Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food
10/16/2019

Chapter 65. Comprehensive Animal Care.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 3.2-6500. Definitions.

As used in this chapter unless the context requires a different meaning:

"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 § 3.2-6503 for a period of four 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 that 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; during hot weather, is properly shaded and does not readily conduct heat; during cold weather, has a windbreak at its entrance and provides a quantity of bedding material consisting of straw, cedar shavings, or the equivalent that is sufficient to protect the animal from cold and promote the retention of body heat; 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 that the tether to which the animal is attached 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 that is 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; is at least ten feet in length or three times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, whichever is greater, except when the animal is being walked on a leash or is attached by a tether to a lead line; does not, by its material, size, or weight or any other characteristic, cause injury or pain to the animal; does not weigh more than one-tenth of the animal's body weight; and does not have weights or other heavy objects attached to it. The walking of an animal on a leash by its owner shall not constitute the tethering of the animal for the purpose of this definition. 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. The provisions of this definition that relate to tethering shall not apply to agricultural animals.

"Adequate water" means provision of and access to clean, fresh, potable water of a drinkable temperature that is provided in a suitable manner, in sufficient volume, and at suitable intervals appropriate for the weather and temperature, 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 that 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 a cat, or any other companion animal, 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 § 3.2-6522, animal means any species susceptible to rabies. For the purposes of § 3.2-6570, 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 § 3.2-6555.

"Boarding establishment" means a place or establishment other than a public or private animal shelter where companion animals not owned by the proprietor are sheltered, fed, and watered in exchange for a fee. "Boarding establishment" shall not include any private residential dwelling that shelters, feeds, and waters fewer than five companion animals not owned by the proprietor.

"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.

"Commercial dog breeder" means any person who, during any 12-month period, maintains 30 or more adult female dogs for the primary purpose of the sale of their offspring as companion animals.

"Companion animal" means any domestic or feral dog, domestic or feral cat, nonhuman 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 that 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. The following shall not be considered dealers: (i) any person who transports companion animals in the regular course of business as a common carrier or (ii) any person whose primary purpose is to find permanent adoptive homes for companion animals.

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

"Dump" means to knowingly desert, forsake, or absolutely give up without having secured another owner or custodian any dog, cat, or other companion animal in any public place including the right-of-way of any public highway, road or street or on the property of another.

"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 that 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 U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Facility" means a building or portion thereof as designated by the State Veterinarian, other than a private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds, that is used to contain a primary enclosure or enclosures in which animals are housed or kept.

"Farming activity" means, consistent with standard animal husbandry practices, the raising, management, and use of agricultural animals to provide food, fiber, or transportation and the breeding, exhibition, lawful recreational use, marketing, transportation, and slaughter of agricultural animals pursuant to such purposes.

"Foster care provider" means a person who provides care or rehabilitation for companion animals through an affiliation with a public or private animal shelter, home-based rescue, releasing agency, or other animal welfare organization.

"Foster home" means a private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds, or any facility other than a public or private animal shelter, at which site through an affiliation with a public or private animal shelter, home-based rescue, releasing agency, or other animal welfare organization care or rehabilitation is provided for companion animals.

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

"Home-based rescue" means an animal welfare organization that takes custody of companion animals for the purpose of facilitating adoption and houses such companion animals in a foster home or a system of foster homes.

"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 § 3.2-6558.

"Humane society" means any incorporated, nonprofit organization that is organized for the purposes of preventing cruelty to animals and promoting humane care and treatment or adoptions of animals.

"Incorporated" means organized and maintained as a legal entity in the Commonwealth.

"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 that 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 or Vicugna; ratites; fish or shellfish in aquaculture facilities, as defined in § 3.2-2600; 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.

"New owner" means an individual who is legally competent to enter into a binding agreement pursuant to subdivision B 2 of § 3.2-6574, and who adopts or receives a dog or cat from a releasing agency.

"Ordinance" means any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance adopted by the governing body of any locality.

"Other officer" includes all other persons employed or elected by the people of Virginia, or by any locality, 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.

"Pet shop" means a retail 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.

"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.

"Private animal shelter" means a facility operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals that is used to house or contain animals and that is owned or operated by an incorporated, nonprofit, and nongovernmental entity, including a humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other similar organization.

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

"Properly lighted" when referring to a private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds means sufficient illumination to permit routine maintenance and cleaning thereof, and observation of the companion animals; and to provide regular diurnal lighting cycles of either natural or artificial light to promote the well-being of the animals.

"Public animal shelter" means a facility operated by the Commonwealth, or any locality, for the purpose of impounding or sheltering seized, stray, homeless, abandoned, unwanted, or surrendered animals or a facility operated for the same purpose under a contract with any locality.

"Releasing agency" means (i) a public animal shelter or (ii) a private animal shelter, humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other similar entity or home-based rescue that releases companion animals for adoption.

"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.

"Sore" means, when referring to an equine, that an irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally, by a person to any limb or foot of an equine; any burn, cut, or laceration that has been inflicted by a person to any limb or foot of an equine; any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent that has been injected by a person into or used by a person on any limb or foot of an equine; any other substance or device that has been used by a person on any limb or foot of an equine; or a person has engaged in a practice involving an equine, and as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such equine suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, except that such term does not include such an application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of an equine by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, nothing shall preclude the shoeing, use of pads, and use of action devices as permitted by 9 C.F.R. Part 11.2.

"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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.36; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.66; 1988, c. 538; 1991, c. 348; 1993, cc. 174, 959; 1995, c. 610; 1998, c. 817; 2002, cc. 351, 500, 787; 2003, c. 1007; 2008, cc. 9, 127, 852, 860; 2011, cc. 754, 886; 2014, c. 148; 2015, c. 492; 2018, cc. 416, 599, 780; 2019, cc. 258, 532, 848.

§ 3.2-6501. Regulations and guidelines.

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

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.37; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.67; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6502. State Veterinarian's power to inspect premises where animals are kept; investigations and search warrants.

A. The State Veterinarian and each State Veterinarian's representative shall have the power to conduct inspections of public and private animal shelters, and inspect any business premises where animals are housed or kept, including any boarding establishment, kennel, pet shop, 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.

B. Provisions for investigation of suspected violations of this chapter and other laws pertaining to animals are provided in § 3.2-6564. Provisions for obtaining a warrant and the power of search for violations of animal cruelty laws are provided in § 3.2-6568.

1993, c. 601, § 3.1-796.67:2; 1998, c. 817; 2002, c. 787; 2003, c. 1007; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

Article 2. Animal Welfare.

§ 3.2-6503. Care of companion 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 to prevent suffering or disease transmission.

The provisions of this section shall also apply to every public or private animal shelter, or other releasing agency, and every foster care provider, 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. Violation of this section is a Class 4 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of subdivision A 1, 2, 3, or 7 is a Class 2 misdemeanor and a second or subsequent violation of subdivision A 4, 5, or 6 is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.38; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.68; 1991, c. 348; 1993, c. 174; 1996, c. 249; 1998, c. 817; 2002, c. 787; 2003, c. 1007; 2008, c. 860; 2010, c. 875; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6503.1. Care of agricultural animals by owner; penalty.

A. Each owner shall provide for each of his agricultural animals:

1. Feed to prevent malnourishment;

2. Water to prevent dehydration; and

3. Veterinary treatment as needed to address impairment of health or bodily function when such impairment cannot be otherwise addressed through animal husbandry, including humane destruction.

B. The provisions of this section shall not require an owner to provide feed or water when such is customarily withheld, restricted, or apportioned pursuant to a farming activity or if otherwise prescribed by a veterinarian.

C. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that there has been no violation of this section if an owner is unable to provide feed, water, or veterinary treatment due to an act of God.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to agricultural animals used for bona fide medical or scientific experimentation.

E. A violation of this section is a Class 4 misdemeanor.

2011, cc. 754, 886.

§ 3.2-6504. Abandonment of animal; penalty.

No person shall abandon or dump any animal. Violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the release of an animal by its owner to a public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.43; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.73; 1993, c. 174; 2002, cc. 351, 787; 2003, c. 1007; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148; 2018, c. 416.

§ 3.2-6504.1. Civil immunity; forcible entry of motor vehicle to remove unattended companion animal.

No law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101, firefighter as defined in § 65.2-102, emergency medical services personnel as defined in § 32.1-111.1, or animal control officer who in good faith forcibly enters a motor vehicle in order to remove an unattended companion animal that is at risk of serious bodily injury or death shall be liable for any property damage to the vehicle entered or injury to the animal resulting from such forcible entry and removal of the animal, unless such property damage or injury results from gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

2016, c. 679.

§ 3.2-6505. Disposal of animals by means of decompression chamber and use of gas chamber for companion animals prohibited.

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

B. No companion animal shall be euthanized pursuant to the provisions of this chapter by means of a gas chamber.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.47; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.77; 2008, cc. 8, 860.

§ 3.2-6506. Exceptions regarding veterinarians.

Sections 3.2-6503, 3.2-6504, 3.2-6508 through 3.2-6519, 3.2-6557, 3.2-6559, 3.2-6561, 3.2-6564, 3.2-6565, and 3.2-6574 through 3.2-6580 shall not apply to: (i) a place or establishment that 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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.44; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.74; 1993, cc. 174, 959; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6507. 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 § 3.2-6557.

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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.46; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.76; 1999, c. 620; 2008, c. 860.

Article 2.1. Commercial Dog Breeding Operations.

§ 3.2-6507.1. Business license required.

No commercial dog breeder shall breed dogs in the Commonwealth without a valid business license issued by any locality, as applicable, where he maintains dogs for the purpose of commercial dog breeding.

2008, c. 852, § 3.1-796.77:1.

§ 3.2-6507.2. Commercial dog breeding; requirements.

