University of Vermont AAHS

Virginia Cruelty to Animals Statutes

VIRGINIA STATUTES
TITLE 3.1. AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE AND FOOD.
CHAPTER 27.4. COMPREHENSIVE ANIMAL LAWS.
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.


3.1-796.66 Definitions.

The following words as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:

"Abandon" means to desert, forsake, or absolutely give up an animal without having secured another owner or custodian for the animal or by failing to provide the elements of basic care as set forth in 3.1-796.68 for a period of five consecutive days.

"Adequate care" or "care" means the responsible practice of good animal husbandry, handling, production, management, confinement, feeding, watering, protection, shelter, transportation, treatment, and, when necessary, euthanasia, appropriate for the age, species, condition, size and type of the animal and the provision of veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering or impairment of health.

"Adequate exercise" or "exercise" means the opportunity for the animal to move sufficiently to maintain normal muscle tone and mass for the age, species, size, and condition of the animal.

"Adequate feed" means access to and the provision of food which is of sufficient quantity and nutritive value to maintain each animal in good health; is accessible to each animal; is prepared so as to permit ease of consumption for the age, species, condition, size and type of each animal; is provided in a clean and sanitary manner; is placed so as to minimize contamination by excrement and pests; and is provided at suitable intervals for the species, age, and condition of the animal, but at least once daily, except as prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation
or fasting normal for the species.

"Adequate shelter" means provision of and access to shelter that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of each animal; provides adequate space for each animal; is safe and protects each animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, the adverse effects of heat or cold, physical suffering, and impairment of health; is properly lighted; is properly cleaned; enables each animal to be clean and dry, except when detrimental to the species; and, for dogs and cats, provides a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floormat, or similar device that is large enough for the animal to lie on in a normal manner and can be maintained in a sanitary manner. Under this chapter, shelters whose wire, grid, or slat floors (i) permit the animals' feet to pass through the openings, (ii) sag under the animals' weight, or (iii) otherwise do not protect the animals' feet or toes from injury are not adequate shelter.

"Adequate space" means sufficient space to allow each animal to (i) easily stand, sit, lie, turn about, and make all other normal body movements in a comfortable, normal position for the animal and (ii) interact safely with other animals in the enclosure. When an animal is tethered, "adequate space" means a tether that permits the above actions and is appropriate to the age and size of the animal; is attached to the animal by a properly applied collar, halter, or harness configured so as to protect the animal from injury and prevent the animal or tether from becoming entangled with other objects or animals, or from extending over an object or edge that could result in the strangulation or injury of the animal; and is at least three times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, except when the animal is being walked on a leash or is attached by a tether to a lead line. When freedom of movement would endanger the animal, temporarily and
appropriately restricting movement of the animal according to professionally accepted standards for the species is considered provision of adequate space.

"Adequate water" means provision of and access to clean, fresh, potable water of a drinkable temperature which is provided in a suitable manner, in sufficient volume, and at suitable intervals, but at least once every twelve hours, to maintain normal hydration for the age, species, condition, size and type of each animal, except as prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation or fasting normal for the species; and is provided in clean, durable receptacles which are accessible to each animal and are placed so as to minimize contamination of the water by excrement and pests or an alternative source of hydration consistent with generally accepted husbandry practices.

"Adoption" means the transfer of ownership of a dog or cat from a releasing agency to an individual.

"Agricultural animals" means all livestock and poultry.

"Ambient temperature" means the temperature surrounding the animal.

"Animal" means any nonhuman vertebrate species except fish. For the purposes of 3.1-796.98, animal means any species susceptible to rabies. For the purposes of 3.1-796.122, animal means any nonhuman vertebrate species including fish except those fish captured and killed or disposed of in a reasonable and customary manner.

"Animal control officer" means a person appointed as an animal control officer or deputy animal control officer as provided in 3.1-796.104.

"Animal shelter" means a facility which is used to house or contain animals and which is owned, operated, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, animal rescue group, or any other organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals.

"Board" means the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

"Boarding establishment" means a place or establishment other than a pound or animal shelter where companion animals not owned by the proprietor are sheltered, fed, and watered in exchange for a fee.

"Collar" means a well-fitted device, appropriate to the age and size of the animal, attached to the animal's neck in such a way as to prevent trauma or injury to the animal.

"Companion animal" means any domestic or feral dog, domestic or feral cat, non-human primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit not raised for human food or fiber, exotic or native animal, reptile, exotic or native bird, or any feral animal or any animal under the care, custody, or ownership of a person or any animal which is bought, sold, traded, or bartered by any person. Agricultural animals, game species, or any animals regulated under federal law as research animals shall not be considered companion animals for the purposes of this chapter.

"Consumer" means any natural person purchasing an animal from a dealer or pet shop or hiring the services of a boarding establishment. The term "consumer" shall not include a business or corporation engaged in sales or services.

"Dealer" means any person who in the regular course of business for compensation or profit buys, sells, transfers, exchanges, or barters companion animals. Any person who transports companion animals in the regular course of business as a common carrier shall not be considered a dealer.

"Direct and immediate threat" means any clear and imminent danger to an animal's health, safety or life.

"Emergency veterinary treatment" means veterinary treatment to stabilize a life-threatening condition, alleviate suffering, prevent further disease transmission, or prevent further disease progression.

"Enclosure" means a structure used to house or restrict animals from running at large.

"Euthanasia" means the humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that involves instantaneous unconsciousness and immediate death or by a method that involves anesthesia, produced by an agent which causes painless
loss of consciousness, and death during such loss of consciousness.

"Exhibitor" means any person who has animals for or on public display, excluding an exhibitor licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture.

"Groomer" means any person who, for a fee, cleans, trims, brushes, makes neat, manicures, or treats for external parasites any animal.

"Housing facility" means any room, building, or area used to contain a primary enclosure or enclosures.

"Humane" means any action taken in consideration of and with the intent to provide for the animal's health and well-being.

"Humane investigator" means a person who has been appointed by a circuit court as a humane investigator as provided in 3.1-796.106.

"Humane society" means any chartered, nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth and organized for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals and promoting humane care and treatment of animals.

"Kennel" means any establishment in which five or more canines, felines, or hybrids of either are kept for the purpose of breeding, hunting, training, renting, buying, boarding, selling, or showing.

