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Licensing and Permits

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Chapter 10.12 Licensing and Permits

10.12.010 Dog Licenses.

  1. General Requirements
    1. Except as otherwise permitted, owners of dogs shall procure a valid Mendocino County dog license not later than (30) days after the dog attains the age of four months or (30) days after the dog comes into their possession. The licensing period shall be set by a Resolution of the Board of Supervisors, but in no instance shall a dog-licensing period be for a term that exceeds the period for which the rabies vaccination is valid. The license renewal shall be procured not later than sixty (60) days after expiration of the previously issued license.
      Evidence of spaying and neutering when required shall be furnished by the owner and shall consist of certification from a licensed veterinarian. Any owner of the same dog so licensed may transfer a valid license and registration to another person.
      In the event that the State of California establishes a program for the licensing of dogs through an electronic tag/implant identification process, the electronic tag may be accepted in lieu of the physical tag.
    2. No license or tag of any type shall be issued pursuant to this Chapter for any dog until a valid certificate of rabies vaccination is presented to the County agency responsible for the licensing program for each dog to be licensed.
    3. The current valid dog license tag shall be securely affixed to the dog.s collar, harness or device and shall be worn at all times by said dog for whom the license registration is issued.
    4. Whenever a dog license tag is issued pursuant to this chapter, the tag shall be issued for onehalf or less of the fee required for a dog, if a certificate is presented from a licensed veterinarian that the dog has been spayed or neutered. The fee schedule shall be set by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
    5. Any physically handicapped person using a dog as a recognized assistance dog or any person participating in any youth project for raising dogs for the physically handicapped and submitting documentary proof of such participation shall be issued a dog license without charge upon proof of a valid rabies vaccination.
    6. A dog owned and used exclusively for law enforcement purposes by a public agency requires a valid rabies vaccination and a valid dog license. The license requested shall be issued without charge upon documentary proof that such dog is certified for law enforcement activities only.
  2. License Forms and Tags.
    The County agency responsible for the licensing program shall provide forms for the licenses required herein. Such licenses when completed, shall state the age, sex, color, and breed of the dog for which a license is requested and the name and physical address of the owner thereof. Upon completion of license form by the applicant, payment of the fees required and presentation of a valid certificate of rabies vaccination as required herein, the County agency responsible for the licensing program shall issue the necessary license tags which shall be of a durable material and bear the name .County of Mendocino. or .Mendocino County., and the number of the license tag.
  3. Notice to Public.
    The County agency responsible for the licensing program shall at least semi-annually, cause to be published in a newspaper of general circulation, a notice addressed to all persons who own or harbor dogs. Said notice shall state the amount of the license fee and the penalty for failure to pay within the time prescribed by this Chapter.
    The County agency responsible for the licensing program is also authorized and may require businesses which sell pet food or pet supplies to permit the posting of a notice next to such items reminding pet owners to comply with County licensing regulations, rabies vaccination requirements and County Animal Control laws. These notices will be supplied and posted by the County.
    The cost of procuring the notices and other supplies mentioned herein are declared to be a charge against the Livestock Indemnity Fund. The County Purchasing Agent is hereby directed to purchase such notices and supplies.
  4. Late Procurement and Penalty.
    1. An owner of a dog failing to obtain the necessary license within the time frames established in this Chapter, shall, in addition to the license fee, pay a penalty. The penalty shall be set by a Resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
    2. Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph, the Department of Animal Care and Control may establish a policy allowing the penalty to be waived or reduced by the Director of Animal Care and Control.
    3. An owner who initiates the licensing process and is unencumbered by outstanding licensing violations is not to be discouraged from voluntary compliance. No penalty fee shall be charged for failure to license under these circumstances.
  5. Nonresidents.
    Licensing requirements for county residents shall not apply to nonresident owners of dogs who are temporarily within the County with their dog for thirty (30) days or less, nor to dog owners whose dogs are brought into the County to participate in any dog show, field trial, or tracking activity, providing said dogs have a current valid dog license and rabies vaccination from a city or county or state of origin. Licensing requirements shall apply to residents of federally recognized rancherias or reservations if there exists a contract for animal control services between the County and the tribal government.
  6. Imported Dogs.
    Unless otherwise specified, when an owner brings into the County a dog that has a current and valid license in another jurisdiction of this State the owner shall, upon surrender of the license from the other jurisdiction, be issued a Mendocino County dog license at no charge. The owner shall procure their dog license(s) within thirty (30) days of obtaining residency. Said license shall be valid until the date of the license expiration from the other jurisdiction or the rabies vaccination expiration date which ever comes first. After which the dog owner shall pay Mendocino County dog licensing fees.
  7. Lost Tags.
    In the event a license tag issued to a dog is lost or destroyed, the owner shall within thirty (30) days thereafter procure a new license tag. If said owner shall fail to secure a new license within thirty (30) days from the loss of said tags, said owner or owners shall be subject to fines and penalty.s as set forth by resolution by the County Board of Supervisors.
  8. Prohibitions.
    1. Any person who secures, or evades securing a dog license, any type dog kennel license, vicious, or dangerous exotic animal permit any time by means of fraud or misrepresentation shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
    2. Any person who owns or harbors or keeps any dog and fails, neglects or refuses to attach and keep a valid current license tag affixed to said dog in the manner prescribed by this Title and State law is guilty of an infraction. Such unlawful conduct may also result in the impoundment of the dog.
    3. Any person removing a dog license tag from any dog without the consent of the owner thereof, except in cases of emergency, is guilty of an infraction.
    4. It is an infraction for any person to place a dog license tag on any dog for which the tag was not issued or place an imitation or false dog license tag on any dog.
    5. Any person failing or refusing to show to the Animal Care and Control Officer or Peace Officer the dog license tag or license certificate or rabies certificate for any dog upon request is guilty of an infraction.
    6. It is an infraction to possess, own, keep or harbor any unlicensed dog or to maintain, conduct, or cause to be operated any unlicensed kennel, grooming shop/parlor, pet shop, commercial kennel and profit or nonprofit dog adoption agency.
  9. Disposition of Funds.
    All fees collected for the issuance of dog licenses and tag and all fines collected pursuant to this Chapter shall be paid into the County Treasury and shall be used for:
    1. First, to pay costs of materials and supplies incurred in the issuance of dog licenses and tags.
    2. Second, to pay fees, salaries, costs, expenses or any or all of them, for the enforcement of State laws and this Title pertaining to regulation, licensing and control of dogs.
    3. Third, to pay damages to owners of livestock which are killed by dogs. Each such claim for damages must meet the requirements of Food and Agricultural Code Sections 30653, 30654 and 30655.
    4. Fourth, to pay costs of any hospitalization or emergency care of animals pursuant to Section 597f of the Penal Code.

