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A. Any person having reasonable grounds to believe an animal is vicious may petition a justice of the peace or a City magistrate for a determination that the animal is vicious.

B. Any time after the petition is filed the court may, if it finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the animal poses a risk of injury to any person, order that the animal be impounded on such terms as the court deems necessary to protect public safety.

C. After notice to the owner of the animal, the justice of the peace or City magistrate shall conduct a hearing. The hearing shall be informal and open to the public. Oral and documentary evidence may be taken from any interested party and considered in determining whether the animal is vicious. Any owner who fails to appear after notice may be deemed to have waived any right to introduce evidence. The decision shall be based on the preponderance of evidence.

D. A viciousness determination may be conducted in conjunction with and as a part of a criminal proceeding for any violation of this chapter if viciousness is alleged in the complaint.

E. Any fee for filing a petition or fees for service of hearing notices pursuant to this section may be deferred or waived by the court. (Ord. No. G-3224, § 2; Ord. No. G-4051, § 1, 1997)

State law reference—Vicious animals, A.R.S. § 13-1208.