"Law-enforcement officer" means any person who is a full-time or part-time employee of a police department or sheriff's office which is part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and who is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the penal, traffic or highway laws of the Commonwealth. Part-time employees are compensated officers who are not full-time employees as defined by the employing police department or sheriff's office.

"Livestock" includes all domestic or domesticated: bovine animals; equine animals; ovine animals; porcine animals; cervidae animals; capradae animals; animals of the genus Lama; ratites; fish or shellfish in aquaculture facilities, as defined in 3.1-73.6; enclosed domesticated rabbits or hares raised for human food or fiber; or any other individual animal specifically raised for food or fiber, except companion animals.

"Local ordinance" means any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance promulgated by the governing body of any county, city, or town.

"Locality" or "local government" means a county, city, or town, as the context may require.

"New owner" means an individual who is legally competent to enter into a binding agreement pursuant to subdivision B 2 of 3.1-796.126:1, and who adopts or receives a dog or cat from a releasing agency.

"Other officer" includes all other persons employed or elected by the people of Virginia, or by any municipality, county, or incorporated town thereof, whose duty it is to preserve the peace, to make arrests, or to enforce the law.

"Owner" means any person who: (i) has a right of property in an animal, (ii) keeps or harbors an animal, (iii) has an animal in his care, or (iv) acts as a custodian of an animal.

"Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, joint-stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity.

"Pet shop" means an establishment where companion animals are bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale or exchange to the general public.

"Poultry" includes all domestic fowl and game birds raised in captivity.

"Pound" means a facility operated by the Commonwealth, or any locality, for the purpose of impounding or harboring seized, stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted animals; or a facility operated for the same purpose under a contract with any county, city, town, or incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

"Primary enclosure" means any structure used to immediately restrict an animal or animals to a limited amount of space, such as a room, pen, cage, compartment, or hutch. For tethered animals, the term includes the shelter and the area within reach of the tether.

"Properly cleaned" means that carcasses, debris, food waste and excrement are removed from the primary enclosure with sufficient frequency to minimize the animals' contact with the above-mentioned contaminants; the primary enclosure
is sanitized with sufficient frequency to minimize odors and the hazards of disease; and the primary enclosure is cleaned so as to prevent the animals confined therein from being directly or indirectly sprayed with the stream of water, or directly or indirectly exposed to hazardous chemicals or disinfectants.

"Properly lighted" means sufficient illumination to permit routine inspections, maintenance, cleaning, and housekeeping of the housing facility, and observation of the animal; to provide regular diurnal lighting cycles of either natural or artificial light, uniformly diffused throughout the animal facilities; and to promote the well-being of the animals.

"Releasing agency" means a pound, animal shelter, humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other similar entity that releases a dog or cat for adoption pursuant to Article 6.1 ( 3.1-796.126:1 et seq.) of this chapter.

"Research facility" means any place, laboratory, or institution licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at which scientific tests, experiments, or investigations involving the use of living animals are carried out, conducted, or attempted.

"Sanitize" means to make physically clean and to remove and destroy, to a practical minimum, agents injurious to health.

"State Veterinarian" means the veterinarian employed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services as provided in 3.1-723.

"State Veterinarian's representative" means an employee of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services who is under the direction of the State Veterinarian.

"Sterilize" or "sterilization" means a surgical or chemical procedure performed by a licensed veterinarian that renders a dog or cat permanently incapable of reproducing.

"Treasurer" includes the treasurer and his assistants of each county or city or other officer designated by law to collect taxes in such county or city.

"Treatment" or "adequate treatment" means the responsible handling or transportation of animals in the person's ownership, custody or charge, appropriate for the age, species, condition, size and type of the animal.

"Veterinary treatment" means treatment by or on the order of a duly licensed veterinarian.

"Weaned" means that an animal is capable of and physiologically accustomed to ingestion of solid food or food customary for the adult of the species, and has ingested such food, without nursing, for a period of at least five days.


3.1-796.67 Rules, regulations, and guidelines.

The Board may promulgate rules and regulations or guidelines consistent with the objectives and intent of this chapter concerning the care and transportation of animals.


3.1-796.67:1 Authority of the Commissioner.

The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall have the power to enter into agreements with local, state and federal agencies or other persons for the control of coyotes which pose a danger to agricultural animals.


3.1-796.67:2 State Veterinarian's power to inspect premises where animals
are kept.
The State Veterinarian and each State Veterinarian's representative shall have the power to conduct inspections of animal shelters and inspect any business premises where animals are housed or kept, including any boarding establishment, kennel, pet shop, pound, or the business premises of any dealer, exhibitor or groomer, at any reasonable time, for the purposes of determining if a violation of (i) this chapter; (ii) any other state law governing the care, control or protection of animals; or (iii) any other state law governing property rights in animals has occurred.


3.1-796.68 Care of animals by owner; penalty.

A. Each owner shall provide for each of his companion animals:
1. Adequate feed;
2. Adequate water;
3. Adequate shelter that is properly cleaned;
4. Adequate space in the primary enclosure for the particular type of animal depending upon its age, size, species, and weight;
5. Adequate exercise;
6. Adequate care, treatment, and transportation; and
7. Veterinary care when needed or to prevent suffering or disease transmission. The provisions of this section shall also apply to every animal shelter, pound, dealer, pet shop, exhibitor, kennel, groomer, and boarding establishment. This section shall not require that animals used as food for other animals be euthanized.

B. Game and wildlife species shall be cared for in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries by January 1, 1994.

C. Violation of this section is a Class 4 misdemeanor.


ARTICLE 2. ANIMAL WELFARE.


3.1-796.69 Transporting animals; requirements; penalty.

No owner, railroad or other common carrier when transporting any animal shall allow that animal to be confined in any type of conveyance more than twenty- four consecutive hours without being exercised, properly rested, fed and watered as necessary for that particular type and species of animal. A reasonable extension of this time shall be permitted when an accident, storm or other act of God causes a delay. Adequate space in the primary enclosure within any type of conveyance shall be provided each animal depending upon the particular type and species of animal. No person shall import into the Commonwealth, nor export from the Commonwealth, for the purpose of sale or offering for sale any dog or cat under the age of eight weeks without its dam. Violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.


