Chapter 6.05: Domestic Animals

6.05.030 Dogs not permitted at large
It is unlawful for the owners or custodian or person having charge of any dog to allow such dog to run at large within the town limits. Any dogs under violation of this section can be declared a nuisance and dangerous to the public health, safety, and welfare.
6.05.040 At large without license
It is unlawful for the owner or custodian to permit an animal to run at large within the town at any time as provided by these articles. Any animal caught running at large within the town limits of the town of Hamilton may be impounded and/or transported to the Skagit County Humane Society at the owner of said animal’s expense. If impounded by the town all fees associated with the impoundment, feed, care and a current license (if applicable) must be paid in full prior to the release of the animal.
6.05.050 Entering places where food is stored, served or prepared
It is unlawful for the owner or custodian of an animal to permit the animal to enter a church, market or other place where food is stored, prepared, served or sold to the public or any other public place or hall (except for animal shows or other exhibition purposes, veterinarian hospitals, kennels or places for which the licensing official has issued a permit under provisions of any ordinance of the town) except those animals licensed or determined to be service animals
6.05.060 Requirement for disposal.
All pet owners and custodians are required to immediately and properly dispose of their pet’s solid waste deposited on any property, public or private, not owned or possessed by that person; provided, however, that any owner or keeper who requires the use of a disability assistance animal shall be exempt from the provisions of this section while such animal is being used for that purpose.

6.05.070  License and registration required.
A. All dogs in the Town of Hamilton must be licensed and registered if over three months of age. The animal license shall be an annual license which shall expire at midnight on December 31st of each year. Upon payment of the license fee, the city shall issue to the owner or custodian a license fee receipt and a metal tag for each animal so licensed. The license tag shall be stamped with the numbers issued for that year for that particular animal. Every owner or custodian must provide each dog with a collar to which the license tag must be securely fastened, and must ensure that the collar and tags are worn by the dog at all times. Tags are not transferable from one animal to another. It is unlawful for any person other than the owner, his agent or a town official to remove the license tag from the dog. No refund shall be made on any animal license fee as a result of death to a dog or cat or for any other reason.

6.05.080 License Application
Application for such license shall be made upon forms provided by the town. The application shall list the name, address and phone number of the owner; the name, breed, color, and sex of the animal owned or harbored by him or her. Such information shall be kept conveniently indexed by the office of the clerk-treasurer together with the number of the license issued.

6.05.090 License Fee
The annual license fee for each dog shall be set by resolution of the town council. There shall be a late fee charged on license renewals not renewed by January 31 of each year, said fee to be set by resolution of the town council.

6.05.100  Lost Tag
Any owner or custodian of a licensed animal whose current license tag has been lost may obtain a replacement tag, prior to the impounding of such animals, by payment of a fee set by resolution of the town council. Any animal licensed for the current year, which may be impounded while running at large without a tag, may be redeemed upon payment of the pickup, impounding fees as well as costs for feeding and care of such animal, and any other such fees as set by resolution of the town council

6.05.110 Limitation on Number
No person, owner, household, or custodian shall keep, have charge of, harbor or feed more than 5 domestic animals; excluding birds, fish, and suckling young.

6.05.120 Excessive Noise Prohibited
No owner or custodian of any dog or fowl shall permit the same to remain outside of the dwelling of such owner or custodian, or outside the closed building where the dog or fowl is kept while any such dog or fowl is causing excessive or frequent noises which disturb or are likely to disturb the comfort or repose of other persons in the neighborhood. Violation is a civil infraction, with fines of $50 for the first violation, $150 for the second violation and $500 for the third violation. If the owner or person having custody can’t be found or the animal is a repeat offender, the animal will be impounded.

6.05.130 Impounding of Offending Animals
For any violation of this chapter, any animal control officer may impound any such offending dog in the animal shelter or at such place as approved by the mayor.

6.05.140 Impoundment – Registry – Notice
The animal control officer shall immediately upon impounding of any animal make a complete registry, entering the breed, color and sex of such animals and whether said animal is licensed, if known, and if licensed, he or she shall enter the name and address of the owner and number of the license tag is known.
               (A). When any licensed animal shall be impounded, the Animal Control officer shall forthwith give notice by mail or by                                          telephone to the owner of such licensed animal informing the owner of the impounding, describing the animal and place                            and time of taking, and advising where the animal is held.
              (B). When any animal not bearing a collar or harness to which is attached a license shall be impounded, the animal control                                officer shall give notice within 24 hours of such impounding by posting notice giving the breed, color, sex, and other                                    identifying characteristics of such impounded animal together with the date and place of apprehension thereof. Such                                notice shall be posted at Town Hall and at such other public place as shall be provided for such notices. 

