4-07-1400 - Definitions

Unless the provision or context requires otherwise, the definitions contained in this section shall govern the construction of this chapter. Where a definition is not given or where a question of interpretation arises, the definition that shall control is the normal meaning of the word within the context of its use.

"Abandon" means to leave an Animal upon any public street or other public place or upon any private property or Premises with no intention of returning to care for that Animal.

"Administrative Citation" means a notice provided by the Animal Services Manager or an Animal Control Officer outlining behaviors in violation of this Chapter.

"Administrative Review," for the purposes of this chapter, means the administrative review process prescribed in this Chapter, including both Administrative Reviews and Administrative Review Appeals, for the redress of issues relating to or arising from the enforcement of this Chapter including, but not limited to, Potentially Dangerous and Vicious Animals, permits, or such other administrative matters for which a person is entitled to an impartial third party making a determination.

"Administrative Review Officer" means the Agency Director of the County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) or his or her designee.  The Director may contract with a qualified provider to conduct the Administrative Reviews or to process Administrative Citations.

"Administrative Review Appeals Officer" means the Agency Director of the County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) or his or her designee.  The Director may contract with a qualified provider to conduct the Administrative Review Appeals.

"Adoptable" means, pursuant to Penal Code Section 599d(a), Animals eight weeks of age or older that, at or subsequent to the time they are Impounded or otherwise taken into possession, have manifested no sign of a behavioral or temperamental defect that could pose a significant health or safety risk or otherwise make the Animal unsuitable for placement as a pet

“Adoption” means transferring possession of any animal from an Animal Rescue Organization or government operated shelter, with such transfers including adoption terms enumerated in a signed contract between the Animal Rescue Organization or shelter and adoptee.

“Adult Dog” means any Dog over the age of nine (9) months.

“Altered” means spayed or neutered.

"Animal" means and includes any mammal, reptile, amphibian, avian, or fish.

"Animal Services Division" or "Animal Services" means the division, and its duly authorized staff, within the Health and Human Services Agency, which has been established to oversee the County’s Animal Control and Licensing functions and the day-to-day operations of the County’s Animal Care and Adoption Facility.

"Animal Control Officer" means a person duly appointed by the Animal Services Manager to carry out the activities and programs of Animal Services.

"Animal Nuisance, " within the meaning of this title, means such actions or behaviors of an Animal which interfere with the rights of persons to the enjoyment of life or property by creating chronic annoyance, disturbance, or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the Premises where the Animal is kept, harbored or maintained, and shall include, but not be limited to, the following:      

  1. Causing fouling of the air by the unpleasant odor of accumulated fecal waste or urine.  Such fouling of the air must be detected from a location or locations other than the property in question; or
  2. Causing unsanitary conditions in enclosures or surroundings; or
  3. Making a chronic, continuous excessively loud or disturbing noise of more than a fifteen (15) minute duration per incident, that prevents the resident or residents of any property from enjoying the quiet enjoyment of their property pursuant to Health and Safety Code §46000. This does not include periodic barking or other utterances of short duration.

This list excludes agricultural operations that are in compliance with zoning ordinances and special use permits.

"Animal Owner", "Owner" or "Custodian" means any Person who owns an Animal or who has charge, care, custody or control of, or has a right to control an Animal for fourteen (14) or more consecutive days, except a Veterinarian caring for an Animal in the regular practice of veterinary medicine.

"Animal Rescue Organization" or “Rescue Organization” means any person or group registered within their state of operation as a charitable organization, or registered as a tax exempt organization under 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code, dedicated to the housing and care of domestic Animals with the purpose of placing those Animals with a new and permanent guardian, or providing hospice (end-of-life care) to terminally ill Animals, or sanctuary to Animals which cannot be adopted, and which does not in the normal course of its operations obtain animals from any breeder(s) or broker(s) for payment or other compensation.

"Animal Services Manager/Director" or "Manager" means the person, appointed by the Health and Human Services Agency Director, who is tasked with the management of the Animal Services Division.

"Animal Services Personnel" means any person working at the Animal Shelter and tasked with carrying out the activities and programs of Animal Services.

"Animal Shelter" means the County-owned and operated shelter for the purpose of Impounding, caring for, adopting out, and placing seized, stray, distressed, homeless, Abandoned, or unwanted Animals.