3.1-796.72 Misrepresentation of animal's condition; penalties.

No person shall misrepresent the physical condition of any animal at the animal's sale, trade, delivery, or other method of transfer. For the purpose of this section, misrepresentation shall include selling, trading, delivering or otherwise transferring an animal to another person with the knowledge that the animal has an infection, communicable disease, parasitic infestation,
abnormality or other physical defect that is not made known to the person receiving the animal. However, sale of an agricultural animal that has external or internal parasites that are not made known to the person receiving the animal shall not be a violation of this section unless the animal is clinically ill or debilitated due to such parasites at the time of sale, trade, delivery or transfer of the animal. Violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.


3.1-796.73 Abandonment of animal; penalty.

No person shall abandon any animal. Violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the release of an animal by its owner to an animal shelter, pound, or humane society establishment.


3.1-796.74 Exceptions regarding veterinarians.

Sections 3.1-796.68 through 3.1-796.73, 3.1-796.78 through 3.1-796.83:2, 3.1- 796.105 through 3.1-796.108, 3.1-796.120, and 3.1-796.126:1 through 3.1- 796.126:7 shall not apply to: (i) a place or establishment which is operated under the immediate supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian as a hospital or boarding establishment where animals are harbored, boarded and cared for incident to the treatment, prevention, or alleviation of disease processes during the routine practice of the profession of veterinary medicine, or (ii) animals boarded under the immediate supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian.


3.1-796.75 Procedure for animals left unclaimed with veterinarian or boarding establishment after public notice; lien; sale.

Any animal not claimed by its owner from a licensed veterinarian or boarding establishment within fourteen days after a letter of notice has been sent to the owner, by the veterinarian or boarding establishment, may be sold by the veterinarian or boarding establishment. The animal may be sold at public or private sale for fair compensation to a person capable of providing care consistent with this chapter. Any expense incurred by the veterinarian or boarding establishment becomes a lien on the animal and the proceeds of the sale shall first discharge this lien. Any balance of the proceeds shall be paid to the owner. If the owner cannot be found within the next ensuing thirty days, the balance shall be paid to the state treasury. If no purchaser is found, the animal may be offered for adoption or euthanized.


3.1-796.76 Injured or sick animal; action by veterinarian.
A. If a licensed veterinarian is called or by his own action comes upon an animal that is sick or injured and the owner of such animal cannot be immediately located, then the licensed veterinarian, in his professional judgment, may treat, hospitalize or euthanize the animal without the permission of the owner. The veterinarian shall make such reports and keep such records of such sick or injured animals as may be prescribed by the Board of Veterinary Medicine, including the information required under subsection B of 3.1-796.105.

B. In no event shall a licensed veterinarian who has acted in good faith and properly exercised professional judgment regarding an animal be subject to liability for his actions in (i) acting in accordance with subsection A or (ii) reporting cases of suspected cruelty to animals.


3.1-796.77 Disposal of animals by means of decompression chamber prohibited.

No animal shall be euthanized pursuant to the provisions of this chapter by means of a high altitude decompression chamber.


3.1-796.83:1 Boarding establishments and groomers; veterinary care requirements; consumer notification; penalty.

A. When an animal is boarded at a boarding establishment, or under the care, custody or subject to the actions of a groomer, the boarding establishment or groomer shall be responsible for providing the animal care requirements for each animal as specified in s 3.1-796.68.

B. If an animal becomes ill or injured while in the custody of the boarding establishment or groomer, the boarding establishment or groomer shall provide the animal with emergency veterinary treatment for the illness or injury. The consumer shall bear the reasonable and necessary costs of emergency veterinary treatment for any illness or injury occurring while the animal is in the custody of the boarding establishment or groomer. The boarding establishment or groomer shall pay for veterinary treatment of any injury that the animal sustains while at the establishment or under the care or custody of a groomer if the injury resulted from the establishment's or groomer's failure, whether accidental or intentional, to provide the care required by s 3.1-796.68, or if the injury is a result of the actions of the boarding establishment or groomer; however, boarding establishments and groomers shall not be required to bear the cost of veterinary treatment for injuries resulting from the animal's self- mutilation.

C. If an animal is seized from a boarding establishment or groomer because of the establishment's or groomer's failure to provide adequate food, water, shelter, exercise, and care as defined in s 3.1-796.66 and required by s 3.1- 796.68 or because of any other violation of this chapter, the animal shall be returned to the rightful owner as soon as possible or, if the owner refuses to reclaim the animal, be impounded and disposition made pursuant to s 3.1- 796.115.

D. Violation of this section by a boarding establishment or groomer is a Class 1 misdemeanor.


ARTICLE 3.1. BOARDING ESTABLISHMENTS.


3.1-796.83:2 Written notice of consumer remedies required to be supplied by boarding establishments; penalty.
A. A boarding establishment shall give the notice hereinafter set forth in writing to a consumer prior to the consumer's delivery of the animal to the boarding establishment. Such notice shall be embodied in a written document and shall state in ten-point bold-faced type the following:



NOTICE



The boarding of animals is subject to Article 3.1 ( 3.1-796.83:1 et seq.) of Chapter 27.4 of Title 3.1. If your animal becomes ill or injured while in the custody of the boarding establishment, the boarding establishment shall provide
the animal with emergency veterinary treatment for the illness or injury.

The consumer shall bear the reasonable and necessary costs of emergency veterinary treatment for any illness or injury occurring while the animal is in the custody of the boarding establishment. The boarding establishment shall bear the expenses of veterinary treatment for any injury the animal sustains while at the boarding establishment if the injury resulted from the establishment's failure, whether accidental or intentional, to provide the care required by 3.1-796.68; however, boarding establishments shall not be required to bear the cost of veterinary treatment for injuries resulting from the animal's self-mutilation.

 

B. In addition, the boarding establishment shall display the following notice, in ten-point bold-faced type, on a sign placed in a conspicuous location and manner at the boarding establishment's intake area:



PUBLIC NOTICE


THE BOARDING OF ANIMALS BY A BOARDING ESTABLISHMENT IS SUBJECT TO ARTICLE 3.1 ( 3.1-796.83:1 et seq.) OF CHAPTER 27.4 OF TITLE 3.1 OF THE CODE OF VIRGINIA. YOU HAVE SPECIFIC REMEDIES WHEN BOARDING ANIMALS IN THIS OR ANY OTHER BOARDING ESTABLISHMENT IN VIRGINIA. A COPY IS AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY UPON REQUEST AND IS TO BE PRESENTED TO YOU AT THE TIME OF INTAKE IN THE FORM OF A WRITTEN DOCUMENT. IF YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT, YOU MAY CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LAW- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OR THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER
SERVICES, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.



