H‑0948.1   _____________________________________________






State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Representatives Lovick, Miloscia, O'Brien, Dunshee, Cooper, McDermott, Simpson, Ruderman, Kirby, Hurst, Murray, Delvin and Wood


Read first time 02/01/2001.  Referred to Committee on Natural Resources.

_1      AN ACT Relating to the private possession of dangerous wild

_2  animals; adding a new chapter to Title 77 RCW; and prescribing

_3  penalties.




_5      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  It is the intent of the state of

_6  Washington to protect the public against the health and safety

_7  risks that dangerous wild animals pose to the community and to

_8  protect the welfare of individual animals held in private

_9  possession.  By their very nature, these animals are wild and

10  inherently dangerous and, as such, do not adjust well to a captive

11  environment.


12      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  The definitions in this section apply

13  throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires

14  otherwise.

15      (1) "Animal control authority" means an entity acting alone or

16  in concert with other local governmental units for enforcement of

17  the animal control laws of the city, county, and state, and the

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_1  shelter and welfare of animals.  "Animal control authority"

_2  includes, but is not limited to the following individuals:  Animal

_3  control officers, local law enforcement agents, and county

_4  sheriffs.

_5      (2) "Animal control officer" means an individual employed,

_6  contracted with, or appointed by the animal control authority for

_7  the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of this chapter or any

_8  law or ordinance relating to the licensure of animals, control of

_9  animals, or seizure and impoundment of animals.  "Animal control

10  officer" includes any state or local law enforcement officer, or

11  other employee whose duties in whole or in part include

12  assignments that involve the seizure and impoundment of any

13  animal.

14      (3) "Department" means the department of fish and wildlife.

15      (4) "Dangerous wild animal" means those species of animals that

16  are inherently dangerous to humans.  "Dangerous wild animals"

17  include the following classes, orders, and families, whether bred

18  in the wild or in captivity:

19      (a) Class Mammalia:

20      (i) Order Carnivora:

21      (A) Family Felidae, except domesticated cats and hybrids;

22      (B) Family Canidae, only wolves, not wolf-hybrids;

23      (C) Family Ursidae; and

24      (ii) Order Primates; and

25      (b) Class Reptilia:

26      (i) Order Squamata:

27      (A) Family Boidae, only African rock pythons, amethystine

28  pythons, boelen's pythons, burmese pythons, Indian pythons, olive

29  pythons, reticulated pythons, yellow anacondas, green anacondas,

30  and Jamaican boas;

31      (B) Family Colubridae, only boomslangs, mangrove snakes,

32  African twig snakes, and brown tree snakes;

33      (C) Family Elapidae;

34      (D) Family Helodermatidae;

35      (E) Family Lacertilia, only Salvator monitors and Salvadoran

36  monitors; and

37      (F) Family Viperidae; and

38      (ii) Order Crocodilia.

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_1      "Dangerous wild animal" may include species not listed if they

_2  are declared dangerous wild animals by the department, in

_3  cooperation with the animal control authority, if the confinement

_4  of the animal within the state can be shown to constitute a threat

_5  to public health and safety.

_6      (5) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation,

_7  organization, trade or professional association, firm, limited

_8  liability company, joint venture, association, trust, estate, or

_9  any other legal entity, and any officer, member, shareholder,

10  director, employee, agent, or representative thereof.

11      (6) "Wildlife sanctuary" means a nonprofit organization

12  described in section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the internal revenue code

13  of 1986, that operates a place of refuge where abused, neglected,

14  unwanted, impounded, abandoned, orphaned, or displaced dangerous

15  wild animals are provided care for their lifetime or released back

16  to their natural habitat and, with respect to any animal owned by

17  the organization, does not:

18      (a) Conduct any activity that is not inherent to the animal's

19  nature;

20      (b) Use the animal for any type of entertainment;

21      (c) Sell, trade, or barter the animal or the animal's body

22  parts; or

23      (d) Breed the animal for purposes of sale.


24      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  (1) It is unlawful for any person to own,

25  possess, keep, harbor, bring, or have in one's possession a

26  dangerous wild animal, except in compliance with this chapter.

27      (2) It is unlawful for the owner or any other person in control

28  of a lot, tract, or parcel of land or any residence or business

29  premises situated thereon to knowingly permit any other person to

30  be in possession of a dangerous wild animal upon the property,

31  residence, or premises, except in compliance with this chapter.


32      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  This chapter shall not apply to:

33      (1) Institutions accredited by the American zoo and aquarium

34  association.

