Chapter 6.08
DANGEROUS ANIMALS

Sections:

6.08.010  Potentially dangerous animals.

6.08.020  Chapter 16.08 RCW, entitled “Dogs” – Adoption by reference.

6.08.030  Dangerous animals.

6.08.040  Police dogs.

6.08.010 Potentially dangerous animals.

A. Declaration of an Animal as “Potentially Dangerous.” The animal control authority is authorized to declare an animal potentially dangerous if the animal control authority has probable cause to believe that the animal falls within the definition of “potentially dangerous animal” set forth in MCMC 6.02.060. The declaration shall be based upon:

1. The written complaint or declaration of a citizen that the animal has acted in a manner within the definition of “potentially dangerous animal” in MCMC 6.02.060; or

2. Animal bite reports filed with the animal control authority; or

3. Actions of the animal witnessed by the animal control authority or a law enforcement officer; or

4. Other substantial evidence.

B. Exception. An animal shall not be declared potentially dangerous if the animal control authority determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the threat, injury, or bite alleged to have been committed by the animal was sustained by a person who was:

1. At the time, committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the animal; or

2. At the time, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the animal; or

3. In the past, observed or reported to have tormented, abused or assaulted the animal; or

4. Committing or attempting to commit a crime.

C. Investigation by the Animal Control Authority of a Potentially Dangerous Animal – Preparation of Potentially Dangerous Animal Declaration. An investigation shall be initiated by the animal control authority if a report is received of a potentially dangerous animal. The investigation shall include, but not be limited to, interviewing the complainant, interviewing the owner of the animal, if known, and observing the animal. Upon completion of the investigation, if the animal is found to be potentially dangerous, the animal control authority shall prepare a written potentially dangerous animal declaration.

D. Potentially Dangerous Animal Declaration – Service – Final Determination. The service upon the owner of a potentially dangerous animal declaration shall be a final determination that the animal is a potentially dangerous animal. No appeal may be taken from a declaration of potentially dangerous animal. Service of the potentially dangerous animal declaration upon the owner of the animal may be made either by personal service to the owner, by posting such notice at the residence of the owner, or by certified mail to the last known address of the owner.

E. Change of Ownership, Custody, and/or Residence of a Potentially Dangerous Animal. Any owner of an animal declared potentially dangerous who sells, barters, or otherwise transfers the ownership, custody, or residence of the animal shall, within seven days of such change, inform the animal control authority in writing of the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner and the address where the animal is located.

F. Failure to Control an Animal Declared Potentially Dangerous. When an animal has been declared potentially dangerous, it shall be unlawful for the owner of the potentially dangerous animal to permit the animal to:

1. Run at large; or

2. When unprovoked, inflict a bite upon a human, pet, or livestock either on public or private property; or

3. Chase or approach a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any other public grounds in such a manner as to significantly threaten the safety of humans or permitted animals; or

4. Cause injury to or otherwise threaten the safety of humans or permitted animals.

G. Violation – Penalty. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine or both. This section shall not preclude immediate criminal prosecution under RCW 16.08.100 in a first bite situation causing severe injury or death of any human. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.08.020 Chapter 16.08 RCW, entitled “Dogs” – Adoption by reference.

The following RCW sections, as currently enacted or as hereafter amended or recodified from time to time, are hereby adopted by reference and shall be given the same force and effect as if set forth herein in full:

RCW

16.08.080  Dangerous dogs – Notice to owners – Right of appeal – Certificate of registration required – Surety bond – Liability insurance – Restrictions.

16.08.090  Dangerous dogs – Requirements for restraint – Potentially dangerous dogs – Dogs not declared dangerous.

16.08.100  Dangerous dogs – Confiscation – Conditions – Duties of animal control authority – Penalties and affirmative defenses for owners of dogs that attack – Dog fights, penalty.

(Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.08.030 Dangerous animals.

