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Seattle City Council Bills and Ordinances

Information retrieved on November 16, 2019 9:32 PM

Council Bill Number: 114571
Ordinance Number: 121178


Title
AN ORDINANCE relating to Seattle's Animal Control Code; creating a civil infraction for possession of a potentially dangerous animal; amending the definition of "dangerous animal" to incorporate reference to the new civil infraction; defining "unprovoked;" providing for implanting a microchip into and photographing of animals whose owners have been found to have committed the new civil infraction; changing the definition of "Animal Control Officer" to conform to the current organization of the Department of Executive Administration; providing for removal of certain dangerous animals to another jurisdiction; providing for penalties for possessing in the City of Seattle an animal that has been ordered removed; amending Chapter 9.25 of the Seattle Municipal Code; and amending Section 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code which defines negligent control of an animal.


Status: Passed
Date passed by Full Council: June 9, 2003
Vote: 9-0
Date filed with the City Clerk: June 17, 2003
Date of Mayor's signature: June 13, 2003
(About the signature date)

Date introduced/referred to committee: May 19, 2003
Committee: Finance, Budget, Business and Labor
Sponsor: DRAGO
Committee Recommendation:
Date of Committee Recommendation:
Committee Vote:

Index Terms: ANIMAL-CONTROL, DOMESTIC-ANIMALS, PUBLIC-REGULATIONS, ADMINISTRATIVE-PROCEDURES

References/Related Documents: Related: CF 305952

Scan of signed legislation: PDF scan of Ordinance No. 121178


Text

AN ORDINANCE relating to Seattle's Animal Control Code; creating a civil infraction for possession of a potentially dangerous animal; amending the definition of "dangerous animal" to incorporate reference to the new civil infraction; defining "unprovoked;" providing for implanting a microchip into and photographing of animals whose owners have been found to have committed the new civil infraction; changing the definition of "Animal Control Officer" to conform to the current organization of the Department of Executive Administration; providing for removal of certain dangerous animals to another jurisdiction; providing for penalties for possessing in the City of Seattle an animal that has been ordered removed; amending Chapter 9.25 of the Seattle Municipal Code; and amending Section 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code which defines negligent control of an animal.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Section 9.25.020 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

9.25.020 Definitions -A -E.

As used in this chapter, except where a different meaning is plainly apparent from the context, the following definitions apply:

A. "Abandon" means the act of leaving an animal:

1. Without food, water, or care for twenty-four (24) hours or more; or

2. In a situation where the conditions present an immediate, direct, and serious threat to the life, safety, or health of the animal.

B. "Alter" means to permanently render an animal incapable of reproduction.

C. "Animal" means any living nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian.

D. "Animal Control Officer" means any person who is employed with the Seattle Division of Animal Control section of the Department or appointed by the Director for the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of any ordinance, or relating to the licensing control, quarantine, seizure or impoundment of animals.

E. "At large" means a dog or other animal inside The City of Seattle, off the premises of the owner, and not under control by a leash of eight (8) feet in length or shorter. "At large" does not include an animal on property other than the animal's owner with the permission of a lawful occupant of that property.

F. "City" means The City of Seattle.

G. "Dangerous animal" means any animal that according to the records of the appropriate authority,

(1) That, when unprovoked, has inflictsed severe injury on or kills a human being or domestic animal without provocation on public or private property,;

(2) has killed a domestic animal; without provocation while off the owner's property, or;

(2)(3) Whose owner has been previously found to be potentially dangerous, whose owner has received notice of such, have committed a civil violation of 9.25.084G or has been convicted of a crime under 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code and whose owner is found to have committed a which animal again aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans or domestic animals violation of either 9.25.084G or 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code with respect to the behavior of that same animal;

(3) That, under circumstances other than as described in subsection G(2) above, has been the subject of one or more findings that its owner has committed a civil violation of 9.25.084G or has been convicted of a crime under 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code, whether involving the same or a different owner, whose owner is found to have committed a violation of either 9.25.084G or 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code; or

4) Whose owner has received a written notification alleging behavior that would be in violation of either 9.25.084G or 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code issued under the laws of any other city, county or state agency within or outside of the State of Washington, which animal again engages in behavior that is in violation of either 9.25.084G or 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code.

The breed of a dog shall not be considered in any determination whether a dog is a "dangerous animal" under this section.

H. "Director" means the Director of Executive Administration of The City of Seattle or his/her authorized representative.

