City of Spokane

Spokane Municipal Code

Title 10
Chapter 10.03
Section 10.03.020

Title 10 Regulation of Activities

Division I. Penal Code

Chapter 10.03 Offenses Involving Animals

Section 10.03.020 Dangerous Dog Declaration and Registration
  1. When an animal protection officer has probable cause, based upon the officer’s records or investigation of an incident, to believe that a dog is a dangerous dog, the officer declares the dog to be a dangerous dog by the issuance of a dangerous dog declaration.
  1. Upon issuance of the dangerous dog declaration, the animal protection officer shall immediately confiscate the dog and place the dog in the animal control authority’s custody pending final disposition. For the purposes of the City Code, “owner and keeper” has the same definition as the “owner, handler, or keeper as definition in SCC 5.04.020 (20).
    1. The animal protection officer serves the owner or keeper of the dog with notice of the dangerous dog declaration either in person or by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested.
    1. Service, if by mail, shall be considered completed three (3) days after mailing of the notice.
    1. The notice shall state:
      1. The person receiving the notice is the owner or keeper of a dangerous dog as defined in SCC 5.04.020 (9).
      1. The breed, color, sex, and license number (if known) of the dog;
      1. A copy of the records relied upon by the director that forms the basis for declaring the dog to be a dangerous dog; which records may be supplemented with additional information as it becomes available;
      1. That receipt of the notice renders final the declaration of dangerous dog unless the owner or keeper of the dog submits a request for an administrative appeal hearing before the city hearing examiner in writing to the director on a form provided with the notice within fifteen (15) days of the receipt of the notice;
      1. If an appeal hearing is requested, such appeal will be held and adjudicated pursuant to the requirements set out in this chapter:
        1. that at the hearing the records of the director and any supplementary material shall be admissible to prove the dog is a dangerous dog;
        1. that the owner or keeper of the dog may upon request require the officer compiling the record or alternatively an officer with personal knowledge of the record to be present at the hearing, unless such officer is unavailable;
        1. that the owner or keeper of the dog, and the director, may call witnesses, present evidence, examine witnesses present, and be represented by counsel at the hearing; and
        1. that the burden shall be on the director to establish by a preponderance of evidence that the dog is a dangerous dog.
      1. A statement that the dog is subject to registration and controls required by this chapter; and,
      1. An explanation of the owner’s or keeper's rights and the proper procedure to appeal the declaration.
  1. No owner or keeper may keep a dangerous dog, except a dog currently used by law enforcement officers for police work, without a certificate of registration issued under this chapter. The certificate of registration must be acquired within fifteen days of service of the dangerous dog notice unless the owner or keeper has appealed the dangerous dog declaration pursuant to subsection (F) of this section.
  1. The animal control authority of the City issues a certificate of registration to the owner or keeper of a dangerous dog upon payment of the fee set forth in SMC 8.02.081 if the owner or keeper presents to the authority sufficient evidence of:
    1. A proper enclosure, approved by SCRAPS, to confine a dangerous dog; and,
    1. The posting of the premises with a clearly visible warning sign that there is a dangerous dog on the property, and the conspicuous display of a sign with a warning symbol that informs children of the presence of a dangerous dog; and
    1. A surety bond or a policy of liability insurance such as homeowner’s insurance, as described in this subsection. The surety bond or policy of liability insurance shall be issued by a surety or insurer qualified under chapter 48.28 RCW, be in a form acceptable to the SCRAPS, be in the sum of at least two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00) with a maximum five-hundred dollar ($500.00) deductible, provide for prior written notification to SCRAPS of cancellation or material change, and be payable to any person for personal injuries or property damage inflicted by the dangerous dog regardless of whether the personal injury or property damage occurs on or off the owner or keeper's premises.
    1. The owner or keeper of a dangerous dog shall furnish to SCRAPS a complete copy of the surety bond of insurance specified in this subsection and shall allow SCRAPS reasonable time to review the bond or policy to determine whether the surety bond or certificate of insurance is sufficient, prior to issuing the certificate of registration.
    1. A permanent microchip implanted and the microchip shall be injected in accordance with policy established by SCRAPS and the owner or keeper will be charged a fee for the microchip; and,
    1. The dangerous dog must be spayed/neutered at the owner’s expense in order to complete the registration. Any impounded dangerous dog will be transported to SCRAPS to a veterinarian for spaying/neutering as part of the registration process or documentation demonstrating that the dangerous dog has been spayed or neutered prior to release; and,
    1. A muzzle and leash approved by the animal control authority, as to strength and fit, for the dangerous dog; and
    1. In addition to the regular dog licensing fees set forth in section SCC 5.04.030, the owner of keeper of a dangerous dog shall pay an annual registration and inspection fee as prescribed in the department fee schedule. The registration will be valid for twelve (12) months.
    1. Issuance of a dangerous dog registration or renewal thereof shall be conditioned on the registered owner allowing the Director to inspect the premises at any time to insure compliance with the provisions of this section.
