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Furry Friends

Arizona Laws That Every Dog Owner Should Know

The following excerpts are from Title 11, Chapter 7, Article 6 (“Animal Control”) of the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.), which contains the major Arizona laws that every dog owner (and everyone else who may be responsible for looking after a dog) should know.

Anyone who wishes to read Article 6 of Title 11, Chapter 7 in its entirety may click on the electronic link to Title 11 under “Source and further reading” at the end of this article. This article contains only excerpts (parts of the longer statute).

A short summary of Arizona’s dog leash law may be found in a separate article on this website entitled “Arizona’s dog leash law.”

A.R.S. § 11-1006 – this statute describes the formal hearing which takes place when dog owners violate a law which applies to dog ownership:

A. A county board of supervisors that establishes a civil penalty for violating an animal statute or ordinance may appoint one or more hearing officers to hear and determine such cases. The board may appoint a county employee to serve as hearing officer in addition to his other work.

B. The hearing officer shall hold a hearing on each violation reported by the county enforcement agent. Notice of the hearing shall be served personally on the defendant at least ten days before the hearing. The county enforcement agent shall use a uniform traffic ticket and complaint for civil traffic cases pursuant to the rules of procedure in traffic cases adopted by the supreme court, modified as applicable, in citing persons for violations of ordinances adopted with a civil penalty pursuant to section 11-1005, subsection A, paragraph 6, subdivision (b).

C. At the hearing the county enforcement agent shall present evidence of the violation and the defendant, or his attorney or other designated representative, shall have an opportunity to present evidence. The county attorney may represent and present evidence for the county enforcement agent.

D. At the conclusion of the hearing the hearing officer shall determine whether a violation occurred and, if so, impose civil penalties provided for under section 11-1005, subsection A, paragraph 6, subdivision (b). Monies collected for civil penalties shall be deposited in the county general fund. The board of supervisors shall adopt, in the same manner as the animal ordinances, written rules of procedure for the hearings and review of hearings. Final decisions of the hearing officer under this subsection are subject to judicial review under title 12, chapter 7, article 6.

E. In addition to other remedies provided by law, the board of supervisors, the county attorney, the county enforcement agent or a private individual or other entity that is specially damaged by a violation of an animal statute or ordinance may institute an injunction, mandamus, abatement or other appropriate action or proceeding to prevent or abate the violation.

A.R.S. § 11-1008 – this statute describes dog license and tag requirements:

A. The board of supervisors of each county may set a license fee that shall be paid for each dog three months of age or older that is kept, harbored or maintained within the boundaries of this state for at least thirty consecutive days of each calendar year.  License fees shall become payable at the discretion of the board of supervisors of each county.  The licensing period shall not exceed the period of time for revaccination as designated by the state veterinarian.  License fees shall be paid within ninety days to the board of supervisors.  A penalty fee of two dollars shall be paid if the license application is made less than one year after the date on which the dog is required to be licensed under this article.  If the license application is made one year or later from the date on which the dog is required to be licensed, an additional penalty fee of ten dollars shall be paid for each subsequent year up to a maximum of twenty-two dollars. This penalty shall not be assessed against applicants who provide adequate proof that the dog to be licensed has been in their possession in this state less than thirty consecutive days.

B. If the board of supervisors adopts a license fee, the board shall provide durable dog tags.  Each dog licensed under the terms of this article shall receive, at the time of licensing, such a tag on which shall be inscribed the name of the county, the number of the license and the year in which it expires.  The tag shall be attached to a collar or harness that shall be worn by the dog at all times, except as otherwise provided in this article.  Whenever a dog tag is lost, a replacement tag shall be issued on application by the owner and payment of a fee established by the board of supervisors.

C. The board of supervisors may set license fees that are lower for dogs permanently incapable of procreation.  An applicant for a license for a dog claimed to be incapable of procreation shall provide adequate proof satisfactory to the county enforcement agent that the dog has been surgically altered to be permanently incapable of procreation.

D. All fees and penalties shall be deposited in the rabies control fund pursuant to section 11-1011.

E. Any person who knowingly fails within fifteen days after written notification from the county enforcement agent to obtain a license for a dog required to be licensed, counterfeits an official dog tag, removes such tag from any dog for the purpose of intentional and malicious mischief or places a dog tag on a dog unless the tag was issued for that particular dog is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

F. Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, the board of supervisors of each county may not charge an individual who has a disability and who uses a service animal as defined in section 11-1024, a person that trains a service animal as defined in section 11-1024 or an individual who uses a search and rescue dog a license fee for that dog.  An applicant for a license for a:

1. Search and rescue dog shall provide adequate proof satisfactory to the county enforcement agent that the dog is a search and rescue dog.

