Dog Bite Laws in Pocatello, Idaho
Have you or your child been injured by a dog and the dog bite occurred in Pocatello? Below are the dog bite laws in Pocatello, Idaho that are relevant to the ownership and control of a dog. Please check the following link to city ordinances for any updates or changes to the laws: (https://www.sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=601; Chapter 6.04 Animal Services):
ALLOW: To forbear or neglect to restrain or prevent, regardless of intent or participation.
ANIMAL NUISANCE: Any nuisance arising out of the keeping, maintaining or owning of, or failure to exercise sufficient control of an animal.
ANIMAL SERVICES CENTER: Any premises designated by the city for the purpose of impounding and caring for animals held under the authority of this chapter.
ANIMAL SERVICES OFFICER: Any person(s) employed by the city to administer and enforce the licensing, inspection, and enforcement requirements contained within this chapter.
AT HEEL: A dog is next to a person (no more than 1 foot away in any direction) and obedient to that person’s command.
AT LARGE: An animal that is off the premises of the owner, and not on a leash ten feet (10′) or less in length, or confined in a motor vehicle. In the case of a dangerous animal “at large” means not confined or leashed.
CRUELTY: Any act or omission whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death of an animal is caused or permitted, including, but not limited to, failure to provide proper drink, air, space, shelter or protection from the elements, a sanitary and safe living environment, veterinary care or nutritious food in sufficient quantity. In the case of activities where physical pain is necessarily caused, such as medical and scientific research, food processing, customary and normal veterinary and agricultural husbandry practices, pest elimination, and animal training and hunting, “cruelty” shall mean a failure to employ the most humane method reasonably available.
CUSTODIAN: Any person having custodial care of an animal by his or her own choice, or at the request of, or with the consent of, the owner of the animal, including, but not limited to, the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a minor child.
- Any animal which, when unprovoked by teasing, taunting, or a threatening manner by any person, approaches said person in an apparent attitude of attack upon the streets, sidewalks, public grounds or places, common areas within subdivisions or mobile home or recreational vehicle parks, common grounds of apartment buildings, condominiums, or townhouse developments, or private property not solely owned or possessed by the owner or custodian of the animal.
- Any animal with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals or livestock; or
- Any animal which bites, inflicts injury, assaults, or otherwise attacks a human being or domestic animal or livestock without justifiable provocation; or
- Any animal owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or any animal trained for fighting; or
- Any dog which has been trained as an attack dog, except dogs used by law enforcement agencies.Exceptions: An animal will not be considered dangerous if it engages in any of the above listed actions toward a person or animal that is either: a) committing a trespass or other tort upon the premises of the animal’s owner or custodian, or b) committing a crime against the animal’s owner or custodian. An animal will not be considered dangerous if any of the above actions occur when the animal is being teased, tormented, or abused, or if the actions were in reaction to either a crime committed by a person or an attempt by the person to commit a crime.
DISPOSITION: Adoption, quarantine, voluntary or involuntary custodianship or placement, or euthanasia humanely administered to an animal. “Disposition” includes placement or sale of an animal to the general public or removal of an animal from any pet shop to any other location.
DOG PARK: A defined area set aside for dogs which have not been convicted of being dangerous as defined in this section to exercise and play off leash in a controlled environment under the supervision of their owners/custodians, and subject to posted rules and to the provisions of this code.
IMPOUNDMENT: The taking into custody of an animal by any person, police officer, animal services officer, or any authorized representative thereof.
MISUSE: The willful or intentional causing of an animal to perform a noncustomary task, excepting those tasks and actions required of dogs used by law enforcement agencies, which could be dangerous or harmful to the animal or to any person.
MUZZLE: A device constructed of strong, soft material or of metal, designed to fasten over the mouth of an animal to prevent the animal from biting any person or other animal.
OWNER: Any person having temporary or permanent custody of, sheltering or having charge of, harboring, exercising control over, or having property rights to, any animal for five (5) or more consecutive days, or whose child, or other person over whom guardianship is exercised, who resides with said person, so harbors or keeps an animal.
PUBLIC NUISANCE ANIMAL: Any animal that unreasonably annoys humans, endangers the life or health of a person or another animal, or substantially interferes with the rights of a person, other than its owner/custodian, to enjoyment of life or property.
Authority to Enforce
- Animal services officers, in addition to Pocatello police officers, are hereby authorized to carry out the duties necessary to enforce this chapter, including licensing, inspections, and enforcement, including issuance of Idaho uniform citations for any violations of this chapter.
