Chapter 6.18
ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

Sections:

6.18.010  Enforcing official.

6.18.020  Authority.

6.18.030  Quarantine.

6.18.040  Impounding animals – Authority.

6.18.050  Impounding procedures.

6.18.060  General penalties.

6.18.070  Separate offense.

6.18.080  Public nuisance.

6.18.090  Civil violations – Notice and order.

6.18.100  Recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs.

6.18.010 Enforcing official.

The police chief shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this title and may adopt administrative rules to meet that responsibility. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.020 Authority.

A. The police chief may delegate enforcement responsibility to the animal control authority or director of community development as appropriate. The animal control authority is authorized to exercise the authority of police officers to the extent necessary to enforce this title, including arrest and issuance of citations.

B. The animal control authority is authorized to enter upon public or private property for the purpose of seizing or impounding any animal running at large thereon, or that constitutes a threat or hazard to the safety of any person or animal, or for the purpose of enforcing any provision of this title. The animal control authority shall not be liable for trespass for any such entry.

C. No person shall deny, prevent, obstruct, or attempt to deny or prevent or obstruct the animal control authority from pursuing any animal observed to be in violation of this title. Further, no person shall fail or neglect, after a proper warrant has been presented, to promptly permit the animal control authority to enter private property to perform any duty imposed by this title. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.030 Quarantine.

A. Quarantine Authorized. Whenever the animal control authority, in its discretion, determines that it is desirable or necessary to quarantine an animal, the animal control authority shall order the quarantine of such animal, direct such actions as will effectively segregate the animal, and request veterinary assistance.

B. Quarantine Procedures. Notice of quarantine shall be in writing to the owner of the animal. The animal control authority, in its discretion, may order an owner to secure an animal in a secure pen, at the city’s designated impound facility, or at a veterinary office, clinic, or hospital. All quarantines shall be for a period of 10 days and may be extended for a longer period of time at the animal control authority’s discretion. The owner shall be responsible for all costs and expenses incurred during the quarantine.

C. Termination of Quarantine. Once commenced, no quarantine shall be terminated except upon order of the animal control authority. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.040 Impounding animals – Authority.

If the animal control authority has probable cause to believe that an owner of an animal has violated this title, the animal control authority may seize and impound the animal or take any other action authorized by law to restrain or protect any animal or person. The animal control authority or department may issue a citation to the owner of any animal impounded because it is in violation of this title. Impoundment shall not be considered a condition precedent to issuance of a citation. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.050 Impounding procedures.

A. Holding Facility. Whenever any animal is impounded, the animal control authority shall deliver the animal to a holding facility designated by the city. Animals exhibiting a current license tag shall be held 10 days from the time of impoundment before any disposition may be made of such animal; provided however, that litters of kittens or puppies brought in as abandoned may be disposed of immediately at the discretion of the animal control authority.

B. Notice. Whenever any animal licensed under this title is impounded, reasonable efforts will be made to give notice of the impoundment and the reasons for the impoundment to the owner by telephone or written notice mailed to the last known address of the owner. The owner has the entire responsibility to ascertain whether the animal was impounded and to take appropriate measures to retrieve the animal. Neither the city, the animal control authority, nor its officers, employees, or agents shall be held responsible for failing to notify an owner of impoundment under this title.

C. Redemption of Animal. If the owner of an impounded animal claims the animal before disposition by the animal control authority, the owner shall be entitled to possession upon payment of all legal charges and expenses incidental to such impoundment; provided however, that dangerous dogs or dangerous animals shall not be released to the owner except pursuant to a court order. A person redeeming an animal shall provide satisfactory proof to the animal control authority that he has a valid license for the animal (if applicable) and shall pay all applicable fees and costs. The owner of impounded livestock shall be entitled to possession upon payment of the costs of boarding the animal in accordance with the rate established by contract with the stockyard used for holding such animal.

D. Disposition of Impounded Animals. For the purposes of this section, “disposition” means sale or humane killing of an animal. The animal control authority may dispose of an animal at the expiration of three days if the animal has no identification or at the expiration of 10 days if the animal has identification.

1. The animal control authority may sell the impounded animal for a sum not less than the cost and expense of picking up, keeping, and selling the animal plus any required license fee.

2. Any animal not retrieved by the owner or sold by the city within the time limits established by this section may be euthanized.

3. The city shall not be liable for damages arising from the disposition of any animal.

E. Dangerous or Sick Animals. The animal control authority or department may dispatch any dangerous animal which is running at large and cannot in the judgment of the animal control authority or department be safely impounded. Injured or sick animals may be euthanized when consistent with the professional judgment of a licensed veterinarian or the animal control authority. The city shall not be liable for damages arising from the destruction of such animals.

F. Impounding Fees. Fees imposed pursuant to this section are as provided in Chapter 3.42 MCMC. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.060 General penalties.

A. Any violation of this title not otherwise designated a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor shall constitute a civil infraction punishable by a fine in the amount not to exceed $250.00.

B. Any person violating any provision of this title not otherwise designated a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor three or more times in any 12-month period shall have committed a civil infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00.

C. Any violation of this title designated a misdemeanor shall be punishable by a maximum of 90 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $1,000.

D. Any violation of this title designated a gross misdemeanor shall be punishable by a maximum of 365 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000.

