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300.16 vicious potentially dangerous dog investigations

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300.16 vicious potentially dangerous dog investigations

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300.16 vicious potentially dangerous dog investigations

  1. 1. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 1 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 I. PURPOSE To establish a uniform procedure for the initiation, completion and control of Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog Investigations and Compliance Checks. II. POLICY In accordance with Article 6, Division 1, Title IV, of the Orange County Codified Ordinance (OCCO), it is the responsibility of OC Animal Care to investigate the circumstances whenever a dog suspected of being vicious or potentially dangerous is reported. “Vicious” and “Potentially Dangerous” dogs are defined by OCCO section 4-1- 23. In order to ensure the safety and welfare of the public and animals, a Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Dog Declaration may be sought, imposing restrictions upon the dog owner and/or custodian to restrain the animal by any means that the Director, Management and/or the Chief of Field Services may deem appropriate. The policies and procedures outlined herein shall also apply to this department’s enforcement of Anaheim Municipal Code (AMC) section 8.08.090 as it relates to Vicious Dogs as defined in AMC section 8.08.010.010. III. SCOPE Applicable to all Field Operations Personnel. IV. FORMS Chameleon Activity window Print Out (Attachment A) Sworn Statement Regarding a Possible Potentially Dangerous or Vicious Dog (Attachment B) Neighbor’s Notice of Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Investigation Letter (Attachment C) Dog Owner Notice of Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Investigation Letter (Attachment D) Property Diagram (Attachment E) Supplemental Investigation Report (Attachment F) Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Pending Letter (Attachment G) Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Declaration Letter (Attachment H)
  2. 2. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 2 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 Request for Hearing Timeline (Attachment I) Police and Fire Department Advisory Letter (Attachment J) Compliance Check Sign-Off Sheet (Attachment K) Request for Updated Information (15 Days) Form (Attachment L) Internal Field Billing Memo (Attachment M) Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Release Letter (Attachment N) Request for Updated Information (24-Hours) Form (Attachment O) V. REFERENCES Orange County Codified Ordinance 4-1-23, Definitions. VI. DEFINITIONS Under OCCO 4-1-23, Definitions: (a) Potentially Dangerous Dog means any of the following: (1) Any dog which, when unprovoked, on two (2) separate occasions within the prior thirty-six-month period, engages in any behavior that requires a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury whether the person and the dog are on or off the property of the owner or custodian of the dog. (2) Any dog which, when unprovoked, bites a person causing any injury less severe than a "severe injury”. Severe injury means any physical injury to a human being that results in muscle tears or disfiguring lacerations or requires multiple sutures or corrective or cosmetic surgery. (3) Any dog which, when unprovoked, has killed, seriously bitten, inflicted injury, or otherwise caused injury attacking a domestic animal, horse, or livestock. (b) Vicious Dog means any of the following: (1) Any dog seized as a "fighting animal" under section 599aa of the Penal Code and upon the sustaining of a conviction of the owner or custodian of a fighting animal as set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 597.5 of the Penal Code.
  3. 3. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 3 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 (2) Any dog which, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner, inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being, whether the person and the dog are on or off the property of the owner or custodian of the dog. (3) Any dog previously determined to be and currently listed as a potentially dangerous dog, which, after its owner or keeper has been notified of this determination, continues the behavior of a "potentially dangerous dog" as set forth above, or is maintained in violation of the conditions and restrictions placed upon the dog as a "potentially dangerous dog." (c) Provided, no dog may be determined to be a vicious dog if any such bite, threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful trespass upon the premises occupied by the owner or custodian of the dog, or was committing or attempting to commit a crime upon the premises occupied by the owner or custodian of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or who has, in the past, teased, tormented, abused or assaulted the dog. (d) These definitions do not apply to dogs used in military or police work while they are actually performing in that capacity. VII. PROCEDURE A. Initiation: 1. When a report of a dog suspected of being vicious or potentially dangerous is received by an Animal Control Officer (ACO), in the mail, by fax, etc. all pertinent information shall be forwarded to the Operations Desk Sergeant. a. In the event the dog is at large, posing an immediate threat to the safety of persons or animals, an ACO shall be dispatched immediately to the area. A copy of the completed Chameleon Activity window (attachment A), including detailed memos, will be forwarded to the Operations Desk Sergeant by the officer responding to the call.
  4. 4. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 4 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 b. In cases where the dog is confined upon the owner’s property at the time the report is received, a copy of the applicable Chameleon Activity window, including detailed memos, or any other related information shall be forwarded to the Operations Desk Sergeant by the person receiving the report. 2. The Operations Desk Sergeant shall initiate the Vicious or Potentially Dangerous Dog Investigation by: a. Investigating and obtaining copies of all reported incidents involving the dog(s) that required a defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury during the preceding 36 month period. b. Investigating and obtaining copies of all reported incidents involving the dog(s) in question including, but not limited to, all prior bites and dog vs. dog incidents involving the dog(s), regardless of the date of occurrence. c. Placing all applicable information in a manila file folder which shall contain a running anecdotal file and be maintained by the Operations Desk Sergeant. 3. The Operations Desk Sergeant shall submit the file folder to the Lieutenant overseeing the program, who will then determine whether the folder shall be placed in the Problem Dog File or assigned for further investigation. Should a file be placed in the Problem Dog File, a Propensity Letter is to be sent to the owner or custodian if no other contact has been made with them regarding the complaint. a. If the Lieutenant has determined that further investigation is warranted, a Chameleon Activity window will be created by the Operations Desk Sergeant and assigned to a Senior Animal Control Officer (Sergeant).