- It shall be unlawful for any person to hinder or obstruct, or attempt to hinder or obstruct, an animal services officer in the discharge of his duties.
- It shall be unlawful for any person to keep any animal on any property located within the city when the keeping of such animal, or the method of keeping or harboring such animal(s), constitutes a public nuisance or menace to public health or safety.
- No person owning, harboring, keeping, or in charge of any animal shall cause unsanitary, dangerous, or offensive condition(s) by virtue of the size or number of animals maintained at a single location or due to the inadequacy of the facilities. It shall be a violation of this section if the number of animals maintained at a single residence or the condition of the facilities is offensive, injurious, or dangerous to the public health or the neighbors in close proximity to the premises, regardless of whether or not a multiple animal housing license has been obtained. The animal services director may revoke the multiple animal housing permit of any person found in violation of this section.
- It shall be unlawful for any person to allow any animal in his/her care to become a public nuisance animal. Conduct which renders an animal a public nuisance shall include, but not be limited to:
- Repeated running at large (more than 2 violations).
- Being at large in any section of a park or public recreation area without being controlled by a leash no longer than ten feet (10′) or similar physical restraint.
- Damaging, soiling, defiling, urinating on, or defecating on any property other than that of its owner.
- Making disturbing noises, including, but not limited to, continued and repeated howling, barking, whining, crowing, braying, or other utterances causing unreasonable annoyance, disturbance, or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where the animal is kept or harbored.
- Fouling of the air by noxious or offensive odors and thereby creates unreasonable annoyance or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where the animal is kept or harbored.
- Molesting, attacking, causing a noise disturbance, or otherwise interfering with the freedom of movement of persons in a public right of way or on private property not its own.
- Chasing motor vehicles in a public right of way.
- Interfering with the enjoyment or use of another’s property.
- Any owner or custodian whose animal has become a public nuisance animal may be issued a notice of violation and assessed the fee per occurrence as set by annual resolution of the city council, to be paid at the animal services center. The notice of violation shall be independent of any criminal misdemeanor or infraction proceedings which might be instituted under this section.
- After the conviction of an owner or custodian for allowing his animal to become a nuisance for more than two (2) running at large violations, the owner or custodian shall have the animal neutered or spayed by a licensed veterinarian and provide proof to the animal services department of such alteration within thirty (30) days of sentencing.
- After the conviction of an owner or custodian for allowing his animal to become a nuisance, the owner or custodian, at his own expense, may be required by the court to successfully complete a city approved animal obedience program with the nuisance animal, to the satisfaction of the animal services director.
Restraint and Confinement by Owner/Custodian
- Dog At Large Prohibited: It is unlawful for any owner/custodian to fail to keep any dog under restraint or to permit such animal to be at large upon the streets and public ways of the city or on public or private property without the consent of the owner of the property unless the dog is under the control of a person holding a leash no longer than ten feet (10′), securely attached to the animal and of sufficient tensile strength to restrain it, or unless the dog is confined in a motor vehicle in such a manner that neither its claws nor its teeth can extend beyond the exterior of the vehicle. Any dog found at large may be impounded as provided hereafter in this chapter.
- Bartz Field: The area known as Bartz Field on the Idaho State University campus may be used, subject to rules and regulations as may be prescribed by Idaho State University, for the training or exercise of nondangerous dogs. Nondangerous dogs within Bartz Field need not be controlled by leash but shall be under the control of a responsible person and controlled by a whistle, noise, or other effective command. The owner must, if requested by the police or an animal services officer or an ISU public safety officer, prove his/her control in order to avoid impoundment of the dog.
- Dog Parks: Any public areas officially designated as dog parks by the city of Pocatello may be used by dogs and their owners/custodians to exercise and play off leash, subject to the provisions of this code and any particular rules posted at the dog park. Nondangerous dogs at dog parks need not be controlled by leash but shall be under the control of the owner/custodian of said dog, and controlled by a whistle, noise, or other effective command. The owner/custodian must, if requested by the police or an animal services officer, prove his/her control in order to avoid impoundment of the dog.
- Other Animals At Large: It is unlawful for any owner/custodian to fail to keep said animal from being at large upon the streets and public ways of the city or on public or private property without the consent of the owner of the property unless controlled by leash as provided above.
