S-0018.2/91 2nd _______________________________________________
SENATE BILL 5038
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senators Barr and Nelson.
Read first time January 16, 1991. Referred to Committee on Law & Justice.
AN ACT Relating to dogs; amending RCW 16.08.070 and 16.08.090; adding new sections to chapter 16.08 RCW; and prescribing penalties.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
Sec. 1. RCW 16.08.070 and 1987 c 94 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout RCW 16.08.070 through 16.08.100 and sections 2 through 5 of this 1991 act.
(1) "Potentially dangerous dog" means any dog that when unprovoked: (a) Inflicts bites on a human or a domestic animal either on public or private property, or (b) chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, or any dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to cause injury or otherwise to threaten the safety of humans or domestic animals.
(2) "Dangerous dog" means any dog that according to the records of the appropriate authority, (a) has inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property, (b) has killed a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner's property, or (c) has been previously found to be potentially dangerous, the owner having received notice of such and the dog again aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans or domestic animals.
(3) "Severe injury" means any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.
(4) "Proper enclosure of a dangerous dog" means, while on the owner's property, a dangerous dog shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure shall have secure sides and a secure top, and shall also provide protection from the elements for the dog.
(5) "Animal control authority" means an entity acting alone or in concert with other local governmental units for enforcement of the animal control laws of the city, county, and state and the shelter and welfare of animals.
(6) "Animal control officer" means any individual employed, contracted with, or appointed by the animal control authority for the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of this chapter or any other law or ordinance relating to the licensure of animals, control of animals, or seizure and impoundment of animals, and includes any state or local law enforcement officer or other employee whose duties in whole or in part include assignments that involve the seizure and impoundment of any animal.
(7) "Owner" means any person, firm, corporation, organization, or department possessing, harboring, keeping, having an interest in, or having control or custody of an animal.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. If an animal control officer has investigated and determined that there exists probable cause to believe that a dog is a potentially dangerous dog or a dangerous dog, the chief officer of the animal control authority or his or her immediate supervisor or the head of the local law enforcement agency, or his or her designee, shall petition the municipal or district court within the judicial district where the dog is owned or kept for a hearing for the purpose of determining whether or not the dog in question should be declared a potentially dangerous dog or a dangerous dog. A city or county may establish an administrative hearing procedure to hear and dispose of petitions filed pursuant to this chapter. Whenever possible, any complaint received from a member of the public that serves as the evidentiary basis for the animal control officer to find probable cause shall be sworn to and verified by the complainant and shall be attached to the petition. The chief officer of the animal control authority or head of the local law enforcement agency shall notify the owner or keeper of the dog that a hearing will be held by the municipal or district court or the hearing entity, as the case may be, at which time he or she may present evidence as to why the dog should not be declared a potentially dangerous dog or a dangerous dog. The owner or keeper of the dog shall be served with notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition, either personally or by first‑ class mail with return receipt requested. The hearing shall be held promptly within no less than fifteen working days nor more than thirty working days after service of notice upon the owner or keeper of the dog. The hearing shall be open to the public. A jury shall not be available. The court may find, upon a preponderance of the evidence, that the dog is a potentially dangerous dog or a dangerous dog and make other orders authorized by this chapter.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. After the hearing conducted pursuant to section 2 of this act, the owner or keeper of the dog shall be notified in writing of the determination and orders issued, either personally or by first‑class mail postage prepaid by the court or hearing entity. If a determination is made that the dog is a potentially dangerous dog or a dangerous dog, the owner or keeper shall comply with RCW 16.08.080 through 16.08.100 in accordance with a time schedule established by the chief officer of the animal control authority or the head of the local law enforcement agency, but in no case more than thirty days after the date of the determination or thirty‑ five days if notice of the determination is mailed to the owner or keeper of the dog.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. (1) If upon investigation it is determined by the animal control officer that probable cause exists to believe the dog in question poses an immediate threat to public safety, the animal control officer may seize and impound the dog pending the hearings to be held pursuant to sections 2 and 3 of this act. The owner or keeper of the dog shall be liable to the city or county where the dog is impounded for the costs and expenses of keeping the dog, if the dog is later adjudicated to be a potentially dangerous dog or a dangerous dog.
(2) When a dog has been impounded pursuant to subsection (1) of this section and it is not contrary to public safety, the chief animal control officer shall permit the animal to be confined at the owner's expense in an approved kennel or veterinary facility.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. The state of Washington fully occupies and preempts the entire field of the regulation of potentially dangerous dogs and dangerous dogs. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to potentially dangerous dogs and dangerous dogs that are consistent with this chapter, and may not adopt an ordinance regulating dogs or potentially dangerous dogs based solely on the specific breed of dog. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalties as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of the city, town, county, or municipality.
Sec. 6. RCW 16.08.090 and 1987 c 94 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) It is unlawful for an owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside the proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint of a responsible person. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal.
dangerous dogs shall be regulated only by local, municipal, and county
ordinances. Nothing in this section limits restrictions local jurisdictions
may place on owners of potentially dangerous dogs. (3))) Dogs
shall not be declared dangerous if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained
by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful trespass or other
tort upon the premises occupied by the owner of the dog, or was tormenting,
abusing, or assaulting the dog or has, in the past, been observed or reported
to have tormented, abused, or assaulted the dog or was committing or attempting
to commit a crime.