Bunnies Jasmine and Esmerelda hide Monday in the corner of their enclosure at the Everett Animal Shelter. The city is considering banning sales of rabbits, which trail only cats and dogs in intake volume at animal shelters. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Bunnies Jasmine and Esmerelda hide Monday in the corner of their enclosure at the Everett Animal Shelter. The city is considering banning sales of rabbits, which trail only cats and dogs in intake volume at animal shelters. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Everett eyeing bans on rabbit sales, peafowl and roosters

Another proposed code change would increase the number of neutered and spayed cats and dogs allowed in a home.

EVERETT — Roosters’ crowing days may be numbered in Everett.

The city is considering several code changes that would ban peafowl and roosters, allow more neutered and spayed cats and dogs in a home, and prohibit rabbit sales among other modifications.

Glynis Frederiksen, the city’s animal services manager, told the Everett City Council last week new state laws prompted some of the updates, while others will improve efficiency and residents’ quality of life, as well as strengthen code enforcement.

Currently Everett doesn’t have a rule regarding roosters, while “virtually every” other city in the area bans them, Frederiksen said. Peafowl, the name for flashy peacocks and drab peahens, used to roam around Forest Park’s former zoo.

Noise from peafowl and roosters leads to a lot of reports to the city, Frederiksen said.

“Probably not a week goes by that there isn’t some type of complaint about roosters to animal control,” Frederiksen said.

The city wasn’t considering letting those who already own roosters keep them. People who have them now would be asked to give them up to people living in an area where they’re allowed, Frederiksen said.

Everett also could increase the limit of neutered and spayed cats and dogs from two to four, similar to nearby cities’ rules. Owning more than that would require a facility license, which costs between $50 and $250, depending on the type. Kittens and puppies under 6 months old aren’t eligible for licensing and are not counted in that household total.

Another proposed code change would give the animal services manager discretion to reduce or waive license fees.

The Legislature passed the Humane Pet Sales Bill, HB 1424, in the 2021 session. It prohibits new pet stores from selling kittens and puppies, with the intent to stop “puppy mills.”

Everett, however, wants to add rabbits to the banned sales list. Bunnies are third behind cats and dogs as the most common animal taken in by shelters and “increasingly subject to dumping in urban areas and parks,” Frederiksen said.

Space at the shelter is limited, and rabbits are only accepted if there’s room, Frederiksen said. But the Everett Animal Shelter is the only one in the area that takes them and other critters besides cats and dogs.

“We’ve been left as the only shelter that still accepts rabbits,” Frederiksen said.

The shelter is managing about 10 rabbits now. Most are cared for through a foster program. The only two in the shelter are Esmeralda and Jasmine.

Petco stopped selling rabbits over a decade ago because of how many were ending up at shelters, company spokesperson Lisa Stark said.

“In general we have an adoption-first philosophy,” Stark said.

Petsmart ended rabbit sales in 2007, a company spokesperson confirmed.

The city also hopes to claw back some money incurred through long-term care of animals seized during cruelty investigations. A proposed code change would require a bond for those animals, likely one for a daily boarding fee and another for veterinary care. That money would go to the Fund for Animals, which helps pay for animal care and veterinary services.

“Currently animals are sometimes held for years pending the outcome of cases,” Frederiksen said.

One code change would only allow veterinarians to crop ears, debark and dock tails. State law made it a misdemeanor for someone who isn’t a veterinarian to perform those procedures. The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes each of the procedures, with limited exceptions.

Some offenses could see relief from penalties for repeat infractions. The city could remove non-jailable misdemeanors for up to three repeat violations within two years for things such as dogs on the loose, not picking up dog feces and barking dogs.

The city code currently omits the neuter and spay requirement for dogs declared dangerous or potentially dangerous. That would be added in this proposal.

The Everett City Council is scheduled to vote on the code changes as part of its consent agenda at the 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2 meeting.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037; bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

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