Chapter 7.05
PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

Sections:

7.05.010    Purpose.

7.05.020    Definitions—Principles of liability.

7.05.030    Cruelty to animals.

7.05.040    Confining in unsafe manner.

7.05.050    Carrying animals on outside part of vehicle.

7.05.060    Removal of animal—Examination—Notice—Euthanasia.

7.05.070    Notice—Appeal.

7.05.080    Destruction of animals—Immunity from liability.

7.05.090    Violations—Penalties—Sentences—Liability for costs—Education—Counseling.

7.05.100    Limitations on application of chapter.

7.05.110    Exclusions from chapter.

7.05.120    Obstructing a law enforcement officer.

7.05.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to prevent cruelty to animals. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.020 Definitions—Principles of liability.

A.    Principles of liability as defined in Chapter 9A.08 RCW apply to this chapter.

B.    Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

1.    “Animal” means any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian.

2.    “Animal control agency” means an animal control agency authorized to enforce city of Shelton municipal ordinances regulating the care, control, licensing, or treatment of animals within the city.

3.    “Animal control officer” means any individual employed, contracted, or appointed or authorized to aid in the enforcement of ordinances or laws regulating the care and/or control of animals.

4.    “Euthanasia” means the humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that involves instantaneous unconsciousness and immediate death, or by a method that causes painless loss of consciousness, and death during the loss of consciousness.

5.    “Law enforcement officer” means an individual employed, contracted, appointed or otherwise authorized by law to aid in the enforcement of ordinances or laws regulating the care and/or control of animals.

6.    “Necessary food” means the provision at suitable intervals of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the animal’s age and species and sufficient to provide a reasonable level of nutrition for the animal.

7.    “Owner” means a person who has a right, claim, title, legal share, or right of possession to an animal or a person having lawful control, custody, or possession of an animal.

8.    “Person” means individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, or other legal entities, and agents of those entities. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.030 Cruelty to animals.

A.    A person is guilty of cruelty to animals under this section if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty under RCW 16.52.205, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.

B.    An owner of an animal is guilty of cruelty to animals under this section if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty under RCW 16.52.205, the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:

1.    Fails to provide the animal with necessary food, water, shelter, rest, sanitation, ventilation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure; or

2.    Abandons the animal.

C.    Animal cruelty under this section is a misdemeanor.

D.    In any prosecution of animal cruelty under this section, it shall be an affirmative defense, if established by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant’s failure was due to economic distress beyond the defendant’s control. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.040 Confining in unsafe manner.

It is unlawful for any person to willfully confine or cause to be confined any domestic animal or animals in a manner, posture or confinement that will jeopardize the safety of the animal or the public. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.050 Carrying animals on outside part of vehicle.

It shall be unlawful for any person to transport any living animal on the running board, fenders, hood, or other outside part of any vehicle unless suitable harness, cage or enclosure be provided and so attached as to protect such animal from falling or being thrown therefrom. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.060 Removal of animal—Examination—Notice—Euthanasia.

A.    If a law enforcement officer or animal control officer has probable cause to believe that an owner of an animal has violated this chapter, the officer may authorize, with a warrant, the removal of the animal to a suitable place for feeding and care. In determining what is a suitable place, the officer shall consider the animal’s needs, including its size and behavioral characteristics. An officer may remove an animal under this subsection without a warrant only if the animal is in an immediate life-threatening condition.

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

C.    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. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.070 Notice—Appeal.

A.    Any owner whose domestic animal is removed pursuant to this chapter shall be given written notice of the circumstances of the removal and notice of legal remedies available to the owner. The notice shall be given by posting at the place of seizure, by delivery to a person residing at the place of seizure, or by registered mail if the owner is known. In making the decision to remove an animal pursuant to this chapter, the officer shall make a good faith effort to contact the animal’s owner before removal.

B.    The agency having custody of the animal may find a responsible person to adopt the animal or may euthanize the animal not less than fifteen business days after the animal is taken into custody. A custodial agency may euthanize severely injured, diseased, or suffering animals at any time.

