Washington Statutes

Statute by category Citationsort descending Summary
WA - Initiative - Initiative 1401, Trafficking of animal species threatened with extinction Initiative 1401 (2015) Initiative 1401 would amend several sections of the Washington code (RCW 77.15.085, 77.15.100, and 77.15.425; reenacting and amending RCW 77.08.010). This measure would prohibit sale, purchase, trading, or distribution of elephant, rhinoceros, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, pangolin, marine turtle, shark, or ray species listed as endangered or vulnerable in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, including items made from listed species. Violations would be a gross misdemeanor or class-C felony. It would exempt certain distributions, including musical instruments and transfers for educational purposes. The measure passed by 71% voting "yes" for the initiative.
WA - Initiatives - Washington Initiative 713 (trapping) Initiative 713 (2000) This Washington initiative passed in 2000 made it a gross misdemeanor to capture an animal with a steel-jawed leghold trap, neck snare, or other body-gripping trap. The director of fish and wildlife could grant special circumstance exceptions. It is also unlawful to knowingly buy or sell an animal pelt trapped in this manner. It is also a gross misdemeanor to poison any animal using sodium fluoroacetate (Compound 1080) or sodium cyanide (violators lose trapping licenses).
WA - Initiatives - Initiative Measure No. 1130 (AN ACT Relating to the prevention of farm animal cruelty) Initiative Measure No. 1130 (2011) This measure would prohibit confining egg-laying hens, as defined, in stacked cages or cages that prevent hens from turning around freely, lying down, standing up, or fully extending their wings. It would also prohibit selling eggs produced by hens thus confined. Violations would be a gross misdemeanor. The measure would not apply to medical research, veterinary treatment, transportation, certain temporary confinements, exhibitions, or during humane slaughter. The measure would take effect on January 1, 2018. Due to changes in signature requirements announced by the Washington Secretary of State to avoid duplication or error, the initiative did not receive an adequate number of signatures to appear on the ballot.
WA - Shark - 77.15.770. Unlawful trade in shark fins--Penalty RCWA 77.15.770

Under this Washington statute, it is unlawful to trade in shark fins, with exceptions. A person is guilty in the second degree (gross misdemeanor) if s/he sells, purchases, or processes a shark fin for commercial purposes. A person is guilty of unlawful trade in shark fins in the first degree (class C felony) if the act involves shark fins with a total market value of $250 or more, or acted with knowledge that the shark fin originated from a shark that was illegally caught.

WA - Trusts - Chapter 11.118. Trusts--Animals West's RCWA 11.118.005 - 110 The purpose of this chapter is to recognize and validate certain trusts that are established for the benefit of animals (nonhuman animal with vertebrae).  The trust can be for one or more animals provided they are individually identified or labeled in the instrument so that they may be easily identified.  Unless otherwise provided in the trust instrument or in this chapter, the trust will terminate when no animal that is designated as a beneficiary of the trust remains living. 
WA - Trespass - CHAPTER 16.04. TRESPASS OF ANIMALS-GENERAL West's RCWA 16.04.005 - 100

These Washington statutes pertain to trespassing animals. They provide for liability of owners for damage caused by such animals.There are also notification requirements to owners of trespassing animals.

WA - Dangerous Dog - 16.08.040. Dog bites. Liability and Dangerous dogs and related provisions. West's RCWA 16.08.010 - 100

This Washington statute outlines the state's dangerous dog laws.  Under the law, the owner or keeper of any dog shall be liable to the owner of any animal killed or injured by such dog for the amount of damages sustained in a civil action.  Further, there is strict liability for the owner of any dog that bites any person while in a public place or lawfully on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness.  However, proof of provocation of the attack by the injured person shall be a complete defense to an action for damages. 

WA - Dangerous Dog - 16.08.070. Dangerous dogs and related definitions West's RCWA 16.08.070

This Washington statute provides the definitions related to dangerous dogs, including dangerous dog, potentially dangerous dog, severe injury, and owner, among others.

WA - Dangerous Dog - 16.08.090. Dangerous dogs--Requirements for restraint West's RCWA 16.08.090

This Washington statute outlines the state and local provisions related to dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs.  It first provides that it is unlawful for an owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside the proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint of a responsible person.  Potentially dangerous dogs shall be regulated only by local, municipal, and county ordinances and nothing in this section limits restrictions local jurisdictions may place on owners of potentially dangerous dogs.

