Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Port Angeles, Washington. 6K likes. The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office is committed to providing Ethical, Quality, and…
**NEWS RELEASE FROM SHERIFF BENEDICT**
**PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST FOR ANIMAL LICENSES**
Recently the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office received a Public Records Act (PRA- RCW 42.56) request from Port Angeles resident
Adam Chamberlin as follows:
—-Please provide me with a CD containing all of the licensed pets in Clallam County, including license numbers, owner information, and all other pertinent information. Please provide me an invoice for the compilation of these records and I will pay upon pickup.—
At present, I (Sheriff Benedict) intend to release the records requested absent a court order directing the information be redacted in whole or in part on August 25th. It is my belief that these records should not be released, however, the PRA, as interpreted by me, leaves me no choice.
There are 2,222 Clallam County residents who have current pet licenses that were purchased through the sheriff’s office or the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS). In addition to this press release, I am sending letters to each pet owner explaining that these records will be released after third party disclosures and absent action from Superior Court. Anyone in this group objecting to release of this information has the option of petitioning Clallam County Superior Court and explaining why they object to the release of this information (in accordance with the PRA, specifically RCW 42.56.540). We expect to have all of the letters to the licensed pet owners out by August 4th; the deadline to petition superior court would be ten days later. We recommend seeking legal assistance/counsel to file a petition with the court.
I regret that the well-intended Public Records Act in Washington State has morphed into its present state. In addition to being a major administrative burden through frivolous requests, Washington citizens are learning that most personal information they provide to state and local governments to enhance public safety, or to comply with regulations, can be released to anyone and for any purpose thereby invading their right to privacy as well as potentially compromising their own safety.
Until this matter is fully settled, I have suspended our pet licensing program and will consult with both the county commissioners and legal representatives to chart a way forward.