Commercial dog breeders shall:

1. Maintain no more than 50 dogs over the age of one year at any time for breeding purposes. However, a higher number of dogs may be allowed if approved by local ordinance after a public hearing. Any such ordinance may include additional requirements for commercial breeding operations;

2. Breed female dogs only: (i) after annual certification by a licensed veterinarian that the dog is in suitable health for breeding; (ii) after the dog has reached the age of 18 months; and (iii) if the dog has not yet reached the age of 8 years;

3. Dispose of dogs only by gift, sale, transfer, barter, or euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian;

4. Dispose of deceased dogs in accordance with § 3.2-6554;

5. Dispose of dog waste in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations; and

6. Maintain accurate records for at least five years including:

a. The date on which a dog enters the operation;

b. The person from whom the animal was purchased or obtained, including the address and phone number of such person;

c. A description of the animal, including the species, color, breed, sex, and approximate age and weight;

d. Any tattoo, microchip number, or other identification number carried by or appearing on the animal;

e. Each date that puppies were born to such animal and the number of puppies;

f. All medical care and vaccinations provided to the animal, including certifications required by a licensed veterinarian under this chapter; and

g. The disposition of each animal and the date.

2008, c. 852, § 3.1-796.77:2.

§ 3.2-6507.3. Right of entry.

A. The Commissioner, the State Veterinarian or his assistant, any animal control officer, and any public health or safety official employed by the locality where a commercial dog breeder resides or maintains breeding operations may, upon receiving a complaint or upon his own motion, investigate any violation of the provisions of this chapter. Such investigation may include (i) the inspection of the books and records of any commercial dog breeder, (ii) the inspection of any companion animal owned by the commercial dog breeder, and (iii) the inspection of any place where animals are bred or maintained. In conducting the inspection, the Commissioner or animal control officer may enter any premises where animals may be bred or maintained during daytime hours.

B. Any commercial dog breeder who is the subject of an investigation by the Commissioner, the State Veterinarian, or an animal control officer shall, upon request, provide assistance to the Commissioner, the State Veterinarian, or the animal control officer in making any inspection authorized by this section.

2008, c. 852, § 3.1-796.77:3.

§ 3.2-6507.4. Concurrent operation of releasing agency prohibited.

It is unlawful for a commercial dog breeder to operate or maintain a controlling interest in any releasing agency.

2008, c. 852, § 3.1-796.77:4.

§ 3.2-6507.5. Penalty.

Any commercial dog breeder violating any provision of this article is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

2008, c. 852, § 3.1-796.77:5.

§ 3.2-6507.6. Duty of attorneys for the Commonwealth.

It shall be the duty of each attorney for the Commonwealth to enforce this article.

2008, c. 852, § 3.1-796.77:6.

Article 3. Transportation and Sale of Animals.

§ 3.2-6508. Transporting animals; requirements; penalty.

A. 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 24 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.

B. 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.

C. Violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.39; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.69; 1993, c. 174; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6508.1. Sale of dogs or cats prohibited in certain places.

A. It is unlawful for any person to sell, exchange, trade, barter, lease, or display for a commercial purpose any dog or cat on or in any roadside, public right-of-way, parkway, median, park, or recreation area; flea market or other outdoor market; or commercial parking lot, regardless of whether such act is authorized by the landowner.

B. This section shall not apply to:

1. The display of dogs or cats by or the adoption of dogs or cats from a humane society or private or public animal shelter as those terms are defined in § 3.2-6500;

2. The display of dogs or cats as part of a state or county fair exhibition, 4-H program, or similar exhibition or educational program;

3. The sale, exchange, or trade of dogs that are sold primarily for use in commonly-accepted hunting or livestock farming activities; or

4. A prearranged sale between a dog breeder and a specific individual purchaser. Such prearranged sale shall not take place at a regularly-occurring event such as a flea market or other organized trade venue.

2015, c. 679.

§ 3.2-6509. 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. The 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 is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Any violation of this section by a pet dealer shall also constitute a prohibited practice under § 59.1-200 and shall be subject to the enforcement provisions of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.).

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.42; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.72; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2019, c. 566.

§ 3.2-6509.1. Disclosure of animal bite history; penalties.

A. Any custodian of a releasing agency, animal control officer, law-enforcement officer, or humane investigator, upon taking custody of any dog or cat in the course of his official duties, shall ask and document whether, if known, the dog or cat has bitten a person or other animal and the circumstances and date of such bite. Any custodian of a releasing agency, animal control officer, law-enforcement officer, or humane investigator, upon release of a dog or cat for (i) adoption, (ii) return to a rightful owner, or (iii) transfer to another agency, shall disclose, if known, that the dog or cat has bitten a person or other animal and the circumstances and date of such bite.

B. Violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

2018, c. 678.

§ 3.2-6510. Sale of unweaned or certain immature animals prohibited, vaccinations required for dogs and cats; penalty.

A. No person shall sell, raffle, give away, or offer for sale as pets or novelties, or offer or give as a prize, premium, or advertising device any living chicks, ducklings, or other fowl under two months old in quantities of less than six or any unweaned mammalian companion animal or any dog or cat under the age of seven weeks without its dam or queen. Dealers may offer immature fowl, unweaned mammalian companion animals, dogs or cats under the age of seven weeks for sale as pets or novelties with the requirement that prospective owners take possession of the animals only after fowl have reached two months of age, mammalian companion animals have been weaned, and dogs and cats are at least seven weeks of age. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the sale, gift, or transfer of an unweaned animal: (i) as food for other animals; (ii) with the lactating dam or queen or a lactating surrogate dam or queen that has accepted the animal; (iii) due to a concern for the health or safety of the unweaned animal; or (iv) to animal control, a public or private animal shelter, or a veterinarian.

B. Dealers shall provide all dogs and cats with current vaccinations against contagious and infectious diseases, as recommended in writing and considered appropriate for the animal's age and breed by a licensed veterinarian, or pursuant to written recommendations provided by the manufacturer of such vaccines at least five days before any new owner takes possession of the animal. For dogs, the vaccinations required by this subsection shall include at a minimum canine distemper, adenovirus type II parainfluenza, and parvovirus. For cats, the vaccinations required by this subsection shall include at a minimum rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Dealers shall provide the new owner with the dog's or cat's immunization history.

C. A violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.40; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.70; 1993, c. 174; 1995, c. 625; 2006, c. 503; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6511. Failure of dealer or pet shop to provide adequate care; penalty.

Any dealer or pet shop that fails to adequately house, feed, water, exercise or care for animals in his or its possession or custody as provided for under this chapter is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. Such animals shall be subject to seizure and impoundment, and upon conviction of such person the animals may be sold, euthanized, or disposed of as provided by § 3.2-6546 for licensed, tagged, or tattooed animals. Such failure is also grounds for revocation of a permit or certificate of registration after public hearing. Any funds that result from such sale shall be used first to pay the costs of the local jurisdiction for the impoundment and disposition of the animals, and any funds remaining shall be paid to the owner, if known. If the owner is not found, the remaining funds shall be paid into the Literary Fund.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.41; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.71; 1993, c. 174; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6511.1. Pet shops; procurement of dogs; penalty.

A. A pet shop shall sell or offer for adoption a dog procured only from a humane society; a private or public animal shelter as those terms are defined in § 3.2-6500; or a person who has not received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pursuant to enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.) or regulations adopted thereunder, (i) a citation for a direct or critical violation or citations for three or more indirect or noncritical violations for at least two years prior to the procurement of the dog or (ii) two consecutive citations for no access to the facility prior to the procurement of the dog and who has not knowingly obtained the dog directly or indirectly from a person with such citations.

B. It shall be unlawful for any dealer or commercial dog breeder who is not licensed or exempted from licensure by the U.S. Department of Agriculture pursuant to the federal Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.) or regulations adopted thereunder to sell any dog to a pet shop.

C. A pet shop shall retain records verifying compliance with this section for a minimum of two years after the disposition of any dog.

D. Any person violating any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for each dog sold or offered for sale.

2008, c. 852, § 3.1-796.71:1; 2015, c. 679; 2017, c. 399.

§ 3.2-6512. Sale without pet dealer's animal history certificate violation of Consumer Protection Act; contents of certificate.

It shall be a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.) for any pet dealer to sell a dog or cat within the Commonwealth stating, promising, or representing that the animal is registered or capable of being registered with any animal pedigree registry organization, without providing the consumer with a pet dealer's animal history certificate at the time the consumer takes possession of the dog or cat. The pet dealer's animal history certificate shall be signed by the pet dealer or his agent or employee and shall contain the following information:

1. The animal's breed, sex, age, color, and birth date;

2. The name and address of the person from whom the pet dealer purchased the animal;

3. The breeder's name and address;

4. The name and registration number of the animal's parents;

5. If the animal has been so examined, the date on which the animal has been examined by a licensed veterinarian, the name and address of such veterinarian, and a brief statement of any findings made; and

6. A statement of all vaccinations administered to the animal, including the identity and quantity of the vaccine, and the name and address of the person or licensed veterinarian administering or supervising the vaccinations.

The information contained in the pet dealer's animal history certificate required herein shall be informative only, and the pet dealer shall not be responsible in any manner for the accuracy of such information unless he knows or has reason to know that such information is erroneous.

A copy of the pet dealer's animal history certificate signed by the consumer shall be maintained by the pet dealer for a period of two years following the date of sale.

A pet shop operating in the Commonwealth shall post in a conspicuous place on or near the cage of any dog or cat available for sale the breeder's name, city, state, and USDA license number. A pet shop or a USDA licensed dealer who advertises any dog or cat for sale in the Commonwealth, including by Internet advertisement, shall provide prior to the time of sale the breeder's name, city, state, and USDA license number.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.48; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.78; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 448; 2019, c. 566.

§ 3.2-6513. Inclusion of false or misleading statements in certificate violation of Consumer Protection Act.

It shall be a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.) for a pet dealer to include in the pet dealer's animal history certificate provided for in § 3.2-6512 any false or misleading statement regarding the information to be contained therein.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.49; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.79; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6513.1. Pet shops; posting of information about dogs.

A. Any pet shop that sells dogs shall place a clear and conspicuous sign near the cages in the public sales area stating: "USDA APHIS Inspection Reports Available Prior to Purchase." The sign shall be no smaller than eight and one-half inches high by 11 inches wide, and the print shall be no smaller than one-half inch.

