Dangerous dog procedures reformed | Buckley Council

The City of Buckley has reformed its procedure for dealing with dogs declared dangerous, following a Tuesday City Council vote. The altered municipal code stipulates that no dog owner will be charged a fee to appeal a dangerous animal declaration, and that the animal control officer must provide a preponderance of evidence that the dog is a danger to the community.

The owner will have 20 days from the time he receives a dangerous dog notice to appeal the declaration to the city administrator.

The change was prompted by an email from Kristin Eick, an attorney for Ogden Murphy Wallace law firm, regarding the city's compliance with state Supreme Court case Downey v. Pierce County.

"[The case] held that Pierce County's dangerous animal ordinance was unconstitutional because it required the owner who had been issued a dangerous animal declaration to pay an appeal fee prior to obtaining an evidentiary hearing and also because it did not include the appropriate standard of proof," Eick wrote in a letter to city administrator Dave Schmidt. "I don't think Buckley specifically establishes the preponderance of the evidence standard in its ordinance, and I'm not sure if you typically charge an appeal or review fee, so you may want to do a quick housekeeping ordinance."

The municipal code as written prior to Tuesday's city council vote to alter it did not include language allowing a set fee to be charged. But the unanimous vote to change the BMC made the non-charge explicit.

In other council news:

• Maria Kors of Fleet Feet Sports requested and was granted a permit for the White River 5K Run and Walk. The 5K will be held on June 16.

• Representatives of the Pierce County Library stopped in to promote the Pierce County READS program.

• Fire Chief Alan Predmore told the council the Buckley Fire Station was fifth so far in terms of fundraising for the Firefighter Stair Climb in Seattle, and one of the strongest shows in terms of firefighters participating.

• Predmore also set the decommissioning date for the old fire station and the opening date of the new fire station. The old station will host an open house March 28 from 5 to 6:15 p.m., with a decommissioning ceremony held at 6:15 p.m. The public opening of the new fire station will take place on April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The dedication ceremony will likely take place early in the open house, Predmore said.

• Mayor Pat Johnson said the governments of Bonney Lake and Sumner did Buckley a favor by pulling out of the Pierce Transit Boundary District. Because of a technicality that Pierce Transit cannot have isolated areas on its service map, Buckley was taken off the map by default, saving time and money in the process to be removed. Johnson said she would be speaking with Bonney Lake Mayor Neal Johnson about the possibility of intermunicipal public transit, as Buckley weighs its transit options.

• A retail fireworks stand permit was granted to Buckley Kiwanis.

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