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Washington Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: Can I own an opossum as a pet?

I know I'm not allowed to have 'wild' pets or release a wild opossum except for where it was trapped, but if I were to obtain a domesticated opossum (ie: one bred and raised in captivity by a breeder), would I be allowed to keep it? Would there be regulations for obtaining a... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 24, 2020

Generally, most municipalities prohibit the ownership of wild animals regardless of whether it was allegedly bred for domestic use or not. So you should check your local rules because if you’re caught, the opossum will be taken from you and released into the wild, which could be cruel if it’s... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Car Accidents and Small Claims for Washington on
Q: Dog sitter threw a party at my house ran over our dog, then moved the body to a different street to hide the evidence.

We hired a dog sitter to watch our house and dogs. They threw a party and someone hit the dog. They pulled the hose from our house, which we had put back before our departure, and washed blood from our driveway. The hose was left strewn across our yard. At this point the we don't know if the... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 17, 2020

I am so sorry to hear this! That is horrendous. You can file a police report for animal neglect/abuse/cruelty (depending on your local laws) and also tampering with evidence. You can also sue this person for negligence, breach of contracts, conversion, trespass to chattels, and possibly other... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: If someones dog came on my land and killed my chickens, what is their liability? Replacement value only?
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 17, 2020

Yes, replacement value. If there was future income lost, you can add that into the value, too.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Washington on
Q: Am i legally aloud to shoot a dog that is on my private property and is attempting to attack my own animals?

I am in the county and i am on my own private property, this dog constantly trespasses on my property and is aggressive towards my animals, and sometimes towards my wife and myself.

Tyler Young
Tyler Young answered on Mar 20, 2020

You are permitted to use self defense to protect yourself, especially if you are on your own property. However, you should contact an attorney in your state for more information about fencing laws and when you can use deadly force to protect your animals which would likely be considered property.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Civil Rights and Small Claims for Washington on
Q: I was discriminated against at a Motel because I have a service dog.

After paying for a room, providing them a credit card for incidentals and being issued my room keys. The clerk at the front counter told me that I could not have the room because of my service dog. She told me that I must be put in a room specifically for dogs. I informed her it is against federal... Read more »

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar answered on Mar 14, 2020

Your frustration is understandable, but the time and resources you might expend in pressing the matter will far exceed a few $10 overpayments. You could consult with a Washington attorney to discuss options, but it isn't likely to be a free initial consultation. Good luck

Tim Akpinar

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: I bought a puppy from a breeder who said would replace it if it didn't turn out to be show quality. It's now been 3

Years and she keeps telling me the next time she has a litter she will give me one . Now she decided to import two new puppies and no longer has the one I sent back to her to replace. I spent about $2000. And I don't have a puppy or money. The deal was to replace the puppy . Always excuses... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Jun 25, 2019

If you ever want to get a new puppy you will probably have to sue the breeder for breach of contract.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: what are the laws for dog noise disturbances, and what are the repercussions? Assuming there are levels of offenses.

Looking to possibly buy a new build home with close proximity neighbors. Dogs are outside during the day so who knows what they’d bark at.

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq. answered on Dec 26, 2018

While you may be able to have police issue a summons for a noise disturbance, or while you may be able to bring a small claims action for nuisance law violations, why build there when you suspect potentially unsolvable problems with neighbors? More details are necessary to provide a professional... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: If I'm at dog park and another dog owner is attacking my dog, to what extent can I stop him from hurting/killing my dog?

My dog did not attack him, his dog or anything else.

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq. answered on Dec 26, 2018

Reasonable efforts that fit the situation are typically permitted, though it's best to avoid dog parks for exactly these types of reasons. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: My ex recently abandoned the dog I paid for when we were together. He found out I have her and wants her back.

I paid for her as a puppy in 2014. We split in 2015 when he took her from me. He hasn't had a stable home in almost a year and has been injecting drugs. She was living with him in a trailer with drug addicts and was also pretty skinny. He recently left her with his brother saying he'd be... Read more »

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq. answered on Dec 24, 2018

Arguably, he gave up his property rights by not returning to retrieve the dog within the stated period of 1 day, and arguably his brother apparently gifted the dog to you. Based on this perspective, you may have legal rights to the dog. The greater issue relates to dog abuse, which should be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Civil Rights and Small Claims for Washington on
Q: How do I take legal action against a dog handler extorting me and get my dog back, and without harm to dog?

Update

verbal agreement of breeding- handler is extorting me by not returning my dog unless I give her 500 cash and sign a contract I have never seen.