B. Any pet shop that sells dogs shall maintain for each dog in its possession a written record that includes the following information:

1. The breed, age, and date of birth of the dog, if known;

2. The sex, color, and any identifying markings of the dog;

3. Any additional identifying information, including a tag, tattoo, collar number, or microchip;

4. Documentation of all inoculations, worming treatments, and other medical treatments, if known, including the date of the medical treatment, the diagnosis, and the name and title of the treatment provider;

5. For a dog obtained from a breeder or dealer, (i) the state in which the breeder and, if applicable, the dealer are located; (ii) the U.S. Department of Agriculture license number of the breeder and, if applicable, the dealer; (iii) the final inspection reports for the breeder and, if applicable, the dealer, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from the two years immediately before the date the pet store received the dog; and (iv) the facility where the dog was born and the transporter or carrier of the dog, if any;

6. For a dog obtained from a public animal shelter, the name of the shelter; and

7. For a dog obtained from a private animal shelter or humane society, the name of the shelter or organization and the locality in which it is located.

C. Any pet shop that sells dogs shall maintain a copy of the written record required by subsection B for at least two years after the date of sale of the dog and shall make such record available to the Office of the State Veterinarian upon reasonable notice, to any bona fide prospective purchaser upon request, and to the purchaser at the time of sale. Any such pet shop shall transmit the information required by subdivisions B 5, 6, and 7 to the local animal control officer upon request.

2018, c. 780.

§ 3.2-6514. Consumer remedies for receipt of diseased animal upon certification by veterinarian.

A. If, at any time within 10 days following receipt of an animal, a licensed veterinarian certifies such animal to be unfit for purchase due to illness, a congenital defect deleterious to the health of the animal, or the presence of symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease other than parvovirus, or if at any time within 14 days following the receipt of an animal a licensed veterinarian certifies such animal to be unfit for purchase due to being infected with parvovirus, the pet dealer shall afford the consumer the right to choose one of the following options:

1. The right to return the animal or, in the case of an animal that has died, to present the veterinary certification, within three business days of certification and receive a refund of the purchase price including sales tax; or

2. The right to return the animal or, in the case of an animal that has died, to present the veterinary certification, within three business days of certification and to receive an exchange animal of equivalent value from the dealer, subject to the choice of the consumer; or

3. In the case of an animal purchased from a pet shop or a USDA licensed dealer, the right to retain the animal and to receive the reimbursement of veterinary fees in an amount up to the purchase price of the animal, including sales tax and the cost of the veterinary certification, incurred up to the time the consumer notifies the pet dealer of the intent to keep the animal. Such notification shall occur within three business days of certification. Veterinary costs incurred by the consumer after such notification shall be the responsibility of the consumer.

B. The refund or reimbursement required by subsection A shall be made by the pet dealer not later than 10 business days following receipt of a signed veterinary certification as provided in § 3.2-6515.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.50; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.80; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 448.

§ 3.2-6515. Written notice of consumer remedies required to be supplied by pet dealers.

A pet dealer shall give the notice hereinafter set forth in writing to a consumer prior to the delivery of a dog or cat. Such notice shall be embodied in a written contract, the pet dealer's animal history certificate, or a separate document and shall state in ten-point boldface type the following:

"NOTICE

The sale of dogs and cats is subject to the provisions of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.). In the event that a licensed veterinarian certifies your animal to be unfit for purchase within 10 days following receipt of your animal, or within 14 days following receipt if the animal is infected with parvovirus, you may choose: (i) to return your animal, or in the case of an animal that has died, the veterinary certification, and receive a refund of the purchase price including sales tax; or (ii) to return the animal and receive an exchange animal of your choice of equivalent value. In the case of an animal purchased from a pet shop or a USDA licensed dealer, you also may choose to retain the animal and receive reimbursement of the cost of veterinary certification and veterinary fees in an amount up to the purchase price of the animal.

In order to exercise these rights you must present a written veterinary certification that the animal is unfit to the pet dealer within three business days after receiving such certification.

If the pet dealer has promised to register your animal or to provide the papers necessary therefor and fails to do so within 120 days following the date of contract, you are entitled to return the animal and receive a refund of the purchase price or to retain the animal and receive a refund of an amount not to exceed 50 percent of the purchase price."

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.51; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.81; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 448.

§ 3.2-6516. Failure of pet dealer to effect registration after promise; violation of Consumer Protection Act; remedies; veterinary certification; finding of intestinal parasites; illness subsequent to sale.

A. It shall be a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.) for a pet dealer to state, promise, or represent that a dog or cat is registered or capable of being registered with any animal pedigree registry organization if the pet dealer shall then fail to either effect such registration or provide the consumer with the documents necessary therefor within 120 days following the date of sale of such animal. In the event that a pet dealer fails to effect registration or to provide the necessary documents therefor within 120 days following the date of sale, the consumer shall be entitled to choose one of the following options:

1. To return the animal and to receive a refund of the purchase price plus sales tax; or

2. To retain the animal and to receive a refund of an amount not to exceed 50 percent of the purchase price and sales tax.

B. The veterinary certification and statement required herein shall be presented to the pet dealer not later than three business days following receipt thereof by the consumer and shall contain the following information:

1. The name of the owner;

2. The date or dates of the examination;

3. The breed, color, sex, and age of the animal;

4. A description of the veterinarian's findings;

5. A statement that the veterinarian certifies the animal to be unfit for purchase; and

6. The name and address of the certifying veterinarian and the date of the certification.

C. A veterinary finding of intestinal parasites shall not be grounds for declaring the animal unfit for purchase unless the animal is clinically ill due to such condition. An animal may not be found unfit for purchase on account of an injury sustained or illness contracted subsequent to the consumer taking possession thereof.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.52; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.82; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6517. Remedies cumulative.

The remedies provided for pursuant to this article are cumulative and not exclusive and shall be in addition to any other remedy provided for by law.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.53; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.83; 2008, c. 860.

Article 4. Boarding Establishments and Groomers.

§ 3.2-6518. 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 § 3.2-6503.

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 § 3.2-6503, or if the injury is a result of the actions of the boarding establishment or groomer. 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 § 3.2-6500 and required by § 3.2-6503 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 § 3.2-6569.

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

1993, c. 174, § 3.1-796.83:1; 1996, c. 249; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6519. 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 boldfaced type the following:

NOTICE

The boarding of animals is subject to Article 4 (§ 3.2-6518 et seq.) of Chapter 65 of Title 3.2. 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 § 3.2-6503. 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 boldfaced 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 4 (§ 3.2-6518 et seq.) OF CHAPTER 65 OF TITLE 3.2 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 a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1993, c. 174, § 3.1-796.83:2; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6520. 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 14 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 30 days, the balance shall be paid to the Literary Fund. If no purchaser is found, the animal may be offered for adoption or euthanized.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.45; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.75; 1993, c. 174; 2008, c. 860.

Article 5. Rabies Control and Licensing of Dogs and Cats.

§ 3.2-6521. Rabies inoculation of companion animals; availability of certificate; rabies clinics.

A. The owner or custodian of all dogs and cats four months of age and older shall have such animal currently vaccinated for rabies by a licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician who is under the immediate and direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian on the premises unless otherwise provided by regulations. The supervising veterinarian on the premises shall provide the owner or custodian of the dog or the cat with a rabies vaccination certificate or herd rabies vaccination certificate and shall keep a copy in his own files. The owner or custodian of the dog or the cat shall furnish within a reasonable period of time, upon the request of an animal control officer, humane investigator, law-enforcement officer, State Veterinarian's representative, or official of the Department of Health, the certificate of vaccination for such dog or cat. The vaccine used shall be licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for use in that species. At the discretion of the local health director, a medical record from a licensed veterinary establishment reflecting a currently vaccinated status may serve as proof of vaccination.

B. All rabies clinics require the approval by the appropriate local health department and governing body. The licensed veterinarian who administers rabies vaccinations at the clinic shall (i) provide the owner or custodian a rabies vaccination certificate for each vaccinated animal and (ii) ensure that a licensed veterinary facility retains a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate. The sponsoring organization of a rabies clinic shall, upon the request of the owner or custodian, an animal control officer, a humane investigator, a law-enforcement officer, a State Veterinarian's representative, a licensed veterinarian, or an official of the Department of Health, provide the name and contact information of the licensed veterinary facility where a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate is retained. However, the county or city shall ensure that a clinic is conducted to serve its jurisdiction at least once every two years.

C. Vaccination subsequent to a summons to appear before a court for failure to do so shall not operate to relieve such owner from the penalties or court costs provided under § 16.1-69.48:1 or 17.1-275.7.

D. The Board of Health shall, by regulation, provide an exemption to the requirements of subsection A if an animal suffers from an underlying medical condition that is likely to result in a life-threatening condition in response to vaccination and such exemption would not risk public health and safety. For the purposes of § 3.2-6522, such exemption shall mean that the animal is considered not currently vaccinated for rabies. For the purposes of §§ 3.2-5902, 3.2-6526, and 3.2-6527, such exemption shall be considered in place of a current certificate of vaccination.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.67; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.97; 1988, c. 538, § 3.1-796.97:1; 1992, c. 294; 1993, c. 817; 1994, c. 636; 1996, c. 351; 1998, c. 817; 2006, c. 836; 2008, c. 860; 2009, c. 756; 2010, cc. 182, 834; 2013, c. 286.

§ 3.2-6522. Rabid animals.

A. When there is sufficient reason to believe that the risk of exposure to rabies is elevated, the governing body of any locality may enact, and the local health director may recommend, an emergency ordinance that shall become effective immediately upon passage, requiring owners of all dogs and cats therein to keep the same confined on their premises unless leashed under restraint of the owner in such a manner that persons or animals will not be subject to the danger of being bitten by a rabid animal. Any such emergency ordinance enacted pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be operative for a period not to exceed 30 days unless renewed by the governing body of such locality in consultation with the local health director. The governing body of any locality shall also have the power and authority to pass ordinances restricting the running at large in their respective jurisdiction of dogs and cats that have not been inoculated or vaccinated against rabies and to provide penalties for the violation thereof.

B. Any dog or cat showing active signs of rabies or suspected of having rabies that is not known to have exposed a person, companion animal, or livestock to rabies shall be confined under competent observation for such a time as may be necessary to determine a diagnosis. If, in the discretion of the local health director, confinement is impossible or impracticable, such dog or cat shall be euthanized by one of the methods approved by the State Veterinarian as provided in § 3.2-6546. The disposition of other animals showing active signs of rabies shall be determined by the local health director and may include euthanasia and testing.

