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Authority and Definitions

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Title 10 Animal Care and Control

Chapter 10.04 Department of Animal Care and Control

Sec. 10.04.010 Title.

The Mendocino County Department of Animal Care and Control.

Sec. 10.04.020 Purpose.

The purpose of the Department of Animal Care and Control is to coordinate and supervise the activities of Animal Care and Control Officers in their efforts to protect livestock from predatory animals and the enforcement of all State and local laws relating to the care, control, treatment and licensing of dogs and other animals.

Sec. 10.04.030 Administration: General Powers and Authority.

  1. The Department of Animal Care and Control shall be under the general direction of the Director of Animal Care and Control, who shall be appointed by and report to the County Administrative Officer. The Director’s deputies, Animal Care and Control Officers, and other employees so designated by the Director shall have the following power and authority.
    1. To enforce the provisions of the ordinance codified in this title and State laws pertaining to the care, treatment, impounding and destruction of animals.
    2. To exercise all enforcement powers granted by Food and Agricultural Code Section 7.
    3. The Director may formulate rules and regulations in conformity with and for the purpose of carrying out the provisions and intent of the ordinance codified in this title.
  2. There is hereby created within the Department of Animal Care and Control an Animal Care and Control Appeals and Advisory Board of five (5) persons appointed by the Board of Supervisors. One (1) member of said Board shall be a licensed veterinarian, one (1) member shall be a member of a recognized animal organization within the County, two (2) members shall be representatives of the livestock industry within the County and one (1) member of said Board shall be appointed from the public at large.
    1. Persons serving as Appeals and Advisory Board Members shall be reimbursed only for travel mileage to and from Board meetings or hearings at the same rate as regular County employees for use of their personal vehicles while on County business.
    2. The Appeals and Advisory Board, in addition to hearing all appeals from orders of animal seizure, impoundment, abatement, denials or revocation of any kennel license or permits issued pursuant to Sections 10.12.020 and 10.12.030 of this title, shall convene as an administrative hearing board when so directed by the Department of Animal Care and Control.
    3. The Appeals and Advisory Board shall organize itself and shall select from its members a chairperson and vice-chairperson. The Director or a delegate shall serve as secretary of the Board. The Board shall meet from time to time as the chairperson shall designate.
    4. Upon appointment of the first members of the Appeals and Advisory Board, the Board shall meet and shall, by lot, select two (2) of its members to serve for a term of two (2) years and three (3) members to serve for a term of four (4) years.
  3. (C) Pursuant to Penal Code Section 830.9, Animal Care and Control Officers are not Peace Officers but may exercise the powers of arrest of a Peace Officer as specified in Section 836 and the power to serve warrants as specified in Sections 1523 and 1530, and are authorized to carry firearms during the course and within the scope of their employment, if those officers successfully complete a course in the exercise of those powers pursuant to Penal Code Section 832. For the purposes of this subdivision, .firearms. includes capture guns, blowguns, carbon dioxide operated rifles and pistols, air guns, handguns, rifles, and shotguns.

Sec. 10.04.040 Penalties.

  1. Infractions
    1. Unless otherwise specifically provided in this title, every violation determined to be an infraction is punishable by a fine or penalty imposed by the court of appropriate jurisdiction.
    2. Each offense shall constitute a separate infraction. Any person cited for an infraction violation of this Title with three (3) prior convictions of the same section within a twelve (12) month period may be charged with a misdemeanor.
  2. Misdemeanors. Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by any law of this state, every offense declared to be a misdemeanor by this title is punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both.

Sec. 10.04.060 Definitions.

Unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions govern the construction of this Title in order for more effective interpretation and enforcement.

10.04.062 Definition (A).

  1. Animal means any member of the vertebrate subphylum other than homo sapiens.
  2. Animal Care and Control means that section of local government or contracting agency which is specifically charged with the regulation of, and the enforcement of, laws relating to animals within the jurisdiction of the County of Mendocino.
  3. Animal Care and Control Officer means any person duly appointed by the Director of Animal Care and Control to enforce all laws and regulations related to animal control and care or rabies control.
  4. Animal shelter means any facility operated by a local governmental agency, contracting agency, or Humane Society for the purposes specified in this Title.
  5. Animal exhibition means any display containing one or more live domesticated, wild or exotic animals which are exposed to public view for entertainment, instruction or advertisement.
  6. At large means any animal, excepting a working animal, shall be deemed to be at large when off the premises of the owner and not under restraint by leash or physical control of its owner.
  7. Assistance dog means a dog that physically assists a person who has a physical disability.
  8. Animal Enforcement Authority means Animal Care and Control, Environmental Health, Public Health and/or Sheriff.
  9. Animal Sanctuary means any profit or non-profit organization where domestic birds or domestic animals are rehabilitated or protected from molestation.