35      (2) Licensed humane societies;

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_1      (3) Animal control officers or law enforcement officers acting

_2  under the authority of this chapter;

_3      (4) Licensed veterinary hospitals or clinics;

_4      (5) Any wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the state, under RCW

_5  77.12.040 and WAC 232-12-275;

_6      (6) Any wildlife sanctuary;

_7      (7) Any licensed or accredited research or medical institution;

_8      (8) Any licensed or accredited educational institution;

_9      (9) Any circus, rodeo, or trade show;

10      (10) A person temporarily transporting a dangerous wild animal

11  through the state if the transit time is not more than ninety-six

12  hours and the animal is at all times maintained within a

13  confinement sufficient to prevent the dangerous wild animal from

14  escaping.


15      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  (1) A person may possess a dangerous wild

16  animal if:  The person was in legal possession of the dangerous wild

17  animal before the effective date of this act; the person is the

18  legal owner of the dangerous wild animal; and the person applies

19  for and is granted a personal possession permit for the dangerous

20  wild animal in their possession within ninety days after the

21  effective date of this act.  The permit is valid in any local unit

22  in which the possession of a dangerous wild animal is not

23  prohibited by local law.  Persons who meet the requirements in this

24  subsection shall annually obtain a personal possession permit.

25      (2) After the effective date of this act, no new dangerous wild

26  animal shall be brought into possession under authority of a

27  personal possession permit.

28      (3) An applicant shall file an application to receive a

29  personal possession permit with the animal control authority on a

30  form provided by the animal control authority.  The application

31  shall include the following:

32      (a) A nonrefundable permit fee.  The amount of the annual permit

33  fee shall be established by the animal control authority;

34      (b) A written statement completed by the owner which sets forth

35  the following information:

36      (i) The name, address, and telephone number of the applicant;

37      (ii) A description of each dangerous wild animal, including the

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_1  scientific name, name, sex, age, color, weight, and any

_2  distinguishing marks or coloration that would aid in the

_3  identification of the animal;

_4      (iii) A photograph of the dangerous wild animal;

_5      (iv) The exact location where the dangerous wild animal is to

_6  be kept;

_7      (v) The name, address, and telephone number of the person from

_8  whom the applicant obtained the dangerous wild animal, if known;

_9      (vi) The identification number of the dangerous wild animal,

10  excluding reptiles when such device would endanger the well-being

11  of the reptile; and

12      (vii) The name, address, and phone number of the veterinarian

13  who is expected to provide veterinary care to the dangerous wild

14  animal;

15      (c) Any additional information the animal control authority may

16  deem necessary to carry out this chapter.

17      (4) A permit shall not be granted unless the animal control

18  authority finds that all of the following apply:

19      (a) The provisions outlined under subsection (1) of this

20  section are met;

21      (b) The applicant is twenty-one years of age or older;

22      (c) The applicant has not been convicted of, or found

23  responsible for, violating a local or state law prohibiting

24  cruelty, neglect, or mistreatment of an animal or has not within

25  the past ten years been convicted of a felony or been convicted

26  for possession, sale, or use of illegal narcotics;

27      (d) The facility and the conditions in which the dangerous wild

28  animal will be kept are in compliance with this chapter;

29      (e) The owner of the dangerous wild animal has obtained the

30  requisite liability insurance coverage or surety bond for the

31  dangerous wild animal under his or her control as set forth in

32  section 9 of this act; and

33      (f) The owner has regularly provided veterinary care to the

34  dangerous wild animal when needed and intends to provide such care

35  in the future.

36      (5) The personal possession permit shall set forth all of the

37  following information:

38      (a) The name, address, and phone number of the permit holder;

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_1      (b) The address if different than (a) of this subsection, where

_2  the dangerous wild animal will be kept;

_3      (c) The name, number, species, and age of the dangerous wild

_4  animal, and any distinguishing marks or coloration that would aid

_5  in the identification of the animal;

_6      (d) The identification number as required under section 6 of

_7  this act, if applicable;

_8      (e) The name, address, and phone number of the veterinarian who

_9  is expected to provide veterinary care to the dangerous wild

10  animal named on the permit; and

11      (f) Any other relevant information the animal control authority

12  may deem necessary.

13      (6) The animal control authority shall keep records of who is

14  carrying a valid permit.  A permit holder shall notify the animal

15  control authority of any changes of the stated information on the

16  permit, which shall include the death of the dangerous wild

17  animal.


18      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.  The owner of the dangerous wild animal

19  shall have an identification number placed in the dangerous wild

20  animal via subcutaneous microchip, at the expense of the owner, by

21  or under the supervision of a veterinarian.  This section does not

22  apply to dangerous wild reptiles if a veterinarian determines that

23  the placement of a subcutaneous microchip would endanger the well-

24  being of the reptile.


