5.41 Washington State Department of Agriculture
A. Authority to Control Animal Disease.
- Director of Agriculture. The state Director of Agriculture ("Director") shall supervise the prevention of the spread and the suppression of infectious, contagious, communicable, and dangerous diseases affecting animals within, in transit through, and imported into the state. RCW 16.36.010.
- State Veterinarian. The state veterinarian shall exercise all the powers and perform all duties prescribed by law relating to diseases among animals and the quarantine and destruction of diseased animals. RCW 43.23.070.
- Distinguished from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. With narrow exceptions, "animal" does not mean noncaptive wildlife. See RCW 16.36.005. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife operates programs for wild bird disease surveillance. See, e.g., Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fact Sheet, Avian influenza (June 2006).
- Applicable Laws and Rules.
- Chapter 16.36 RCW – Animal Health Act
- Chapter 16.38 RCW – Diagnostic Service Program Act
- Chapter 16.68 RCW – Disposal of Dead Animals Act
- Chapter 16.70 RCW – Control of Pet Animals Infected with Diseases Communicable to Humans Act
- Chapter 16-08 WAC – WSDA Practice and Procedure
- Chapter 16-54 WAC – Animal Importation
- Chapter 16-59 WAC – Importation of Poultry
- Chapter 16-70 WAC – Animal Disease Reporting
- Chapter 16-74 WAC – Livestock Testing
- Title 16 of the Washington Administrative Code also contains various chapters related to specific animal diseases.
B. Animal Disease Reporting and Investigation.
- Reportable diseases. See chapter 16-70 WAC.
- Persons required to report. Any person licensed to practice veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry in this state, veterinary laboratories, and persons using their own diagnostic services shall immediately report the existence or suspected existence of any reportable disease among animals within the state. RCW 16.36.080(1), (2).
- Investigation. The Director shall investigate and/or maintain records. RCW 16.36.080(3).
C. Search Warrant.
- Authority to enter. The Director has the authority to enter the animal premises of any animal owner at any reasonable time to conduct tests, examinations, or inspections for disease conditions when there is reasonable cause to investigate whether animals on the premises or that have been on the premises are infected with or have been exposed to a reportable disease. RCW 16.36.060(1).
- Seizure of items. When the Director has determined that there is probable cause that there is a serious risk from disease or contamination, the Director may seize those items necessary to conduct the tests, inspections, or examinations. Id.
- Application for search warrant. If the Director is denied access to the animal premises or the animals for purposes of conducting tests, inspections, or examinations or the animal owner fails to comply with an order of the Director, the Director may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for a search warrant. RCW 16.36.060(2).
- Probable cause. The warrant shall be issued upon probable cause. It is sufficient probable cause to show a potential threat to the agricultural interests of this state or a potential threat which seriously endangers animals, human health, the environment, or public welfare. Id.
- Showing that access is denied. To show that access is denied, the Director shall file with the court an affidavit or declaration containing a description of all attempts to notify and locate the owner or the owner's agent and to secure consent. Id.
D. Animal Quarantine, Hold, Treatment and Destruction.
- Definition. "Quarantine" means the placing and restraining of any animal or its reproductive products by the owner or agent of the owner within a certain described and designated enclosure or area within this state, or the restraining of any animal or its reproductive products from entering into this state, as may be directed in an order by the Director. RCW 16.36.005.
i. "Animal reproductive product" means sperm, ova, fertilized ova, and embryos from animals. Id.
- Basis for quarantine. The Director may issue a quarantine order and enforce the quarantine of any animal or its reproductive products when:
i. Any animal or its reproductive products are affected with or have been exposed to disease; or
ii. Reasonable cause exists to investigate whether any animal or its reproductive products are affected with or have been exposed to disease, either within or outside the state, even if overt disease or exposure to disease is not immediately obvious. RCW 16.36.010(2).
- Duration. The quarantine shall remain in effect as long as the Director deems necessary. Id.
- Hold order.
- Definition. "Hold order" means an order by the Director to the owner or agent of the owner of animals or animal reproductive products which restricts the animals or products to a designated holding location pending an investigation of the disease, disease exposure, well-being, movement, or import status of the animals or animal reproductive products. RCW 16.36.005.
- Basis for issuance. The Director may issue a hold order when:
i. Reasonable cause exists to investigate whether an animal is diseased or has been exposed to disease, even if overt disease or exposure to disease is not immediately obvious;
ii. Import health papers, permits, or other transportation documents required by law or rule are not complete or are suspected to be fraudulent; or
iii. Further transport of an animal would jeopardize the well-being of the animal or other animals in Washington state. RCW 16.36.010(3).
- Duration. A hold order is in effect for seven (7) days and expires at midnight on the seventh day from the date of the hold order. A successive hold order may be issued if the basis for issuance remains.
i. Replacement by quarantine order. A hold order may be replaced by a quarantine order for the purpose of animal disease control. Id.
- Conditions applicable during quarantine and hold orders.
- Any animal or animal reproductive product shall be kept separate and apart from other animals designated in the instructions of the order and shall not be allowed to have anything in common with other animals. RCW 16.36.010(4).
- Expenses of handling and caring for animals or animal reproductive products are the responsibility of the owner. RCW 16.36.010(5).