C.    An owner may challenge the animal’s impound by petitioning the Shelton municipal court. An owner may prevent the animal’s destruction or adoption by: (1) petitioning the Shelton municipal court for the animal’s immediate return subject to court-imposed conditions, or (2) posting a bond or security in an amount sufficient to provide for the animal’s care for a minimum of thirty days from the seizure date. If the custodial agency still has custody of the animal when the bond or security expires, the animal shall become the custodial agency’s property unless the court orders an alternative disposition. If a court order prevents the agency from assuming ownership and the agency continues to care for the animal, the court shall order the owner to renew a bond or security for the agency’s continuing costs for the animal’s care.

D.    If no criminal case is filed within fourteen business days of the animal’s removal, the owner may petition the Shelton municipal court for the animal’s return. The petition shall be filed with the court, with copies served to the law enforcement or animal control agency responsible for removing the animal and to the city attorney. If the court grants the petition, the agency which seized the animal must deliver the animal to the owner at no cost to the owner. 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 animal’s return 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 or abuse 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. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.080 Destruction of animals—Immunity from liability.

A.    Any animal that has been seriously injured and would otherwise continue to suffer may be destroyed by an animal control or law enforcement officer. Such actions shall be undertaken with reasonable prudence and, whenever possible, in consultation with a licensed veterinarian.

B.    Animal control officers, law enforcement officers and licensed veterinarians shall be immune from civil and criminal liability for actions taken under this chapter if reasonable prudence is exercised in carrying out the provisions hereof. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.090 Violations—Penalties—Sentences—Liability for costs—Education—Counseling.

A.    A violation of any provision of this chapter is a misdemeanor unless otherwise noted or where conduct constitutes a felony pursuant to Chapter 16.52 RCW, as determined by the prosecutor.

B.    If convicted, the court may also order the defendant to pay a civil penalty of five hundred dollars to the city of Shelton to prevent cruelty to animals. These funds shall be used to prosecute offenses under this chapter and to care for forfeited animals pending trial.

C.    In addition, if any one of the animals involved dies as a result of a violation of this chapter or if the defendant has a prior conviction under this chapter or Chapter 16.52 RCW, the court shall order the forfeiture of all animals held by law enforcement or animal control authorities under the provisions of this chapter.

D.    Even if the animal involved does not die and/or the defendant has no prior conviction as set out above, the court may enter an order requiring the owner to forfeit the animal(s) if the court deems the animal’s treatment to have been severe and likely to reoccur.

E.    If the court orders the animal(s) forfeited, the owner shall be prohibited from owning or caring for any similar animals for a period of two years.

F.    In addition to fines and court costs, the defendant, if convicted, shall be liable for reasonable costs incurred pursuant to this chapter by the animal control agency. Reasonable costs include expenses of the investigation, the animal’s care, euthanization, or adoption.

G.    As a condition of the sentence imposed under this chapter, the court may also order the defendant to participate in any available animal cruelty prevention or education program or obtain available psychological counseling to treat mental health problems contributing to commission of the violation. The defendant shall bear all costs of such program or treatment. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.100 Limitations on application of chapter.

No part of this chapter shall be deemed to interfere with any of the laws of this state known as the “game laws,” nor be deemed to interfere with the right to destroy any animal known as dangerous to life, limb or property, or to interfere with the right to kill animals to be used for food or with any properly conducted scientific experiments or investigations, which experiments or investigations shall be performed only under the authority of the faculty of some regularly incorporated college or university of the state of Washington or a research facility registered with the United States Department of Agriculture. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.110 Exclusions from chapter.

Nothing in this chapter applies to accepted husbandry practices used in the commercial raising or slaughtering of livestock or poultry, or products thereof or to the use of animals in the normal and usual course of rodeo events or to the customary use or exhibiting of animals in normal and usual events at fairs as defined in RCW 15.76.120. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)

7.05.120 Obstructing a law enforcement officer.

RCW 9A.76.020, Obstructing a law enforcement officer, as now enacted or hereafter amended, is adopted herein by reference. (Ord. 1591-0403 § 1 (part), 2003)