"At large" means an Animal off the Premises of its Owner or Custodian and:

  1. If Livestock, not properly fenced, or not under the control and in the immediate presence of the Owner or Custodian; or
  2. If a Dog, not under physical restraint.

"Biting Animal" means any Animal, other than a law enforcement service Dog, that bites a person or other Animal in the unincorporated areas of the Tulare County; provided however, that the person or Animal bitten was not at the time either provoking or teasing the Animal. The records of Animal bites kept by Animal Services shall be deemed official records and shall establish the number of bites recorded.

"Board" means the Board of Supervisors of Tulare County, California.

“Breed” or “Bred” means to mate animals to produce offspring. For the purposes of this Chapter, an Animal has been bred when its mating has resulted in pregnancy, whether or not pregnancy results in live birth.

"Breeding Permit" as used in this chapter means a permit issued by Animal Services to any person, organization, or entity breeding dogs for sale, profit, trade, or gifting; or advertising such animals for sale, profit, trade or gifting. 

"Cat" means any Domestic Cat (Felis catus).

"Corrective Action Plan" means a directive from the Animal Services Manager, or similarly situated person, compliance with which will result in return of an Animal and/or cessation of any pending matters with Animal Services.

“Custodian” means any person or entity who is temporarily in possession and control of an Animal.

“Dam” means the female parent of an animal, especially a domestic mammal.

"Director" means the Agency Director of the County’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) or his or her designee and acting within the scope of the Director’s authority.

"Dog" means any Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris).

"Dog license" means a tag, which will be firmly affixed to the Animal's collar on which is imprinted the phone number and name of the issuing agency, and a serial number unique to the individual tag.

"Domestic Animal" means Dogs and Cats, except as limited in the definition of “Feral Animal” in this section, as well as horses, donkeys, mules, burros, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas, camels, rabbits and fowl commonly kept or raised in the county as farm or Livestock Animals or other animals kept as pets, including but not limited to birds, guinea pigs, and rats.

"Equine" means any horse, pony, mule, or donkey.

"Exotic Animal" includes but is not limited to those animals or species set forth in California’s Fish and Game Code Section 2118.

"Feral Animal" means any Dog or Cat that is known to live in a wild or semi-wild state without benefit of an Owner, or any Dog or Cat that has escaped for a substantial period of time from the care of its Owner or Custodian and is existing in a wild state without benefit of domestication.

“Foster Animal” means an animal placed by a government operated shelter or a Rescue Organization with a temporary caregiver while awaiting adoption.  Foster Animals will be evaluated by the entity retaining ownership of the Animal every 90 days for continued viability in foster placement.

"Guide Dog" means any Guide Dog or seeing eye Dog which has been trained by a Person licensed under Chapter 9.5 (commencing with Section 7200) of the Business and Professions Code.

"Health Officer" means the Health Officer of the County or his or her designee.

"Hearing," for the purposes of this chapter, means the process prescribed in Article 31 of Chapter 1 of Part I of this Code before the County Hearing Officer, for appeals from Administrative Review Appeals.  

"Hearing Officer" means the County Hearing Officer under Article 31 of Chapter 1 of Part I of this Code.

"Impound" or “Impoundment” means the physical restraint and taking into custody of an Animal by Animal Services Personnel, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter or other applicable law or regulation, whether or not transported to the Animal Shelter, and whether or not initially restrained and transported by Animal Services personnel.

“Kennel – Boarding” or “Boarding Kennel” means any Lot or Premises on which five (5) or more Adult Dogs, which are not owned by the landowner, occupant, or the Kennel owner or operator, are kept on a temporary basis, for any length of time for the purposes of boarding or training.

"Kennel – Commercial" or "Commercial Kennel" means any Lot or Premises on which between five (5) and twenty-five (25) Adult Dogs are kept for any length of time by the Owner or occupant for commercial purposes, including, but not limited to, breeding, buying, selling, or renting. 

"Kennel – Non-commercial" or "Non-commercial Kennel" means any Lot or Premises on which between five (5) and twenty-five (25), Adult Dogs are owned and kept by the Owner or occupant for personal, non-commercial purposes, and at which no Dogs are engaged in breeding. 