C. Every person having knowledge of the existence of an animal that is suspected to be rabid and that may have exposed a person, companion animal, or livestock to rabies shall report immediately to the local health department the existence of such animal, the place where seen, the owner's name, if known, and the signs suggesting rabies.

D. Any dog or cat for which no proof of current rabies vaccination is available and that may have been exposed to rabies through a bite, or through saliva or central nervous system tissue, in a fresh open wound or mucous membrane, by an animal suspected to be rabid shall be isolated in a public animal shelter, kennel, or enclosure approved by the local health department for a period not to exceed six months at the expense of the owner or custodian in a manner and by a date certain as determined by the local health director. A rabies vaccination shall be administered by a licensed veterinarian prior to release. Inactivated rabies vaccine may be administered at the beginning of isolation. Any dog or cat so bitten, or exposed to rabies through saliva or central nervous system tissue, in a fresh open wound or mucous membrane with proof of current vaccination, shall be revaccinated by a licensed veterinarian immediately following the exposure and shall be confined to the premises of the owner or custodian, or other site as may be approved by the local health department at the expense of the owner or custodian, for a period of 45 days. If the local health director determines that isolation is not feasible or maintained, such dog or cat shall be euthanized by one of the methods approved by the State Veterinarian as provided in § 3.2-6546. The disposition of such dogs or cats not so confined shall be at the discretion of the local health director.

E. At the discretion of the local health director, any animal that may have exposed a person shall be confined under competent observation for 10 days at the expense of the owner or custodian, unless the animal develops active signs of rabies, expires, or is euthanized before that time. A seriously injured or sick animal may be euthanized as provided in § 3.2-6546. When determining whether a dog that has bitten a person shall be so confined, the health director shall weigh any proof that the dog has current certificates for both (i) rabies vaccination and (ii) special training for police work, military work, or work as a first responder.

F. When any suspected rabid animal, other than a dog or cat, exposes or may have exposed a person to rabies through a bite, or through saliva or central nervous system tissue, in a fresh open wound or mucous membrane, decisions regarding the disposition of that animal shall be at the discretion of a local health director and may include euthanasia as provided in § 3.2-6546, or as directed by the state agency with jurisdiction over that species. When any animal, other than a dog or cat, is exposed or may have been exposed to rabies through a bite, or through saliva or central nervous system tissue, in a fresh open wound or mucous membrane, by an animal suspected to be rabid, decisions regarding the disposition of that newly exposed animal shall be at the discretion of a local health director.

G. When any animal may have exposed a person to rabies and subsequently expires due to illness or euthanasia, either within an observation period, where applicable, or as part of a public health investigation, its head or brain shall be sent to the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services of the Department of General Services or be tested as directed by the local health department.

1984, cc. 492, 527, § 29-213.68; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.98; 1988, c. 538; 1991, c. 380; 2003, c. 479; 2008, c. 860; 2010, c. 834; 2014, c. 148; 2018, c. 93.

§ 3.2-6523. Inoculation for rabies at public or private animal shelters.

Dogs and cats being adopted from a public or private animal shelter during the period an emergency ordinance is in force, as provided for in § 3.2-6522, may be inoculated for rabies by a certified animal technician at such shelter if the certified animal technician is under the immediate and direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

1984, c. 384, § 29-213.68:1; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.99; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6524. Unlicensed dogs prohibited; ordinances for licensing cats.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person other than a releasing agency that has registered as such annually with local animal control to own a dog four months old or older in the Commonwealth unless such dog is licensed, as required by the provisions of this article.

B. The governing body of any locality may, by ordinance, prohibit any person other than a releasing agency that has registered as such annually with local animal control from owning a cat four months old or older within such locality unless such cat is licensed as provided by this article.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.55; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.85; 1988, c. 538; 1993, c. 817; 2007, c. 640; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6525. Regulations to prevent spread of rabies.

A. The governing body of any locality may adopt such ordinances, regulations or other measures as may be deemed reasonably necessary to prevent the spread within its boundaries of the disease of rabies. Penalties may be provided for the violation of any such ordinances. If the ordinance declares the existence of an emergency, then the ordinance shall be in force upon passage.

B. The governing body of any locality may adopt an ordinance creating a program for the distribution of oral rabies vaccine within its boundaries to prevent the spread of rabies. An ordinance enacted pursuant to this subsection on or after July 1, 2010, shall be developed in consultation with the Department of Health and with written authorization from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in accordance with § 29.1-508.1 and shall contain the following provisions:

1. Notice shall be given to the owner or occupant of property prior to the entry upon the property for the purpose of the distribution of oral rabies vaccine or the use of any other methods to place oral rabies vaccine on the property. Notice shall be given by: (i) sending two letters by first-class mail, at successive intervals of not less than two weeks set forth in the ordinance; and (ii) printing a copy thereof, at least once, in a newspaper of general circulation in the locality concerned. Written notice shall be in a form approved by the governing body and shall include a description of the purpose for which entry upon the property is to be made, the time and method of rabies vaccine distribution at the property, and the submission deadline for requests by any owner or occupant of property who wishes to be excluded from the oral rabies vaccine distribution program.

2. The owner or occupant of property may refuse to allow the distribution of oral rabies vaccine upon such property. The ordinance shall establish procedures to be followed by any owner or occupant who wishes to be excluded from the oral rabies vaccine distribution program, including the time and method by which requests for nonparticipation must be received. If the governing body receives a request for nonparticipation by the owner or occupant of property for the distribution of oral rabies vaccine, no further action shall be taken to distribute oral vaccine, on such property for a period of one year.

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit any authority for the distribution of oral rabies vaccine otherwise provided by law.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.69; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.100; 2001, c. 674; 2008, c. 860; 2010, c. 834.

§ 3.2-6526. What dog or cat license shall consist of.

A. A dog or cat license shall consist of a license receipt and a metal tag. The tag shall be stamped or otherwise permanently marked to show the jurisdiction issuing the license and bear a serial number or other identifying information prescribed by the locality.

B. No license tag shall be issued for any dog or cat unless there is presented, to the treasurer or other officer of the locality, or other agent charged by law with the duty of issuing license tags for dogs and cats, satisfactory evidence that such dog or cat has been inoculated or vaccinated against rabies by a currently licensed veterinarian or currently licensed veterinary technician who was under the immediate and direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian on the premises.

1984, c. 492, §§ 29-213.60, 29-213.67; 1987, c. 488, §§ 3.1-796.90, 3.1-796.97; 1993, c. 817; 1996, c. 351; 1998, c. 394; 2006, c. 836; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6527. How to obtain license.

Any person may obtain a dog license or cat license if required by an ordinance adopted pursuant to subsection B of § 3.2-6524, by making oral or written application to the treasurer of the locality where such person resides, accompanied by the amount of license tax and current certificate of vaccination as required by this article or satisfactory evidence that such certificate has been obtained. The treasurer or other officer charged with the duty of issuing dog and cat licenses shall only have authority to license dogs and cats of resident owners or custodians who reside within the boundary limits of his county or city and may require information to this effect from any applicant. Upon receipt of proper application and current certificate of vaccination as required by this article or satisfactory evidence that such certificate has been obtained, the treasurer or other officer charged with the duty of issuing dog and cat licenses shall issue a license receipt for the amount on which he shall record the name and address of the owner or custodian, the date of payment, the years for which issued, the serial number of the tag, whether dog or cat, whether male or female, whether spayed or neutered, or whether a kennel, and deliver the metal license tags or plates provided for in § 3.2-6526. The information thus received shall be retained by the treasurer, open to public inspection, during the period for which such license is valid. The treasurer may establish substations in convenient locations in the county or city and appoint agents for the collection of the license tax and issuance of such licenses.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.56; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.86; 1991, c. 77; 1993, c. 817; 2006, c. 836; 2008, c. 860; 2017, cc. 559, 567.

§ 3.2-6528. Amount of license tax.

The governing body of each county or city shall impose by ordinance a license tax on the ownership of dogs within its jurisdiction. The governing body of any locality that has adopted an ordinance pursuant to subsection B of § 3.2-6524 shall impose by ordinance a license tax on the ownership of cats within its jurisdiction. The governing body may establish different rates of taxation for ownership of female dogs, male dogs, spayed or neutered dogs, female cats, male cats, and spayed or neutered cats. The tax for each dog or cat shall not be more than $10 for each year or $50 for a lifetime license issued pursuant to subsection B of § 3.2-6530. If the dog or cat has been spayed, the tax shall not exceed the tax provided for a male dog or cat. Any ordinance may provide for an annual license tax for kennels of 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 dogs or cats not to exceed $50 for any one such block of kennels.

No license tax shall be levied on any dog that is trained and serves as (i) a guide dog for a blind person, (ii) a hearing dog for a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, or (iii) a service dog for a mobility-impaired or otherwise disabled person.

As used in this section, "hearing dog," "mobility-impaired person," "otherwise disabled person," and "service dog" have the same meanings as assigned in § 51.5-40.1.

1984, cc. 248, 492, § 29-213.57; 1986, c. 169; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.87; 1993, c. 817; 1994, c. 108; 2006, c. 836; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 616; 2017, cc. 559, 567; 2019, c. 288.

§ 3.2-6529. Veterinarians to provide treasurer with rabies certificate information; civil penalty.

A. Each veterinarian who vaccinates a dog against rabies or directs a veterinary technician in his employ to vaccinate a dog against rabies shall provide the owner a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate. The veterinarian shall forward within 45 days a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate or the relevant information contained in such certificate to the treasurer of the locality where the vaccination occurs.

The rabies vaccination certificate shall include at a minimum the signature of the veterinarian, the animal owner's name and address, the species of the animal, the sex, the age, the color, the primary breed, whether or not the animal is spayed or neutered, the vaccination number, and expiration date. The rabies vaccination certificate shall indicate the locality where the animal resides.

B. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of each vaccinated animal that is not already licensed to apply for a license for the vaccinated dog. Beginning January 1, 2008, if the treasurer determines, from review of the rabies vaccination information provided by veterinarians, that the owner of an unlicensed dog has failed to apply for a license within 90 days of the date of vaccination, the treasurer shall transmit an application to the owner and request the owner to submit a completed application and pay the appropriate fee. Upon receipt of the completed application and payment of the license fee, the treasurer or other agent charged with the duty of issuing the dog licenses shall issue a license receipt and a permanent tag. The treasurer shall retain only the information that is required to be collected and open to public inspection pursuant to the provisions of this Chapter and shall forthwith destroy any rabies vaccination certificate or other similar record transmitted by a veterinarian to a treasurer pursuant to this section.

The treasurer shall remit any rabies vaccination certificate received for any animal owned by an individual residing in another locality to the local treasurer for the appropriate locality.

Any veterinarian that willfully fails to provide the treasurer of any locality with a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate or the information contained in such certificate may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10 per certificate. Monies raised pursuant to this subsection shall be placed in the locality's general fund for the purpose of animal control activities including spay or neuter programs.

2006, c. 836, § 3.1-796.87:1; 2007, c. 270; 2008, cc. 16, 860.

§ 3.2-6530. When license tax payable.

A. The license tax as prescribed in § 3.2-6528 is due not later than 30 days after a dog or cat has reached the age of four months, or not later than 30 days after an owner acquires a dog or cat four months of age or older, and each year thereafter.

Licensing periods for individual dogs and cats may be equal to and may run concurrently with the rabies vaccination effective period.

B. The governing body of a county or city may by ordinance provide for a lifetime dog or cat license. Such a license shall be valid only as long as the animal's owner resides in the issuing locality and the animal's rabies vaccination is kept current.

C. Any kennel license tax prescribed pursuant to § 3.2-6528 shall be due on January 1 and not later than January 31 of each year.

1984, cc. 248, 492, § 29-213.58; 1986, c. 169; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.88; 1990, c. 365; 1993, c. 817; 2006, c. 836; 2008, c. 860; 2017, cc. 559, 567.

§ 3.2-6531. Displaying receipts; dogs to wear tags.

Dog and cat license receipts shall be carefully preserved by the licensees and exhibited promptly on request for inspection by any animal control officer or other officer. Dog license tags shall be securely fastened to a substantial collar by the owner or custodian and worn by such dog. It shall be unlawful for the owner to permit any licensed dog four months old or older to run or roam at large at any time without a license tag. The owner of the dog may remove the collar and license tag required by this section when: (i) the dog is engaged in lawful hunting; (ii) the dog is competing in a dog show; (iii) the dog has a skin condition that would be exacerbated by the wearing of a collar; (iv) the dog is confined; or (v) the dog is under the immediate control of its owner.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.62; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.92; 1990, c. 365; 1993, c. 817; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6532. Duplicate license tags.

If a dog or cat license tag is lost, destroyed or stolen, the owner or custodian shall at once apply to the treasurer or his agent who issued the original license for a duplicate license tag, presenting the original license receipt. Upon affidavit of the owner or custodian before the treasurer or his agent that the original license tag has been lost, destroyed or stolen, he shall issue a duplicate license tag that the owner or custodian shall immediately affix to the collar of the dog. The treasurer or his agent shall endorse the number of the duplicate and the date issued on the face of the original license receipt. The fee for a duplicate tag for any dog or cat shall not exceed $1.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.61; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.91; 1993, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2017, cc. 559, 567.

§ 3.2-6533. Effect of dog or cat not wearing a license tag as evidence.

Any dog or cat not wearing a collar bearing a valid license tag shall prima facie be deemed to be unlicensed, and in any proceedings under this chapter the burden of proof of the fact that such dog or cat has been licensed, or is otherwise not required to bear a tag at the time, shall be on the owner of the dog or cat.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.59; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.89; 1993, c. 817; 2006, c. 836; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6534. Disposition of funds.

Unless otherwise provided by ordinance of the local governing body, the treasurer of each locality shall keep all moneys collected by him for dog and cat license taxes in a separate account from all other funds collected by him. The locality shall use the funds for the following purposes:

1. The salary and expenses of the animal control officer and necessary staff;

2. The care and maintenance of a public animal shelter;

3. The maintenance of a rabies control program;

4. Payments as a bounty to any person neutering or spaying a dog up to the amount of one year of the license tax as provided by ordinance;

5. Payments for compensation as provided in § 3.2-6553; and

6. Efforts to promote sterilization of dogs and cats.

Any part or all of any surplus remaining in such account on December 31 of any year may be transferred by the governing body of such locality into the general fund of such locality.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.70; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.101; 1993, c. 959; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6535. Supplemental funds.

Localities may supplement the dog and cat license tax fund with other funds as they consider appropriate. Localities shall supplement the dog and cat license tax fund to the extent necessary to provide for the salary and expenses of the animal control officer and staff and the care and maintenance of a public animal shelter as provided in subdivisions 1 and 2 of § 3.2-6534.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.71; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.102; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6536. Payment of license tax subsequent to summons.

Payment of the license tax subsequent to a summons to appear before a court for failure to pay the license tax within the time required shall not operate to relieve such owner from the penalties or court costs provided under § 16.1-69.48:1 or 17.1-275.7.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.72; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.103; 2008, c. 860; 2009, c. 756.

Article 6. Authority of Local Governing Bodies.

§ 3.2-6537. Ordinances; penalties.

The governing body of any locality may, by ordinance, require a person operating a pet shop or operating as a dealer in companion animals to obtain a permit. Such local governing body may charge no more than $50 per year for such permit. The revenues derived therefrom shall be used for the administration and enforcement of such ordinance.

The aforementioned ordinance may provide: (i) that records be kept by the permittees as are deemed necessary; (ii) for public hearing prior to issuance, renewal or revocation of any such permit; or (iii) for the denial of issuance, denial of renewal or for the revocation of such permit for fraudulent practices or inhumane treatment of the animals dealt with by the permittee.

The ordinance may provide for either a criminal penalty not to exceed a Class 3 misdemeanor or a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for any violation of the ordinance. Any civil penalties collected shall be deposited by the local treasurer pursuant to § 3.2-6534.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.54; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.84; 2005, c. 307; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6537.1. Cash bond for a pet shop obtaining certain dogs.

A. The governing body of any locality may, by ordinance, require any pet shop offering for sale dogs procured from outside of the Commonwealth to furnish a cash bond, cash equivalent bond, or acceptable letter of credit of not less than $5,000 for a pet shop maintaining for sale an average of 50 or fewer dogs per year and not more than $30,000 for a pet shop maintaining for sale an average of 51 or more dogs per year. A locality may reduce or waive such bond requirement at its discretion.

B. A locality may terminate the bond requirement for a pet shop if such pet shop has operated without interruption for 10 years and the locality has not, during that period, called in whole or in part the cash bond, cash equivalent bond, or acceptable letter of credit.

C. If a pet shop ceases business operations, the locality shall have the right to call any bond provided by the pet shop and utilize the resulting funds as reasonably necessary to protect the welfare of the animals or fish from the bonding pet shop.

2018, c. 272.

§ 3.2-6538. Governing body of any locality may prohibit dogs from running at large; civil penalty.

Any locality may by ordinance prohibit the running at large of all or any category of dogs, except dogs used for hunting, in all or any designated portion of such locality during such months as it may designate. Any such locality may also require that dogs be confined, restricted, or penned up during such periods. For the purpose of this section, a dog shall be deemed to run at large while roaming or running off the property of its owner or custodian and not under its owner's or custodian's immediate control. Any person who permits his dog to run at large or remain unconfined, unrestricted, or not penned up shall be deemed to have violated an ordinance adopted pursuant to the provisions of this section. Such ordinance shall provide that the owner or custodian of any dog found running at large in a pack shall be subject to a civil penalty in an amount established by the locality not to exceed $100 per dog so found. For the purpose of such ordinance, a dog shall be deemed to be running at large in a pack if it is running at large in the company of one or more other dogs that are also running at large. Any civil penalty collected pursuant to such ordinance shall be deposited by the treasurer of the locality pursuant to the provisions of § 3.2-6534.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.63; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.93; 2008, c. 860; 2019, c. 562.

§ 3.2-6539. Ordinance requiring dogs to be kept on leash.

The governing body of any locality may adopt ordinances requiring that dogs within any such locality be kept on a leash or otherwise restrained and may, by resolution directed to the circuit court, request the court to order a referendum as to whether any such ordinance so adopted shall become effective. Such referendum shall be held and conducted, and the results thereof ascertained and certified in accordance with § 24.2-684. The court shall require the governing body to give appropriate notice of the time, place and subject matter of such referendum.

The results of the referendum shall not be binding upon the governing body of the locality but may be used in ascertaining the sense of the voters.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.65; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.95; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6540. Control of dangerous dogs; penalties.

A. As used in this section, "dangerous dog" means:

1. A canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a companion animal that is a dog or cat or killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat. A canine or canine crossbreed is not a dangerous dog if, upon investigation, a law-enforcement officer or animal control officer finds that (i) no serious physical injury, as determined by a licensed veterinarian, has occurred to the dog or cat as a result of the attack or bite; (ii) both animals are owned by the same person; or (iii) such attack occurred on the property of the attacking or biting dog's owner or custodian; or

2. A canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person. A canine or canine crossbreed is not a dangerous dog if, upon investigation, a law-enforcement officer or animal control officer finds that the injury inflicted by the canine or canine crossbreed upon a person consists solely of a single nip or bite resulting only in a scratch, abrasion, or other minor injury.

B. No dog shall be found to be a dangerous dog as a result of biting, attacking, or inflicting injury on a dog or cat while engaged with an owner or custodian as part of lawful hunting or participating in an organized, lawful dog handling event. No dog shall be found to be a dangerous dog if the court determines, based on the totality of the evidence before it, or for other good cause, that the dog is not dangerous or a threat to the community.