C. Failure to display or provide the consumer with the written notice as required by this section is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.



3.1-796.94 Governing body of county, city, or town may adopt certain ordinances.
A. The governing bodies of counties, cities, and towns of the Commonwealth are hereby authorized to adopt, in their discretion, ordinances which parallel 3.1-796.84 through 3.1-796.93, 3.1-796.95 through 3.1-796.104, 3.1-796.115 through 3.1-796.119, 3.1-796.121, 3.1-796.122, 3.1-796.126:1 through 3.1-796.126:7, and 3.1-796.127 through 3.1-796.129
of this chapter. Any funds collected pursuant to the enforcement of ordinances adopted pursuant to the provisions of this section may be used for the purpose of defraying the costs of local animal control, including efforts to promote
sterilization of cats and dogs. Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to prevent or restrict any local governing body from adopting local animal control ordinances which are more stringent than 3.1-796.84 through 3.1-796.93, 3.1-796.95
through 3.1-796.104, 3.1-796.115 through 3.1-796.119, 3.1-796.121, 3.1-796.122, 3.1-796.126:1 through 3.1-796.126:7, and 3.1-796.127 through 3.1-796.129 of this chapter.

B. The governing bodies of counties, cities and towns of the Commonwealth are hereby authorized to adopt, in their discretion, ordinances establishing uniform schedules of civil penalties for violations of specific provisions of ordinances adopted pursuant to this section. However, civil penalties may not be imposed for violations of ordinances which parallel 3.1-796.122. Designation of a particular violation for a civil penalty shall be in lieu of criminal sanctions and preclude prosecution of such violation as a criminal misdemeanor. The schedule for civil penalties shall be uniform for each type of
specified violation and the penalty for any one violation shall not be more than $150. Imposition of civil penalties shall not preclude an action for injunctive, declaratory or other equitable relief. Moneys raised pursuant to this subsection shall be placed in the locality's general fund. An animal control officer or law-enforcement officer may issue a summons for
a violation. Any person summoned or issued a ticket for a scheduled violation may make an appearance in person or in writing by mail to the department of finance or the treasurer of the county, city or town issuing the summons or
ticket prior to the date fixed for trial in court. Any person so appearing may enter a waiver of trial, admit liability, and pay the civil penalty established for the offense charged.


3.1-796.94:1 Regulation of keeping of animals and fowl.
A. Any county may, whenever, in the judgment of the board of supervisors, the same is necessary for the preservation of public health, regulate by ordinance the keeping of animals or fowl, other than dogs and cats, within a certain distance of residences or other buildings or wells, springs, streams, creeks, or brooks, and provide that all or certain of such animals shall not be kept within certain areas.

B. Any county, city, or town may, by ordinance, prohibit cruelty to and abuse of animals and fowl; and may regulate or prohibit the running at large and the keeping of animals and fowl and provide for the impounding and confiscation of
any such animal or fowl found at large or kept in violation of such regulations. Any such ordinance may require that owners of any exotic or poisonous animal found running at large pay a fee to cover the locality's actual cost in locating and capturing or otherwise disposing of the animal.


ARTICLE 5. ANIMAL WARDENS AND HUMANE INVESTIGATORS.



3.1-796.104 Position of animal control officer created.
The governing body of each county or city shall, or each town may, appoint an officer to be known as the animal control officer who shall have the power to enforce this chapter, all ordinances enacted pursuant to this chapter and all laws for the protection of domestic animals. The governing body may also appoint one or more deputy animal control officers to assist the animal control officer in the performance of his duties. Animal control officers and deputy animal control officers shall have a knowledge of the animal control and protection laws of Virginia which they are required to enforce. When in uniform or upon displaying a badge or other credentials of office, animal control officers and deputy animal control officers shall have the power to issue a summons to any person found in the act of violating any such law or any ordinance enacted pursuant to such law of the locality in which the control officer or deputy animal control officer is appointed. The animal control officer and the deputy animal control officers shall be paid as the governing body of each locality shall prescribe.
Any locality in which an animal control officer or deputy animal control officers have been appointed may contract with one or more additional localities for enforcement of animal protection and control laws by the animal control officers or deputy animal control officers. Any such contract may provide that the locality employing the animal control officer or deputy animal control officers shall be reimbursed a portion of the salary and expenses of the animal control officer or deputy animal control officers. Every locality employing an animal control officer shall submit to the Department of Criminal Justice Services, on a form provided by it, information concerning the employment and training status of the animal control officers employed by the locality. The Department may require that the locality notify the Department of any change in such information.


3.1-796.104:1 Training of animal control officers.
A. After April 1, 1999, every locality appointing animal control officers shall require that every animal control officer and deputy animal control officer completes the following training:
1. Within two years after appointment, a basic animal control course that has been approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the State Veterinarian; and
2. Every three years, additional training approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the State Veterinarian, fifteen hours of which shall be training in animal control and protection. The Department of Criminal Justice Services and the State Veterinarian shall develop criteria to be used in approving training courses and shall provide an opportunity for public comment on proposed criteria before the final criteria are adopted. Subdivision 1 of this subsection shall not apply to animal control officers or deputy animal control officers appointed before July 1, 1998. The State Veterinarian may grant exemptions from the requirements of subdivision 1 to animal control officers appointed on or after July 1, 1998, based on the animal control officer's previous training.

B. Upon cause shown by a locality, the State Veterinarian may grant additional time during which the training required by subsection A may be completed by an animal control officer in such locality.

C. Any animal control officer that fails to complete the training required by subsection A shall be removed from office, unless the State Veterinarian has granted additional time as provided in subsection B.


