Chapter 7.04


7.04.010    Definitions.

7.04.020    Exceptions.

7.04.030    Prohibited behavior.

7.04.040    Confiscation—Duties of Animal Control Authority.

7.04.050    Right to administrative review.

7.04.060    Violation—Deemed nuisance—Abatement.

7.04.070    Enforcement.

7.04.010 Definitions.

(1) “Potentially dangerous wild animal” means:

(a) All animals listed in RCW 16.30.010(2);

(b) All animals of the family Canidae (as dogs, wolves, jackals, or foxes) and their hybrids, except for the domestic dog Canis lupus familiaris; and

(c) All cougars. (Ord. O20140001 § 2 (Att. 1)(part))

7.04.020 Exceptions.

The provisions of this chapter do not apply to the persons and entities listed in RCW 16.30.020. (Ord. O20140001 § 2 (Att. 1)(part))

7.04.030 Prohibited behavior.

(1) A person may not own, possess, keep, harbor, bring into the County, or have custody or control of any potentially dangerous wild animal within the unincorporated area of Skagit County.

(2) A person in legal possession of a potentially dangerous wild animal on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter who does not qualify for one of the exceptions listed in RCW 16.30.020 may keep possession of the animal until December 31, 2014, upon a showing, satisfactory to the Animal Control Officer, that the possessor is diligently pursuing licensing, accreditation, and land use approvals for one of the exceptions listed in RCW 16.30.020.

(3) RCW Chapter 77.15 prohibits the trafficking in, and release of, “deleterious exotic wildlife” as defined in RCW 77.08.010. (Ord. O20140001 § 2 (Att. 1)(part))

7.04.040 Confiscation—Duties of Animal Control Authority.

(1) The Animal Control Authority or a law enforcement officer may immediately confiscate a potentially dangerous wild animal held in contravention of this chapter.

(2) The Animal Control Authority officer must serve notice upon the possessor in person or by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, notifying the possessor of the confiscation, that the possessor is responsible for payment of reasonable costs for caring and providing for the animal during the confiscation, notice of right to administrative review of the confiscation, and that the possessor must meet the requirements of Subsection (3) of this Section in order for the animal to be returned to the possessor.

(3) A potentially dangerous wild animal that is confiscated under this Section may be returned to the possessor, or a facility such as a wildlife sanctuary or a facility exempted pursuant to SCC 7.04.020, only for the purpose of transporting the animal out of the County on the day of transport, and only if the Animal Control Authority establishes that the return does not pose a public safety or health risk.

(4) If a potentially dangerous wild animal confiscated under this Section is not returned to the possessor, the Animal Control Authority may release the animal to a facility such as a wildlife sanctuary or a facility exempted by SCC 7.04.020.

(5) An Animal Control Authority may euthanize a potentially dangerous wild animal under this Section only if reasonable placement options such as relocation to a wildlife sanctuary are unavailable within a reasonable period of time. (Ord. O20140001 § 2 (Att. 1)(part))

7.04.050 Right to administrative review.

(1) Within 15 days of confiscation, the owner of an animal confiscated under this Chapter may request a meeting with the Sheriff to contest (a) the determination that the animal is regulated by this Chapter, or (b) the determination that the owner is not exempt under SCC 7.04.020.

(2) After review of the record and the owner’s reasons and information, the Sheriff must determine whether a preponderance of the evidence indicates the animal was properly confiscated.

(3) If the Sheriff determines that the animal was properly confiscated, the Sheriff must issue a decision that includes:

(a) A recital of the authority for the decision;

(b) A concise statement of the facts that support the decision; and

(c) The signature of the person who made the decision.

(4) The Sheriff's decision is the final administrative review of the confiscation. (Ord. O20140001 § 2 (Att. 1)(part))

7.04.060 Violation—Deemed nuisance—Abatement.

(1) A violation of SCC 7.04.030 is detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare and is declared to be a public nuisance.

(2) A person who violates SCC 7.04.030 is liable for a civil penalty of $2,000 for each animal with respect to which there is a violation and for each day the violation continues.

(3) The costs of abatement (including confiscation) are personal obligations of the animal owner. The Prosecuting Attorney on behalf of Skagit County may collect the abatement work costs by use of all appropriate legal remedies.

(4) In addition to the remedies herein provided, the County has the right to take any legal or equitable action, including injunctions, necessary for the protection of the public health and safety. (Ord. O20140001 § 2 (Att. 1)(part))

7.04.070 Enforcement.

The Animal Control Authority is authorized and empowered to enforce the provisions of this Chapter. (Ord. O20140001 § 2 (Att. 1)(part))