Sec. 10.12.020 Kennel Licenses.

No person shall conduct a commercial kennel without a current commercial kennel license, in addition to a County business license from the Treasurer-Tax Collector. No person(s) shall be issued a certified agricultural kennel license without verifying to the fact that their dogs (five (5) or more) are solely used for the purpose of herding or protection of farm animals, or hunting, and further agree that these dogs are not to be sold or traded for commercial purposes. Applicants will be required to complete and sign a statement attesting to the validity of this information as being true and correct.

The kennel license period shall be set by a Resolution of the Board of Supervisors, but in no instance shall a dog be included under the kennel license unless the dog.s rabies vaccination is valid for the kennel-licensing period.

Kennel fees and penalties for non-compliance shall be set by a Resolution of the Board of Supervisors.

Exempt from the penalty provisions are premises where dogs are kept, harbored, or maintained for the sole purpose of raising, training and providing assistance dogs to the blind, deaf, or other physically handicapped persons. A non-profit dog adoption agency will likewise be exempt from this penalty. However, a special fee-exempt commercial kennel license is provided for and required of such nonprofit adoption agencies as well as those persons raising and selling dogs for the physically handicapped. All dogs shall have a current individual license in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 10.12 et seq.

The County agency responsible for the licensing program shall issue such owner individual tags for each of such dogs covered by the kennel license and, during the term of that license, shall, upon written application, issue to such owner without charge additional license tags for any additional dogs that came into the possession of the owner within that license year.