6.05.150 Impoundment – Redemption – Costs
For every animal taken in and impounded as provided for in this article, there shall be paid to the town, for the use of the town, by any person desiring to redeem such animal, the total of the following fees:
               (A). A pickup fee and impounding fee set by resolution of the town council or such other sums that are designated from time                          to time by the town council.
               (B). If no license has been issued for the current year, an annual license fee, or if the tag is lost, the replacement fee.
               (C). Such costs for feeding and care of such animal as shall be set by resolution of the town council for the care of the                                        impounded animals; provided, that the payment of fees provided in this section will be exclusive or in addition to any fines                        or penalties imposed upon the owner upon violation of any provisions of these articles.  

6.05.160 Impoundment – Redemption – Destruction
Any animal which has been impounded may be redeemed within 72 hours after being impounded by any person claiming to own or be acting for the owner of such animal.
After 72 hours of being impounded:
A. Such animal may be kept and offered for sale at a price fixed by the animal control officer; or
B. Released by the animal control officer to any person who shall pay the fees required by these articles or such portion thereof as the animal control officer may require; or
C. The animal control officer may release such animal to any other organization for such other disposition as he may see fit; provided, that no animal shall be given or sold to any person or association for vivisection purposes; or
D. Vicious dogs, or any animal which as bitten any person and after examination by a qualfied veterinarian has been determined to have rabies or other disease rendering such animal dangerous to humans, may be destroyed.

6.05.170 Disposition of Proceeds from Sale of Impounded Animals
The proceeds from the auction or sale of any impounded animals after the expiration of the period of redemption provided in HMC 6.05.150 shall be applied first to the cost of apprehension, license and care of the animal at the rate set in HMC 6.05. 160 and the balance of the proceeds shall be deposited with the office of the clerk treasurer to be deposited with the general funds of the town.

6.05.180 Impoundment – Conditions Upon Release
When any animals shall be impounded pursuant to the provisions of these articles, the animal control officer may impose such conditions upon the release of such animal as may be necessary or desirable in order to avoid, forestall or prevent recurrence of the violation leading to the impounding of such animal and no animal shall be redeemed by the owner or other persons except in compliance with and subject to conditions which may include undertaking to keep such animal outside the town, undertaking to pay for damages done by such animal, undertaking to control such animal within specified limits, or any other conditions which may be appropriate and reasonable to avoid recurrence of the condition leading to such impounding.

6.05.190 Impounding for observation
Any animal control officer, upon receiving notice that a dog has bitten any person or has acted in such manner as to indicate that it has rabies or other similar dangerous disease, is authorized to impound such dog after its identification by the victim or a witness, and the dog shall be held under observation and for examination by a veterinarian for a period of not less than 10 days. The veterinarian’s fee and the cost of impounding and care must be paid before the dog can be redeemed, and if the dog is not redeemed by the owner or custodian, it may be sold or destroyed as otherwise provided in this chapter.

6.05.200 Dog Chasing Vehicles
Any dog chasing cars, motorcycles, bicycles or any other vehicles may be declared a nuisance upon written statement of two or more persons having observed such animal in action.

6.05.210 Arrest of Animal
The Town of Hamilton by its property constituted officers shall arrest any animal:
                         (A) Found to be at large or harbored under circumstances constituting a violation of these articles; or
                         (B) Damaging property of a person other than the owner&t such dog, except
                               in the defense of the property of or members of the owner’s household; or
                         (C) Causing bodily harm to any person; or
                         (D) Acting in such a manner as to cause reasonable apprehension or such harm to person or animals not within or upon                                   the premises of such dog’s owner.
Such animal may also be taken into custody by any person who observes such violation. Such person shall promptly call the town official, or report the circumstances leading to such a seizure and deliver or tender possession of such animal to the town for impounding.

6.05.220 Harboring Animal in Violation of Articlos
Any person, including the owner or a member of his or her family, who shall give refuge to or who shall fail or refuse to deliver possession of an animal to the animal control officer who was in pursuit of the animal seen violating any provision of these articles may be subject to a fine not to exceed $250.00. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, organization or corporation to interfere with, hinder, delay or impede any animal control officer in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter.

6.05.230 Hot Pursuit – Entry of Owner’s Promises
An officer or other animal control officer, in hot pursuit of an animal known to be vicious, or reasonably suspected of being dangerous to persons other than wrongful trespassers upon his or hers owners premises, may enter the premises of the owner and demand possession of such animal, and if, after request therefore, the owner or custodian of the animals, over 16 years of age, shall refuse to deliver the animal to the officer or Animal Control officer and the officer or Animal Control officer cannot with reasonable safety catch the animal, he or she may cause it to be killed, provided, such officer or Animal Control officer shall not enter the abode of the owner with a warrant therefore.