- The Director has authority over the quarantine or hold area. RCW 16.36.010(6).
- Any animal or animal reproductive product may not be moved, transported, or sold without written approval from the Director. RCW 16.36.010(7).
- Treatment or Voluntary Disposal. The Director may require appropriate treatment of any animal affected with, suspected of being affected with, or that has been exposed to any reportable disease. The owner may dispose of the animal rather than treat the animal. RCW 16.36.080(4).
- Order for destruction of animals.
- Diseased animals. When public welfare demands, the Director may order the slaughter or destruction of any animal affected with or exposed to any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease that is affecting or may affect the health of the state's animal population. RCW 16.36.090.
- Quarantined animals. The Director may order destruction of any animal held under quarantine when public welfare demands or the owner of the animal fails or refuses to follow a herd or flock plan. Id.
- Written order. The Director shall give a written order directing an animal be destroyed by or under the direction of the state veterinarian. Id.
6. Agency review.
- Request for hearing. Any person whose animal or animal reproductive products are placed under a quarantine, a hold order, or destruct order may request a hearing. The request must be in writing and filed with the Director. RCW 16.36.098.
- Conduct of hearing. Any hearing will be held in conformance with chapter 34.05.479 RCW (Administrative procedure act - Emergency adjudicative proceedings). Id. Rules governing the Department of Agriculture's use of emergency adjudicative proceedings are contained in WAC 16-08-151. (In practice, the Department of Agriculture conducts both regular and emergency proceedings. The proceedings may be consolidated under WAC 16-08-022.)
E. Enforcement Powers.
- Injunction. The Director may bring an action to enjoin the violation of any provision of chapter 16.36 RCW or any rule adopted under the chapter. The Director may bring the action in the superior court of Thurston County or of the county in which the violation occurs. RCW 16.36.110(2).
- Petition for enforcement. The Department of Agriculture may seek enforcement of an order under RCW 34.05.578 (Administrative procedure act - Petition by agency for enforcement).
F. Criminal Penalties.
- Gross misdemeanor. Any person who violates any provision of chapter 16.36 RCW or any rule adopted under the chapter is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. RCW 16.36.110(1).
5.42 Washington State Department of Health
A. Secretary of Health - Pets. If an emergency arises out of an outbreak of diseases communicable to humans caused by pet animals, the Secretary of Health is authorized to take action deemed necessary to protect the public health, including quarantine or any legal action authorized in Title 7 RCW and RCW 43.70.170 to .190. See supra § 3.30.B.3. The Secretary is authorized to destroy pet animals reasonably suspected of having a communicable disease dangerous to humans as a public nuisance. RCW 16.70.030.
- Definition of pet animals. Pet animals means dogs (Canidae), cats (Felidae), monkeys and other similar primates, turtles, psittacine birds, skunks, or any other species of wild or domestic animals sold or retained for the purpose of being kept as a household pet. RCW 16.70.020(1).
5.43 Federal Authority
A. Importation and Movement in Interstate Commerce. The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture may hold, seize, quarantine, treat, destroy, dispose of, or take other remedial action with respect to any animal or progeny of any animal, article, or means of conveyance that:
- Is moving or has been moved in interstate commerce or has been imported, and
- May carry, may have carried, or may have been affected with or exposed to a pest or disease of livestock or where there has been a violation of federal animal health protection law, regulation, or an import permit. See 7 U.S.C. § 8306(a), (c), (d).
B. Measures in the Event of Inadequate Local Control.
- If the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds, after review and consultation with a state’s governor (or the head of an Indian tribe), that the measures being taken by a state (or a tribe) are inadequate to control or eradicate a pest or disease that threatens the livestock of the United States, he or she may take action necessary to prevent dissemination of the pest or disease including:
- Holding, seizing, treating, applying remedial measures, destroying or otherwise disposing of, any animal, article, facility, or means of conveyance;
- Prohibiting and restricting movement within a state. See 7 U.S.C. § 8306(b), (c), (d).
- The Director of the Centers for Disease Control may take measures in the event of inadequate local control to prevent the interstate spread of communicable disease, including pest extermination and destruction of animals or articles believed to be sources of infection. See 42 C.F.R. § 70.2; supra § 5.34.C.2.
- The Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has similar authority. 21 C.F.R. §1240.30.
C. Regulation of International Animal Movement. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates the importation of animals across international borders. The regulations are found at 9 C.F.R. pts. 91-99 (importation of animals and animal products). Other regulations include 9 C.F.R. pts. 49-55 (control and eradication of livestock diseases), and 9 C.F.R. pts. 70-89 (interstate transportation of animals and animal products).
D. Regulation of Importation of Animals for Purposes of Disease Control.
- The Director of the Centers for Disease Control regulates the importation of certain animals into the United States to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable disease in humans. See 42 C.F.R. §§ 71.51 to .54, .56.
- The Director also may take actions necessary when any arriving carrier or article or thing on board is or may be infected with a communicable disease. 42 C.F.R. § 71.32. (Under this authority, the Centers for Disease Control has issued emergency orders to respond to specific threats, including importation of bird and bird products from certain countries where avian influenza has been detected in poultry and importation of civets because the animal has been linked to SARS.)