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 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.

"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 health or safety risk or otherwise make the Animal unsuitable for placement as a pet, and have manifested no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the Animal’s health in the future.

"Animal" means and includes any mammal, reptile, 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;
  2. Causing unsanitary conditions in enclosures or surroundings;
  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 full use of that property for any lawful purpose including but not limited to sleep or rest. 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" means any person or organization operating as a 501(c)(3) 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.

"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 without cause. 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.

"Breeding Permit" as used in this chapter means a permit issued by Animal Services to Commercial Kennels engaging in the breeding of Animals.

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

"County Property" means any building, land or water owned, leased, managed, or controlled by the County.

"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.

"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 burro.

"Exotic Animal" means and includes any Wild Animal which the California Fish and Game Commission has declared to be a prohibited Wild Animal and the importation, transportation or possession of which is unlawful except under authority of a revocable permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Game.

"Feral Animal" means any Domestic Animal that is known to live in a wild or semi-wild state without benefit of an Owner, or any Domestic Animal 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.

"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 Section 4.07.6100 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.

"Hearing Officer" means the person designated by the Director, or his or her designee, to preside at and render judgments from Hearings transacted under the authority of this chapter. The person may be an employee of the County who is not assigned to Animal Services or otherwise subordinate to the Manager thereof, or a person who is not an employee but is retained to provide such services. Any such Hearing Officer shall be qualified by training or experience or shall be an attorney or an administrative law judge. The person shall be impartial and make a decision based on the evidence presented at the Hearing.

"Impound" means the physical restraint and transport of an Animal to the Animal Shelter by Animal Services Personnel, another agency, or the general public. An Animal confined and returned to the Owner or Custodian, prior to transport to the Animal Shelter, is considered to be Impounded.

"Impoundment" means the taking up and confining of an Animal, by Animal Services, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter or other applicable law or regulation.

"Kennel – Commercial" or "Commercial Kennel" means any Lot or Premises on which five (5) or more Dogs over four (4) months of age are kept by the Owner or occupant for commercial purposes, including, but not limited to, boarding, breeding, buying, selling, renting, or training.

"Kennel – Non-commercial" or "Non-commercial Kennel" means any Lot or Premises on which five (5) or more Dogs over four (4) months of age are owned and kept by the Owner or occupant for personal, non-commercial purposes, including, but not limited to, hunting, tracking, exhibiting at shows, exhibitions, field trials, competitions, or perpetuating a given breed, or the fostering of Dogs on behalf of Animal Services.

"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 a 501 (c)(3) 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.

"Licensed Premises" means any Lot or Premises on which a Commercial Kennel or Non-commercial 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.

"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.

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

"Veterinarian" means any Person 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, in an aggressive manner, 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" means and includes any Animal identified in Fish and Game Code Section 2116.