Dangerous dog ordinance begging for an update, City officials say

Council tackles issue at work session

Overly complex, unclear, inconsistent – and here and there, outdated.

After more than a decade of often isolated updates to the 2004 dangerous dog ordinance, this is how Auburn Police, the City attorney and dog owners describe its condition in 2018.

Time to tidy it up, they say, to reconcile all parts so it clearly describes the precise criteria and processes for dangerous dogs and potentially dangerous dogs.

Perhaps time to make some changes, too. Suggestions include prohibiting within the City specific breeds prone to aggression, adding a harness to leashing requirements for dangerous dogs, providing a more complete definition of “proper enclosure” and adding spay-neuter requirements for dangerous dogs.

The Auburn City Council took the bone in its mouth during a work session Monday at City Hall.

“There are some things we can do … and I call them the helpful things because since the ordinance was originally adopted … a lot of things have changed, including the state statutes that give cities authority to do certain things,” City Attorney Dan Heid advised council members. “Some of those have changed, they’ve changed some of the language, and who knows what could happen down the road with the legislature. “… Everytime we make a change … the change is for one purpose, but something else from a practical standpoint comes out that may trigger the need for a change somewhere else.”

Here is a sampling of other potential changes.

• Consolidating requirements for dangerous dogs into a single code section, or consecutive sections instead of spreading them across multiple sections, and eliminating potential ambiguities relating to the dates by which fencing and insurance must be implemented during any appeal.

• Identifying concise, uniform requirements for notifying a dog’s owner of a determination that a dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous, and establishing clear, precise timelines for appealing such a determination

• Establishing appeal procedures that distinguish between determinations of dangerous, or potentially dangerous, dogs

• Clarifying language regarding an animal control officer’s determination of a dog as dangerous or potentially dangerous and the animal control authority’s review of that determination on appeal

• Specifying applicable timelines for the abandonment of confiscated dogs

• Adding mandatory impoundment of dogs that seriously injure or kill another animal or human

• Clarifying the scope of the dangerous dog definition concerning dogs previously designated as potentially dangerous dogs

• Adding a bond requirement to cover the anticipated costs of impounded animals and incentives for owners to pay impound fees.

In addition to updating the code language to reflect current practices, the council can change internal practice to promote transparency and efficiency within the City, among them: moving the assignment of the initial review-appeal from the assistant chief of police to another City official; specifying that dogs that chase or menace someone on private property other than the property of the owner are potentially dangerous dogs and that the owner may be criminally liable for their actions; and reducing the level of crime for animals injuring other animals.

More in News

Show of color: a benefit for Auburn school

Community embraces Run2Educate Color Run at Buena Vista Seventh-day Adventist School

Auburn Valley YMCA hosts Healthy Kids Day

Event encourages kids to stay active and keep learning all summer long

Auburn goes to work in Clean Sweep

Community-wide volunteer effort focuses on major cleanup

Auburn School Board recognizes outstanding staff member | Briefs

The Auburn School District Board of Directors recently recognized Lila Jenkins, office… Continue reading

Stober resigns as communications director for King County assessor

King County Democrats chair to receive $37,700 settlement

Demolition day to mark launch of major renovation to Highline College building

School making more room for more students in health and wellness careers

Auburn School District Teachers of the Year

Erie, Sherer and Harvey to be honored May 14

Housing in Auburn is one area City officials are assessing as the community looks to the future. FILE PHOTO
Incentives: Which are a good fit for Auburn?

City looking at economic development ideas that may benefit community

All Home board members meet in Seattle on April 23 to talk about its structure. Photo by Josh Kelety
The never-ending search for an effective King County homeless plan

While All Home attempts to address the issue, the group’s lack of actual power results in little change.

Most Read