I. "Department" means the Department of Executive Administration of The City of Seattle.

J. "Disposed of in a humane manner" means euthanized by a lethal dose of sodium pentobarbital or its equivalent.

K. "Detain" means to place an animal in custody.

L. "Domestic Animal" means an animal that is livestock, a companion animal, or both.

1. "Livestock" means any species of animal commonly used by inhabitants of Washington State for food, fiber, or draft purposes.

2. "Companion animal" means any species of animal commonly kept by inhabitants of Washington State as a pet or for companionship, except that snakes exceeding eight (8) feet in length, venomous reptiles (regardless of whether the venom glands have been removed), and venomous amphibians (regardless of whether the venom glands have been removed) are not domestic animals, even if such animals are commonly kept by inhabitants of Washington State pets or for companionship.

M. "Exotic animal" means any species of animal that is both: (1) not a domestic animal, and (2) capable of killing or seriously injuring a human being. Subject to the preceding sentence, the definition of "exotic animal" contained in this section includes but is not limited to:

1. All animals of the order Primates (as primates) except humans;

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

3. All animals of the family Felidae (as lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cougars, or cheetahs) and their hybrid, except for the domestic cat Felis catus;

4. All animals of the family Ursidae (as bears);

5. All animals of the family Hyaenidae (as hyenas);

6. All animals of the order Crocodylia (as alligators, crocodiles, gavials, or caimans);

7. All animals of the family Elephantidae (as elephants);

8. All animals of the order Perissodactyla (as horses, rhinoceroses, or tapirs);

9. All animals of the order Artiodactyla (as camels, cattle, deer, giraffes, goats, hippopotamuses, llamas, pigs, or sheep);

"Exotic animal" also includes all venomous reptiles and amphibians, (regardless of whether the venom glands have been removed), and all snakes that are eight (8) feet or more in length. An animal that is normally domesticated, but that is determined to be wild or feral, shall be considered an exotic animal.

Section 2. Section 9.25.023 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

9.25.023 Definitions -P -T.

As used in this chapter, except where a different meaning is plainly apparent from the context, the following definitions apply:

A. "Permit" means human conduct in relation to an owned animal which is intentional, deliberate, careless, inadvertent or negligent.

B. "Potbelly pig" means that type of swine commonly known as the Vietnamese, Chinese, or Asian Potbelly Pig (Sus scrofa bittatus).

C. "Potentially dangerous animal" means any animal that when unprovoked: (1) inflicts bites on a human or a domestic animal either on public or private property; or (2) chases or approaches a person on public property or on private property (other than that of the animal's owner) in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, or any animal with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or otherwise to threaten the safety of humans or domestic animals.

CD. "Secure animal shelter" means an animal shelter that agrees to accept an animal and that agrees to the following conditions:

1. Not to release the animal from the shelter for the rest of the animal's natural life;

2. Not to allow the animal to come into contact with the general public for the rest of the animal's natural life;

3. Not to allow the former owner to have contact with the animal;

34. To indemnify and hold the City harmless from any and all future liability including any and all claims, demands, damages, liabilities, causes, suits or action of any kind or nature whatsoever relative to past or future care and custody of the animal and to the animal's future behavior;

45. To notify the City if the shelter goes out of business or can no longer keep the animal and to abide by the City's disposition instructions.

DE. "Service dog" means a dog that is trained for the purposes of assisting or accommodating a disabled person's sensory, mental, or physical disability.

EF. "Severe injury" means any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery. It also means transmittal of an infectious or contagious disease by an animal.

FG. "Trespassing" means any animal which enters upon the property of another person without the authorization of the lawful occupant.

Section 3. Section 9.25.024 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

9.25.024 Definitions -U -Z.

(Reserved).

A. "Unprovoked" means that an animal is not "provoked." An animal is "provoked" if the animal was being tormented physically abused or hurt at the time of the incident. An animal also is "provoked" if a reasonable person would conclude that the animal was defending itself, its owner or an immediate family member of its owner, or another person within its immediate vicinity from an actual assault or was defending real property belonging to its owner or an immediate family member of its owner from a crime being committed on the owner's property at that time. An animal is not "provoked" if the victim is alleged to have provoked the animal and the victim is less than 6 years old.

