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 Dogs, Cats and other Animals - Prohibitions

Chapter 10.08 Dogs, Cats and other Animals - Prohibitions

Sec. 10.08.010 Dogs.

  1. It shall be unlawful and an infraction unless some other penalty is indicated, for any person who owns, harbors or keeps any dog:
    1. To permit or cause such dog to run at large, roam or run estray. To fail to keep the dog under physical control when the dog is upon any public property or private property without the express permission of the owner or the custodian of such property. Dogs permitted on public property must be on a leash not exceeding six feet (6.) in length, and the person in charge of the dog must have physical control of the leash.
      The following purposes are permitted and excepted herefrom, provided the dog does not present a hazard to the public safety and welfare, does not trespass upon private property, cause a nuisance or violate any other provisions of this Title or State law:
      1. Lawful hunting;
      2. Livestock herding and control;
      3. Organized field trials;
      4. Tracking, obedience training/or show and other recognized work activities when under the direct control of the owner or handler or assistance dogs for the physically handicapped when performing their duties.
    2. To permit the dog to defecate upon public property, including, but not limited to, any public sidewalk or public area commonly occupied or traversed on foot by members of the public, unless the person immediately removes the feces and properly disposes of it. Visually handicapped persons who use assistance dogs are exempt from this law.
    3. To permit any dog to be unlicensed.
    4. To permit any dog to remain unrestrained without an appropriate fence, chain or enclosure.
    5. To permit or take any dog into a restaurant, grocery store, meat market, supermarket, fruit store or any place where food is sold, dispensed or served to members of the public. Exempted from this law are assistance dogs under the immediate control of their owners.
    6. It shall be unlawful, a public nuisance and a misdemeanor for any person to keep, possess, maintain or harbor any vicious dog or dangerous exotic animal unless the animal(s) is registered under an annual permit with the Department of Animal Care and Control.
  2. All owners of vicious dogs, in addition to the required permit, must within ten (10) days of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title, provide written proof (a true copy) of public liability insurance policy in the single incident amount of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000) for bodily injury or death of any person(s) or for damage to property which may result from the ownership or maintenance of such animal. Such insurance policy shall provide that no cancellation of the policy be made unless ten (10) days written notice is first given to the Department of Animal Care and Control. Owners of dogs unable to meet the requirements of the aforementioned section shall forfeit ownership of such dog(s) to the Department of Animal Care and Control for further disposition.
  3. Owners of any vicious type dog shall not allow the animal freedom to:
    1. Remain unmuzzled, unconfined, unrestrained or unsupervised on the premises of its owner whether indoors or outdoors in a manner that would allow the dog to exit such structure(s) on its own volition. In addition, no such animal may be kept in a house or structure when the windows are open, when screened windows or doors are the only obstacle preventing the dog from exiting the house or structure, or to allow or permit the dog to be so improperly leashed, chained or secured to a structure (i.e., dog house, building, etc.), in a manner that it is not adequately restrained from access to any child passing by, or to a child wandering into a yard, to be subjected to such unpredictable aggressive behavior by the offending dog that may result in injury or death to an unsuspecting victim.
    2. The owners of vicious dogs shall be required to post a permanent sign in letters no less than two (2) inches in height and width stating .Beware of Vicious Dog. in a prominent place easily legible by the public as well as posted on any pen or housing structure for that animal.
    3. Such vicious dog may be housed outdoors providing the pen/structure has passed prior approval through an inspection as to its sound structural strength and size, ability to be kept and maintained in a sanitary condition, and so constructed as to prevent and insure that all reasonable precautions are undertaken to prevent the vicious dog from escape.
  4. A dog declared to be vicious shall not be allowed to roam at large by its owner.

10.08.11 Leash and Muzzle.

No person shall permit a vicious dog to go outside its kennel or pen unless such dog is securely leashed with a leash no longer than four feet (4.) in length and a person is in physical control of the leash. When off the premises of its owner in public places such aforementioned dogs must not be leashed to inanimate objects such as trees, posts, buildings, etc., or within a vehicle in such manner the dog can access someone passing by or otherwise left unattended, unrestrained or unsupervised. In addition, all vicious dogs must be muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent such dog from biting persons or other animals

Sec. 10.08.12 Reporting Requirements.

All owners of vicious dogs and dangerous exotic animals must report the following information to the Department of Animal Care and Control.

  1. The removal from the county environs or the death of the animal;
  2. Birth of offspring from that animal and they must be also registered under the annual permit;
  3. The new address of the owner should the owner move to a new location within the County or to another location within the State;
  4. The sale or other transfer of ownership of the animal.

