Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
Chapter 65. Comprehensive Animal Care
9/22/2021

§ 3.2-6540.01. Obligations of officer and owner following dangerous dog finding.

A. After an animal is found to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540, the local animal control officer or treasurer shall provide the owner with a uniformly designed tag that identifies the animal as a dangerous dog. The owner shall affix the tag to the animal's collar and ensure that the animal wears the collar and tag at all times.

B. Within 30 days of the finding that an animal is a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540, the owner shall:

1. Provide documentation that the animal has been neutered or spayed;

2. Provide documentation that the animal has been implanted with electronic identification registered to the owner. The registration information shall be provided to the animal control officer;

3. Present satisfactory evidence to the animal control officer of liability insurance coverage, to the value of at least $100,000, that covers animal bites. The owner may obtain and maintain a bond in surety to the value of at least $100,000 in lieu of liability insurance;

4. Pay to the local governing body a fee of $150 and under the direction of the animal control officer complete a dangerous dog registration certificate issued by the Department pursuant to § 3.2-6542. No dangerous dog registration certificate required to be obtained under this section shall be issued to any person younger than 18 years of age; and

5. Post the residence where the animal is housed with clearly visible signs warning both minors and adults of the presence of a dangerous dog on the property. Such signs shall remain posted at all points of entry to the home and yard as long as the animal remains on the property.

C. Any dangerous dog not confined inside a locked enclosure constructed pursuant to subsection D shall be (i) confined inside the owner's residence or (ii) if outdoors, controlled by a physical leash employed by the responsible adult owner and securely muzzled in a manner that does not cause injury to the animal or interfere with the animal's vision or respiration but prevents it from biting a person or another animal.

D. Any owner of a dangerous dog who keeps the dog outdoors and not within the immediate physical presence of its owner shall, within 30 days of the finding that an animal is a dangerous dog, cause to be constructed a secure, locked enclosure of sufficient height and design to prevent escape by the animal or entry by or direct physical contact with any person or other animal. While so confined within the structure, the animal shall be provided for according to § 3.2-6503.

E. The owner of a dog found to be dangerous shall cause the local animal control officer to be promptly notified of (i) any change in the manner of locating the owner or the dog at any time; (ii) any transfer of ownership of the dog to a new owner, including the name and address of the new owner; (iii) any instance in which the animal is loose or unconfined; (iv) any complaint or incident of attack or bite by the dog upon any person or cat or dog; (v) any claim made or lawsuit brought as a result of any attack; and (vi) the escape, loss, or death of the dog.

F. Unless for good cause shown, the owner of a dangerous dog shall notify the animal control officer at least 10 days prior to moving or relocating the animal and the officer shall update the dangerous dog registry accordingly.

G. Any dangerous dog not reclaimed by the owner from the animal control officer within 10 days of notice to do so by such animal control officer shall be considered abandoned and may be disposed of according to the provisions of § 3.2-6546.

H. Any contract or agreement for the use of real property, including a recorded restrictive covenant, condominium instrument of a condominium created pursuant to the Virginia Condominium Act (§ 55.1-1900 et seq.), declaration of a common interest community as defined in § 54.1-2345, or cooperative instrument of a cooperative created pursuant to the Virginia Real Estate Cooperative Act (§ 55.1-2100 et seq.), may prohibit the keeping of a dangerous dog or otherwise impose conditions that are more restrictive than those provided in subsection B.

I. The owner of a dog found to be dangerous shall maintain the liability insurance coverage or bond in surety required by subdivision B 3 as long as he owns the dangerous dog and shall submit a certificate of insurance or evidence of such bond to the animal control officer on an annual basis.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 464.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.