Section 4. Section 9.25.030 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

9.25.030 Authority of the Director.

A. The Director is authorized to:

1. Make rules for the interpretation and implementation of this chapter, pursuant to the Administrative Code;

2. Accept the surrender of animals to the City Animal Shelter;

3. Permit or deny adoption from the City Animal Shelter of animals that have been surrendered to the City, or which are stray or under detainment and unclaimed after the expiration of a holding period;

4. Direct immediate humane disposal of: (a) any exotic animal when alternatives, such as placing the animal in a zoo or outside of the City, have been exhausted, (b) any animal surrendered to the City for humane disposal, (c) any animal determined by the Seattle Municipal Court or any other court of law to be a nuisance, (d) any animal involved in a court proceeding in which the owner pled guilty or was found to be guilty of owning a nuisance or dangerous animal or in which the owner pled guilty or was found to be guilty of negligent control of an animal, (e) any animal unclaimed after the expiration of a holding period, (f) any animal determined by the Director to be dangerous pursuant to SMC Section 9.25.035, (g) any animal found in the City of Seattle after removal pursuant to SMC 9.25.035A(3).

5. Detain animals found to be unlicensed, or abandoned, or at large, or in inhumane conditions, or to be a nuisance, or to be exotic or dangerous, or otherwise found to be in a circumstance violative of this chapter or any other provision of law;

6. Collect cats, dogs and other animals found dead on the public areas of the City, or from private property on request of the occupant of the property, and to bury, cremate, or arrange for the disposal of such animal;

7. Appoint agents for the collection of pig, dog and cat license fees and other fees established by Chapter 9.26 of the Seattle Municipal Code, including past-due fees and penalties;

8. Grant, renew, suspend, revoke, or deny licenses according to the terms of this chapter;

9. Administer the City Animal Shelter;

10. Administer the City Spay and Neuter Clinic and Program;

11. Charge and collect fees for the services authorized by this chapter, as established by Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 9.26, known as the "Animal Fee Ordinance," as now existing or hereafter amended, revised or re-enacted;

12. Reduce fees for the adoption or redemption of any animal, when, in the discretion of the Director, such a reduction is in the best interests of the animal;

13. Appoint persons experienced in the humane trapping of animals to set and bait a trap or use other devices that do not physically harm an animal trapped, when, in the judgment of the Director, such action will protect the public peace, health, safety and welfare and issue live animal trapping permits as authorized by the Director by rule;

14. Implant a microchip for identification purposes into animals leaving the shelter through adoption, or redemption or release to another jurisdiction pursuant to 9.25.035; or whose owners have been found to have committed a violation of 9.25.084G or has been convicted of a crime under 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code a microchip for identification purposes;

15. Photograph for identification purposes animals released to another jurisdiction pursuant to 9.25.035 or whose owners have been found to have committed a violation of 9.25.084G or has been convicted of a crime under 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code.

1615. Direct disposition of exotic animals, including but not limited to transfer to a zoological garden, or herpetarium or other jurisdiction so long as the requirements of 9.25.035 E are met;

1716. Refund fees for overpayment or services not provided;

1817. Detain an animal that is the subject of any violation of law, or whose owner is accused of violating any law relating to that animal, and collect from the owner all costs of detainment, care, feeding, and disposition;

1918. Direct disposition of dangerous animals to a secured animal shelter or otherwise as provided for in this chapter.

B. The Director shall keep records of the handling and licensure of animals in the City.

C. Nothing prohibits the Police Department from enforcing provisions of this chapter.

D. The Director is authorized to enforce Seattle Municipal Code Sections 18.12.080 , 18.12.100 and 18.12.110 as authorized by the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation by rule.

E. The Director is authorized to enforce Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 9.12 and Seattle Municipal Code Section 10.72.020, subject to such restriction or qualification as the Director of the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health may establish by rule.

Section 5. Section 9.25.035 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

SMC 9.25.035 Declaration that an animal is dangerous -Disposition -Right to meeting.

A. The Director, upon the petition of any person, or at his or her own discretion, may conduct an investigation, and if the findings of the investigation so indicate, he or she may declare an animal to be dangerous. If a domestic animal is found to be dangerous, the Director shall enter an order so stating and shall direct either: (1) humane disposal of the animal; or (2) that the animal be sent at the owner's expense to a secure animal shelter; or (3) removed from the City and maintained at all times in compliance with RCW Chapter 16.08. The owner is responsible for paying all fees owed to the City for the care of the animal.

B. Before declaring an animal to be dangerous or directing the disposition of the animal, the Director shall notify the owner in writing of the reasons why the animal is believed to be dangerous, the proposed disposition of the animal, the authority for the proposed action, and that the Director will make a final determination after the expiration of twenty (20) days following service of the notice, or, if sent by certified mail, within twenty (20) days after the date of delivery as shown on the returned receipt. In addition, the notice shall inform the owner that he or she will be provided an opportunity to meet with the Director, at which meeting the owner may give, orally or in writing, any reasons or information as to why the animal should not be declared to be dangerous, or why the Director should direct that the animal be sent to a secure animal shelter instead of directing humane disposal. The notice shall state the date, time and location of the meeting, which will occur prior to the expiration of twenty (20) days following delivery of the notice. The notice shall be sent by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, or delivered in person to the owner at the owner's last address known to the Director.