    1. The provisions of this section shall not apply to police dogs as defined in RCW 4.24.410.
    1. An owner or keeper of a dog declared, deemed or determined to be a dangerous dog shall be responsible for meeting and maintaining the requirements set forth in this section and section SMC 10.03.033 at all times and at their expense. A violation of conditions imposed under this section is a gross misdemeanor.
    1. Additional conditions determined by the animal control authority to be necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
  1. Appeal of Dangerous Dog Declaration.
    1. A dangerous dog declaration by the animal control authority may be appealed to the City’s hearing examiner.
    1. An appeal must be filed with the hearing examiner’s office within fifteen (15) days of service of the dangerous dog notice.
    1. An appeal does not proceed until the owner or keeper has complied with the requirements of SMC 10.03.050.
    1. At the appeal hearing, the records of the animal control director, or the director’s designee, and any supplemental material shall be admissible to prove the dog is a dangerous dog. The owner or keeper of the dog may present evidence and examine witnesses present.
    1. It is the animal control agency’s burden to provide the hearing examiner with evidence which establishes the dangerous dog determination by a preponderance of the evidence. The hearing examiner shall apply a preponderance of the evidence standard at the dangerous dog determination appeal. It is an affirmative defense that the owner must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the person or domestic animal attacked or bitten by the owner’s or keeper's dog provoked the owner’s or keeper's dog without justification or excuse.
    1. The hearing examiner will provide upon request to an individual all rules and procedures applicable to the appeal
    1. The hearing examiner either:
      1. Affirms the decision of the animal control authority in issuing the dangerous dog declaration,
      1. Dismisses the declaration, or
      1. Reduces a dangerous dog declaration to a potentially dangerous dog declaration based upon the evidence presented during the appeal.
    1. The hearing examiner’s decision may be appealed to the Spokane County superior court within twenty (20) days from the date the decision is issued.
  1. If an owner or keeper fails to register the dog as a dangerous dog within fifteen (15) days of service of the animal control authority’s notice, or of the hearing examiner’s decision affirming the animal control authority’s determination, and no restraining order has been served upon the animal control authority, the dog shall be euthanized.
  1. The animal control director may issue a provisional registration certificate where:
    1. the dangerous dog declaration has been appealed, provided all the conditions of maintaining a dangerous dog have been met under this section with the exception of subsection E(5) requiring spay or/neuter; or
    1. the owner is relocating the dangerous dog outside of the City and all conditions of this section have been met with the exception of subsection E(3-5) requiring a surety bond or insurance policy. Any provisional permit issued pursuant to this section shall expire fifteen (15) days following the decision on the appeal of the dangerous dog declaration. Any provisional permit issued under G (b) of this subsection shall be valid for the sole purpose of immediate transport and relocation of the dog from the shelter to a location outside of the City.
  1.  Dogs deemed dangerous by other jurisdictions in the State of Washington will be subject to the same regulations as if they have been deemed dangerous in the City. Any owner or keeper of a dog deemed dangerous by jurisdictions outside the State of Washington relocating to the City, Spokane County Washington shall present the dog to SCRAPS within thirty 30 days of their arrival in Spokane to be evaluated by the Director or his/her designee on an individual basis to determine whether the dog should be deemed a dangerous dog, taking into account the criteria set forth in SCC 5.04.020 (12).
  1. An owner or keeper of a dog previously deemed dangerous by the City or SCRAPS and subsequently relocated outside of the City, must register the dog pursuant to section (C) of this section prior to bringing the dangerous dog into the City; such dogs are prohibited from re-entering the City without prior written consent from SCRAPS and/or full registration.
  1. An owner or keeper of a dog declared dangerous shall be responsible for meeting and maintaining the requirements set forth in this section at all times. A violation of conditions imposed under this section is a gross misdemeanor.
  1. “Dangerous dog" means any dog that
    1. inflicts severe injury or multiple bites on a human being without provocation on public or private property,
    1. inflicts severe injury, multiple bites, or kills an animal without provocation while the dog is off the owner's or keeper's property, or
    1. has previously been declared potentially dangerous pursuant to SMC 10.03.033, and after the owner or keeper received notice of such declaration the dog engages in behavior that meets the definition of "potentially dangerous dog" in subsection SCC 5.04.020 (22) ; provided, a declaration of dangerous dog under part (c) of this subsection cannot become a final determination under SMC 10.03.020 unless and until the previous declaration of potentially dangerous dog has become final under this Code or a previous version of this Code. If two or more dogs jointly engage in any conduct described in parts (a) or (b) of this subsection, thereby rendering proof of the individual dog that inflicted any particular injury difficult to ascertain, then regardless of the degree of participation by the individual dog(s), all such dogs shall be deemed dangerous dogs.

Date Passed: Monday, August 27, 2018

Effective Date: Saturday, October 6, 2018

ORD C35673 Section 1