- Location Of Dog Runs Or Kennels: No person shall maintain or construct any dog run within thirty feet (30′) of the residence of any neighboring property.
- Animals In Public Buildings Or Common Carriers: It is unlawful for a person to permit, allow, keep, or carry any animal in, upon, or within a common carrier, public transportation facility or any other public building or facility, particularly a building or facility in which food or drink is prepared or stored, except that persons with disabilities shall not be denied the use of any common carrier or public transportation facility or admittance to any cafe or any other public building or place by reason of his being accompanied by a seeing eye or guide dog or other “assistive animal” specially trained for such purpose.
- Large Animals Prohibited On Public Ways: No person shall lead, drive, or ride any horse, cattle or other large animal over, across, or upon any sidewalk, parkway, or public parking area, or over or across any public park.
Dangerous Conduct by Animals Prohibited; Penalties
- Dangerous Conduct By Animal Prohibited: The owner or custodian of any animal which commits any of the acts defined in this chapter as “dangerous” may be cited for a misdemeanor and the animal services department may seize and impound the animal until the matter has been adjudicated. The conduct shall not be deemed dangerous if the victim (person, domestic animal, or livestock) was committing a tort against the animal’s owner/custodian, or committing a trespass or other tort on the premises of the animal’s owner/custodian. Specifically prohibited are the following acts:
- If unprovoked by teasing, taunting, or a threatening manner by any person, approaching said person in an apparent attitude of attack upon the streets, sidewalks, public grounds or places, common areas within subdivisions or mobile home or recreational vehicle parks, common grounds of apartment buildings, condominiums, or townhouse developments, or private property not solely owned or possessed by the owner or custodian of the animal; or
- Biting, inflicting injury, assaulting, or otherwise attacking a human being or domestic animal or livestock without justifiable provocation.
- Prohibited Animals: No person may own or harbor or have custodial care of any of the following types of vicious animals:
- Any animal with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals or livestock, unless restrained and/or confined as provided in section 04.060 of this chapter; or
- Any animal which is used primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting, or any animal trained for fighting; or
- Any dog which has been trained as an attack dog, except dogs used by law enforcement agencies.
- Impoundment And/Or Destruction: Any animal whose owner or custodian has been found guilty of or entered a plea of guilty to the offense of dangerous conduct by his/her animal is subject to impoundment and destruction. For a first offense, the court shall set the matter for sentencing and notify the office of the city attorney (prosecutor) of the date, time, and place of sentencing. The prosecutor may request that the court order the destruction of the animal. If the court determines that destruction is warranted, it shall issue an order authorizing any animal services officer or police officer to enter the property where the animal is located and to seize the animal and impound it for destruction if the animal has not been voluntarily surrendered by five o’clock (5:00) P.M. on the date of sentencing.
- Subsequent Violations:
- Upon the conviction or plea of guilty to a second or subsequent offense of dangerous animal conduct, regardless of the form of the current or any prior judgment, if the subsequent conduct involved the animal being dangerous, the court shall order destruction of the animal. If the court determines that destruction is warranted, it shall issue an order authorizing any animal services officer or police officer to enter the property where the animal is located and seize the animal and impound it for destruction if the animal has not been voluntarily surrendered by five o’clock (5:00) P.M. on the date of sentencing.
- If the subsequent conduct did not involve the animal being dangerous, the court may, but is not required to, order destruction of the animal regardless of the form of the current or prior judgment.
- Owner Liability: An adult owner/custodian of a dangerous animal shall be liable for all injuries and property damage sustained by any person or by any animal caused by an unprovoked attack by any dangerous animal, plus all costs, civil judgments or penalties, criminal fines, final terms, veterinary fees, shelter impound fees, and any other penalties and orders. In the event that the owner/custodian of the dangerous animal is a minor, the minor’s parent or guardian shall be so liable.
- Failure To Surrender Animal: It shall be a separate offense to fail to surrender an animal for impoundment and/or destruction.