25      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 7.  (1) The animal control authority may

26  establish specific caging requirements for the keeping and

27  confinement of dangerous wild animals.  If the animal control

28  authority establishes caging requirements, the permittee shall

29  keep and confine the dangerous wild animal in strict accordance

30  with the established caging requirements.  Any deviations from the

31  regulations established by the animal control authority shall be

32  approved by the animal control authority upon a showing of good

33  cause.

34      (2) All caging requirements established by the animal control

35  authority shall ensure that the dangerous wild animal is confined

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_1  in a primary enclosure that protects the public's safety and

_2  health and ensures the safety and well-being of the dangerous wild

_3  animal.


_4      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 8.  (1) A dangerous wild animal shall not be

_5  tethered, leashed, or chained outdoors, or allowed to run at

_6  large.

_7      (2) A dangerous wild animal shall not be mistreated, neglected,

_8  abandoned, or deprived of necessary food, water, and sustenance.

_9      (3) A permittee transporting a dangerous wild animal in a

10  vehicle shall ensure that the dangerous wild animal is

11  individually and securely caged, even while inside a passenger

12  vehicle or in the bed of a truck.

13      (4) Each permittee shall have a plan for the quick and safe

14  recapture of the dangerous wild animal if the dangerous wild

15  animal escapes, if recapture is impossible, then a plan for the

16  destruction of the dangerous wild animal held under a personal

17  possession permit.

18      (5) If an owner realizes that he or she can no longer care for

19  the dangerous wild animal, an animal rescue facility, wildlife

20  sanctuary, or an American zoo and aquarium association accredited

21  facility shall be contacted for possible placement of the animal

22  before euthanization of the dangerous wild animal.


23      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 9.  (1) All owners of a dangerous wild animal

24  shall either:  (a) Maintain liability insurance coverage with an

25  insurer qualified under Title 48 RCW in the amount of at least two

26  hundred fifty thousand dollars insuring for bodily injury to or

27  death of a person or injury and destruction to property caused by

28  the dangerous wild animal; or (b) must guarantee that the owner

29  has a surety bond issued by a surety insurer qualified under

30  chapter 48.28 RCW in a form acceptable to the animal control

31  authority in the amount of at least two hundred fifty thousand

32  dollars.  All owners of a dangerous wild animal shall provide a copy

33  of the policy for liability insurance or proof of surety bond to

34  the animal control authority on a yearly basis.

35      (2) All owners of a dangerous wild animal shall have posted and

36  displayed at each possible entrance onto the premises where a

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_1  dangerous wild animal is kept a conspicuous sign, clearly legible,

_2  and easily readable by the public warning that there is a

_3  dangerous wild animal on the premises.  In addition, the owner shall

_4  conspicuously display a sign with a warning symbol that informs

_5  children of the presence of a dangerous wild animal.

_6      (3) If any dangerous wild animal escapes or is released, either

_7  intentionally or unintentionally, the owner of the dangerous wild

_8  animal shall immediately contact a law enforcement officer of the

_9  city or county where the owner resides to report the escape or

10  release.  The owner is liable for all expenses associated with

11  efforts to recapture the animal.  If it is determined that the owner

12  was not at fault for the escape or release of the dangerous wild

13  animal, and the person who is responsible for the escape or

14  release is known, the owner may bring a civil action suit for

15  damages against the person.


16      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 10.  The permittee shall not bring a dangerous

17  wild animal to any commercial or retail establishment unless the

18  permittee is bringing the animal to a veterinarian or a veterinary

19  clinic.


20      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 11.  An owner of a dangerous wild animal, at

21  all reasonable times, shall allow an animal control officer to

22  enter the premises where the animal is kept to ensure compliance

23  with this chapter.


24      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 12.  (1) Any dangerous wild animal shall be

25  immediately confiscated by an animal control authority if the:  (a)

26  Owner does not have a personal possession permit under section 5

27  of this act; (b) owner does not secure the liability insurance

28  coverage or surety bond required under section 9 of this act; (c)

29  provisions of section 8 of this act are not being met; (d)

30  conditions under which the dangerous wild animal is kept are

31  directly or indirectly dangerous to human health and safety.  In

32  addition, the owner is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable in

33  accordance with RCW 9A.20.021.

34      (2) A dangerous wild animal may be returned to the owner only

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_1  if the owner has a personal possession permit and has corrected

_2  the conditions resulting in the confiscation.

_3      (3) If a dangerous wild animal is confiscated, the owner is

_4  liable for the costs of placement and care for the dangerous wild

_5  animal from the time of confiscation until the time of return to

_6  the owner or until the time the animal has been relocated to an

_7  alternative facility, such as a sanctuary, licensed humane

_8  society, or an institution accredited by the American zoo and

_9  aquarium association.


10      NEW SECTION.  Sec. 13.  Sections 1 through 12 of this act

11  constitute a new chapter in Title 77 RCW.


‑‑‑ END ‑‑‑

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