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Handling of dangerous dogs discussed

Proposed ordinance would match modifications county commissioners made

The Spokane Valley City Council took a first look Tuesday at a proposed ordinance that would change how dangerous dogs are handled in the city.

The changes match recent modifications approved by Spokane County commissioners, said city attorney Cary Driskell. The city contracts with the county for animal control services. The Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service can declare a dog dangerous or potentially dangerous if it attacks a person or animal. Dog owners are then required to get an insurance policy and keep the animal in a sturdy enclosure while outside.

Language was added to the ordinance to make it clear that violating any conditions imposed on a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog is a misdemeanor, Driskell said.

“It doesn’t change anything,” he said. “It just provides some clarity.”

Councilman Arne Woodard said that he didn’t see any mention of specific dog breeds in the ordinance. “Do we have that anywhere in the code?” he said.

No breeds are specified as dangerous, Driskell said. “It is dependent on the circumstances and the personality of each individual dog,” he said.

In other business, the council voted to move forward on an ordinance increasing the building threshold allowed before a SEPA review is required. The increase is substantial in some categories. Developers are currently restricted to four multifamily units before a review is mandated under the State Environmental Policy Act; the new rules would allow up to 60 multifamily units.

Woodard said that the city has environmental regulations on the books that would regulate projects that would no longer need a SEPA review. “It’s not like we’ve thrown out environment completely,” he said. “There’s other regulations and laws that come into effect.”

Senior planner Lori Barlow said that cities are required to show that they have adequate environmental regulations in place before they can adopt the new thresholds.

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