Violating an animal control regulation within the city of Puyallup won’t come up at such a steep cost for first-time offenders.
The Puyallup City Council voted unanimously last week to pass an ordinance to amend codes that pertain to animal control, including the establishment of a tiered fine structure.
A first violation will be $25 for a base penalty plus $26 of state assessments for a total of $51. Third and subsequent violations, or any that result in injuries to a person or an animal, will be $513. A second fine will be $256.
“Is this fee structure specific to any animal violation?” Council member Kent Boyle asked during the Jan. 22 meeting.
“This fee structure is for any animal violation,” said Jason Wilson, manager of Metro Animal Control Services.
Amendments to the Puyallup Municipal Code that will go in effect next month comprise the base fine reduction; making it illegal to leave a pet in a car without proper ventilation; the requirement of a physical leash, not an electronic leash; capping the maximum number of dogs and cats in a household at five; and requiring rabies vaccines.
Already in the code are standards regarding using leashes in public places, scooping up pet waste, barking dogs and licensing pets.
Wilson told the city council that Metro Animal Services takes an “education approach” when it informs pet owners of the applicable laws.
“We talk with them and issue a written warning first,” Wilson said.
In 2012, 170 written warnings were cited. Sixteen infractions were issued, some with multiple violations. Wilson said 12 infractions were for failure to license a pet.
Wilson said there was a 46 percent increase in pet license compliance between 2011 and 2012 within city limits.
“We have online pet licensing in production going live by the end of March,” he said.
Council member Tom Swanson suggested Metro Animal Services consider providing mobile license stations in city parks. Wilson said that was a good idea.
Boyle was concerned that cleaning up pet waste in the parks was not enforced well.
“Our signage in Bradley Lake Park is not very good to enforce picking up after animals,” he said.
Assistant City Attorney Steve Kirkelie said there are discussions with the city’s parks department to add better signage.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.