3.1-796.105 Animal control officers and humane investigators; limitations; records; penalties.
A. No animal control officer, humane investigator, humane society or custodian of any pound or animal shelter shall (i) obtain the release or transfer of an animal by the animal's owner to such animal control officer, humane investigator, humane society or custodian for personal gain or (ii) give or sell or negotiate for the gift or sale to any individual, pet shop, dealer, or research facility of any animal which may come into his custody in the course of carrying out his official assignments. No animal control officer, humane investigator or custodian of any pound or animal shelter shall be granted a dealer's license. Violation of this subsection shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall preclude any animal control officer or humane investigator from lawfully impounding any animal pursuant to 3.1-796.115.

B. An animal control officer, law-enforcement officer, humane investigator or custodian of any pound or animal shelter, upon taking custody of any animal in the course of his official duties, or any representative of a humane society, upon obtaining custody of any animal on behalf of the society, shall immediately make a record of the matter . Such record shall include:
1. The date on which the animal was taken into custody;
2. The date of the making of the record;
3. A description of the animal including the animal's species, color, breed, sex, approximate age and approximate weight;
4. The reason for taking custody of the animal and the location where custody was taken;
5. The name and address of the animal's owner, if known;
6. Any license or rabies tag, tattoo, collar or other identification number carried by or appearing on the animal; and
7. The disposition of the animal.

Records required by this subsection shall be maintained for at least five years, and shall be available for public inspection upon request . A summary of such records shall be submitted annually to the State Veterinarian in a format prescribed by him.

C. Any animal control officer or custodian of any pound who violates any provision of this chapter which relates to the seizure, impoundment and custody of animals by an animal control officer may be subject to suspension or dismissal from his position.

D. Custodians and animal control officers engaged in the operation of a pound shall be required to have a knowledge of the laws of Virginia governing animals, including this chapter, as well as basic animal care.


3.1-796.106 Humane investigators; qualifications; appointment; term; penalty.
A. The Board shall establish by regulation reasonable qualifications for humane investigators. Such qualifications shall include a knowledge of the provisions of this chapter and the regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter. The State Veterinarian shall maintain a current list of persons who have demonstrated that they meet such qualifications and shall make the list available for public inspection.

B. A circuit court may appoint any person as a humane investigator for any locality within its jurisdiction if the person:
1. Is listed by the State Veterinarian as provided in subsection A as being qualified to be a humane investigator; and
2. Has never been convicted of animal cruelty or neglect, any felony, or any crime of moral turpitude according to a criminal background check which shall be performed by the attorney for the Commonwealth at the expense of the person seeking the appointment. A person residing outside the Commonwealth may be appointed as a humane investigator only if he is employed by a humane society located within the locality for which he is seeking appointment.

C. On July 1, 2001, the appointment of every humane investigator who was appointed before July 1, 1998, shall expire. Any humane investigator whose appointment has so expired may be reappointed if he certifies to the appointing court that he has within the preceding three years completed fifteen hours of training in animal care and protection approved by the State Veterinarian.

D. Except as provided in subsection C, appointments of humane investigators shall be for terms of three years. Each humane investigator shall, during each term for which he is appointed, complete fifteen hours of training in animal care and protection approved by the State Veterinarian. If a humane investigator is appointed to a succeeding term before or within thirty days after his current term expires, a criminal background check shall not be required. If a humane investigator's term expires and he is not appointed to a succeeding term before or within thirty days after his current term expires, the circuit court that appointed him shall notify the State Veterinarian of the expiration of his term.

E. Approval of a training course by the State Veterinarian as required by this section shall remain in effect for one year from the approval date, unless the State Veterinarian establishes an earlier date.

F. The State Veterinarian shall remove from the list required by subsection A any person:
1. Who has not been appointed as a humane investigator within three years of having been placed on the list;
2. Whose appointment as a humane investigator has been revoked as provided in 3.1-796.106:1; or
3. Whose term as a humane investigator has expired, if such person has not been appointed to a succeeding term by the circuit court before or within thirty days after the term expired.

3.1-796.106:1 Revocation of appointment of humane investigators; State Veterinarian may investigate allegations.
A. Upon a motion by the attorney for the Commonwealth, the circuit court that appointed a humane investigator may revoke his appointment if he is no longer able to perform the duties of a humane investigator; has been convicted of any felony, Class 1 misdemeanor, or a violation of any provision of this chapter or any other law regarding animals; or for good cause shown. The court shall notify the State Veterinarian of each such revocation.

B. The State Veterinarian may investigate any allegation that a humane investigator has violated this chapter and report his findings and recommendations to the attorney for the Commonwealth. The State Veterinarian may authorize a State Veterinarian's representative to conduct such investigation. The report shall be held confidential except that the substance of the allegation against the humane investigator shall be disclosed to the humane investigator upon his written request.


3.1-796.106:2 Powers and duties of humane investigators.
A. Any humane investigator may, within the locality for which he has been appointed, investigate violations of laws and ordinances regarding care and treatment of animals and disposal of dead animals.

B. Each humane investigator shall carry during the performance of his powers and duties under this chapter an identification card issued by the State Veterinarian. The identification card shall include the following information regarding the humane investigator:
1. His full name;
2. The locality for which he has been appointed;
3. The name of the circuit court that appointed him;
4. The signature of the circuit court judge that appointed him;
5. A photograph of his face; and
6. The date of expiration of his appointment.

C. Each humane investigator shall record on a form approved by the State Veterinarian every investigation he performs, maintain such record for five years, and make such record available upon request to any law-enforcement officer, animal control officer or State Veterinarian's representative. Each humane investigator shall file quarterly a report summarizing such records with the State Veterinarian on a form approved by him. A humane investigator's appointment may be revoked as provided in 3.1-796.106:1 if he fails to file such report.


3.1-796.107 Complaint of suspected violation; investigation.
A. Upon receiving a complaint of a suspected violation of this chapter, any ordinance enacted pursuant to this chapter or any law for the protection of domestic animals, any animal control officer, law-enforcement officer, or State Veterinarian's representative may, for the purpose of investigating the allegations of the complaint, enter upon, during business hours, any business premises, including any place where animals or animal records are housed or kept, of any dealer, pet shop, groomer, or boarding establishment. Upon receiving a complaint of a suspected violation of any law or ordinance
regarding care or treatment of animals or disposal of dead animals, any humane investigator may, for the purpose of investigating the allegations of the complaint, enter upon, during business hours, any business premises, including any place where animals or animal records are housed or kept, of any dealer, pet shop, groomer, or boarding establishment.
Upon obtaining a warrant as provided for in 3.1-796.113, the law- enforcement officer, animal control officer, State Veterinarian's representative, or humane investigator may enter upon any other premises where the animal or animals described in the complaint are housed or kept. Attorneys for the Commonwealth and law-enforcement officials shall provide such assistance as may be required in the conduct of such investigations.