C. Any law-enforcement officer or animal control officer who has reason to believe that a canine or canine crossbreed within his jurisdiction is a dangerous dog may apply to a magistrate serving the jurisdiction for the issuance of a summons requiring the owner or custodian, if known, to appear before a general district court at a specified time. The summons shall advise the owner of the nature of the proceeding and the matters at issue. If a law-enforcement officer successfully makes an application for the issuance of a summons, he shall contact the local animal control officer and inform him of the location of the dog and the relevant facts pertaining to his belief that the dog is dangerous. The animal control officer shall confine the animal until such time as evidence shall be heard and a verdict rendered. If the animal control officer determines that the owner or custodian can confine the animal in a manner that protects the public safety, he may permit the owner or custodian to confine the animal until such time as evidence shall be heard and a verdict rendered. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner, custodian, or harborer of the animal to produce the animal.

D. If, after hearing the evidence, the court finds that the animal is a dangerous dog, the court shall order the animal's owner to comply with the provisions of this section. The court, upon finding the animal to be a dangerous dog, may order the owner, custodian, or harborer thereof to pay restitution for actual damages to any person injured by the animal or whose companion animal was injured or killed by the animal. The court, in its discretion, may also order the owner to pay all reasonable expenses incurred in caring and providing for such dangerous dog from the time the animal is taken into custody until such time as the animal is disposed of or returned to the owner.

E. If, after hearing the evidence, the court decides to defer further proceedings without entering an adjudication that the animal is a dangerous dog, it may do so, notwithstanding any other provision of this section. A court that defers further proceedings shall place specific conditions upon the owner of the dog. If the owner violates any of the conditions, the court may enter an adjudication that the animal is a dangerous dog and proceed as otherwise provided in this section. Upon fulfillment of the conditions, the court shall dismiss the proceedings against the animal and the owner without an adjudication that the animal is a dangerous dog.

F. 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.

G. No canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a dangerous dog solely because it is a particular breed, nor is the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed prohibited.

H. No animal shall be found to be a dangerous dog if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained by a person who was (i) committing, at the time, a crime upon the premises occupied by the animal's owner or custodian; (ii) committing, at the time, a willful trespass upon the premises occupied by the animal's owner or custodian; or (iii) provoking, tormenting, or physically abusing the animal, or can be shown to have repeatedly provoked, tormented, abused, or assaulted the animal at other times. No police dog that was engaged in the performance of its duties as such at the time of the acts complained of shall be found to be a dangerous dog. No animal that, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, a person, or its owner's or custodian's property, shall be found to be a dangerous dog.

I. If the owner of an animal found to be a dangerous dog is a minor, the custodial parent or legal guardian shall be responsible for complying with all requirements of this section.

J. The owner of any animal found to be a dangerous dog shall, within 30 days of such finding, obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate from the local animal control officer or treasurer for a fee of $150, in addition to other fees that may be authorized by law. The local animal control officer or treasurer shall also 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. By January 31 of each year, until such time as the dangerous dog is deceased, all certificates obtained pursuant to this subsection shall be updated and renewed for a fee of $85 and in the same manner as the initial certificate was obtained. The animal control officer shall post registration information on the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry.

K. All dangerous dog registration certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this section shall only be issued to persons 18 years of age or older who present satisfactory evidence (i) of the animal's current rabies vaccination, if applicable; (ii) that the animal has been neutered or spayed; and (iii) that the animal is and will be confined in a proper enclosure or is and will be confined inside the owner's residence or is and will be muzzled and confined in the owner's fenced-in yard until the proper enclosure is constructed. In addition, owners who apply for certificates or renewals thereof under this section shall not be issued a certificate or renewal thereof unless they present satisfactory evidence that (a) their residence is and will continue to be posted with clearly visible signs warning both minors and adults of the presence of a dangerous dog on the property and (b) the animal has been permanently identified by means of electronic implantation. All certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this section shall only be issued to persons who present satisfactory evidence that the owner has 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, in lieu of liability insurance, to the value of at least $100,000.

L. While on the property of its owner, an animal found to be a dangerous dog shall be confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked structure of sufficient height and design to prevent its escape or direct contact with or entry by minors, adults, or other animals. While so confined within the structure, the animal shall be provided for according to § 3.2-6503. When off its owner's property, an animal found to be a dangerous dog shall be kept on a leash and muzzled in such a manner as not to cause injury to the animal or interfere with the animal's vision or respiration, but so as to prevent it from biting a person or another animal.

M. The owner shall cause the local animal control officer to be promptly notified of (i) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all owners; (ii) all of the means necessary to locate the owner and the dog at any time; (iii) any complaints or incidents of attack by the dog upon any person or cat or dog; (iv) any claims made or lawsuits brought as a result of any attack; (v) chip identification information; (vi) proof of insurance or surety bond; and (vii) the death of the dog.

N. After an animal has been found to be a dangerous dog, the animal's owner shall immediately, upon learning of same, cause the local animal control authority to be notified if the animal (i) is loose or unconfined; (ii) bites a person or attacks another animal; or (iii) is sold, is given away, or dies. Any owner of a dangerous dog who relocates to a new address shall, within 10 days of relocating, provide written notice to the appropriate local animal control authority for the old address from which the animal has moved and the new address to which the animal has been moved.

O. Any owner or custodian of a canine or canine crossbreed or other animal is guilty of a:

1. Class 2 misdemeanor if the canine or canine crossbreed previously declared a dangerous dog pursuant to this section, when such declaration arose out of a separate and distinct incident, attacks and injures or kills a cat or dog that is a companion animal belonging to another person;

2. Class 1 misdemeanor if the canine or canine crossbreed previously declared a dangerous dog pursuant to this section, when such declaration arose out of a separate and distinct incident, bites a human being or attacks a human being causing bodily injury; or

3. Class 6 felony if any owner or custodian whose willful act or omission in the care, control, or containment of a canine, canine crossbreed, or other animal is so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, and is the proximate cause of such dog or other animal attacking and causing serious bodily injury to any person.

The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any animal that, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, a person, or its owner's or custodian's property, or when the animal is a police dog that is engaged in the performance of its duties at the time of the attack.

P. The owner of any animal that has been found to be a dangerous dog who willfully fails to comply with the requirements of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Whenever an owner or custodian of an animal found to be a dangerous dog is charged with a violation of this section, the animal control officer shall confine the dangerous dog until such time as evidence shall be heard and a verdict rendered. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner, custodian, or harborer of the animal to produce the animal.

Upon conviction, the court may (i) order the dangerous dog to be disposed of by a local governing body pursuant to § 3.2-6562 or (ii) grant the owner up to 30 days to comply with the requirements of this section, during which time the dangerous dog shall remain in the custody of the animal control officer until compliance has been verified. If the owner fails to achieve compliance within the time specified by the court, the court shall order the dangerous dog to be disposed of by a local governing body pursuant to § 3.2-6562. The court, in its discretion, may order the owner to pay all reasonable expenses incurred in caring and providing for such dangerous dog from the time the animal is taken into custody until such time that the animal is disposed of or returned to the owner.

Q. All fees collected pursuant to this section, less the costs incurred by the animal control authority in producing and distributing the certificates and tags required by this section and fees due to the State Veterinarian for maintenance of the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry, shall be paid into a special dedicated fund in the treasury of the locality for the purpose of paying the expenses of any training course required under § 3.2-6556.

R. The governing body of any locality may enact an ordinance parallel to this statute regulating dangerous dogs. No locality may impose a felony penalty for violation of such ordinances.

1993, c. 977, § 3.1-796.93:1; 1994, c. 115; 1997, cc. 582, 892; 1998, c. 817; 2000, cc. 11, 727; 2003, cc. 785, 841; 2006, cc. 837, 864, 898; 2008, cc. 360, 551, 691, 860; 2009, c. 377; 2012, cc. 107, 236; 2013, cc. 58, 732; 2017, c. 396; 2019, c. 190.

§ 3.2-6540.1. Vicious dogs; penalties.

A. As used in this section:

"Serious injury" means an injury having a reasonable potential to cause death or any injury other than a sprain or strain, including serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of bodily function and requiring significant medical attention.

"Vicious dog" means a canine or canine crossbreed that has (i) killed a person, (ii) inflicted serious injury to a person, or (iii) continued to exhibit the behavior that resulted in a previous finding by a court or, on or before July 1, 2006, by an animal control officer as authorized by ordinance that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.

B. Any law-enforcement officer or animal control officer who has reason to believe that a canine or canine crossbreed within his jurisdiction is a vicious dog shall apply to a magistrate serving the jurisdiction for the issuance of a summons requiring the owner or custodian, if known, to appear before a general district court at a specified time. The summons shall advise the owner of the nature of the proceeding and the matters at issue. If a law-enforcement officer successfully makes an application for the issuance of a summons, he shall contact the local animal control officer and inform him of the location of the dog and the relevant facts pertaining to his belief that the dog is vicious. The animal control officer shall confine the animal until such time as evidence shall be heard and a verdict rendered. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner, custodian, or harborer of the animal to produce the animal. If, after hearing the evidence, the court finds that the animal is a vicious dog, the court shall order the animal euthanized in accordance with the provisions of § 3.2-6562. The court, upon finding the animal to be a vicious dog, may order the owner, custodian, or harborer thereof to pay restitution for actual damages to any person injured by the animal or to the estate of any person killed by the animal. The court, in its discretion, may also order the owner to pay all reasonable expenses incurred in caring and providing for such vicious dog from the time the animal is taken into custody until such time as the animal is disposed of. 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.

C. No canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a vicious dog solely because it is a particular breed, nor is the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed prohibited. No animal shall be found to be a vicious dog if the threat, injury, or damage was sustained by a person who was (i) committing, at the time, a crime upon the premises occupied by the animal's owner or custodian; (ii) committing, at the time, a willful trespass upon the premises occupied by the animal's owner or custodian; or (iii) provoking, tormenting, or physically abusing the animal, or can be shown to have repeatedly provoked, tormented, abused, or assaulted the animal at other times. No police dog that was engaged in the performance of its duties as such at the time of the acts complained of shall be found to be a vicious dog. No animal that, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, a person, or its owner's or custodian's property, shall be found to be a vicious dog.

D. Any owner or custodian of a canine or canine crossbreed or other animal whose willful act or omission in the care, control, or containment of a canine, canine crossbreed, or other animal is so gross, wanton, and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life and is the proximate cause of such dog or other animal attacking and causing serious injury to any person is guilty of a Class 6 felony. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any animal that, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, a person, or its owner's or custodian's property, or when the animal is a police dog that is engaged in the performance of its duties at the time of the attack.