A. Declaration of an Animal as “Dangerous.” The animal control authority is authorized to declare an animal dangerous if the animal control authority has probable cause to believe that the animal falls within the definition of “dangerous animal” or “dangerous dog” set forth in MCMC 6.02.060. The declaration shall be based upon:

1. The written complaint or declaration of a citizen that the animal has acted in a manner within the definition of “dangerous animal” or “dangerous dog” as set forth in MCMC 6.02.060; or

2. Animal bite reports filed with the animal control authority; or

3. Actions of the animal witnessed by the animal control authority or a law enforcement officer; or

4. Other substantial evidence.

B. Exception. An animal shall not be declared dangerous if the animal control authority determines by a preponderance of the evidence that the threat, injury, or bite alleged to have been committed by the animal was sustained by a person who was:

1. At the time, committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the animal; or

2. At the time, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the animal; or

3. In the past, observed or reported to have tormented, abused or assaulted the animal; or

4. Committing or attempting to commit a crime.

C. Investigation by the Animal Control Authority of a Dangerous Animal – Preparation of Dangerous Animal Declaration. If the animal control authority receives a report of a dangerous animal, it shall initiate an investigation including, but not limited to, interviewing the complainant, interviewing the owner of the animal, if known, and observing the animal. If the animal control authority, upon completion of its investigation, declares the animal dangerous, the animal control authority shall prepare a written dangerous animal declaration.

D. Dangerous Animal Declaration – Service – Appeal. The dangerous animal declaration shall include, but is not limited to, a description of the animal, the name and address of the owner of the animal, if known, a brief summary of the facts upon which the declaration is based, a statement of any restrictions placed on the animal or owner as a consequence of the declaration, a statement of the penalties for further violations, and notice of the right to appeal the declaration pursuant to Chapter 6.20 MCMC. The animal control authority shall personally serve or send by certified mail its declaration to the owner of the animal. If the owner is unknown, the animal control authority shall make reasonable efforts to notify the owner of its written declaration.

E. Registration Required. The owner of the dangerous animal is required to (1) register annually or upon relocation to another location within the city, and (2) to pay a registration fee as specified in Chapter 3.42 MCMC to cover the costs of an annual and periodic unannounced containment inspections. A current color, side/front photograph of the animal may also be required.

F. Surety Bond. The owner of a dangerous animal shall obtain a surety bond issued by a surety insurer qualified under RCW Title 48 in a form acceptable to the animal control authority and city attorney in the amount of at least $250,000 payable to any person injured by the dangerous animal.

G. Insurance. The owner of a dangerous animal shall obtain a policy of liability insurance, such as homeowner’s insurance, issued by an insurance company qualified under RCW Title 48 in the amount of at least $250,000 insuring the owner for any personal injuries inflicted by the dangerous animal.

H. Warning Signs. The owner of a dangerous animal shall conspicuously display signs at all entrances to any property where such animal is located containing a visible warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous animal and as otherwise deemed necessary by the animal control authority.

I. Microchip. The owner of a dangerous animal is required to microchip the animal and to provide proof of placement of a microchip that is capable of being scanned by an “AVID” or equivalent brand microchip scanner.

J. Transfer of Ownership of Dangerous Animal Prohibited. It is unlawful for an owner of an animal declared dangerous to sell, barter, or otherwise transfer the ownership, custody, or residence of the animal without first obtaining written approval from a court.

K. Additional Restrictions. The animal control authority may impose on the owner of any dangerous animal and such animal itself additional restrictions to protect the public safety or other animals, including any or all of the following:

1. Training. The animal control authority may require the owner of the dangerous animal and the animal to attend, complete, and pay all costs associated with an accredited obedience/training class or seminar even if the animal or owner completed such type of training in the past. The owner of the animal shall provide proof of satisfactory completion of such training to the animal control authority upon completion.

2. Secure Pen. The animal shall be securely confined indoors or in a secure pen.

3. Restraint. The animal control authority may require the owner of the dangerous animal to muzzle, leash, collar, confine, lock, isolate, or remove the animal from the city, or any combination of the foregoing.

L. Prohibited Ownership. No person under the age of 18 years old shall own a dangerous animal or dangerous dog.

M. Impoundment of Dangerous Animal. Any dangerous animal may be immediately impounded by the animal control authority if:

1. The dangerous animal is not validly registered under this section;

2. The owner does not secure the liability insurance coverage required under this section;

3. The dangerous animal is not maintained in a secure pen;

4. The dangerous animal is outside the dwelling of the owner, or outside of the secure pen and not under physical restraint of the responsible owner; or

5. Any and all other failures to abide by restraints imposed on the owner or the dangerous animal or violations of this section or the Mill Creek Municipal Code.

N. Financial Responsibility. The animal control authority may require the owner of a dangerous animal to pay all costs associated with enforcement of this section.

O. Violation – Penalty. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 365 days in jail or up to a $5,000 fine or both. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.08.040 Police dogs.

Police dogs are exempt from the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)