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Overly complex, unclear, inconsistent – and here and there, outdated.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

Responding to a cry for help

United Way of King County’s Family Resource Exchange serves hundreds of homeless at Green River College

Utility work to affect Auburn Way North, 10th Street NE to 15th Street NE | Update

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 22, through Friday, Feb. 8, utility work by InfraSource… Continue reading

Auburn Food Bank dedicates service Jan. 23 to help federal employees

The Auburn Food Bank is offering a food bank service Wednesday, Jan.… Continue reading

Microsoft will invest $500 million toward regional housing

Mayors of nine cities — including Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish — have pledged to help

Auburn School Board recognizes outstanding staff member

The Auburn School District Board of Directors recognized Chris Telford, jewelry teacher… Continue reading

City offers assistance to federal employees

Late fees, service interruptions suspended for furloughed Auburn residents

Residents at SeaTac’s Firs Mobile Home Park received a closure notice for October 31, but most have chosen to stay in their homes. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
South King County coalition targets affordable housing

Rent and housing prices hit south end communities hard; SeaTac, Tukwila, Kent, Burien, Renton and Auburn are working to create organization like Eastside’s ARCH

Miss Auburn, Miss Auburn’s Outstanding Teen tiaras up for grabs Saturday

Seven contestants compete for the crown of Miss Auburn, and five vie… Continue reading

‘Super blood moon’ eclipse beams over Auburn

Stargazers in Auburn caught a rare glimpse of a “super blood moon”… Continue reading

Most Read