Sec. 10.04.068 Definition (B).

  1. Bite means any cut, laceration, tear, bruise, abrasion, or injury inflicted to the epidermis of a person or animal whether or not that bite is considered a rabies risk by the County or State Health Department.
  2. Boarding kennel means a commercially operated establishment for the care and keeping of dogs and cats, other than those belonging to the operator.

Sec. 10.04.066 Definition (C).

  1. Cat means any member of the domestic feline species.
  2. Certified agricultural kennel means any place where five (5) or more dogs used solely for the herding or protection of farm animals or hunting dogs are actually kept, and the applicant signs a statement verifying proof of that status when applying for the certified agricultural license.
  3. City means any incorporated municipality within the County.
  4. Commercial kennel means any place where dogs or cats are kept for commercial purposes, including dog breeding business, boarding kennel, profit or non-profit dog and cat adoption agency, profit or non-profit animal sanctuary, profit or non-profit rescue organization; provided however, a commercial kennel shall not include any county animal control shelter, a licensed veterinary hospital, licensed agricultural or non-commercial residential kennel. The amendment to this section shall be retroactive to any entity or organization existing or operating in Mendocino County as of September 15, 2000.
  5. Contract agency means any entity which has entered into a contract with the Board of Supervisors for the regulation and control of animals within the county and the duly designated officers of said contract agency shall have the authority to enforce the terms of this Title in all areas covered by said contract.
  6. County means the County of Mendocino and if the context so indicates County employees designated to carry out the provisions of this Title.
  7. County veterinarian,. through a recommendation by the County Health Officer, shall be annually appointed by the County Board of Supervisors. The County veterinarian serves with or without compensation in the furtherance of the Animal Care and Control program.

Sec. 10.04.068 Definition (D).

  1. Dangerous exotic animal means any exotic animal which, because of its disposition, physical or inherent characteristics or size, behavior or propensity (without provocation) to inflict bodily harm or otherwise, demonstrate actions that would constitute a danger to any person, domestic livestock, other domestic animals or property.
  2. Dog means any member of the domestic Canine species and shall include all breeding crosses of dog with wolf (Canis Lupus or Canis Rufus) and coyote (Canis Latrans).
  3. Domestic animal means any animal other than wild or exotic animals, customarily confined or cultivated by humans for domestic or commercial purposes.

Sec. 10.04.070 Definition (E).

  1. Estray means the act of any animal to wander or roam at large
  2. Exotic animal means any wild animal not customarily confined or cultivated by humans for domestic or commercial purposes.

Sec. 10.04.072 Definition (F).

  1. Fence means wire, wood, metal, masonry, electric, or other material, at least four feet (4) in height, used as an enclosure for a yard, lot, field, or pasture to effectively confine livestock within a specific area. Fences that are not solid and view-obscuring shall not be considered as effectively confining livestock unless the horizontal and vertical members (wires, rails and posts) are so securely fastened together and firmly anchored into the ground as to provide a barrier beyond which the livestock cannot readily penetrate.
  2. Feral Cat means a cat without owner identification of any kind whose usual and consistent temperament is extreme fear and resistance to contact with people. A feral cat is totally unsocialized to people.
  3. Feral dog means a dog, without owner identification of any kind whose usual and consistent temperament is extreme fear and resistance to contact with people. A feral dog is totally un-socialized to people.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (G).

  1. Guard dog means a dog trained specially for the protection of property and registered as a recognized guard dog with the local governing body.
  2. Grooming shop/parlor means a commercial establishment where animals are bathed, clipped, plucked, or otherwise conditioned.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (H).

  1. Health Department means the Health Officer or authorized agents of the County Health Officer.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (I).

  1. Impoundment means any taking custody, taking up, or confining of any animal(s) by the Animal Care and Control authority.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (J).

  1. reserved

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (K).

  1. Kitten means any member of the domestic Feline species under four (4) months of age.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (L).

  1. Leash means any rope, leather strap, chain, or other material not exceeding six feet (6.) in length being held in the hand of the person capable of controlling the animal to which it is attached.
  2. License means the license issued for the specified licensing period within Mendocino County with all fees being paid as evidenced by a valid receipt.
  3. Licensing Period means that period of time for which a dog license is valid. The licensing period shall be set by a Resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
  4. Livestock means and includes all domestic bovine, equine, caprine, ovine, suine, avian, poultry, and rodent species.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (M).