  1. Application for License.
    The application for above-mentioned licenses shall be in writing on a form approved by the Director of Animal Care and Control. The applicant shall furnish a list of the types of animals to be maintained or used for any purpose, together with the approximate number of animals of each type.
  2. Regulations and Standards.
    The Director may establish regulations and standards relating to:
    1. The maximum number and species of animals to be kept or maintained on the premises;
    2. The construction, sanitation, and maintenance of the facility; and
    3. Any other regulations and standards in conformity with and for the purposes of carrying out the intent of this section. Compliance with such rules and regulations shall be prerequisite to the issuance and continued validity of any license provided pursuant to this section.
    The Licensee shall maintain a record of the names and addresses of persons from whom animals are received and to whom the animals are sold, traded or given. This shall be available to the Director of Animal Care and Control upon request.
  3. Inspection.
    The Director of Animal Care and Control or authorized representative shall have the authority to inspect any facility for which a noncommercial residential kennel or commercial kennel license is to be issued or renewed for the purpose of determining inhumane treatment of animals and/or violations of State and local health and sanitation laws.
  4. Conditions Relating to Animal Facilities and Care.
    1. Structural Strength. Housing facilities for animals shall be structurally sound and shall be maintained in good repair, to protect the animals from injury, to contain the animals, and to restrict the entrance of other animals.
    2. All animals shall be supplied with sufficient good and wholesome food and water as often as the feeding habits of the respective animals require.
    3. All animals shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
    4. All animals shall be so maintained as to eliminate excessive and nighttime noise.
    5. No animals shall be without attention more than eighteen (18) consecutive hours. Whenever an animal is left unattended at a commercial animal facility, the telephone number of the Department of Animal Care and Control or the name, address and telephone number of the person in charge of the facility shall be posted in a conspicuous place at the front of the property.
    6. Every reasonable precaution shall be used to insure that animals are not teased, abused, mistreated, annoyed, tormented or in any manner made to suffer by any person or means.
    7. No condition shall be maintained or permitted that is or could be injurious to the animals.
    8. Animal buildings and enclosures shall be so constructed and maintained as to prevent the escape of animals. All reasonable precautions shall be taken to protect the public from the animals and the animals from the public.
    9. Every animal establishment shall isolate sick animals sufficiently so as not to endanger the health of other animals.
    10. Every building or enclosure wherein animals are maintained, shall be constructed of material easily cleaned and shall be kept in a sanitary condition. The building shall be properly ventilated to prevent drafts and to remove odors. Heating and cooling are to be provided as may be required, according to the physical need of the animals, with the sufficient light to allow observation of animals and sanitation.
    11. The kennel owner or his representative shall take any animal to a veterinarian for examination or treatment if the Department of Animal Care and Control or other enforcement agencies finds this necessary in order to maintain the health of the animal and orders the owner or custodian to do so
    12. All animal rooms, cages, kennels and runs shall be of sufficient size to provide adequate and proper accommodations for the animals.
    13. Every violation of an applicable regulation shall be corrected when specified by the Department of Animal Care and Control or other enforcement agencies.
    14. The kennel operator shall:
      1. Provide proper shelter and protection from the weather at all times.
      2. Not give any animal any intoxicating substance, unless prescribed by a veterinarian.
      3. Not allow animals which are natural enemies, temperamentally unsuited, or otherwise incompatible, to be quartered together or so near each other as to cause injury or torment
        If two (2) or more animals are so trained that they can be placed together and do not attack each other or perform or attempt any hostile act to the others, such animals shall be deemed not to be natural enemies.
      4. Not allow the use of any equipment, device, substance or material that is injurious or causes pain or cruelty to any animal.
      5. Give working animals proper rest periods. Confined or restrained animals shall be given exercise proper for the individual animal under the particular conditions.
      6. Not work, use, or rent any animal which is overheated, weakened, exhausted, sick, injured, diseased, lame or otherwise unfit.
      7. Not display animals bearing evidence of malnutrition, ill health, unhealed injury, or having been kept in an unsanitary condition.
      8. Not display any animal whose appearance is or may be offensive or contrary to public decency.
      9. Not allow any animal to constitute or cause a hazard or be a menace to the health, peace or safety of the community.

    Sec. 10.12.030 Dangerous Exotic Animals.

    1. Permit Required
    2. No person shall keep, have, maintain, sell, trade, or let for hire a dangerous exotic animal without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Animal Care and Control. The application for a permit, permit conditions, inspection, denial, revocation, and appeal shall be the same as set forth in Sections 10.12.020 and 10.12.040 inclusive of this Chapter.

      A permit shall be required of any private zoo, private university, private college, or private research agency, or other bona fide private scientific or public health research institution. For the purposes of this section, a zoo shall be considered any private organization which exhibits animals to the general public at regular specified hours, equaling at least thirty (30) hours a week for thirty-six (36) weeks a year, and whose animals, whether maintained for exhibit purposes or not, are not for sale to private individuals.