WA - Ordinances - 16.10.040. Dog control zones--Regulations--License fees, collection, disposition West's RCWA 16.10.040 This Washington statute provides that the county commissioners shall by ordinance promulgate the regulations to be enforced within a dog control zone. These shall include provisions for the control of unlicensed dogs and the establishment of license fees.
WA - Exotic Pet - Chapter 16.30. Dangerous Wild Animals West's RCWA 16.30.005 - 900

This Washington chapter passed in 2007 regulates the keeping of dangerous wild animals. By definition, a potentially dangerous wild animal includes, among others, lions, tigers, captive-bred cougars, jaguars, cheetahs, leopards, wolves, (but excluding wolf-hybrids), bears, hyenas, non-human primates, elephants, rhinoceroses, certain reptiles, and venomous snakes. A person shall not own, possess, keep, harbor, bring into the state, or have custody or control of a potentially dangerous wild animal. A person in legal possession of a potentially dangerous wild animal prior to July 22, 2007, and who is the legal possessor of the animal may keep possession of the animal for the remainder of the animal's life.

WA - Health - Chapter 16.36. Animal Health West's RCWA 16.36.005 - 160

These laws set forth the laws for importation and health requirements of certain imported animals. It also allows the director to establish inspection procedures for the transportation of animals. A section provides that it is unlawful for a person to bring an animal into Washington state without first securing a certificate of veterinary inspection, reviewed by the state veterinarian of the state of origin, verifying that the animal meets the Washington state animal health

WA - Humane Slaughter - Chapter 16.50. Humane Slaughter of Livestock. West's RCWA 16.50.100 - 900

The Washington humane slaughter laws begin with a statement that it is declared to be the policy of the state of Washington to require that the slaughter of all livestock, and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter, shall be carried out only by humane methods.  Humane methods are defined are those methods whereby the animal is rendered insensible to pain by mechanical, electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast or cut; or methods in accordance with the ritual requirements of any religious faith whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain.  "Livestock" is limited under the statute to cattle, calves, sheep, swine, horses, mules and goats.  Note that the director may, by administrative order, exempt a person from compliance with this chapter for a period of not to exceed six months if he finds that an earlier compliance would cause such person undue hardship.  Violation of the act constitutes a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars or confinement in the county jail for not more than ninety days.

WA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Laws (Chapter 16.52) West's RCWA 16.52.010 - 350

This section of statutes contains Washington's anti-cruelty provisions.  Under the section, "animal" means any nonhuman mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian.  WA ST 16.52.205 and WA ST 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 - Wolf - Chapter 16.001. Wolf-Livestock Management West's RCWA 16.76.005 - .030 These statutes create the northeast Washington wolf-livestock management grant within the department of agriculture. Further, a four-member advisory board is established to advise the department on the expenditure of the northeast Washington wolf-livestock management grant funds. The board must help direct funding for the deployment of nonlethal deterrence resources, including human presence, and locally owned and deliberately located equipment and tools. In addition, the northeast Washington wolf-livestock management account is created as a nonappropriated account in the custody of the state treasurer.
WA - Veterinary - Chapter 18.92. Veterinary Medicine, Surgery, and Dentistry. West's RCWA 18.92.010 - 900

These are the state's veterinary practice laws.  Among the provisions include licensing requirements, laws concerning the state veterinary board, veterinary records laws, and the laws governing disciplinary actions for impaired or incompetent practitioners.

WA - Research - 19.86.145. Penalties--Animals used in biomedical research West's RCWA 19.86.145

This law provides that any violation of RCW 9.08.070 - 9.08.078 (relating to concealing or taking a pet animal with the intent to deprive or defraud the owner) or RCW 16.52.220 (relating to transfer of mammals other than rats or mice for use in research) constitutes an unfair or deceptive practice. Research institutions that violate this provision face only monetary penalties not to exceed $2,500.

WA - Domestic Violence - 26.50.060. Relief--Duration--Realignment of designation of parties--Award of costs, service fees, and a West's RCWA 26.50.060

This Washington law reflects the state's provision for protective orders in cases of domestic abuse. In addition to other forms of relief, a court may also order possession and use of essential personal effects. Personal effects may include pets. The court may order that a petitioner be granted the exclusive custody or control of any pet owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, respondent, or minor child residing with either the petitioner or respondent and may prohibit the respondent from interfering with the petitioner's efforts to remove the pet. The court may also prohibit the respondent from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance of specified locations where the pet is regularly found.

