Animal protection services are provided on a complaint basis.
What happens when you call?
- All complaints are entered in a log and assigned to an animal control officer.
- Complaints are prioritized and higher priority complaints are handled first.
- All complaints are responded to in a timely manner.
- On a first visit for routine nuisance complaints, animal control officers usually try to educate the pet owner and provide them with information on the law and solutions to the problem.
- Second nuisance complaints may result in the animal control officer taking a statement from the complainant and possibly issuing a citation to the pet owner.
- Third nuisance complaints generally result in a citation being issued.
- If an officer is responding to a complaint of a loose dog, they may impound the animal if it is running loose when they arrive. Officers try to return loose animals to their owners from the field when possible.
- A first call on a barking problem generates a letter to the dog owner regarding the complaint and the law; included is a helpful hints brochure. Second barking complaints result in a personal visit to the dog owner by an officer and/or a citation may be issued. Third complaints usually result in a citation. Complainants in barking cases are asked to keep a log of the barking: dates, times and duration.
- An officer investigates all cruelty complaints. If an officer finds an extreme animal cruelty, they may get a warrant and remove the animal for veterinary treatment and safekeeping.
- Dogs causing severe injury to a human, killing a domestic animal or dogs previously deemed potentially dangerous may be deemed dangerous and impounded, pending registration requirements, to insure public safety.
- Dogs/cats involved in a bite are quarantined for a 10-day rabies observation period. Home quarantine is allowed and the Spokane County Health District verifies the animal’s health at the end of the observation period.
- Neighborhoods that have chronic problems with dogs running at large will be patrolled whenever possible.
- Feral cats are usually trapped. Traps are available to the public at no charge (a $20 refundable deposit is collected). Traps are checked out for 1 week at a time. Trapped cats can be brought into the shelter and will be removed from the trap by staff.
The above are general guidelines for the department. Animal Control is not an exact science, the same thing does not happen every time, and no two situations are exactly alike. Animal control officers use common sense and investigative skills to come up with the best solution to the problem for the community and the animals.