B. If the investigation discloses that a violation of 3.1-796.68 has occurred, the investigating official shall notify the owner or custodian of the complaint and of what action is necessary to comply with this chapter.


3.1-796.108 Impoundment; expenses; lien; disposition of animal.
When an animal control officer, humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or State Veterinarian's representative finds that an apparent violation of this chapter has rendered an animal in such a condition as to constitute a direct and immediate threat to its life, safety or health which the owner or custodian has failed or refuses to remedy, such animal control officer, humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or State Veterinarian's representative may impound the animal pursuant to 3.1-796.115 in a facility which will provide the elements of good care as set forth in 3.1-796.68 and shall then proceed to take such steps as are required to dispose of the animal pursuant to 3.1-796.115.


3.1-796.110 Expenses of humane investigators.

Neither the appointment of any humane investigator, nor the performance of any service or duty by him, shall require any locality or the Commonwealth to pay any cost or expense incurred by or on behalf of a humane investigator. Any locality may reimburse any humane investigator appointed for that locality for reasonable expenses incurred as the result of a specific request for services from the locality.


3.1-796.111 Preventing cruelty to animals; interference; penalty.
Each animal control officer, humane investigator or State Veterinarian's representative shall interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal in his presence. Any person who shall interfere with or obstruct or resist any animal control officer, humane investigator or State Veterinarian's representative in the discharge of his rights, powers, and duties as authorized and prescribed by law shall be deemed guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

 

3.1-796.112 Enforcement authority.
All law-enforcement officers in the Commonwealth of Virginia and State Veterinarian's representatives shall enforce the provisions of this chapter to the same extent other laws in the Commonwealth are enforced.

3.1-796.113 Power of search for violations of statutes against cruelty to animals.
When a sworn complaint is made to any proper authority by any animal control officer, humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or State Veterinarian's representative that the complainant believes and has reasonable cause to believe that the laws in relation to cruelty to animals have been, are being, or are about to be violated in any particular building or place, such authority, if satisfied that there is reasonable cause for such belief, shall issue a warrant authorizing any sheriff, deputy sheriff or police officer, to search the building or place. No search shall be made after sunset unless specially authorized by the authority upon satisfactory cause shown.


3.1-796.114 When animals to be destroyed; procedure.
Any humane investigator may lawfully cause to be destroyed any animal in his charge or found abandoned or not properly cared for when, in the judgment of the humane investigator and two reputable citizens called to view the same in his presence, and who shall give their written certificate, the animal appears to be injured, disabled or diseased, past recovery, or the injury, disease or disability is such that a reasonable owner would cause the animal to be destroyed.

Any humane investigator shall make every reasonable effort immediately to notify the owner of the animal that the humane investigator intends for the animal to be destroyed. The owner shall have a right to select one of the two reputable citizens called to view the animal and give written certificate of the animal's condition. In no event shall the determination as to disposition of the animal be delayed beyond forty-eight hours after such humane investigator first decides the animal should be destroyed. In the event that the two citizens called to give such certificate are unable to agree, they shall select a third reputable citizen and his decision shall be final.

3.1-796.115 Seizure and impoundment of animals; notice and hearing; disposition of animal; disposition of proceeds upon sale.
A. Any humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or animal control officer may lawfully seize and impound any animal that has been abandoned, has been cruelly treated, or is suffering from an apparent violation of this chapter that has rendered the animal in such a condition as to constitute a direct and immediate threat to its life, safety or health. Before seizing or impounding any agricultural animal, such humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall contact the State Veterinarian or a State Veterinarian's representative, who shall recommend to such person the most appropriate action for the disposition of the agricultural animal. The humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall notify the owner of the agricultural animal and the local attorney for the Commonwealth of the recommendation. The humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or animal control officer may impound the agricultural animal on the land where the agricultural animal is located if:
1. The owner or tenant of the land where the agricultural animal is located gives written permission;
2. A general district court so orders; or
3. The owner or tenant of the land where the agricultural animal is located cannot be immediately located, and it is in the best interest of the agricultural animal to be impounded on the land where it is located until the written permission of the owner or tenant of the land can be obtained.

If there is a direct and immediate threat to an agricultural animal, the humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or animal control officer may seize the animal, in which case the humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall file within five business days on a form approved by the State Veterinarian a report on the condition of the animal at the time of the seizure, the disposition of the animal, and any other information required by the State Veterinarian.
Upon seizing or impounding an animal, the humane investigator, law- enforcement officer or animal control officer shall petition the general district court in the city or county wherein the animal is seized for a hearing. The hearing shall be not more than ten business days from the date of the seizure of the animal. The hearing shall be to determine whether the animal has been abandoned, has been cruelly treated, or has not been provided adequate care.

B. The humane investigator, law-enforcement officer, or animal control officer shall cause to be served upon the person with a right of property in the animal or the custodian of the animal notice of the hearing. If such person or the custodian is known and residing within the jurisdiction wherein the animal is seized, written notice shall be given at least five days prior to the hearing of the time and place of the hearing. If such person or the custodian is known but residing out of the jurisdiction where such animal is seized, written notice by any method or service of process as is provided by the Code of Virginia shall be given. If such person or the custodian is not known, the humane investigator, law-enforcement officer, or animal control officer shall cause to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction wherein such animal is seized notice of the hearing at least one time prior to the hearing and shall further cause notice of the hearing to be posted at least five days prior to the hearing at the place provided for public notices at the city hall or courthouse wherein such hearing shall be held.

C. The procedure for appeal and trial shall be the same as provided by law for misdemeanors. Trial by jury shall be as provided in Article 4 ( 19.2-260 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 19.2. The Commonwealth shall be required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

D. The humane investigator, law-enforcement officer, or animal control officer shall provide for such animal until the court has concluded the hearing. Any locality may, by ordinance, require the owner of any animal held pursuant to this subsection for more than thirty days to post a bond in surety with the locality for the amount of the cost of boarding the animal for a period of time set in the ordinance, not to exceed nine months.

