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As Washington state’s legislative session nears its finish line, House Bill 1234 sits before the Senate Rules Committee; having already passed the House of Representatives.  This bill expands the reasons allowed for seizing an owner’s animals in suspected cruelty cases and doesn’t guarantee their return in the event the accused is found innocent.

Washington state residents are encouraged to contact the House Rules Committee and to express your concern with the bill as it is currently written. Scroll down for contact information.


This proposed bill addresses the issue of animals being seized on cruelty charges, and the payment of their care during impoundment. As currently constructed, the bill expands the legal justification for an animal to be seized and could cause a person to permanently forfeit their animals even if they are ultimately found not guilty of charges. AKC is encouraged by the amendments to the bill that would see an owner’s attorney’s fees and money spent on cost of care returned in the event the owner is found innocent, as it is believed that this condition should deter frivolous cases. However, AKC is still troubled regarding the possibility of an owner being found innocent and not being guaranteed to have their animals returned.

What You Can Do:

You can contact members of the Senate Rules Committee and express your concern that an owner should be guaranteed of having their animals returned if found not guilty:

If you are a constituent of a committee member, be sure to mention that when contacting them.  Click HERE to find out who your state senator is.

AKC Government Relations continues to monitor bills in Washington impacting dog owners and will provide updates.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at