Restraint and Care of Dangerous Animals
- Restraint Requirements: The owner/custodian of any animal convicted of a violation of the dangerous conduct prohibitions set out in this chapter shall complete the requirements of this subsection and subsection B of this section within thirty (30) days of the date of such conviction. Every dangerous animal shall be securely confined by its owner/custodian within a building or secure enclosure as set out herein, and whenever off the premises of its owner/custodian, shall be either caged or securely muzzled and restrained by an adult with a chain or tether having a minimum tensile strength of three hundred (300) pounds and not more than three feet (3′) in length, and shall be under the direct control and supervision of the adult owner/custodian of the dangerous animal. Every person harboring a dangerous animal is charged with an affirmative duty to confine the animal in such a way that persons and other animals do not have access to such animal. To be considered secure, a facility must be constructed in a manner capable of containing the animal. It shall be a completed structure with a securely attached roof of durable material which is secured to a foundation or concrete pad, or it shall be a chainlink structure which includes a securely attached roof, and which is embedded into the ground to a depth of no less than one foot (1′). Both the completed structure and the chainlink structure shall be at least six feet (6′) in height and shall include a locking mechanism which shall be kept locked at all times the animal is within said facility.
- Signage: The owner/custodian of a dangerous animal shall display in a prominent place on the premises a clearly visible warning sign indicating that there is a dangerous animal on the premises, with lettering large enough to be read from the adjacent public right of way. A second warning sign must be posted on the facility in which the animal is kept.
- Compliance Enforcement Authority: Animal services officers are empowered to make whatever inquiry is necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter, and may seize and impound any dangerous animal whose owner fails to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
- Microchip Implantation And Alteration Required: Any person who has been found guilty of or pled guilty to a violation of the dangerous conduct prohibitions set out above shall, within five (5) days of conviction, have a microchip implanted in the animal by a licensed veterinarian or the animal services department, pay all associated costs, and, for work performed by a veterinarian, provide proof to the animal services department that the microchip has been implanted. In addition, the owner or custodian shall have the animal spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian and shall provide proof to the animal services department of such alteration within thirty (30) days of the conviction.
- Notification To Animal Services: The owner/custodian of a dangerous animal shall notify the animal services department within twenty four (24) hours if said dangerous animal is at large, is unconfined, has attacked another animal or a human being, has temporarily or permanently relocated to another address, or has died, been sold or given away. If the dangerous animal has been sold or given away, the owner/custodian shall also provide the animal services department with the name, address and telephone number of the new owner/custodian of the dangerous animal, within twenty four (24) hours.
- Impoundment: If a dangerous animal whose owner or custodian has previously been found guilty of or pled guilty to a violation of the dangerous conduct prohibitions in this chapter, regardless of the form of the prior or current judgment(s), is alleged to have committed a subsequent violation, or is found to be at large, the animal services department shall seize and impound the animal until the matter has been adjudicated. The owner/custodian of the animal shall be responsible for all cost of impound fees, medical care, and other expenses for said animal while it is in custody with the Pocatello Animal Shelter, and the owner/custodian shall pay all such impound fees, medical care, and other expenses within five (5) days of the sentencing, or animal services may dispose of the animal, including, but not limited to, adoption or destruction, without further notice to the owner/custodian.
- Dangerous Animal Registry: The owner of any animal found to be dangerous, by a court of law, shall within forty five (45) days of such finding, obtain a dangerous animal registration certificate from the animal services department for a fee, as set forth in the city’s annual fee resolution adopted by the city council, in addition to other fees that may be authorized by law. The animal services department shall also provide the owner with a uniformly designed tag that identifies the animal as dangerous. The owner shall affix the tag to the animal’s collar and ensure that the animal wears the collar and tag at all times. By January 31 of each year, until such time as the dangerous animal is deceased, all certificates obtained pursuant to this subsection shall be updated and renewed for a fee, as set forth in the city’s annual fee resolution adopted by the city council, and in the same manner as the initial certificate was obtained. The animal services department shall post registration information on the city of Pocatello dangerous animal registry.
- Dangerous Animal Registration Certificates: All dangerous animal registration certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this subsection shall only be issued to persons eighteen (18) years of age or older who present satisfactory evidence: 1) of the animal’s current rabies vaccination, if applicable; 2) that the animal has been neutered or spayed; and 3) that the animal is and will be confined in a proper enclosure or is and will be confined inside the owner’s residence or is and will be muzzled and confined in the owner’s fenced in yard until the proper enclosure is constructed. In addition, owners who apply for certificates or renewals thereof under this subsection shall not be issued a certificate or renewal thereof unless they present satisfactory evidence that: 1) their residence is and will continue to be posted with clearly visible signs warning both minors and adults of the presence of a dangerous animal on the property; and 2) the animal has been permanently identified by means of a registered microchip implantation.