If the court determines that the animal has been neither abandoned, cruelly treated, nor deprived of adequate care, the animal shall be returned to the owner. If the court determines that the animal has been abandoned, cruelly treated, or deprived of adequate care, then the court shall order that the animal be: (i) sold by a local governing body; (ii) humanely destroyed, or disposed of by sale or gift to a federal agency, state-supported institution, agency of the Commonwealth, agency of another state, or a licensed federal dealer having its principal place of business located within the Commonwealth; (iii) delivered to any local humane society or shelter, or to any person who is a resident of the county or city where the animal is seized or an adjacent county or city in the Commonwealth and who will pay the required license fee, if any, on such animal; or (iv) delivered to the person with a right of property in the animal as provided in subsection E.

E. In no case shall the owner be allowed to purchase, adopt, or otherwise obtain the animal if the court determines that the animal has been abandoned, cruelly treated, or deprived of adequate care; however, the court shall direct that the animal be delivered to the person with a right of property in the animal, upon his request, if the court finds that the abandonment, cruel treatment, or deprivation of adequate care is not attributable to the actions or inactions of such person.

F. The court shall order the owner of any animal determined to have been abandoned, cruelly treated, or deprived of adequate care to pay all reasonable expenses incurred in caring and providing for such animal from the time the animal is seized until such time that the animal is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of this section, to the provider of such care.

G. The court may prohibit the possession or ownership of other companion animals by the owner of any companion animal found to have been abandoned, cruelly treated, or deprived of adequate care. In making a determination to prohibit the possession or ownership of companion animals, the court may take into consideration the owner's past record of convictions under this chapter or other laws prohibiting cruelty to animals or pertaining to the care or treatment of animals and the owner's mental and physical condition.

H. If the court finds that an agricultural animal has been abandoned or cruelly treated, the court may prohibit the possession or ownership of any other agricultural animal by the owner of the agricultural animal if the owner has exhibited a pattern of abandoning or cruelly treating agricultural animals as evidenced by previous convictions of violating 3.1-796.73 or 3.1- 796.122. In making a determination to prohibit the possession or ownership of agricultural animals, the court may take into consideration the owner's mental and physical condition.

I. Any person who is prohibited from owning or possessing animals pursuant to subsection G or H may petition the court to repeal the prohibition after two years have elapsed from the date of entry of the court's order. The court may, in its discretion, repeal the prohibition if the person can prove to the satisfaction of the court that the cause for the prohibition has ceased to exist.

J. When a sale occurs, the proceeds shall first be applied to the costs of the sale then next to the unreimbursed expenses for the care and provision of the animal, and the remaining proceeds, if any, shall be paid over to the owner of the animal. If the owner of the animal cannot be found, the proceeds remaining shall be paid into the Literary Fund of the state treasury.

K. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the humane destruction of a critically injured or ill animal for humane purposes by the impounding humane investigator, law-enforcement officer, animal control officer, or licensed veterinarian.

L. The provisions of this section which address whether an animal has been provided with or deprived of adequate care shall apply only with respect to companion animals.


3.1-796.116 Dogs killing, injuring or chasing livestock or poultry.
It shall be the duty of any animal control officer or other officer who may find a dog in the act of killing or injuring livestock or poultry to kill such dog forthwith whether such dog bears a tag or not. Any person finding a dog committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section shall have the right to kill such dog on sight as shall any owner of livestock or his agent finding a dog chasing livestock on land utilized by the livestock when the circumstances show that such chasing is harmful to the livestock. Any court shall have the power to order the animal control officer or other officer to kill any dog known to be a confirmed livestock or poultry killer, and any dog killing poultry for the third time shall be considered a confirmed poultry killer. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner, custodian, or harborer of the dog to produce the dog.

Any animal control officer who has reason to believe that any dog is killing livestock or poultry shall be empowered to seize such dog solely for the purpose of examining such dog in order to determine whether it committed any of the depredations mentioned herein. Any animal control officer or other person who has reason to believe that any dog is killing livestock, or committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section, shall apply to a magistrate of the county, city or town wherein such dog may be, who shall issue a warrant requiring the owner or custodian, if known, to appear before a general district court at a time and place named therein, at which time evidence shall be heard. If it shall appear that the dog is a livestock killer, or has committed any of the depredations mentioned in this section, the district court shall order that the dog be (i) killed immediately by the animal control officer or other officer designated by the court or (ii) removed to another state which does not border on the Commonwealth and prohibited from returning to the Commonwealth. Any dog ordered removed from the Commonwealth which is later found in the Commonwealth shall be ordered by a court to be killed immediately.


3.1-796.118 Compensation for livestock and poultry killed by dogs.
Any person who has any livestock or poultry killed or injured by any dog not his own shall be entitled to receive as compensation the fair market value of such livestock or poultry not to exceed $400 per animal or $10 per fowl, provided that: (i) the claimant has furnished evidence within sixty days of discovery of the quantity and value of the dead or injured livestock and the reasons the claimant believes that death or injury was caused by a dog; (ii) the animal control officer or other officer shall have been notified of the incident within seventy-two hours of its discovery; and (iii) the claimant first has exhausted his legal remedies against the owner, if known, of the dog doing the damage for which compensation under this section is sought. Exhaustion shall mean a judgment against the owner of the dog upon which an execution has been returned unsatisfied.

Local jurisdictions may by ordinance waive the requirements of (ii) or (iii) or both provided that the ordinance adopted requires that the animal control officer has conducted an investigation and that his investigation supports the claim. Upon payment under this section the local governing body shall be subrogated to the extent of compensation paid to the right of action to the owner of the livestock or poultry against the owner of the dog and may enforce the same in an appropriate action at law.


3.1-796.119 Capturing, confining, and euthanizing companion animals by animal control officers; approval of drugs, etc., used.
It shall be the duty of the animal control officer or any other officer to capture and confine any companion animal of unknown ownership found running at large on which the license fee has not been paid. Following the expiration of the holding period prescribed in 3.1-796.96, the animal control officer or other officer may deliver such companion animal to any person in his jurisdiction who will pay the required license fee on such companion animal. Prior to disposition by euthanasia or otherwise, all the provisions of 3.1-796.96 shall have been complied with. For all companion animals not otherwise disposed of as provided for in this chapter, it shall be the duty of the animal control officer or any other officer to euthanize such companion animals. Any person, animal control officer, or other officer euthanizing a companion animal under this chapter shall cremate, bury, or sanitarily dispose of the same.