E. The governing body of any locality may enact an ordinance parallel to this statute regulating vicious dogs. No locality may impose a felony penalty for violation of such ordinances.

2013, cc. 58, 732.

§ 3.2-6541. Authority to prohibit training of attack dogs.

Fairfax County may enact an ordinance that prohibits persons from training dogs on residential property to attack. As used in this section, "attack" means to attack or respond aggressively, either with or without command. Any such ordinance shall exempt from its provisions the training of dogs owned by any person who resides on the property.

1999, c. 848, § 3.1-796.93:2; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6542. Establishment of Dangerous Dog Registry.

The Commissioner shall establish the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry to be maintained by the Department, Office of Animal Care and Health Policy. The State Veterinarian shall maintain information provided and posted by animal control officers or other such officials statewide on a website. All information collected for the Dangerous Dog Registry shall be available to animal control officers via the website. Registration information shall include the name of the animal, a photograph, sex, age, weight, primary breed, secondary breed, color and markings, whether spayed or neutered, the acts that resulted in the dog being designated as dangerous and associated trial docket information, microchip or tattoo number, address where the animal is maintained, name of the owner, address of the owner, telephone numbers of the owner, and a statement that the owner has complied with the provisions of the dangerous dog order. The address of the owner along with the name and breed of the dangerous dog, the acts that resulted in the dog being deemed dangerous, and information necessary to access court records of the adjudication shall be available to the general public. By January 31 of each year, until such time as the dangerous dog is deceased, the owner shall submit to an animal control officer or other designated local official of the county or city in which he currently resides a renewal registration that shall include all information contained in the original registration and any updates. The owner shall verify the information is accurate by annual resubmissions. The animal control officer or other such official shall post any updates on the website. In the event that the dangerous dog is moved to a different location, or contact information for the owner changes in any way at any time, the owner shall submit a renewal containing the address of the new location or other updated information within 10 days of such move or change to an animal control officer or other such official for the new location. There shall be no charge for any updated information provided between renewals. Each county and city shall submit to the State Veterinarian by January 31 of each year $90 for each dangerous dog it initially registered and $25 for each dangerous dog for which it renewed registration within the previous calendar year. Any funds collected pursuant to this section shall be used by the State Veterinarian to maintain the registry and website. The website list shall be known as the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry.

Actions of the Department relating to the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry under this section shall be exempt from the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

Copies of all records, documents, and other papers pertaining to the Dangerous Dog Registry that are duly certified and authenticated in writing on the face of such documents to be true copies by the State Veterinarian or the Dangerous Dog Registry administrator shall be received as evidence with like effect as the original records, documents, or other papers in all courts of the Commonwealth.

2006, cc. 837, 864, 898, § 3.1-796.93:3; 2008, c. 860; 2009, c. 354; 2012, cc. 107, 236.

§ 3.2-6543. Governing body of any locality may adopt certain ordinances.

A. The governing body of any locality of the Commonwealth may adopt, and make more stringent, ordinances that parallel §§ 3.2-6521 through 3.2-6539, 3.2-6546 through 3.2-6555, 3.2-6562, 3.2-6569, 3.2-6570, 3.2-6574 through 3.2-6580, and 3.2-6585 through 3.2-6590. Any town may choose to adopt by reference any ordinance of the surrounding county adopted under this section to be applied within its town limits, in lieu of adopting an ordinance of its own.

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.

B. Any locality may, by ordinance, establish uniform schedules of civil penalties for violations of specific provisions of ordinances adopted pursuant to this section. Civil penalties may not be imposed for violations of ordinances that parallel § 3.2-6570. 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 locality 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.

1976, c. 182, § 15.1-29.1:1; 1984, c. 492, § 29-213.64; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.94; 1993, c. 959; 1994, cc. 115, 630; 1995, c. 832; 1997, c. 587; 1998, c. 817; 2005, c. 304; 2008, c. 860; 2009, c. 107.

§ 3.2-6544. Regulation of keeping of animals and fowl.

A. Any locality may, 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 locality 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.

Code 1950 §§ 15-20.1, 15-20.2; 1952, c. 694; 1954, c. 94; 1962, c. 623, §§ 15.1-517, 15.1-870; 1997, cc. 411, 587, § 3.1-796.94:1; 1999, c. 663; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6545. Regulation of sale of animals procured from animal shelters.

Any locality that maintains or supports, in whole or in part, a public or private animal shelter may by ordinance provide that no person who acquires an animal from such shelter shall be able to sell the animal within a period of six months from the time the animal is acquired from the shelter. Violation of the ordinance is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

1972, c. 347, § 15.1-517.1; 1997, c. 587, § 3.1-796.94:2; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6546. County or city public animal shelters; confinement and disposition of animals; affiliation with foster care providers; penalties; injunctive relief.

A. For purposes of this section:

"Animal" shall not include agricultural animals.

"Rightful owner" means a person with a right of property in the animal.

B. The governing body of each county or city shall maintain or cause to be maintained a public animal shelter and shall require dogs running at large without the tag required by § 3.2-6531 or in violation of an ordinance passed pursuant to § 3.2-6538 to be confined therein. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit confinement of other companion animals in such a shelter. The governing body of any county or city need not own the facility required by this section but may contract for its establishment with a private group or in conjunction with one or more other local governing bodies. The governing body shall require that:

1. The public animal shelter shall be accessible to the public at reasonable hours during the week;

2. The public animal shelter shall obtain a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, or animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and each shelter shall update such statement as changes occur;

3. If a person contacts the public animal shelter inquiring about a lost companion animal, the shelter shall advise the person if the companion animal is confined at the shelter or if a companion animal of similar description is confined at the shelter;

4. The public animal shelter shall maintain a written record of the information on each companion animal submitted to the shelter by a private animal shelter in accordance with subsection D of § 3.2-6548 for a period of 30 days from the date the information is received by the shelter. If a person contacts the shelter inquiring about a lost companion animal, the shelter shall check its records and make available to such person any information submitted by a private animal shelter or allow such person inquiring about a lost animal to view the written records;

5. The public animal shelter shall maintain a written record of the information on each companion animal submitted to the shelter by a releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter in accordance with subdivision F 2 of § 3.2-6549 for a period of 30 days from the date the information is received by the shelter. If a person contacts the shelter inquiring about a lost companion animal, the shelter shall check its records and make available to such person any information submitted by such releasing agency or allow such person inquiring about a lost companion animal to view the written records; and

6. The public animal shelter shall maintain a written record of the information on each companion animal submitted to the shelter by an individual in accordance with subdivision A 2 of § 3.2-6551 for a period of 30 days from the date the information is received by the shelter. If a person contacts the shelter inquiring about a lost companion animal, the shelter shall check its records and make available to such person any information submitted by the individual or allow such person inquiring about a lost companion animal to view the written records.

C. An animal confined pursuant to this section shall be kept for a period of not less than five days, such period to commence on the day immediately following the day the animal is initially confined in the facility, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner thereof.

The operator or custodian of the public animal shelter shall make a reasonable effort to ascertain whether the animal has a collar, tag, license, tattoo, or other form of identification. If such identification is found on the animal, the animal shall be held for an additional five days, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner. If the rightful owner of the animal can be readily identified, the operator or custodian of the shelter shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owner of the animal's confinement within the next 48 hours following its confinement.

During the time that an animal is confined pursuant to this subsection, the operator or custodian of the public animal shelter may vaccinate the animal to prevent the risk of communicable diseases, provided that (i) all vaccines are administered in accordance with a protocol approved by a licensed veterinarian and (ii) rabies vaccines are administered by a licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician under the immediate direction and supervision of a licensed veterinarian in accordance with § 3.2-6521.

If any animal confined pursuant to this section is claimed by its rightful owner, such owner may be charged with the actual expenses incurred in keeping the animal impounded. In addition to this and any other fees that might be levied, the locality may, after a public hearing, adopt an ordinance to charge the owner of an animal a fee for impoundment and increased fees for subsequent impoundments of the same animal.

D. If an animal confined pursuant to this section has not been claimed upon expiration of the appropriate holding period as provided by subsection C, it shall be deemed abandoned and become the property of the public animal shelter.

Such animal may be euthanized in accordance with the methods approved by the State Veterinarian or disposed of by the methods set forth in subdivisions 1 through 5. No shelter shall release more than two animals or a family of animals during any 30-day period to any one person under subdivisions 2, 3, or 4.

1. Release to any humane society, public or private animal shelter, or other releasing agency within the Commonwealth, provided that each humane society, animal shelter, or other releasing agency obtains a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, or animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment and updates such statements as changes occur;

2. Adoption by a resident of the county or city where the shelter is operated and who will pay the required license fee, if any, on such animal, provided that such resident has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment;

3. Adoption by a resident of an adjacent political subdivision of the Commonwealth, if the resident has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment;

4. Adoption by any other person, provided that such person has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment and provided that no dog or cat may be adopted by any person who is not a resident of the county or city where the shelter is operated, or of an adjacent political subdivision, unless the dog or cat is first sterilized, and the shelter may require that the sterilization be done at the expense of the person adopting the dog or cat; or

5. Release for the purposes of adoption or euthanasia only, to an animal shelter, or any other releasing agency located in and lawfully operating under the laws of another state, provided that such animal shelter, or other releasing agency: (i) maintains records that would comply with § 3.2-6557; (ii) requires that adopted dogs and cats be sterilized; (iii) obtains a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, and animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and updates such statement as changes occur; and (iv) has provided to the public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency within the Commonwealth a statement signed by an authorized representative specifying the entity's compliance with clauses (i) through (iii), and the provisions of adequate care and performance of humane euthanasia, as necessary in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

For purposes of recordkeeping, release of an animal by a public animal shelter to a public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency shall be considered a transfer and not an adoption. If the animal is not first sterilized, the responsibility for sterilizing the animal transfers to the receiving entity.