Handler has had my dog for a week to breed. Handler decided she now needs a written contract, and stalled me after driving 2 hours... Read more »

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq. answered on Dec 24, 2018

See: https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.08.070. This law makes it a crime to steal or otherwise harm a pet animal in WA State. The application of this law is fact dependent. Also, it sounds like your opponent is claiming a lien on your dog, though I only know of such liens in the case... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Wrongful Death for Washington on
Q: took my dog to vet afterrelatively minor dog attack.They never warned risk of shock and died 2.5 days later. Can I sue?

Took him to the vet after the attack and they cleaned him up. Next day he was trembling(likely pain) and they stabilized him. I was going to take him first thing in the morning, but he was breathing rapidly at 3 in the morning until his breathing eventually died in my arms. Had I known to watch for... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Feb 20, 2018

Unlikely, because at best most states give you only the value of the dog in commercial terms.

However I wold suggest you contact a member of the State Of Washington Assn for Justice who handles animal issues--they give free consultations.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: Can animal control take away my dog in the city of Seattle if she isn't registered?
Jeremy Cohen
Jeremy Cohen answered on Jan 25, 2018

Generally property, which your dog is under the law, cannot be seized without a fair hearing. You get an opportunity to exercise your due process rights. Typically there is a fine to pay for a dog being unregistered if it is older than a certain age. You may also want to register the dog... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: my friend wants hes dog back

my friend was staying with a roommate and asked the roommate if he could keep hes dog there until he found a new place and then he did find

a house for him and he's dog and now the roommate doesn't want to give him back is there anything he can do he really misses he's dog ?

Brian Lehman
Brian Lehman answered on Feb 25, 2017

Here is a list of lawyers near you that specialize in Animal & Dog law: https://www.justia.com/lawyers/animal-dog-law/washington/pierce-county

This type of issue comes up enough that there are articles written on it:...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: Can anybody take photos of your dog on your own property without your consent
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens answered on Dec 8, 2016

As long as they are not trespassing, yes.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Washington on
Q: someone asked to pet my dog and they got bit

Is it my fault?

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Aug 31, 2016

Not unless you were aware that your dog would bite anyone who was strange.

I do suggest you notify your homeowners. If the person ask for shot records give them.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: My boyfriend and I are breaking up. He is the one who originally purchased the dog. Am I at risk of losing my companion?

We both wanted her and he fronted the money, I've been paying him back for my share of her in monthly installments. However, he threatened to get a lawyer or call the police on me if I took her. I'm the one who primarily cares for her, found her (from the breeder) and picked her out,... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons
Marjorie Simmons answered on Aug 25, 2016

From your description it sounds as if you are the dog's primary provider. Have you tallied what each of you has paid for her acquisition and care, including time spent, to see where the two of you stand with regard to financial outlays on her behalf? The two of you might benefit from a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Criminal Law, Products Liability and Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: Can my dog get shoot for chasing someone's cat?

My dog dose no harm to anything and he got out of his fence quite a bit here recently and chases the neighbors cats he don't hurt them he just Chase them. And the neighbor said if it happens again he will shoot him.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jul 26, 2016

The neighbor can't shoot them because of hunting laws which prohibit firearms use near houses (don't tell the neighbour --they will use something else). You say he got "out of his fece quite a bit" --that is called a nuissance in the law. You need to fix your fence, get a new... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: How old do you have to be to own a dog in Washington state???
Marjorie Simmons
Marjorie Simmons answered on Jul 15, 2016

That's a really good question, and the answer depends on different factors. In general, to be able to enter into contracts in Washington, you must be 18 years old or older (an "adult"), and not under some other legal constraint. Things like pet licenses and veterinary care services... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Washington on
Q: My roomate dropped my cat at a shelter as found. Without my knowledge. Is this against the law. He didn't like cat.

My roomate didn't like my cat, and dropped him off at a shelter as a found cat. I called around thinking my cat was lost, found him at a shelter. Normally this would be fine if he was lost. But there are too many "coincidences" pointing to my roomate. I had to pay for my cat, and... Read more »

Marjorie Simmons
Marjorie Simmons answered on Jul 15, 2016

In Washington it is a gross misdemeanor (crime) to take or conceal pets: RCW 9.08.070 (http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.08.070). Animal cruelty is different and is also covered by state laws in RCW 16.52 (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=16.52)

It may also be a...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Environmental, Personal Injury and Insurance Defense for Washington on
Q: If wildlife causes an accident are you at fault? Or domesticated animals running into traffic?

I drive rural roads with wildlife from small to big to bigger. Deer often cross the road unannounced. I often have to slam the breaks to avoid a collision. Drivers behind me get pissed and have a near miss. Rural roads = barely patrolled. So drivers go fast and will drive where ever there is... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Jun 28, 2016

You aren't responsible for wild animals--no one is. As far as domesticated animals, the owner of the animal is responsible for them. In the example you gave I don't see why you would be at fault--the other individual collided with the deer, not with you.

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