    3. Permit Denial
    4. The Department of Animal Care and Control may deny or revoke a permit to keep or maintain any dangerous exotic animal when, in their opinion:

      1. Any such animal may not be kept or maintained without endangering the safety of any person(s) or property;
      2. The keeping of the animal would constitute a public nuisance, or;
      3. Such animal would be subject to suffering, neglect, cruelty, or abuse.

      The Department of Animal Care and Control, in their discretion, may require any such animal to be properly caged, tethered, or restrained in zoo type facilities that meet or are in addition to, or more restrictive than, State guidelines issued under the provisions of Section 671 of Title 14 of the California Administrative Code and Federal standards issued under Chapter 1 of Title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the keeping of dangerous animals where zoning provisions or State law would prohibit such keeping.

    5. Permit Fee
    6. The fee for a permit to keep or maintain one or more vicious dog(s) or dangerous animal(s) shall be set forth by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.

    Sec. 10.12.040 Denial, Cancellation or Revocation of a License or Permit.

    1. General Provisions.
    2. The Department of Animal Care and Control may deny, revoke or cancel any permit or license issued pursuant to this Chapter in the following situations:

      1. Whenever it is determined by inspection that any animal facility fails to meet any of the sanitary or health conditions or standards or any other requirements of any permit, license, this Title, or applicable State law.
      2. Whenever there is reason to believe that the applicant or permit holder has willfully withheld or falsified any information required for the permit or license.
      3. If the applicant or permit holder has been convicted by a court of law of two (2) or more violations in a twelve (12) month period of this Title or State laws relating to animals. For purposes of this section, a bail forfeiture shall be deemed to be a conviction of the offense charged.
    3. Appeal Provisions
    4. A denial, cancellation or revocation of a kennel license or permit shall become effective ten (10) days after written notice has been served in person by the issuing officer stating certain defective conditions or violations are found to exist or commencing from the date such notice was served by certified mail addressed to the person owning, managing, or operating the kennel. The aggrieved applicant, license or permittee has the right to an administrative hearing and review to be conducted upon request and stating the reasons for their action to the Animal Care and Control Appeals and Advisory Board within five (5) business days or receipt of said notice.

      The appeal notice of a license or permit denial, cancellation or revocation shall be in a form as provided by the Director of Animal Care and Control and shall be filed with the Department of Animal Care and Control.

      If an Administrative Hearing is requested, the Director of Animal Care and Control shall immediately set a time, date, and place for a hearing on said matter before the Animal Care and Control Appeals and Advisory Board. Said hearing shall be held not less than five (5), nor more than ten (10) days after the filing of the Notice of Appeal. Notice of such hearing shall be given to the appellant in writing at the address shown in the Notice of Appeal. At the time, date and place set for said hearing, the Animal Care and Control Appeals and Advisory Board shall hold a hearing on the appeal. The aggrieved licensee, permittee or petitioner may appear in person and testify as to any matters relevant to the proceedings. The Health Department or the Department of Animal Care and Control shall present all evidence, oral and documentary, justifying license or permit denial, cancellation or revocation. Technical rules of evidence shall not apply to said proceedings, and the Board may hear and consider any evidence it deems relevant and upon which reasonable people would be likely to rely in the consideration of matters of a serious nature. The decision of the Board shall be supported by the weight of the evidence presented. Upon conclusion of the hearing, the Board shall determine whether to sustain or overrule the license or permit denial, cancellation or revocation action of the Animal Care and Control Officer or the Health Department. The Board.s decision is final.

      If no appeal hearing is requested within the time limits specified to the Animal Care and Control Appeals and Advisory Board, the license or permit denial, cancellation or revocation action shall be final.

    Sec. 10.12.050 Penalties Preserved.

    The power of the County to deny, cancel or revoke a permit or license does not diminish or otherwise limit the power of the County to enforce violations of this Title and State law by applying injunctive, infraction, misdemeanor or felony penalties as may be appropriate.

    Sec. 10.12.060 Fees.

    All license and permit fees, transfer fees, inspection fees, late charges and other costs and charges which are authorized herein shall be set by Resolution of the Board of Supervisors.

    The foregoing fees or charges may be waived or reduced at the discretion of the Department of Animal Care and Control upon review of mitigating circumstances or factors presented by the party seeking redemption which justify such waiver.


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