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NEW DOG LAWS TAKE EFFECT TODAY
March 22, 2009
(MONROE, WA) -- It is a new dawn today for dog owners in Monroe. Starting today it is now illegal for pet owners in Monroe to let their dogs leave animal waste in any part of the city and when a dog is away from an owner’s property it must now be leashed unless the animal is in a designated “off leash” area.
Those and other changes are part of a sweeping new revision in the city’s revised animal ordinance that takes effect today. It has been months in the making and is the result of folks living in the Chain Lake area complaining about dogs that run loose from their owner’s property consistently and sometimes bite or act aggressively toward people in the neighborhood.
Here are other changes in the law dog owners need to be aware of:
~ Dog owners cannot tether or otherwise confine an animal in a manner that causes injury or pain.
~ Owners can no longer leave a pet in a motor vehicle during very warm or cold weather -- it is against the law now. And no more allowing the family’s chocolate lab to bounce around in the back of a pick up truck like a rag doll. All pets in vehicles need to be properly secured and definitely not bouncing around loose in the back of the truck.
~ Under the new law any dog can be labeled as officially “dangerous” if the dog kills a domestic animal without provocation while away from the owner’s property, bites attacks or endangers the safety of humans, approaches a person in public in a threatening manner or inflicts severe injury or death on a human being.
And if a dog is labeled as dangerous the owner is required to confine their animal and post warning signs and also must secure a $250,000 bond AND have homeowner's liability insurance in the same amount. If the dog owner ignores those requirements the city can confiscate the dog.
The ordinance does however gives animal control officers the discretion to give the owner of a dog a warning before declaring the dog dangerous and owners can appeal the decision or get the dangerous label removed by successfully having their dogs complete the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen program or some similar obedience program.