C. The Director will consider directing that an animal be sent to a secure animal shelter only upon request of the owner. The owner shall bear the burden to establish that an animal shelter is available that meets the criteria for a secure animal shelter, that the shelter will accept the animal, and that the owner is willing and able to pay all expenses for transporting the animal.

D. In the event the Director finds an animal to be dangerous and directs disposition of the animal, the declaration and directive shall be in writing in the form of an order, and shall include a recital of the authority for the action, a brief and concise statement of the facts that supports the disposition, and contain the Director's signature. A copy of the order, including notice of the right to appeal, shall be sent by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, or delivered in person to the owner.

E. Prior to releasing an animal for removal from Seattle pursuant to SMC 9.25.035A(3) the Director shall require (1) proof that all conditions required Chapter 16.08 RCW and all other conditions required by state or local law for maintaining a dangerous animal have been met; (2) proof that the animal control authority in the jurisdiction to which the animal is being moved has been informed of the relocation; (3) proof that the animal control authority in the jurisidiction to which the animal is being moved has consented to the relocation; (4) agreement by the animal's owner to indemnify and hold the City harmless from any and all future liability including any and all claims, demands, damages, liabilities, causes, suits or action of any kind or nature whatsoever relative to past or future care and custody of the animal and to the animal's future behavior .

Section 6. Section 9.25.083 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

9.25.083 Owning dangerous vicious animals prohibited Exception.

A. It is unlawful to own a dangerous animal (other than a licensed guard or attack dog) with knowledge that the animal is dangerous, or with reckless disregard of the fact that the animal is dangerous.

B. It is unlawful to possess within the City of Seattle any animal that has been ordered removed from the City of Seattle pursuant to SMC 9.25.035.

CB. An animal whose owner is convicted of or pleads guilty to violating this section shall be humanely destroyed.

Section 7. Section 9.25.084 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

9.25.084 Offenses relating to control.

It is unlawful for the owner to:

A. Permit any animal, except cats and pigeons, to be at large or trespass upon the property of another. It is not a violation of this subsection to have a dog off-leash in an area designated pursuant to Section 18.12.080 as an off-leash area provided that the requirements of Section 18.12.080 B are met;

B. Permit any cat, dog, potbelly pig or other animal to enter any public fountain or any school ground while school is in session or during after-school activities. It is not a violation of this subsection for an owner to permit an animal to enter on to any school ground when school is not in session and no after-school activities are taking place if the animal is on leash and the owner has in his or her immediate possession a device to remove properly any feces the animal may deposit on school grounds;

C. Fail to confine any female cat or dog that is in estrus ("heat") in a secure enclosure so that the female cat or dog cannot come in contact with a male unless the male is admitted by the owner of the female , with the consent of the owners of both the male and female animals;

D. Permit any animal:

1. To damage public property or the private property of another, or

2. To bark, whine, howl, or otherwise vocalize in violation of Chapter 25.08 of the Seattle Municipal Code (Noise Ordinance 106360) or its successor ordinance, or

3. To spread or spill garbage;

E. Have in his/her possession any animal not owned by him/her without the knowledge of the owner, unless he/she notifies the Director of such possession within twenty-four (24) hours; or to fail to surrender such animal to the Director upon demand;

F. Tether an animal in such a manner as to permit the animal to enter any sidewalk, street, alley or place open to the public, or to enter any adjacent lot or premises unless authorized by the occupant of the adjacent premises.

G. Permit any animal when unprovoked on public or private property to:

1. Bite a human being causing less than severe injury as defined in 9.25.023E of the Seattle Municipal Code or bite a domestic animal; or

2. Chase or approach a human, on property other than that of the animal's owner, in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, which may include but is not limited to any one or more of the following behaviors: snarling, baring teeth, growling, snapping, pouncing, lunging, attacking, or attempting to bite.

The breed of a dog shall not be considered to be evidence of violation of this section.

Section 6. Section 9.25.090 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

SMC 9.25.090 Detainment and disposal.

A. No detained animal shall be released to the owner until all applicable fees are paid and licenses obtained except as otherwise provided in this chapter.

B. The Director shall ascertain whether any detained animal is currently licensed, and, if so, shall notify the licensee by letter or by telephone that such animal has been detained and may be

redeemed upon payment of any applicable fees.

C. Anyone claiming a detained animal must prove ownership or provide written authorization from the owner to claim the animal, to the satisfaction of the Director before redeeming the animal.

D. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, injured or diseased animals, in cases where the owner cannot be located, need not be detained for the holding period, but may be disposed of in a humane manner at any time at the discretion of the Director, following a reasonable attempt to locate the owner of the injured animal. If the owner is identifiable, the Director must contact the owner and give the owner the option of transferring the animal to a veterinarian for immediate treatment.

E. Any animal which is detained by the Director may be held at the City Animal Shelter or other place appropriate for the animal. The Director shall post a notice of detainment at the City Animal Shelter, and shall attempt to determine ownership of an animal. If, after the expiration of a holding period, no owner has claimed the animal, the Director shall authorize adoption or dispose of the animal in a humane manner.

F. A kennel fee for every twenty-four (24) hour period or part thereof, commencing at the close of business on the day the animal is detained, shall be charged to the owner or other authorized person claiming the animal for the care and feeding of the animal.

G. The Director of Public Health may direct the detention of animals suspected of having rabies. These animals shall be held until their release is approved by the Director of Public Health, and all applicable fees are paid.

Section 7. Section 9.25.100 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

SMC 9.25.100 Penalty clause.

A. Conduct made unlawful by Sections 9.25.053, 9.25.054, 9.25.083 A, and 9.25.085 of this chapter constitutes a crime subject to the provisions of Sections 12A.02.010 and 12A.02.020 of the Seattle Municipal Code (Ordinance 102843 as amended) and any person convicted thereof may be punished by a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500) or by imprisonment for no more than one hundred eighty (180) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

B. Conduct made unlawful by Sections 9.25.081 B, and 9.25.081 I, and 9.25.083 B of this chapter constitutes a gross misdemeanor subject to the provisions of Section 12A.02.010 and 12A.02.020 of the Seattle Municipal Code (Ordinance 102843 as amended) and any person convicted thereof may be punished by a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment for no more than three hundred sixty-five (365) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

C. Conduct made unlawful by Sections 9.25.081 A, 9.25.081 C, 9.25.081 D, 9.25.081 E, 9.25.081 F, 9.25.081 G, 9.25.081 H, 9.25.081 J and 9.25.081 K of this chapter constitutes a misdemeanor subject to the provisions of Sections 12A.02.010 and 12A.02.20 of the Seattle Municipal Code (Ordinance 102843 as amended) and any person convicted thereof may be punished by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment for no more than ninety (90) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

D. Conduct made unlawful by any other section of this chapter is a violation and any person found to have committed a violation may be punished by a civil fine or forfeiture of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500), but a finding that a violation was committed shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on the conviction of a criminal offense. Failure to have obtained, prior to November 1, 2000, a dog, cat, or potbelly pig license as required by Sections 9.25.050, 9.25.051 and 9.25.052 shall not subject the owner to the civil fine or forfeiture established in this subsection if, not later than November 30, 2000: (1) a current license is obtained for the animal, or (2) if the owner has disposed of the animal, the owner notifies the Director of the disposition. Disposition of violations under this chapter shall be governed by the procedures for disposition of traffic infractions under Seattle Municipal Code Chapter 11.31.

E. In addition, the court may order the revocation or denial of any guard or attack dog license and any cat or dog license of or to any person convicted of a crime under this chapter for a period not to exceed one (1) year.

F. Any person whose guard or attack dog's license is revoked, suspended, or denied shall surrender all of his or her said guard or attack dogs to the Director to be disposed of in a humane manner.

G. Any person whose cat or dog's license is revoked, suspended, or denied shall surrender all of his or hersaid cats and dogs to the Director.

Section 8. Section 12A.06.060 of the Seattle Municipal Code is amended as follows:

SMC 12A.06.060 Negligent control of an animal.

A. A person is guilty of negligent control of an animal if he or she has possession, custody or control of an animal that, because of the person's negligence, inflicts bodily injury on or kills another person or another animal.

B. "Negligence" includes, but is not limited to, failure to comply with or violation of any provision of Section 9.25.083 or Section 9.25.084.

C. Negligent control of an animal is a gross misdemeanor.

Section 9. This ordinance shall take effect and be in force thirty (30) days from and after its approval by the Mayor, but if not approved and returned by the Mayor within ten (10) days after presentation, it shall take effect as provided by Municipal Code Section 1.04.020.

Passed by the City Council the ____ day of _________, 2003, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its passage this _____ day of __________, 2003. _________________________________ President of the City Council

Approved by me this ____ day of _________, 2003. _________________________________ Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor

Filed by me this ____ day of _________, 2003. ____________________________________ City Clerk

4/30/2003 (Ver. 19) ta

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