WA - Ordinances - 35.27.370. Specific powers enumerated West's RCWA 35.27.370

This Washington statute provides that the council of said town shall have power t o pass ordinances not in conflict with the Constitution and laws of this state, or of the United States.  Specifically, the council may  regulate, restrain, or prohibit the running at large of any and all domestic animals within the city limits, or any part or parts thereof, and to regulate the keeping of such animals within any part of the city; to establish, maintain and regulate a common pound for estrays, and to appoint a poundkeeper, who shall be paid out of the fines and fees imposed on, and collected from, the owners of any impounded stock.

WA - Ordinances - 35.30.010. Additional powers West's RCWA 35.30.010 This Washington statute provides that the council, or other legislative body, of all cities within the state of Washington which were created by special charter prior to the adoption of the state Constitution, and which have not since reincorporated under any general statute, shall have, in addition to the powers specially granted by the charter of such cities, the power to impose and collect an annual license not exceeding two dollars on every dog owned or harbored within the limits of the city.  They may also make all such ordinances, bylaws and regulations, not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the state of Washington, as may be deemed expedient to maintain the peace, good government and welfare of the city, and to do and perform any and all other acts and things necessary and proper to carry out the purposes of the municipal corporation.
WA - Dog - Consolidated Dog Laws West's RCWA 4.24.410; 9.08.010 - 90; West's RCWA 9A.76.200; West's RCWA 9.91.170 - 175; 16.10.010 - 40; 16.54.010 - 40; 16.70.010 - 60; 36.49.020 - 070; 77.12.315; 77.15.240, 245, 440; 77.32.525; 77.32.540

These Washington statutes comprise the state's dog laws.  Among the provisions include vaccination requirements, dog control zones in municipalities, dangerous dog laws, and provisions concerning hunting with dogs.

WA - Equine Activity Liability - Chapter 4.24. Special Rights of Action and Special Immunities. West's RCWA 4.24.530 - 540

This Washington section provides that an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional shall not be liable for an injury to or the death of a participant engaged in an equine activity, nor may he or she maintain an action against or recover from an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional for an injury to or the death while engaged in an equine activity.  Liability is not limited by this statute where the equine professional knowingly provided faulty tack or equipment, failed to make reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the ability of the participant to engage safely in the equine activity, owns or otherwise is in lawful possession of the land or facilities upon which the participant sustained injuries because of a known, dangerous latent condition, or if he or she commits an act or omission that constitutes willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the participant or intentionally injures the participant.

WA - Ecoterrorism - 4.24.570. Acts against animals in research or educational facilities West's RCWA 4.24.570 - 580

These Washington sections concern interference with animal research or educational facilities as well as facilities that keep animals for agricultural or veterinary purposes. Both sections provide that any person or organization that plans or assists in the development of a plan to commit an intentional tort described in the laws is liable for damages to the same extent as a person who has committed the tort. However, membership in a liable organization does not in itself establish the member's liability under this subsection. Section 4.24.580 allows an individual employed with an animal facility to obtain injunctive relief if he or she has reason to believe that he or she may be injured. This includes obtaining an injunction to prevent harassment.

WA - Vehicle - 46.61.660. Carrying persons or animals on outside part of vehicle West's RCWA 46.61.660 This Washington law states that it is illegal to transport any living animal on the running board, fenders, hood, or other outside part of any vehicle unless suitable harness, cage or enclosure is provided that protects the animal from being thrown.
WA - Lien, cruelty - 60.56.025. Lien created for care of animal seized by law enforcement officer West's RCWA 60.56.025

This Washington law states that if a law enforcement officer authorizes removal of an animal pursuant to chapter 16.52 RCW, the person or entity receiving the animal and aiding in its care or restoration to health shall have a lien upon the animal for the cost of feeding, pasturing, and caring otherwise for the animal.

WA - Lost Dog - Chapter 63.21. Lost and Found Property. West's RCWA 63.21.010 - 900

This statutory section comprises Washington's lost property statues.

