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A. Any animal may be impounded and held when it is the subject of a violation of this title, when an animal requires protective custody and care due to mistreatment or neglect by its lawful owner, or when otherwise ordered impounded by a court.

B. An animal is deemed to be impounded from the time the Animal Control Officer or his/her designee, including the Snohomish Police personnel and contracted agents (such as on-call veterinarian hospitals), takes physical custody of such animal.

C. An Animal Control Officer or police officer may enter the private unenclosed property of another, with or without warrant, when in hot pursuit, to take possession of any animal observed at large.

D. Regulations for Keeping a Found Dog.

1. Any person who finds a dog or cat, which is not lawfully on their property and/or without knowing the animal owner’s identity, shall notify the Animal Control Authority and furnish a description of the animal. The finder may surrender the animal to the animal control shelter or retain its possession, subject to the discretion of the Animal Control Authority.

2. Records of reported findings shall be maintained by the Animal Control Authority and made available to the public.

3. If, within thirty days of the finding report made to animal control, no person makes claim upon the finder for return of the animal, the finder who chooses to retain possession of the animal shall obtain a license as required in this chapter, and thus shall become the legal owner.

4. Animals held by the City for periods prescribed in this chapter, and not redeemed by the owner, shall become the property of the City.

E. Holding period and notice requirements:

1. Any animal wearing a current license tag from a jurisdiction within the state shall be held for one hundred forty-four hours (six days) from time of impoundment. The impounding officer shall make reasonable effort by telephone to give notice of impoundment to the owner and if unsuccessful, shall mail written notice to the last known address of the owner advising of the impoundment and the date by which redemption must be made.

2. Any animal not wearing a current license shall be held for seventy-two hours (three days) from time of impoundment before any disposition may be made of such animal.

3. Litters of kittens and puppies, brought in as abandoned, may be disposed of immediately upon custody, at the discretion of the shelter manager.

4. Animals delivered for impoundment by a police officer who removed such animal from possession of a person in custody of the police officer shall be held for the period prescribed in section (1) of this subsection.

F. Release from Impoundment and Disposition of Animals.

1. Payment of applicable fees, penalties, fines, and forfeitures shall be required prior to the release of an animal.

2. Any impounded animal shall be released to the owner unless in the discretion of the Animal Control Authority or his/her designee there is an ongoing investigation of a violation of this chapter or state law. Positive identification of the owner shall be provided to animal control prior to release.

3. Any animal held for the prescribed period and not redeemed by its owner, and which is neither dangerous nor unhealthy, may be released for adoption, subject to the following conditions:

a. The adoptive owner agrees to furnish proper care to the animal in accordance with this chapter;

b. Payment of required fees, including any medical care costs incurred during impoundment;

c. In case of an unaltered animal, a spay/neuter deposit shall be made for dogs and cats that is only refundable upon proof that such animal has been rendered sexually unreproductive within the allotted time period; and

d. In the case of animals under six months of age, the execution of a written agreement by the adoptive owner to render any adopted dog or cat sexually unreproductive within sixty days of adoption, or upon the animal attaining sexual maturity (six months), whichever event occurs last. Failure to perform the terms of the agreement shall be a violation, and shall be a forfeiture of the spay/neuter deposit and the manager may require return of the adopted animal to the shelter.

4. The owner of any animal retained at the shelter pending legal action pertaining to violations of this chapter and/or other judicial actions or hearings, pertaining to his/her ownership/responsibilities regarding the animal, shall upon conviction be liable for all fees prescribed by the fee schedule.

5. The shelter manager shall dispose of animals by means of euthanasia or adoption. However, irrespective of a prescribed holding period, the manager, upon advice of a licensed veterinarian, may immediately euthanize a sick or injured impounded animal.

6. The decision of whether to release an animal to an individual for the purposes of adoption shall be at the discretion of the Animal Control Authority. In making the determination the Animal Control Authority or his/her designee shall base his/her decision on what is in the best interest of the animal and what is in the best interest of public safety. (Ord. 1915, 1999; Ord. 2022, 2003; Ord. 2193, 2010)