2. Service animal shall sign a written statement that the dog is a service animal as defined in section 11-1024.  A person who makes a false statement pursuant to this paragraph is guilty of a petty offense and is subject to a fine that does not exceed fifty dollars.  The statement to be signed shall be substantially in the following form:

By signing this document, I declare that the dog to be licensed is a service animal as defined in section 11-1024, Arizona Revised Statutes, and I understand that a person who makes a false statement pursuant to section 11-1008, Arizona Revised Statutes, is guilty of a petty offense and is subject to a fine that does not exceed fifty dollars.

A.R.S. § 11-1010 – this statute describes anti-rabies vaccination requirements:

A. Before a license is issued for any dog, the owner or a veterinarian must present a paper or electronic copy or telefacsimile of the vaccination certificate signed by a veterinarian stating the owner's name and address, and giving the dog's description, date of vaccination, manufacturer and serial number of the vaccine used and date revaccination is due. A duplicate of each rabies vaccination certificate issued shall be transmitted to the county enforcement agent within two weeks of the date the dog was vaccinated. No dog shall be licensed unless it is vaccinated in accordance with the provisions of this article and the regulations promulgated pursuant to this article.

B. A dog vaccinated in any other state prior to entry into Arizona may be licensed in Arizona provided that, at the time of licensing, the owner of the dog presents a vaccination certificate, signed by a veterinarian licensed to practice in that state or a veterinarian employed by a governmental agency in that state, stating the owner's name and address, and giving the dog's description, date of vaccination and type, manufacturer and serial number of the vaccine used.  The vaccination must be in conformity with the provisions of this article and the regulations promulgated pursuant to this article.

C. The county enforcement agent shall make provisions for vaccination clinics as deemed necessary.  The vaccination shall be performed by a veterinarian.

A.R.S. § 11-1012 – this statute describes how dog owners must maintain control their dogs:

A. Neither a female dog during her breeding or mating season nor a vicious dog shall be permitted at large.

B. In a rabies quarantine area, no dogs shall be permitted at large. Each dog shall be confined within an enclosure on the owner's property, secured so that the dog is confined entirely to the owner's property, or on a leash not to exceed six feet in length and directly under the owner's control when not on the owner's property.

C. Any dog over the age of three months running at large shall wear a collar or harness to which is attached a valid license tag. Dogs that are used for control of livestock, being used or trained for hunting or dogs, being exhibited or trained at a kennel club event or engaged in races approved by the Arizona racing commission, and while the dogs are being transported to and from such events, need not wear a collar or harness with a valid license attached provided that they are properly vaccinated, licensed and controlled.

D. No person in charge of any dog shall permit such dog in a public park or upon any public school property unless the dog is physically restrained by a leash, enclosed in a car, cage or similar enclosure or being exhibited or trained at a recognized kennel club event, public school or park sponsored event.

A.R.S. § 11-1013 – this statute describes how and under what conditions dogs may be impounded:

A. The board of supervisors in each county may provide or authorize a county pound or pounds or enter into a cooperative agreement with a city, a veterinarian or an Arizona incorporated humane society for the establishment and operation of a county pound.

B. Any stray dog shall be impounded. All dogs and cats impounded shall be given proper care and maintenance.

C. Each stray dog or any cat impounded and not eligible for a sterilization program shall be kept and maintained at the county pound for a minimum of seventy-two hours or one hundred twenty hours for an animal that is impounded with a microchip or wearing a license or any other discernible form of owner identification, unless claimed or surrendered by its owner. Any person may purchase a dog or cat on expiration of the impoundment period, if the person pays all pound fees established by the county board of supervisors and complies with the licensing and vaccinating provisions of this article. If the dog or cat is to be used for medical research, a license or vaccination is not required.  Any impounded cat that is eligible for a sterilization program and that will be returned to the vicinity where the cat was originally captured may be exempted from the mandatory holding period required by this subsection.  For the purposes of this subsection, "eligible" means a cat that is living outdoors, lacks discernible identification, is of sound health and possesses its claws.

D. Any impounded licensed dog or any cat may be reclaimed by its owner or the owner's agent provided that the person reclaiming the dog or cat furnishes proof of the person's right to do so and pays all pound fees established by the board of supervisors. Any person purchasing a dog or cat shall pay all pound fees established by the board of supervisors.

E. If the dog or cat is not reclaimed within the impoundment period, the county enforcement agent shall take possession of and may place the dog or cat for sale or may dispose of the dog or cat in a humane manner. The county enforcement agent may destroy impounded sick or injured dogs or cats if destruction is necessary to prevent the dog or cat from suffering or to prevent the spread of disease.

A.R.S. § 11-1014 – this statute describes what happens when dogs bite people:

A. An unvaccinated dog or cat that bites any person shall be confined and quarantined in a county pound or, on request of and at the expense of the owner, at a veterinary hospital for a period of not less than ten days.  The quarantine period shall start on the day of the bite incident.  If the day of the bite is not known, the quarantine period shall start on the first day of impoundment.  A dog properly vaccinated pursuant to this article that bites any person may be confined and quarantined at the home of the owner or wherever the dog is harbored and maintained with the consent of and in a manner prescribed by the county enforcement agent.