  5. 5. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 5 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 b. The Operations Desk Sergeant shall maintain a log to ensure that all Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Dog Investigations are accounted for and completed in a timely manner. 4. The Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Dog program shall be continuously monitored and overseen by a designated Lieutenant, who will direct the activities of the Operations Desk Sergeant and any other subordinates involved. B. Investigation Unit: 1. The Sergeant assigned to conduct the investigation shall be solely responsible for the completion of the report. If contact cannot be made during the shift, arrangements may be made for an additional Sergeant’s involvement. It shall remain the assigned Sergeant’s responsibility to ensure the completion of the investigation in a timely manner. The Sergeant conducting the investigation shall: a. Contact the dog owner and/or custodian to advise them of the investigation and to check for a current license and vaccination (if applicable). The Sergeant shall leave the owner and/or custodian a Dog Owner Notice of Vicious/Dangerous Investigation Letter (attachment D). If contact cannot be made with the dog owner, the Sergeant shall leave the letter at the residence. b. Contact the reporting party, victims, neighbors, witnesses, etc., to ascertain if any additional evidence is available which may be obtained to provide proof of the aggressive propensities of the dog or prove otherwise. c. Obtain completed Sworn Statement Regarding a Possible Potentially Dangerous or Vicious Dog Forms (attachment B) from witnesses of the incidents and those offering evidence to support or oppose the declaration of the dog(s) as vicious or potentially dangerous. Attempts shall be made to obtain declarations and statements in person while conducting the investigation. If no contact is made with the
  6. 6. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 6 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 neighbors, the Sergeant will leave the Notice of Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Dog Investigation Letter (attachment C) at their residences, noting a 10-day deadline for submission in the top right hand corner of the form. The purpose of this deadline is to ensure investigations are completed within a reasonable time. Statements received after the 10 days, but prior to completion of the investigation, will be accepted. d. Ensure all written declarations are thorough and contain all pertinent information. e. Draw a Property Diagram (attachment E) of the owner’s and/or custodian’s property including details of the dog’s maintenance area. The diagram is to include all doors and windows leading to the exterior of the residence, the height of all fences and walls, any structures or personal belongings that may assist the dog in jumping a fence, etc. Photos of the property including the front of the residence, the rear yard, fencing/gates, etc. are to be included with the diagram. f. Photographs of the dog(s) are to be taken and added to the file. Should there be an additional dog(s) on the property that closely resemble the dog(s) under investigation, photos of them should be taken as well for identification purposes. (If the dog(s) are declared, photos will be kept in both the field and the office files). g. Complete a detailed Supplemental Investigation Report (attachment F), clearly articulating whether the dog fits the legal definition of a Vicious or Potentially Dangerous Dog per OCCO section 4-1-23 (or Anaheim Municipal Code, if applicable). If a Vicious or Potentially Dangerous Dog Declaration is warranted and a specific required condition will prevent the dog from causing a threat (e.g. installation of a dog run that will prevent a dog from jumping a fence),
  7. 7. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 7 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 the required condition of confinement and maintenance shall also be included. h. Submit the completed investigation file and report to the designated Lieutenant for evaluation. A determination will be made whether to close the case or to forward the investigation file to the Chief of Field Services for declaration of the dog as Vicious or Potentially Dangerous. i. If the determination is made that the dog will not be declared Vicious or Potentially Dangerous, the file will be placed in the Pending Dog File, the Lieutenant will send the dog owner a Dog Owner Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Pending Letter (attachment G). C. Initiation of Vicious/Potentially Dangerous Declaration Letter (attachment H) 1. The designated Lieutenant shall initiate a letter, typed in duplicate, which details the results of the investigation and the determination that the dog is tentatively declared Vicious or Potentially Dangerous. The letter will include the required conditions and restrictions to be implemented for the continued maintenance of the dog. 2. The original copy of the letter shall be hand delivered by a Sergeant to the owner and/or custodian. The owner and/or custodian will keep the original and sign and return the duplicate. The owner and/or custodian’s driver’s license information will be placed on the reverse side of the duplicate. D. Appeal: 1. The owner and/or custodian of the dog shall have the right to an Administrative Hearing to refute the tentative Vicious or Potentially Dangerous Dog Declaration by requesting a hearing before the Director of OC Animal Care or his/her designee. Refer to Orange County Codified Ordinance Title IV, Division 1, Article