WA - Eagle - 77.12.650. Protection of bald eagles and their habitats--Cooperation required West's RCWA 77.12.650, West's RCWA 77.12.655 This outlines the rules and cooperative agreements mandated for the protection of eagles and their habitats in the state of Washington to prevent the eagle from becoming endangered or threatened.  The administrative rules further describe the partners involved, which include private landowners, and the delineations of habitat buffer zones to protect roosting sites.
WA - Endangered Species - Chapter 77.15. Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Code West's RCWA 77.15.120, 130, 135, 410, 420, 425, 430

Under Washington endangered species provisions, a person is guilty of unlawful taking of endangered fish or wildlife in the second degree if person hunts for, fishes for, possesses, maliciously harasses, or kills fish or wildlife, or possesses or intentionally destroys the nests or eggs of fish or wildlife; the fish or wildlife is designated by the commission as endangered; and the taking of the fish or wildlife or the destruction of the nests or eggs has not been authorized.   Additionally, a person is guilty of unlawful taking of endangered fish or wildlife in the first degree if the person has been previously convicted under the above provision within a five-year time period.  Once convicted of unlawful taking of endangered fish or wildlife in the first degree (a class C felony), any licenses or tags used in connection with the crime are revoked and the person's privileges to hunt, fish, trap, or obtain licenses under this title are suspended for two years.

WA - Fur - Chapter 77.15. Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Code (Unlawful Trapping Provisions) West's RCWA 77.15.190 - 194

This set of Washington laws describes unlawful trapping. A person is guilty of misdemeanor unlawful trapping if the person sets out traps without the necessary licenses or permits; violates any rule on seasons or bag limits; or fails to identify the owner of the traps or devices with a tag or inscription. The director may revoke the trapper's license of a person placing unauthorized traps on private property and may remove those traps. It is unlawful to use or authorize the use of any steel-jawed leghold trap, neck snare, or other body-gripping trap to capture any mammal for recreation or commerce in fur except as provided in Section 77.15.194.

WA - Hunting - 77.15.210. Obstructing the taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife--Penalty West's RCWA 77.15.210 - 220

This set of laws represents Washington's hunter harassment provisions. Under the section, a person is guilty of obstructing the taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife if the person harasses, drives, or disturbs fish, shellfish, or wildlife with the intent of disrupting lawful pursuit or taking, or if the person harasses, intimidates, or interferes with an individual engaged in the lawful taking. Violation is a gross misdemeanor.

WA - Fish - 77.15.250. Unlawful release of fish, shellfish, or wildlife--Penalty--Unlawful release of deleterious exotic wildlif West's RCWA 77.15.250

Under this Washington statute, a person is guilty of unlawfully releasing, planting, possessing, or placing fish, shellfish, or wildlife (gross misdemeanor) if the person knowingly releases such animals within the state, and the animals have not been classified as deleterious wildlife. A person is guilty of unlawfully releasing, planting, possessing, or placing deleterious exotic wildlife (class C felony) if the person knowingly releases animals classified as deleterious.

WA - Trade - 77.15.260. Unlawful trafficking in fish, shellfish, or wildlife--Penalty West's RCWA 77.15.260

This Washington statute pertains to unlawful trafficking in fish, shellfish, and wildlife. A person is guilty of unlawful trafficking in the second degree if s/he traffics in such animals with a wholesale value of less than $250 and the animals are unclassified or classified as game, food fish, shellfish, game fish, or protected wildlife. Unlawful trafficking in the first degree occurs when the animals have a value of $250 or more or the animals are classified as endangered or deleterious exotic wildlife.

WA - Orca - 77.15.740. Protection of southern resident orca whales--Penalty West's RCWA 77.15.740

Under this Washington statute, it is unlawful to feed, intercept, or approach within three hundred feet of a southern resident orca whale, with exceptions. A violation is a natural resource infraction and carries a fine of five hundred dollars, not including statutory assessments added pursuant to RCW 3.62.090.

WA - Wildlife - 77.15.790. Negligently feeding, attempting to feed, or attracting large wild carnivores to land or a building--I West's RCWA 77.15.790, 792

These two Washington laws deal with the unauthorized feeding of large wild carnivores. A person may not negligently feed or attempt to feed large wild carnivores or negligently attract large wild carnivores to land or a building. If a person who is issued a written warning fails to contain, move, or remove the food, food waste, or other substance as directed, the person commits an infraction under chapter 7.84 RCW.

WA - Beavers - 77.32.585. Release of wild beavers West's RCWA 77.32.585

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 - Coyotes - 9.41.185. Coyote getters West's RCWA 9.41.185

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 - Assistance Animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws West's RCWA 9.91.170 - 175; 28A.642.010; 49.60.010 - 040, 215, 218, 222; 224; 225; 49.60.370 - 380; 49.90.010; 70.84.010 - 900

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.