6.05.240 Care of Impounded Animals
All animals arrested and impounded shall be given humane care and properly fed during such detention. Reasonable effort shall be exerted to segregate such animals as to size, condition and temperament so that the timid, sick, weak or injured animals will not suffer from the actions of others.

6.05.250 Impoundment – Retention Time
Except in those cases in which the animal is being redeemed or returned to the owner or person having the lawful right thereto, all impounded animals shall be retained for not less than 72 hours, after which time of giving notice of such impounding unless the animal is sick or injured and a sooner disposal is deemed by the animal control officer to be the proper course to be taken. The animal control officer shall retain impounded animals beyond the 72-hour minimum requirement, if, in his opinion, the animal is of sufficient value and attraction that the continued care and expense is warranted pending the sale or disposal of such animal.

6.05.260 Penalty for violation.
(A) Civil Penalties – First and Second Violations. Any person and any owner or custodian violating any provisions of this chapter (with the exception of HMC 6.05.210) shall incur a fine in the amount of $50.00 for a first violation, and a fine in the amount of $100.00 for a second violation within the 12-consecutive-month period following the date on which the first violation was found to be committed if the second violation is for a violation of the same provision.

(B) Criminal Penalties – Third and Subsequent Violations. A third violation of the same provision of this chapter (with the exception of HMC 6.05.210) within the 12-consecutive-month period following the date on which the first violation was found to be committed shall be a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than 90 days in jail and a fine of not more than $500.00. A fourth violation of the same provision of this chapter (with the exception of HMC 6.05.210) within the 12-consecutive-month period following the date on which the first violation was found to be committed shall be a gross misdemeanor, punishable by not more than one year in jail and a fine of not more than $5,000. A fifth or subsequent violation of the same provision of this chapter (with the exception of HMC 6.05.210) shall be a gross misdemeanor, regardless of the passage of time from the date on which the first violation was found to be committed, punishable by not more than one year in jail and a fine of not more than $5,000.

6.05.270 Animal Abuse
No owner shall fail to provide his animal or livestock with sufficient veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering, and with humane care and treatment. No person will beat, cruelly treat, torment, overload, overwork, or otherwise abuse any animal, or cause or permit any dog fight, cockfight, bull fight or other conflict between animals and humans.
No owner of any animal or livestock shall abandon any animal or livestock.

6.05.280 Cruelty to animals
(A) Injuring Animal with Vehicle. No person shall willfully injure, beat, abuse or run down any animal with a vehicle. Any person who kills or injures an animal while driving a vehicle shall stop at the scene of the accident and render such assistance as practicable, shall make reasonable efforts to locate and identify themselves to the owner or to any person having custody of the animal and shall report the accident immediately to the police department.

(B) Feeding and Care of Animals. It is unlawful for any person to keep or harbor an animal within the city without providing a suitable amount of wholesome food and clean water for the nutrition and comfort thereof, and without providing a clean sleeping area, or to leave the premises upon which the animal is confined or through which it customarily returns for more than 24 hours without providing for the feeding and care of such animal in the absence of the person.

(C) Poisoning of Animals. It is unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously poison any domestic animal or bird or to lay out or expose any kind of poisoned food or drink for man, animal or fowl, or any substance or fluid whatever whereon or wherein there is or shall be deposited or mingled any kind of poison or poisonous or deadly substance or fluid whatever, on any premises or in any unenclosed place, or to aid or abet any person in doing so; except, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to the killing by poison of any animal or bird in a lawful and humane manner by the owners thereof or by a duly authorized servant or agent of such owner, or by the owner, or by a person acting pursuant to the instructions from a duly constituted public authority, in accordance with the exceptions provided in RCW 16.52.190

(D) Injury to Animal – Neglect of Injured Animal. It is unlawful for any person to: (1) willfully and cruelly injure or kill any animal by any means causing it fright and pain, except for the humane slaughter of animals and fowl used for human food; (2) by reason of neglect or intent to cause or allow any animal to endure pain, suffering or injury or to fail or neglect to aid or attempt alleviation of pain, suffering or injury such person has caused to any animal; or (3) maintain any place where fowl or any animals are suffered to fight upon exhibition or for sport upon any wager.

(E) Criminal Penalty. Any person and any owner or custodian found to have violated this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than 90 days in jail and a fine of not more than $500.00.