap made of chicken mesh or screen, and that person must visit his traps at least once each day. This section shall not apply to trapping performed by the Washington State Department of Game. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.080 Capturing wildlife.

No person shall catch or take captive any wild animal or bird, except to return it to its native habitat; he may keep it long enough to recover from exhaustion or injury. This section shall not apply to captures performed by the Washington State Department of Game. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.090 Removal of neglected animals.

A. If the animal control officer or other law enforcement officer shall find that a domestic animal has been neglected by its owner, he or she may authorize the removal of the animal to a suitable place for feeding and restoring to health.

B. If an animal control officer or other law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe a violation of this chapter has occurred, the officer may authorize an examination of an allegedly neglected domestic animal by a veterinarian to determine whether the level of neglect is sufficient to require removal of the animal. This section does not condone illegal entry onto private property.

C. Any owner whose domestic animal is removed to a suitable place pursuant to this chapter shall be given written notice of the circumstances of the removal and notice of legal remedies available to the owner. In making the decision to remove an animal pursuant to this chapter, the law enforcement officer shall make a good faith effort to contact the animal’s owner before removal unless the animal is in a life-threatening condition or unless the officer reasonably believes that the owner would remove the animal from the jurisdiction.

D. If no criminal case is filed within 72 hours of the removal of the animal, the owner may petition Bellingham municipal court for the return of the animal. The petition shall be filed with the court, with copies served to Bellingham-Whatcom County humane society and to the city attorney. If a criminal action is filed after the petition is filed but before the animal is returned, the petition shall be joined with the criminal matter.

E. In a motion or petition for the return of the removed animal before a trial, the burden is on the owner to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the animal will not suffer future neglect and is not in need of being restored to health.

F. Any authorized person treating or attempting to restore an animal to health under this chapter shall not be civilly or criminally liable for such action.

G. Reasonable costs of veterinarian exam, food and shelter for the animal may be assessed against the owner. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.100 Authority of officers to offer relief.

Every police officer and animal control officer shall have the authority to summarily relieve any animal which is suffering from violence or constraint contrary to any of the provisions of this chapter. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.110 Violation – Penalty.

Failure to comply with, or violation of any of the provisions of this chapter, shall be deemed a misdemeanor; and any person found guilty thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days. The penalty may also include restitution for all costs associated with care, rehabilitation, transportation, and boarding of the animal. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].

7.16.120 Federal and state laws – Violation deemed misdemeanor.

The violation of any law or regulation of the United States or of the state of Washington with reference to songbirds, game birds, or migratory birds or waterfowl is a misdemeanor under this chapter, and such violation may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor as fully and completely as though the laws and regulations referred to were set out in full as a part of this chapter. [Ord. 10468 § 2, 1993].