B. A dog or cat that is impounded as the result of biting any person shall not be released from the pound to its owner unless one of the following applies:

1. The dog has a current dog license pursuant to section 11-1008 at the time the dog entered the pound.

2. The dog or cat has been previously spayed or neutered before impound or has been spayed or neutered and implanted with a microchip before release from the pound.

3. There is no veterinary facility capable of performing surgical sterilization within a twenty mile radius of the pound.

4. A veterinarian determines that a medical contraindication for surgery exists that reasonably requires postponement of the surgery until the surgery can be performed in a safe and humane manner.

5. The bite occurred in the premises of the owner and the victim is a member of the same household.

6. The owner pays a fifty dollar recovery fee, in addition to any fees or costs otherwise required pursuant to this article.

C. Any domestic animal, other than a dog, a cat or a caged or pet rodent or rabbit, that bites any person shall be confined and quarantined in a county pound or, on the request and at the expense of the owner, at a veterinary hospital for a period of not less than fourteen days.  Livestock shall be confined and quarantined for the fourteen-day period in a manner regulated by the Arizona department of agriculture.  Caged or pet rodents or rabbits shall not be quarantined or laboratory tested.

D. With the exception of a wild rodent or rabbit, any wild animal that bites any person or directly exposes any person to its saliva may be killed and submitted to the county enforcement agent or the agent's deputies for transport to an appropriate diagnostic laboratory.  A wild rodent or rabbit may be submitted for laboratory testing if the animal has bitten a person and either the animal's health or behavior indicates that the animal may have rabies or the bite occurred in an area that contains a rabies epizootic, as determined by the department of health services.

E. If an animal bites any person, the incident shall be reported to the county enforcement agent immediately by any person having direct knowledge.

F. The county enforcement agent may destroy any animal confined and quarantined pursuant to this section before the termination of the minimum confinement period for laboratory examination for rabies if:

1. The animal shows clear clinical signs of rabies.

2. The animal's owner consents to its destruction.

G. Any animal subject to licensing under this article found without a tag identifying its owner shall be deemed unowned.

H. The county enforcement agent shall destroy a vicious animal by order of a justice of the peace or a city magistrate.  A justice of the peace or city magistrate may issue an order to destroy a vicious animal after notice to the owner, if any, and the person who was bitten, and a hearing. The justice of the peace or city magistrate may impose additional procedures and processes to protect all parties in the interest of justice, and any decision by the justice of the peace or magistrate may be appealed to the superior court.

I. The owner of a vicious animal shall be responsible for any fees incurred by the enforcement agent for the impounding, sheltering and disposing of the vicious animal.

J. This section does not apply to a dog that is used by any federal, state, county, city or town law enforcement agency and that bites any person if the bite occurs while the dog is under proper law enforcement supervision and the care of a licensed veterinarian, except that the law enforcement agency shall notify the county enforcement agent if the dog exhibits any abnormal behavior and make the dog available for examination at any reasonable time. 

A.R.S. § 11-1014.01 – this statute describes the rules which apply to aggressive dogs:

A. A person who owns or who is responsible for the care of an aggressive dog shall take reasonable care to:

1. Prohibit the dog from escaping to the outside of a residence or an enclosed area, yard or structure.

2. Control the dog in a manner that prevents the dog from biting or attacking a person or domestic animal at all times while the dog is off the owner's or responsible person's property.

B. This section does not apply to any of the following:

1. A dog that is owned by a governmental agency and that is being used in military or police work.

2. A service animal as defined in section 11-1024.

3. A dog that is involved in an otherwise lawful act of hunting, ranching, farming or other agricultural purpose.

C. A violation of subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section is a class 1 misdemeanor.  A violation of subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section is a class 3 misdemeanor.

D. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Aggressive dog" means any dog that has bitten a person or domestic animal without provocation or that has a known history of attacking persons or domestic animals without provocation.

2. "Reasonable care" means the degree of care that a person of ordinary prudence would exercise in the same or similar circumstances.

A.R.S. § 11-1019 – this statute describes the nature of the violation with which dog owners who violate these laws will be charged:

Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of this article, or violates any of its provisions, is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor unless another classification is specifically prescribed in this article.

A.R.S. § 11-1020 – this statute describes how dog owners are legally responsible for injuries caused by their dogs:

Injury to any person or damage to any property by a dog while at large shall be the full responsibility of the dog owner or person or persons responsible for the dog when such damages were inflicted.

Source and further reading

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Title 11, Chapter 7, Article 6 (“Animal Control”): https://www.azleg.gov/arsDetail/?title=11

 

 

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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