New Vicious Animal Ordinance
Pierce County, WA - The new ordinance does not address specific breeds, although pit bulls and rottweilers do most of the human and livestock maulings. Unlike other cities in Washington, one that even resides within Pierce County, the City of Auburn, that do address specific breeds and require special regulation of them.
Under the new ordinance, if you own a "dangerous" animal -- one that has severely injured a human being or animal without provocation -- the annual registration fee is $500 annually, up from a $250 one time fee and $50 per year after. They add that if an animal kills a human being, and after multiple appeals have been exhausted, euthanization will result.
Only after a dog attacks and kills a human being, and after multiple appeals, is it subjected to euthanization.
The new ordinance aslo increased liability insurance for "dangerous" animals, from $250,000 to $500,000. Other requirements include: site inspection; posted warning sign; current photos for ID; proof of rabies vaccination, spay or neutering and microchipped or tattooed ID; brightly colored collar with tags; and muzzled when off-property.
The pit fall of the new ordinance and what fails to prevent future human and livestock maulings is the treatment of dogs declared "potentially dangerous" (PDD). A dog is declared "potentially dangerous" after it has bitten a human or domestic animal, chases a person with apparent intent to attack, or that is known to attack unprovoked.
Basically pit bulls and rottweilers get a first "free bite" under this logic, a bite that does not qualify as "severe" under state law.
If the first bite does not break a bone or require cosmetic surgery, the bite is not labeled "severe." A bite that leaves 4-5 deep puncture wounds and causes nerve damage may not qualify. Furthermore, dog owners can appeal the PDD label, whereas in Auburn and other cities, pit bulls and rottweilers are automatically labeled as such based on breed alone.
The penalty for being declared "potentially dangerous" under the new ordinance requires a $250 registration fee per year, up from a $250 one time, and $50 thereafter. Raising the registration fees is interesting, and may have positive effects down the road, but it is certainly not proactive.
Other aspects of the ordinance include: prohibits bringing an animal into Pierce County that another jurisdiction has declared "dangerous." The penalty is one year in jail or a $5,000 fine; prohibits "bad apple" owners -- with two or more convictions of animal-related crimes -- from owning animals for 10 years. Up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
04/06/08: "Potentially Dangerous Dogs" Roam Freely in Pierce County
11/09/07: Owners Charged in Sue Gorman Attack