"Kennel – Non-Profit" or "Rescue Kennel" means any Lot or Premises on which five (5) or more Dogs are kept by a person or organization operating as an Animal Rescue Organization that provides housing and care for domestic Animals with the purpose of placing those Animals with a new and permanent guardian, or providing hospice (end-of-life care) to terminally ill Animals, or sanctuary to Animals which cannot be adopted out, and at which no Dogs are engaged in breeding.

"Licensed Premises" means any Lot or Premises on which a Commercial Kennel, Non-commercial Kennel or Rescue Kennel is maintained by the Person owning or occupying such Lot or Premises.

"Livestock" means and includes any cattle, sheep, swine or goats, or any llamas or other camelidae, or any domestic fowl or rabbits.

"Microchip" means an identifying integrated circuit placed under the skin of an Animal.

"Nonlethal force" means and includes capture guns, counter-assault agents (pepper spray, citronella-based deterrents, etc.), blowguns, carbon dioxide operated rifles and pistols, air guns, and electronic control devices.

"Person" means and includes any individual, firm, association, organization, partnership, joint venture, business trust, corporation or company.

"Pets" means Dogs, Cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, snakes, iguanas, turtles and any other species of Animal which can be legally sold or retained for the purpose of being kept as a household pet.

"Potentially Dangerous Animal" means any of the following:

  1. Any Animal which behaves in such a manner that the Owner or Custodian thereof knows or should know that the Animal poses a threat to public safety;   
  2. Any Animal which because of its size, training, behavior, physical nature, or vicious propensity would threaten public safety were it not controlled as prescribed in this chapter;     
  3. Any Animal which threatens or attacks any Person in a manner which requires substantial defensive action by any Person to prevent bodily injury;
  4. Any Animal which threatens or attacks any other Animal belonging to another when such other Animal is confined upon private property or otherwise lawfully restrained and controlled.

"Premises" means any property owned, leased or rented by any Person.

“Retired Breeding Dog” means a dog that has been used for breeding but which is no longer going to be bred, for reasons of age, health, or selection.

"Secure Enclosure" means a fence or structure suitable to prevent the entry of young children, and which is suitable to confine a Potentially Dangerous or Vicious Animal in conjunction with other measures which may be taken by the Owner of the Animal. The enclosure shall be designed to prevent the Animal from escaping.  The Animal shall be housed pursuant to Penal Code Section 597t.

"Service Dog" means any Dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

"Severe Injury" means any physical injury to a human being that results in muscle tears or disfiguring lacerations or requires multiple sutures or corrective or cosmetic surgery.

"Leash" means any chain, cord, rope, strap or other restraint of sufficient strength to restrain a particular Animal and which is held or otherwise controlled by a Person capable of actually controlling the Animal to which such restraint is attached.

“Swap Meet” means any building or open area where the display, exchange, barter or sale of new or used common household items or office equipment and furnishings is conducted, provided that such activity is carried on in a swap lot. Typical uses include flea markets where clothing, personal effects, household furnishings and household appliances are sold or otherwise exchanged.

“Transfer” means to sell, barter, trade, gift, or otherwise remove an Animal from the custody and control of one person to another.

“Unaltered” means neither spayed nor neutered; with reproductive organs intact.

"Veterinarian" means any Person actively licensed to practice veterinary medicine in California.

"Veterinary Facility" means a clinic or hospital for the provision of inpatient or outpatient medical services to Domestic and Exotic Animals.  Animals may be kenneled on site.

"Vicious Animal" means any of the following:

  1. Any Animal seized under Penal Code Section 599aa and upon the sustaining of a conviction of the Owner under subdivision (a) of Penal Code Section 597.5;
  2. Any Animal which, when unprovoked, acts in an aggressive manner and inflicts Severe Injury on or kills a human being or other Animal;
  3. Any Animal previously determined to be, and currently listed as, a Potentially Dangerous Animal which, after its Owner or Custodian has been notified of this determination, continues the behavior described in the definition of “Potentially Dangerous Animal" set out above, or is maintained in violation of Tulare County Ordinances.

"Wild Animal" is defined in California’s Fish and Game Code Section 2116 and includes any Animal identified in Fish and Game Code Section 2118.