Animal Nuisance Complaints
Barking dogs and other animal nuisances most affect the neighbors of the offending animal owners; therefore, it is not generally effective to rely on a police officer to investigate these types of cases. Often, by the time an officer can respond to the scene, the dog is no longer barking or the animal is no longer exhibiting nuisance behavior. It is therefore necessary that a complaint be fully documented by the best witnesses to the offense; the neighbors themselves.
The City’s Animal Nuisance ordinance provides that it is unlawful for any person to harbor an animal or to allow or permit an animal to be a serious or habitual nuisance by its conduct or behavior. The exact language of the statute as it is codified is located at KMC 8.02.340, In general this has been interpreted that an animal cannot be participating in nuisance behavior that can be heard from inside a neighboring structure for 5 minutes or more.
If you are a neighbor who is being bothered by an animal nuisance, please review the attached procedures and forms. Anonymous complaints for animal nuisances cannot be accepted.
Step 1: Download or Print the Barking Dog Complaint Form (PDF):
Step 2: Complete the Barking Dog Log portion of the forms for a minimum of three (3) days with the specific information requested on the documents. If you are filing a hard copy form, please also complete the Complaint Information form as well.
Incomplete forms or forms that fail to provide the specific information to prosecute will be returned to the Complainant with no action taken.
Step 3: To file a complaint electronically you will need your Barking Dog Log scanned in PDF format for upload through the portal. If you are filing your complaint via hard copy, bring in or mail your Complaint form and Barking Dog Log into the office at Kennewick City Attorney's Office, 210 W 6th Avenue, Kennewick WA 99336. You may also email your forms to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If, upon review, sufficient evidence is provided, the Kennewick City Attorney’s Office will:
- Send a 10-day Compliance Letter notifying the dog owner that a complaint has been made and giving the dog owner an opportunity to correct the situation. A copy of the compliance letter will be sent to the complaining witness with additional instructions.
- During this 10-day compliance period, the complainant should continue to monitor the nuisance and must notify the City Attorney's Office if the barking persists 10 days after receipt of the compliance letter.
- If, at the end of the 10-day compliance period, the violation has not been corrected and complete information has been provided by the complainant, the City Attorney's Office will file one or more civil infractions in Benton County District Court against the dog owner. Pursuant to KMC 8.02.360, the first violation within five years is $50.00, the second violation within five years is $100, the third violation within five years is $200.00, and the fourth and subsequent violation within five years is $400. The City of Kennewick typically files multiple counts in one complaint based on the information provided by the complaining party.
The defendant may choose to request a Contested Hearing through the Benton County DIstrict Court. These hearings are set many weeks from the date of filing, and may also be continued several times before they result in a disposition. When the case is set for a hearing, the complaining witness will be subpoenaed to testify about the barking dog log and his/her personal observations on the charged offense dates. Once a subpoena is received, court attendance is mandatory. The defendant will also be allowed to testify and to present witnesses on his/her behalf. After all testimony is taken, the judge will determine whether the evidence supports one or all of the infractions charged and impose the appropriate fine amount.
If you have questions about the animal nuisance ordinance or filing a complaint, please contact the Kennewick City Attorney’s Office at 509-585-4274 or by emailing email@example.com.