Washington

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Titlesort ascending Summary
WA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Laws (Chapter 16.52) This section of statutes contains Washington's anti-cruelty provisions. Under the section, "animal" means any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian. Sections 16.52.205 and 16.52.207 are the primary anti-cruelty provisions that categorize cruelty in either the first or second degree. A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the first degree (a class C felony) when he or she intentionally inflicts substantial pain on, causes physical injury to, or kills an animal by a means causing undue suffering, or forces a minor to inflict unnecessary pain, injury, or death on an animal. A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree (a misdemeanor) if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal. An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fails to provide the animal with necessary food, water, shelter, rest, sanitation, ventilation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure, or if he or she abandons the animal.
WA - Coyotes - 9.41.185. Coyote getters This Washington law provides that the use of "coyote getters" is not a violation of law when their use is authorized by the state department of agriculture and/or the state department of fish and wildlife in cooperative programs with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The purpose must be to control or eliminate coyotes that are harmful to livestock or game animals.
WA - Cathlamet - Breed - Chapter 6.10 
PIT BULL DOGS


It is unlawful to keep, or harbor, own or in any way possess a pit bull dog in Cathlamet, Washington, with exceptions for dogs licensed before the effective date of this chapter. Such dogs are subject to certain requirements, such as proper confinement, the use of a leash and muzzle, posting “Beware of Dog” signs, the use of special orange collars, photographs and tattoos for identification purposes, keeping $100,000 liability insurance, and vaccinating the dog against rabies. Any pit bull dog found to be the subject of a violation may be confiscated and even destroyed.

WA - Buckely - Breed - Chapter 9.10 (Pit Bull Ordinance)


In Buckely, Washington, pit bulls are defined to be “dangerous dogs." Such dogs are considered to be a public nuisance and shall be humanely destroyed or removed from the city.

WA - Beavers - 77.32.585. Release of wild beavers This Washington law states that the department shall permit the release of wild beavers on public and private lands with agreement from the property owner under specified conditions.
WA - Assistance Animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.
Storms v. Fred Meyer Stores, Inc.


This Washington discrimination case was brought by a dog owner (Storms) with psychiatric conditions against a store and its managers who refused to allow her to stay in store with her alleged service dog. The dog was trained to 

put herself between Storms and other people so as to keep an open area around Storms and alleviate her anxiety (a symptom of her post-traumatic stress syndrome). The appellate court found that there was sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of discrimination against Fred Meyer for refusing to allow her to shop accompanied by her dog. Testimony showed that Brandy had been specifically trained to help Storms with her particular disability by placing herself in between Storms and others in a way that alleviated her anxiety, which was further corroborated by testimony that Brandy engaged in such behavior. Thus, evidence showed that the defendants' violated RCW 49.60.215 by not allowing Storms to do her own shopping within the store because she was accompanied by a service animal.

State v. Wilson Defendant Robert Wilson appeals his conviction of first degree animal cruelty, which arose from an incident at an archery club when Wilson shot a large dog in the hindquarters (70lb. "Dozer") with an arrow after that dog attacked Wilson’s small dog ("Little Bit"). (Dozer recovered from his injuries.) Wilson argues that his action was lawful under RCW 16.08.020, which states that it is lawful for a person to kill a dog seen chasing, biting, or injuring a domestic animal on real property that person owns, leases, or controls. The trial court declined to give defendant's proposed jury instruction based on this statutory language, finding that it only applied to stock animals and not when a dog was injuring another dog. The court did, however, permit the common law defense that allows owners to take "reasonably necessary action" in defense of their animals, which the State must then disprove beyond a reasonable doubt. On appeal, this court noted that no Washington court has interpreted RCW 16.08.020 in a published case. Under common law cases that allow a person to kill an animal to defend his or her property, the court found those cases require the killing be "reasonably necessary." While the parties dispute whether the statute requires that the actions be "reasonably necessary," the appellate court first found Wilson was still not entitled to a dismissal of charges because he could not establish that the location where he shot the arrow at Dozer was land that he "owned, leased, or had control over" per the statute. As to the Wilson's next argument that the trial court erred in not giving his proposed instruction for RCW 16.08.020, the appellate court agreed. While the trial court found that the statute only applied to stock animals, the appellate court noted that the law does not define the term "domestic animal." Using the plain dictionary meaning for "domestic" - "belonging to or incumbent on the family" - and for "domestic animal," this court stated that "Little Bit certainly belonged to Wilson's family" and a dog fits the meaning of "domestic animal." Finally, the court found that the "reasonably necessary" requirement from the common law cases on shooting domestic animals cannot be grafted onto the statutory requirements of RCW 16.08.020. Thus, the trial court's refusal to give defendant's proposed instruction based on RCW 16.08.020 cannot be grounded in the reasonably necessary common law requirement. The trial court's refusal to give the proposed instruction was not harmless. As such, the appellate court reversed Wilson's conviction and remanded the action for further proceedings.
State v. Vander Houwen


The owner of severely damaged orchards was convicted for shooting some of the responsible animals after repeated requests for state remedies were unsuccessful. The damage to defendant's orchard (with estimated losses of over $200,000 for future cherry production) occurred in 1998 and 1999, when herds of elk repeatedly came through inadequate fencing constructed by the State. The Supreme Court held that when a property owner charged with unlawful hunting or waste of wildlife presents sufficient evidence that he exercised his constitutional right to protect his property from destructive game, the burden shifts to the State to disprove this justification. In this case, the defendant was denied jury instructions regarding his constitutional right to reasonably protect his property.

State v. Smith


In this Washington case, defendant Smith appealed his conviction for first degree animal cruelty following the death of his llama. Smith claims he received ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorney failed to (1) discover information before trial that may have explained the llama's death and (2) seek a lesser included instruction on second degree animal cruelty. This court agreed. It found that defense counsel's "all or nothing strategy" was not a legitimate trial tactic and constituted deficient performance where counsel presented evidence to call into question the State's theory on starvation, but not evidence related to the entire crime. The court found that the jury was "left in an arduous position: to either convict Smith of first degree animal cruelty or to let him go free despite evidence of some culpable behavior." The case was reversed and remanded.

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