Notification Procedures of Dog Bites
- When an owner/custodian of an animal has knowledge that his or her animal has bitten a human being, a pet, domestic animal, or livestock, such owner or custodian shall immediately notify personnel at the animal services center or the police department of the time and circumstances of such bite, and the name and address of the person bitten, if known, and the precautionary provisions in regard to rabies set out in this chapter shall be followed.
- When any person, including doctor, veterinarian, or medical facility staff, has information that a person or domestic animal or livestock has been bitten by another animal, he or she shall immediately notify personnel at the animal services center or police department and the precautionary provisions in regard to rabies set out in this chapter shall be followed.
Rabies Vaccination, Quarantine, and Disease Control
- Rabies Vaccination: The owner/custodian of any dog or cat shall be responsible for having the animal vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian and for keeping immunizations current. Vaccinations must begin when the animal has reached the age of six (6) months. Every owner/custodian must, upon request of an animal services officer or police officer, produce proof of such vaccination(s).
- Suspected Rabies; Quarantine Procedures: Any owner/custodian of any animal which shows symptoms of rabies, or which has bitten any person, or other animal, causing an abrasion to the skin, shall surrender the animal for impoundment and isolation (quarantine) at the animal services center or to a licensed veterinarian for a period of ten (10) days or shall securely confine the animal on his/her premises for said period of time. The choice of place of quarantine shall be at the discretion of the animal services center. All costs for the quarantine shall be borne by the owner/custodian. If an owner/custodian refuses to surrender or confine the animal, animal services officers are hereby authorized to seize the animal and transport it to a licensed veterinarian. Animal services officers or police officers are hereby authorized to immediately impound any quarantined animal found outside the quarantine area and arrange for its confinement in accordance with this section. If the animal has been confined by the owner/custodian, on the next working day following the ten (10) day quarantine, the owner/custodian shall take the animal to a licensed veterinarian for examination to be tested for rabies and to obtain a rabies vaccination if the owner has not provided a current valid rabies vaccination certificate to the animal services center. A copy of the examination results and a current certificate of rabies vaccination must be provided to the animal services center no later than the following day. Failure of the owner to comply with any of these provisions shall result in the immediate impoundment of the animal, and it shall be subject to destruction or disposal in accordance with policies of the animal services center and this chapter. If an animal quarantined at the animal services center is determined to be free of rabies, it shall be returned to the owner or custodian upon payment of all costs for confinement, examination, and vaccination. If such charges are not paid, the animal shall not be returned and shall be subject to disposal in accordance with policies of the animal services center.
- Premature Destruction; Preservation Of Head: It is unlawful for any person to kill or cause to be killed any animal suspected of being rabid, provided, however, that an animal services officer or other law enforcement officer may kill any such animal if he determines that the animal is so dangerous or wild that it cannot be restrained and impounded or that further pursuit would result in losing the animal and if the animal can be killed with gunshot so as not to damage the head. The head of any animal so killed must be severed from the body and sent to the public health department for examination and diagnosis.
- Control Of Contagious Diseases: It is unlawful for any person to permit or allow any animal with a contagious or infectious disease to be upon the public streets, roads and ways of this city; or to be within any public transportation facility or any other public building or place; or to expose such animal in any public building or place, whereby the health, safety, and well being of any person may be affected.
Individual Dog Licensing Required
- The owner or custodian of any dog which has reached the age of three (3) months must buy a dog license and renew it annually from the animal services center or other duly authorized entity, provided, however, that the owner or manager of any commercial kennel or pet shop offering dogs for sale may so buy and renew a “commercial animal establishment license” which shall cover all the dogs under his/her care which are offered for sale.
- The owner/custodian shall be responsible for securely attaching the metallic license tag to a collar and ensuring that the dog wears the collar at all times.
- All such licenses shall be valid for a period of one year from June 1 to May 31 of the following year. It shall be the responsibility of the owner, or custodian in the absence of the owner, of each and every dog to obtain a new license annually.
- The animal services center shall keep a record of all licenses issued under the terms of this chapter, showing the name, address, and phone number of each owner or custodian, the number of the license, the name, sex, breed, age and color of each animal, the date issued, and the amount paid.
- The owner or custodian (or parent or guardian if the owner/custodian is a minor) of any animal found to be within the city and found to be not licensed may be issued a notice of violation and assessed the fee per occurrence as set by annual resolution of the city council, to be paid at the animal services center. The notice and fee shall be independent of any Idaho uniform citation which may be issued.
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