E. The South District Court for Snohomish County, or any authorized and appropriate municipal court of the city, shall hear and decide civil infractions, misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors issued for violation of this title. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.070 Separate offense.

Each person is guilty of a separate offense for each and every day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of this title is committed, continued, or permitted by any such person, and he is punishable accordingly. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.080 Public nuisance.

A. All violations of this title are detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare, and an animal or property violating the provisions of this title may be declared a public nuisance under each of the following circumstances:

1. The animal or property is observed in continued violation of the provisions of this title by the animal control authority.

2. The animal control authority or department receives three individual complaints regarding an animal or property in continued violation of this title. At least two of those complainants must hold an interest in real property located within the city of Mill Creek or be a member of a Mill Creek household. This third complainant may be a police officer. Multiple complaints from the same household shall count as one complainant.

3. The animal is impounded three or more times in any calendar year.

B. For purposes of this section, “continued violation” means that the animal control authority has sent two written warnings or citations to the owner or custodian of the animal or property in one calendar year.

C. For purposes of this section, nuisances include:

1. Any animal which chases, runs after, or jumps at vehicles using public streets, alleys, or other public ways.

2. Any animal which habitually snaps, growls, snarls, jumps upon, or otherwise threatens persons lawfully using the public sidewalks, streets, alleys, or other public ways.

3. Any animal which has exhibited vicious propensities and which constitutes a danger to the safety of persons or property off his premises or lawfully on his premises.

4. A vicious animal or animal with vicious propensities which runs at large at any time, or such an animal off the owner’s premises not securely leashed on a line or confined and in the control of a person of suitable age and discretion to control or restrain such animal.

5. Any animal which by frequent or habitual barking, howling, yelping, whining, or other oral noise which by its volume or frequency unreasonably disturbs or interferes with the peace of any person in the vicinity of the premises or upon the public street or in a public place for more than 15 minutes in any one-hour period of any day, and is documented by three or more separate episodes of such noise in a sequential seven-day period. An owner has the burden to maintain quiet. Animals at animal services facilities, commercial kennels, and veterinary offices, clinics, or hospitals otherwise in compliance with the Mill Creek Municipal Code, or those who can substantiate that such animal noise was caused by an injury or illness of the animals or by willful trespass, torment, or abuse of the animal on its property by others, are exempt from this subsection.

6. Animals kept, harbored, or maintained and known to have a contagious disease, unless under the treatment of a licensed veterinarian.

7. Any dog running at large within the city.

8. A female animal, whether licensed or not, while in heat (estrus) accessible to other animals for purposes other than controlled and planned breeding.

9. Any animal that causes damage to property other than the property of the animal’s owner or person having physical control of the animal.

10. Any animal or property maintained in violation of any provision of this title.

D. Nuisances arising under this title may be charged as civil infractions or civil violations or may be enforced by judicial action filed in Snohomish County superior court. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.090 Civil violations – Notice and order.

A. In addition to or as an alternative to any other penalty provided herein or by law, any violation of any provision of this title shall constitute a civil violation for which a monetary penalty may be assessed and abatement may be required.

B. Whenever the animal control authority has found an animal or property maintained in violation of this title, the animal control authority may commence proceedings to cause the abatement of each violation.

C. The animal control authority shall issue a notice of violation and order directed to the owner or the person presumed to be the owner of the animal or property maintained in violation of this title. The notice of violation and order shall contain:

1. The name and address, if known, of the owner or person presumed to be the owner of the animal or property in violation of this title;

2. The license number, if available, and description of the animal in violation sufficient for identification;

3. A statement to the effect that the animal control authority has found the animal or property maintained illegally with a brief and concise description of the conditions which caused the animal or property to be in violation of this title;

4. A statement of the action required to be taken to abate the violation, as determined by the animal control authority:

a. If the animal control authority has determined the animal in violation must be disposed with, the order shall require that the abatement be completed within a specified period of time from the date of the order as determined by the animal control authority to be reasonable; and

b. If the animal control authority has determined to assess a civil penalty, the order shall require that the penalty shall be paid within 15 days from the date of the order;

5. Statements advising that if any required abatement is not commenced within the time specified, the animal control authority will proceed to cause abatement and charge the costs thereof against the owner; and

6. Statements advising:

a. That a person having a legal interest in the animal or property may appeal from the notice of violation and order pursuant to Chapter 6.20 MCMC.

b. That failure to appeal will constitute a waiver of all right to an administrative hearing and determination of the matter.

D. The notice of violation and order shall be served on the owner or presumed owner of the animal or property in violation.

E. Service of the notice of violation and order shall be made upon all persons entitled thereto:

1. Personally; or

2. By mailing a copy of such notice of violation and order by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, to the person at his last known address; or

3. Posting the notice of violation and order on the front door of the living unit of the owner or person with right to control the animal or property if said owner or person is not home.

F. Proof of service of the notice of violation and order shall be made at the time of service by a written declaration under penalty of perjury executed by the person effecting service declaring the time, date, and manner in which service was made. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)

6.18.100 Recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs.

In addition to penalties and remedies established in this chapter, all attorneys’ fees, related costs, and expenses incurred by the city or its agents in any enforcement action, including animal disposition and property abatement costs, shall be recovered from and paid by the persons found responsible for or who have committed any violation of this title. (Ord. 2007-660 § 1)