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Overly complex, unclear, inconsistent – and here and there, outdated.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

Auburn Municipal Airport, which began operations in 1969, is one of the busiest of its kind in the state. REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Airport Appreciation Day to take wing Sept. 29

Displays, food, activities part of special event open to the public

Attending the Breakfast for Kids are, from left: Mark Hendricks, Federal Way and Auburn Boys and Girls Club; Jen Cohen, athletic director, University of Washington; Wanda and Ron Crockett; and King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. COURTESY PHOTO
Federal Way and Auburn Boys and Girls Club breakfast raises a record breaking $71,470

Breakfast for Kids, an annual fundraiser for the Federal Way and Auburn… Continue reading

Mayor’s food drive begins week of Sept. 24

Put donations out on your Waste Management collection day

Salmon SEEson’ returns: Spot fish coming home to King County rivers and streams

Native salmon – including sockeye, chinook, coho and chum – have begun… Continue reading

Show of classic chrome

Hot Rod Garage Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show shines at the Bus Barn Bonanza Bazaar

Gerstman chosen as vice president at Highline College

Higher ed, fundraising veteran to join leadership team

City awards contract to provide new roadway markings

The work calls for the removal of paint and thermoplastic road channelization… Continue reading

World War II veterans are special guests at breakfast

World War II veterans attended a quarterly breakfast sponsored by the Muckelshoot… Continue reading

Catch Sounder train to Seahawks game Sept. 23

Stops in Auburn, Kent and Tukwila before reaching Seattle

Most Read