10.08.13 Identification . Photograph.

All vicious dog owners or owners of dangerous exotic animals shall provide to the Department of Animal Care and Control two (2) current color photographs of their animals showing the color and the approximate size accompanied by the description of the animal along with their annual permit.

Sec. 10.08.14 Failure to Comply.

It shall be a misdemeanor for the owner of a vicious dog(s) or dangerous exotic animal to fail to comply with the requirement and conditions set forth in this title. Any animal found to be the subject of a violation of this section shall be subject to immediate impoundment at the Department of Animal Care and Control Facility or in the case of exotic animals, in an appropriate designated facility and not released until a final disposition has been declared by an order of the court.

Sec. 10.08.15 Irrebutable Presumption.

There shall be an irrebutable presumption that any dog registered as vicious under the annual permit required for a vicious dog or dangerous exotic animal is in fact an animal subject to the requirements of this section where applicable.

Sec. 10.08.16 Owner Responsibility.

An animal owner shall be held responsible for adverse actions of his dog(s) or animal and accountable for those damages inflicted by a vicious dog or a dangerous exotic animal. He may appear before the Animal Care and Control Appeals and Advisory Board to show cause why:

  1. His/her animal should not be confined and/or leashed or muzzled in an approved fenced-in area;
  2. Humanely destroyed.

Sec. 10.08.17 Disposition of A Vicious Dog.

  1. If the vicious dog at any time presents a clear and present danger to the public safety, or if the dog cannot be impounded without undue risk to the officer, he may destroy the dog by the safest, most expeditious, and most humane method, which may include the use of firearm when deemed necessary.
  2. In the event a vicious dog is destroyed in this manner, a report shall be prepared and submitted by the officer dispatching the animal to the Department of Animal Care and Control.

Sec. 10.08.020 Cats.

It shall be unlawful and an infraction for any person who owns or harbors or keeps any cat:

  1. To permit a cat to damage property, public or private, real or personal, or to bite, scratch, or claw any human being or other animal which is on the property of another.
  2. To take a cat into any of the places set forth in Section 10.08.010, (5).

Sec. 10.08.030 Public Nuisance.

It shall be unlawful and an infraction to permit dogs, cats or other animals to engage in any conduct which would constitute public nuisance. The Department of Animal Care and Control will investigate upon receiving a written or oral complaint(s) from any person residing or working in the surrounding neighborhood. If any of the alleged actions or conditions is found to exist, an .Order to Confirm. may be issued requiring said owner or custodian of the dog, cat or other animal to abate such nuisance immediately. Failure to comply with the notice to abate such nuisance shall be deemed in violation of this section and subject the violator to such penalties and fines as set forth in this title and may subject the animal to impoundment. The offending animal may be placed in protective custody hold status pending an investigation and determination of final disposition. The abatement or impoundment of said animal may be appealed by a written .Notice of Appeal. filed with the Department of Animal Care and Control Appeals and Advisory Board. The appeal hearing will be conducted pursuant to procedures as set forth in Chapter 10.24.

Sec. 10.08.040 Miscellaneous.

  1. It is unlawful and a misdemeanor to abandon any animal in Mendocino County.
  2. It shall be unlawful and an infraction for any person to display for sale, offer for sale, exchange, barter or give away any animal except in the following places:
    1. Pet shop, commercial kennel, private kennel, nonprofit incorporated pet adoption agency, pet grooming parlor, animal shelter, humane society facility, horse establishment, which have a valid permit or license as may be required by this title, may on occasion be permitted by the Department of Animal Care and Control to temporarily display animals at specialized locations other than their normal place of business, provided such animals are at all times under physical control and restrained, have adequate water, food and shelter;
    2. Private residence; or
    3. Veterinary clinici.
      EXCEPTION: This provision does not apply to livestock at recognized auctions, fairs or expositions, nor does it preclude any advertisement of the sale of such animals through the media or radio, television or public posting of said offering.
  3. Any person who reports to the Department of Animal Care and Control any false information regarding animals, or causes any such report to be made, knowing that the report is false and with the intent to deceive, which false information causes the Department of Animal Care and Control to actively and substantially respond to such report is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Sec. 10.08.050 Impoundment.

Any Animal Care and Control Officer or Peace Officer may impound any dog or cat for violations of this title, or when deemed necessary to preserve public health and safety or to prevent needless suffering of animals. Impoundments shall be governed by Chapter 10.24 of this Title.


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