  1. reserved

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (N).

  1. Noncommercial residential kennel means a place where five or more dogs are kept by the owner for personal pleasure, and the owner has a valid noncommercial residential kennel license on file with the Department of Animal Care and Control.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (O).

  1. Owner means any person who is the keeper, harborer, possessor, or custodian, or who has control of an animal, or legal owner of any animal. Any occupant of premises upon which an animal is found shall be deemed prima facie the owner of said animal for the purposes of this title. In addition, it shall be evidence of ownership of any animal for any person to refuse to present that animal to an Animal Care and Control Officer for inspection or to refuse to permit such officer to impound any animal on the premises of such person when said animal is found in the violation of the provisions of this Title.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (P).

  1. Pet shop means an establishment where live animals are kept for wholesale or retail sale, barter or hire.
  2. Physical control means confined or restrained by a chain,rope or leash, which is securely held or connected to the handler or inanimate object.
  3. Protective custody hold means a hold placed on any animal for protective purposes, which the animal enforcement authority determines should extend beyond the animal holding period, pending the completion of an investigation and determination of final disposition. Such hold shall be at the discretion of the Department of Animal Care and Control or Sheriff.s Department.
  4. Public Nuisance An animal, including dog or cat, shall be considered a .nuisance. if any of the following are true:
    1. It damages, soils, defiles or defecates on private property other than the owner.s or on public property.
    2. It repeatedly chases passing vehicles or bicycles on public highways or streets whether or not such chasing results in damage or injury to persons or private property.
    3. It interferes with or molests human beings on public property or private property other than the property of the owner of such animal.
    4. It engages in conduct that interferes in the reasonable and comfortable enjoyment of life and property This definition does not affect actions that may be remedied under Section 10.20.010 or by civil remedies at law.
  5. Puppy means any member of the domestic Canine species under the age of four (4) months.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (Q).

  1. Quarantine means the act of strict isolation and confinement of any animal to prevent the exposure to and the spread of a contagious disease or to prevent the animal from causing injury to any person or other animal.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (R).

  1. Rescue Organization means any profit or non-profit, paid or volunteer organization that rescues homeless, sick or abused animals and later adopts or provides them sanctuary.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (S).

  1. Severe injury means any physical injury that results in broken bones, disfiguring lacerations, multiple sutures, or cosmetic surgery.
  2. Stray means any animal that is at large without an identification tag, license tag, rabies tag, brand, tattoo, or any apparent identification that would identify the true ownership of said animal, or an animal that may be lost or abandoned with or without such means of identification.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (T).

  1. Reserved

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (U).

  1. Unconfined means any animal not securely confined indoors or not confined in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure upon the premises of his or her owner. To be securely enclosed such pen or structure must have secured sides and secured top; if the pen or structure has no bottoms secured to the sides, the sides must be embedded into the ground no less than one (1) foot.
  2. Uncontrolled means any animal 'at large'.
  3. Unlicensed means the licensing fee has not been paid for the current licensing period in Mendocino County.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (U).

  1. Vacination means a rabies vaccination of a dog or cat with a vaccine approved by and in the manner prescribed by the State Department of Public Health.
  2. Veterinarian means a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State of California.
  3. Vicious animal means any dog regardless of the breed when:
    1. It bites any person or animal without provocation; or
    2. It attacks, harasses, or scratches any person without provocation; or
    3. It has a disposition, behavior or propensity to attack, bite, harass or scratch any person or animal without provocation; or
    4. It constitutes an imminent threat of bodily harm to human beings or other animals in a place where such person or animal is acting peaceably and lawfully; or
    5. It is kept or maintained by its owner for the purpose of animal fighting or breeding to perpetuate the aggressive inherent genetic characteristics or any level of training to encourage an animal.s innate aggressive behavior that may result in a menace to persons or other animals, or has been specifically trained to guard persons and/or property; or
    6. The owner of the dog has knowledge that the animal has a vicious propensity that it is likely to injure someone.
    • A dog specifically trained and licensed as a "guard dog", "sentry dog" or a dog used in the official capacity of law enforcement activities when registered as a recognized .guard dog. with the local governing body is exempt from the definition of a vicious animal.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (W).

  1. Wild animal means any animal not actually confined or cultivated by humans.
  2. Working animal means animals under the control of humans used for the movement of livestock, fowl, tracking, obedience, show, or in the taking of wild animals or wild fowl during the season established by law or in the field trials.

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (X).

  1. Reserved

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (Y).

  1. Reserved

Sec. 10.04.074 Definition (Z).

  1. Reserved

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