Chapter 17.10


17.10.020    Unlawful acts.

17.10.030    Cruelty, responsibility for.

17.10.040    Ownership, trespass – Not a defense.

17.10.050    Exclusions.

17.10.060    Limitations on application of section.

17.10.070    Penalty.


Ord. 635    05/05/98


Ord. 679    11/23/99

Ord. 753    07/13/04

Ord. 775    06/21/05

17.10.020 Unlawful acts.

Unlawful behavior shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following:

(1) Torturing, beating, maiming, poisoning, mutilating, injuring, or crippling any animal;

(2) Failure to provide any animal in one’s charge with access to food, water, shelter, space, veterinary care, air and ventilation, sanitation, sunlight, exercise, protection from extreme heat or cold sufficient to maintain the animal’s proper weight, nutrition, and health;

(3) Keeping, using, owning, or possessing any property, paraphernalia, or animals for the purpose of animal fighting or animal baiting; giving, receiving, or wagering money in relation to any animal fighting or baiting; causing an animal to fight; or training an animal to fight other animals;

(4) Tormenting or abusing any animal;

(5) Abandonment or neglect of any animal over whom a person has ownership, charged care, custody, or possession. Abandonment shall include the leaving unattended of animals at a commercial or public establishment in an effort to give away or sell such animal;

(6) Confinement, placement, or transport of an animal in any vehicle in a manner that jeopardizes the safety of the animal or the public or which could subject the animal to injury or suffering:

(a) When transporting any living animal on the outside part of any vehicle, such animal shall be caged, harnessed, or enclosed, keeping such animal from falling or being thrown from the vehicle transporting it;

(7) Driving or working an animal when such animal is unfit for such driving or labor;

(8) Driving, working, or loading an animal in any manner or quantity so as to cause suffering to the animal;

(9) Dyeing or artificially coloring any animal with any toxic paint or chemical or with intent to alter the identity of any animal for unlawful purposes or administering or purposefully exposing any animal to caustic, noxious, or poisonous substance;

(10) Any violation as defined by Chapter 16.52 RCW.

17.10.030 Cruelty, responsibility for.

(1) In addition to any other penalties, a person charged with animal cruelty, based on probable cause, shall pay all costs necessary to restore the animal(s) injured to good health or to otherwise ameliorate the effects of the cruelty. In addition, the charged person shall pay all costs incurred for boarding and caring for any animal necessary to restore the animal’s health resulting from the act(s) of cruelty. Once the animal is restored to health, and based on probable cause, a person charged with animal cruelty may be required to permanently surrender the animal to the shelter.

(2) In addition to any of the penalties, the court may prohibit any person charged under this section from owning any interest in, or possessing or having care or control of any animal, or any species of animals designated by the court, for a period of time to be determined by the court. The court may also require forfeiture to the County of any animals owned, possessed, or in the care or custody of a person charged under this section.

(3) In addition to any other penalties, the court may also order the defendant to participate in an available animal cruelty prevention or education program or obtain available psychological counseling to treat mental health problems contributing to the violation’s commission. The defendant shall bear the cost of the program or treatment.

(4) The owner of an animal that is subjected to an act of cruelty by a person or persons in violation of this section may bring a civil action to recover the damages sustained by such owner.

17.10.040 Ownership, trespass – Not a defense.

(1) It shall not be a defense to the crime of cruelty to animals for the person committing the cruel act(s) to assert that he is the owner of the animal(s) that were the victim(s) of the alleged cruelty.

(2) Trespass shall not be a defense to any action under this section.

17.10.050 Exclusions.

Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit accepted practices used in the commercial raising or slaughtering of livestock or poultry, or products thereof, or the use of animals in the normal and usual course of rodeo events, animal shows, or to the customary use or exhibiting of animals in the normal and usual events at fairs as defined in RCW 15.76.120.

Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the humane and sanitary procedures performed by a veterinarian to meet commonly accepted breed standards. All neutering of livestock must be performed using commonly accepted and humane procedures.

17.10.060 Limitations on application of section.

No part of this section shall be deemed to interfere with any of the laws of this State known as the “game laws.” Nor shall it interfere with the right to kill animals to be used for food or with any properly conducted scientific experiments or investigations, when such experiments or investigations are performed under the authority of the facility of some regularly incorporated college or university of the State of Washington or a research facility registered with the Department of Agriculture and regulated by 7 U.S.C. Section 2131 et seq.

17.10.070 Penalty.

The penalty for violation of this chapter is imposed without regard to any wrongful intention of the violator. Violation of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent prosecution pursuant to Chapter 16.52 RCW.