  8. 8. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 8 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 6, Section 4-1-95 “Declaration and Possession of Vicious and Potentially Dangerous Dog” for further instruction regarding the hearing processes. 2. The Operations Desk Sergeant shall be responsible for the initiation and maintenance of the Request for Hearing Timeline (attachment I). 3. Should new or revised conditions or restrictions be implemented as a result of the Administrative Hearing, a new Vicious or Potentially Dangerous Declaration Letter will be initiated and hand-delivered to the dog owner. E. Declaration: 1. If the decision to declare is upheld at the conclusion of the Administrative Hearing, or after 5 days without a written request for an Administrative Hearing by the owner and/or custodian, the dog will be deemed Vicious or Potentially Dangerous and placed on the Vicious or Potentially Dangerous Dog List. 2. The Lieutenant will direct the Operations Desk Sergeant to initiate and send the Police and Fire Chiefs of the applicable cities the Police and Fire Chief Advisory Letter (attachment J). The letter will be signed by the Operations Desk Sergeant. F. Compliance Checks: 1. The Operations Desk Sergeant shall maintain the master file of the dogs that have been declared Vicious or Potentially Dangerous. Compliance checks shall be conducted every two months or as deemed necessary to ensure that the dog(s) are being maintained in accordance with the required conditions and/or restrictions. Should an owner be in full compliance with all required conditions and restrictions for an extended period of time, the Compliance Checks may be conducted every six months with the approval of the Lieutenant. The compliance checks shall be handled in the following manner:
  9. 9. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 9 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 a. The Operations Desk Sergeant will maintain a log to ensure that all compliance checks are evenly distributed and completed in a timely manner. b. A blank Compliance Check Sign-Off Sheet (attachment K) detailing the dog’s conditions for maintenance will be produced and placed in the field file for assignment to, and completion by, a Sergeant. c. The Sergeant assigned the compliance investigation will check the owner’s and/or custodian’s residence for complete compliance. If the facility and conditions are in compliance, no owner and/or custodian contact is required. A Door Tag shall be left at the residence advising the owner and/or custodian of the check. If the facility and/or conditions are not in total compliance, or the Sergeant is unable to verify full compliance, owner and/or custodian contact shall be made (compliance checks may be re-filed for the following shift if contact is necessary, but not achieved). d. If the owner/custodian is not home and proof of insurance, rabies vaccination, sterility, and/or licensing has not yet been obtained, the Sergeant shall post in a conspicuous place a Request for Update Information (15 Days) Form (attachment L) at the property and note it on the Compliance Check Sign-Off Sheet (Attachment K). If compliance is not met within 15 days, the Operations Desk Sergeant will send the field file out with a Sergeant for issuance of a citation and/or assessment of the non- compliance fee. e. If the owner/custodian is not home and there are violations of restriction that have minimal impact to public safety, such as missing Beware of Dog sign(s), no padlock on specified gates, no padlock on kennel or dog run door(s), the Sergeant shall post in a conspicuous place a Request for
  10. 10. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 10 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 Update Information (24-Hours) Form. (attachment O) at the property and note it on the Compliance Check Sign-Off Sheet (attachment K). If compliance is not met within 24 hours, the Operations Desk Sergeant will send the field file out with a Sergeant for issuance of a citation and/or assessment of the non-compliance fee. f. If the facility and conditions are not in compliance, a Non- Compliance Fee may be charged. The Sergeant shall make every attempt to collect at the time of violation to avoid the billing process. If the fee is not collected at the time of violation, the Sergeant shall notify the Lieutenant who shall request from the Accounting Supervisor that a Non- Compliance Fee be assessed by completing an Internal Field Billing Memo (attachment M). A copy of the Internal Field Billing Memo shall be included in the file. g. A Notice to Appear (citation) may be issued for any violations of the required conditions and/or restrictions. A copy of the citation is to be included in the file. h. The completed file will be reviewed by the Lieutenant who must sign the bottom of the Compliance Check Sign Off Sheet prior to being returned to the Operations Desk Sergeant. i. After 3 years, the owner of a Potentially Dangerous Dog may request the designation be removed. If the owner requests removal of the Potentially Dangerous Dog designation, the Sergeant will advise the owner that such a request must be made in writing, to the Chief of Field Services. 1) Once a request for removal is received, the Chief of Field Services will research Chameleon records and compliance history prior to making a determination as to whether the declaration will remain or be rescinded.
  11. 11. Number: 300.16 SUBJECT: VICIOUS/POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS DOG INVESTIGATIONS Page: 11 Date: 3/7/94 Approved: Ryan Drabek, Director Revised: 9/19/13 2) Should the investigation conclude with a recommendation that the Potentially Dangerous Dog designation be removed the Administrative Lieutenant will direct the Operations Desk Sergeant to send the owner a Potentially Dangerous Release Letter (attachment N). 3) Vicious Dog designations are not eligible for removal. G. The Operations Desk Sergeant shall update the Vicious or Potentially Dangerous Dog List as dogs are added or deleted and distribute to appropriate staff.

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