All drugs and drug administering equipment used by animal control officers or other officers to capture companion animals pursuant to this chapter shall have been approved by the State Veterinarian.



ARTICLE 6. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.


3.1-796.122 Cruelty to animals; penalty.
A. Any person who (i) overrides, overdrives, overloads, tortures, ill-treats, abandons, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain not connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation, or cruelly or unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal, whether belonging to himself or another; or (ii) deprives any animal of necessary food, drink, shelter or emergency veterinary treatment; or (iii) willfully sets on foot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal; or (iv) carries or causes to be carried in or upon any vehicle, vessel or otherwise any animal in a cruel, brutal, or inhumane manner, so as to produce torture or unnecessary suffering; or (v) causes any of the above things, or being the owner of such animal permits such acts to be done by another, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. Any person who (i) tortures, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain not connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation, or cruelly and unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates or kills any animal whether belonging to himself or another; or (ii) instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal set forth in clause (i) of this subsection; or (iii) causes any of the actions described in subdivisions (i) and (ii) of this subsection, or being the owner of such animal permits such acts to be done by another; and has been within five years convicted of a violation of this subsection or subsection A, shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony if the current violation or any previous violation of this subsection or subsection A resulted in the death of an animal or the euthanasia of an animal based on the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian upon determination that such euthanasia was necessary due to the condition of the animal, and such condition was a direct result of a violation of this subsection or subsection A.

C. Any person who abandons any dog, cat or other domesticated animal in any public place including the right-of-way of any public highway, road or street or on the property of another shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

D. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the dehorning of cattle.

E. For the purposes of this section and 3.1-796.111, 3.1-796.113, 3.1-796.114, 3.1-796.115, and 3.1-796.125, the word animal shall be construed to include birds and fowl.

F. This section shall not prohibit authorized wildlife management activities or hunting, fishing or trapping as regulated under other titles of the Code of Virginia, including, but not limited to Title 29.1, or to farming activities as provided under this title or regulations promulgated thereto.

G. In addition to the penalties provided in subsection A, the court may, in its discretion, require any person convicted of a violation of subsection A to attend an anger management or other appropriate treatment program or obtain psychiatric or psychological counseling. The court may impose the costs of such a program or counseling upon the person convicted.

H. It is unlawful for any person to kill a domestic dog or cat for the purpose of obtaining the hide, fur or pelt of the dog or cat. A violation of this subsection shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall constitute a Class 6 felony.


3.1-796.123 Soring horses; penalty.

For the purposes of this section, a horse shall be considered to be sored if, for the purpose of affecting its gait, a blistering agent has been applied internally or externally to any of the legs, ankles, feet, or other parts of the horse, or if burns, cuts, or lacerations have been inflicted on the horse, or if a chemical agent, or tacks, nails, or wedges have been used on the horse, or if any other method or device has been used on the horse, including, but not limited to chains or boots, which may reasonably be expected currently (i) to result in physical pain to the horse when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, or (ii) to cause extreme fear or distress to the horse.

It shall be unlawful for any person to deliver or receive into this Commonwealth for the purpose of showing or exhibiting, any horse which such person has reason to believe is suffering from the effects of being sored. It shall also be unlawful to show or exhibit or enter in any horse show or exhibition for the purpose of showing any horse which such person has reason to believe is sored. No one shall participate in or conduct any horse show or exhibition in which there is shown or exhibited a horse which such person has reason to believe is sored.

Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.


TITLE 18.2. CRIMES AND OFFENSES GENERALLY.
CHAPTER 8. CRIMES INVOLVING MORALS AND DECENCY.
ARTICLE 8. OFFENSES INVOLVING ANIMALS.



18.2-403.1 Offenses involving animals -- Class 1 misdemeanors.
The following unlawful acts and offenses against animals shall constitute and be punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor:

1. Violation of subsection A of 3.1-796.122 pertaining to cruelty to animals, except as provided for second or subsequent violations in that section.

2. Violation of 3.1-796.69 pertaining to transporting animals under certain conditions.

3. Making a false claim or receiving money on a false claim under 3.1-796.118 pertaining to compensation for livestock and poultry killed by dogs.

4. Violation of 3.1-796.83:1 pertaining to boarding establishments and groomers as defined in 3.1-796.68.


18.2-403.3 Offenses involving animals -- Class 4 misdemeanors.

The following unlawful acts and offenses against animals shall constitute and be punished as a Class 4 misdemeanor:

1. Violation of 3.1-796.111 pertaining to interference of agents charged with preventing cruelty to animals.

2. Violation of 3.1-796.126 pertaining to shooting pigeons.

3. Violation of 3.1-796.121 pertaining to disposing of the body of a dead companion animal.

4. Violation of ordinances passed pursuant to 3.1-796.98 and 3.1-796.100 pertaining to rabid dogs and preventing the spread of rabies and the running at large of vicious dogs.

5. Violation of an ordinance passed pursuant to 3.1-796.95 requiring dogs to be on a leash.

6. Failure by any person to secure and exhibit the permits required by 29.1-422 pertaining to field trails, night trails and foxhounds.

7. Diseased dogs. -- For the owner of any dog with a contagious or infectious disease to permit such dog to stray from his premises if such disease is known to the owner.

8. License application. -- For any person to make a false statement in order to secure a dog or cat license to which he is not entitled.

9. License tax. -- For any dog or cat owner to fail to pay any license tax required by 3.1-796.88 before February 1 for the year in which it is due. In addition, the court may order confiscation and the proper disposition of the dog or cat.

10. Concealing a dog or cat. -- For any person to conceal or harbor any dog or cat on which any required license tax has not been paid.

11. Removing collar and tag. -- For any person, except the owner or custodian, to remove a legally acquired license tag from a dog or cat without the permission of the owner or custodian.

12. Violation of 3.1-796.68 pertaining to care of animals by owner.


Amended in 1998, 1999.
Reviewed by AAHS in September 2001.


Return to Top of This Page
Return to Cruelty to Animals Page