Any proceeds deriving from the gift, sale, or delivery of such animals shall be paid directly to the treasurer of the locality. Any proceeds deriving from the gift, sale, or delivery of such animals by a public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency shall be paid directly to the clerk or treasurer of the animal shelter or other releasing agency for the expenses of the society and expenses incident to any agreement concerning the disposing of such animal. No part of the proceeds shall accrue to any individual except for the aforementioned purposes.

E. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the immediate euthanasia of a critically injured, critically ill, or unweaned animal for humane purposes. Any animal euthanized pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be euthanized by one of the methods prescribed or approved by the State Veterinarian.

F. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the immediate euthanasia or disposal by the methods listed in subdivisions 1 through 5 of subsection D of an animal that has been released to a public or private animal shelter, other releasing agency, or animal control officer by the animal's rightful owner after the rightful owner has read and signed a statement: (i) surrendering all property rights in such animal; (ii) stating that no other person has a right of property in the animal; and (iii) acknowledging that the animal may be immediately euthanized or disposed of in accordance with subdivisions 1 through 5 of subsection D.

G. Nothing in this section shall prohibit any feral dog or feral cat not bearing a collar, tag, tattoo, or other form of identification that, based on the written statement of a disinterested person, exhibits behavior that poses a risk of physical injury to any person confining the animal, from being euthanized after being kept for a period of not less than three days, at least one of which shall be a full business day, such period to commence on the day the animal is initially confined in the facility, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner. The statement of the disinterested person shall be kept with the animal as required by § 3.2-6557. For purposes of this subsection, a disinterested person shall not include a person releasing or reporting the animal.

H. No public animal shelter shall place a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider unless the foster care provider has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and each shelter shall update such statement as changes occur. The shelter shall maintain the original statement and any updates to such statement in accordance with this chapter and for at least so long as the shelter has an affiliation with the foster care provider.

I. A public animal shelter that places a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider shall ensure that the foster care provider complies with § 3.2-6503.

J. If a public animal shelter finds a direct and immediate threat to a companion animal placed with a foster care provider, it shall report its findings to the animal control agency in the locality where the foster care provider is located.

K. The governing body shall require that the public animal shelter be operated in accordance with regulations issued by the Board. If this chapter or such regulations are violated, the locality may be assessed a civil penalty by the Board or its designee in an amount that does not exceed $1,000 per violation. Each day of the violation is a separate offense. In determining the amount of any civil penalty, the Board or its designee shall consider: (i) the history of previous violations at the shelter; (ii) whether the violation has caused injury to, death or suffering of, an animal; and (iii) the demonstrated good faith of the locality to achieve compliance after notification of the violation. All civil penalties assessed under this section shall be recovered in a civil action brought by the Attorney General in the name of the Commonwealth. Such civil penalties shall be paid into a special fund in the state treasury to the credit of the Department to be used in carrying out the purposes of this chapter.

L. If this chapter or any laws governing public animal shelters are violated, the Commissioner may bring an action to enjoin the violation or threatened violation of this chapter or the regulations pursuant thereto regarding public animal shelters, in the circuit court where the shelter is located. The Commissioner may request the Attorney General to bring such an action, when appropriate.

1984, c. 492, §§ 29-213.36, 29-213.66; 1985, c. 21; 1987, c. 488, §§ 3.1-796.66, 3.1-796.96; 1988, c. 538; 1989, c. 344; 1991, c. 348; 1993, cc. 174, 817, 959; 1994, c. 936; 1995, c. 496; 1997, c. 159; 1998, c. 817; 1999, cc. 627, 672; 2000, c. 1010; 2002, cc. 53, 208, 787; 2003, c. 1007; 2008, cc. 345, 860; 2014, c. 148; 2018, c. 774.

§ 3.2-6547. Acceptance of animals for research or experimentation; prohibition.

No person shall use or accept for the purpose of medical research or experimentation any animal bearing a tag, license, or tattooed identification, unless the individual who owns such animal consents thereto in writing.

1990, c. 904, § 3.1-796.96:1; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6548. Private animal shelters; confinement and disposition of animals; affiliation with foster care providers; penalties; injunctive relief.

A. A private animal shelter may confine and dispose of animals in accordance with the provisions of subsections B through G of § 3.2-6546.

B. Each private animal shelter shall obtain a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, and animal caregivers specifying that the individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and each shelter shall update such statement as changes occur.

C. The State Veterinarian or his representative shall inspect a private animal shelter prior to the shelter confining or disposing of animals pursuant to this section. The shelter shall meet the requirements of all laws with regard to confinement and disposition of animals before the shelter is approved to receive animals and provide a reasonable and comfortable climate appropriate for the age, species, condition, size, and type of animal.

D. A private animal shelter that confines an animal that has not been received from its owner shall, pursuant to this section, transmit a description of the animal including at least species, color, breed, size, sex, and other identification or markings and where the animal was found, and its contact information, including its name, address, and telephone number, to the public animal shelter in the county or city where the animal was found within 48 hours of the shelter receiving the animal. A shelter that confines and disposes of animals pursuant to this subsection shall be accessible to the public at reasonable hours, shall have its telephone number and address listed in a telephone directory, and shall post its contact information, including at least its name, address, and telephone number, in the public animal shelter in the locality where the shelter is located.

E. For purposes of recordkeeping, release of an animal by a private shelter to a public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency shall be considered a transfer and not an adoption. If the animal is not first sterilized, the responsibility for sterilizing the animal transfers to the receiving entity.

F. No private animal shelter shall place a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider unless the foster care provider has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and the shelter shall update the statement as changes occur. The shelter shall maintain the original statement and any updates to such statement in accordance with this chapter and for at least so long as the shelter has an affiliation with the foster care provider.

G. A private animal shelter that places a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider shall ensure that the foster care provider complies with § 3.2-6503.

H. If a private animal shelter finds a direct and immediate threat to a companion animal placed with a foster care provider, it shall report its findings to the animal control agency in the locality where the foster care provider is located.

I. No private animal shelter shall be operated in violation of any local zoning ordinance.

J. A private animal shelter that confines and disposes of animals pursuant to this section shall be operated in accordance with this chapter. If this chapter is violated, the shelter may be assessed a civil penalty by the Board or its designee in an amount that does not exceed $1,000 per violation. Each day of the violation is a separate offense. In determining the amount of any civil penalty, the Board or its designee shall consider: (i) the history of previous violations at the shelter; (ii) whether the violation has caused injury to, death or suffering of, an animal; and (iii) the demonstrated good faith of the shelter to achieve compliance after notification of the violation. All civil penalties assessed under this section shall be recovered in a civil action brought by the Attorney General in the name of the Commonwealth. Such civil penalties shall be paid into a special fund in the state treasury to the credit of the Department to be used in carrying out the purposes of this chapter.

K. If this chapter or any laws governing private animal shelters are violated, the Commissioner may bring an action to enjoin the violation or threatened violation of this chapter or the regulations pursuant thereto regarding private animal shelters, in the circuit court where the shelter is located. The Commissioner may request the Attorney General to bring such an action, when appropriate.

2001, c. 727, § 3.1-796.96:2; 2002, cc. 53, 208, 787; 2003, cc. 770, 1007; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6549. Releasing agencies other than public or private animal shelters; confinement and disposition of companion animals; recordkeeping; affiliation with foster care providers; penalties.

A. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter:

1. May confine and dispose of companion animals in accordance with subsections B through G of § 3.2-6546 if incorporated and not operated for profit;

2. Shall keep accurate records of each companion animal received for two years from the date of disposition of the companion animal. Records shall (i) include a description of the companion animal, including species, color, breed, sex, approximate weight, age, reason for release, owner's or finder's name, address, and telephone number, and license number or other identifying tags or markings, as well as disposition of the companion animal, and (ii) be made available upon request to the Department, animal control officers, and law-enforcement officers at mutually agreeable times. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall annually submit a summary of such records to the State Veterinarian in a format prescribed by him, wherein a post office box may be substituted for a home address; and

3. Shall annually file with the State Veterinarian a copy of its intake policy.

For purposes of recordkeeping, release of a companion animal by a releasing agency to a public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency shall be considered a transfer and not an adoption. If the animal is not first sterilized, the responsibility for sterilizing the animal transfers to the receiving entity.

B. Each releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall obtain a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, or animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and each such releasing agency shall update such statement as changes occur.

C. No releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall place a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider unless the foster care provider has read and signed a statement specifying that the foster care provider has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and such releasing agency shall update the statement as changes occur. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall maintain the original statement and any updates to such statement for so long as the releasing agency has an affiliation with the foster care provider.

D. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter that places a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider shall ensure that the foster care provider complies with § 3.2-6503.

E. If a releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter finds a direct and immediate threat to a companion animal placed with a foster care provider, it shall report its findings to the animal control agency in the area where the foster care provider is located.

F. Any releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter that finds a companion animal or receives a companion animal that has not been released by its owner and (i) provides care or safekeeping or (ii) takes possession of such companion animal shall within 48 hours:

1. Make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the companion animal, if the owner can be ascertained from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other identification or markings, or if the owner of the companion animal is otherwise known to the releasing agency; and

2. Notify the public animal shelter that serves the locality where the companion animal was found and provide to the shelter contact information including at least a name and a contact telephone number, a description of the companion animal including at least species, breed, sex, size, color, information from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other identification or markings, and the location where the companion animal was found.

G. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall comply with the provisions of § 3.2-6503.

H. No releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall be operated in violation of any local zoning ordinance.

I. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter that violates any provision of this section, other than subsection G, may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $250.

2002, c. 787, § 3.1-796.96:5; 2003, cc. 770, 1007; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148; 2016, c. 678.

§ 3.2-6550. Requirements for foster homes; penalty.

In addition to any other requirements of this chapter, foster homes shall be subject to the following:

1. No foster home shall be operated in violation of any local zoning ordinance; and

2. No private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds that serves as a foster home shall keep more than 50 companion animals on site at one time.

Any foster home found in violation of this section may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $250.

2003, c. 1007, § 3.1-796.96:6; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6551. Notification by individuals finding companion animals; penalty.

A. Any individual who finds a companion animal and (i) provides care or safekeeping or (ii) retains the companion animal in such a manner as to control its activities shall within 48 hours:

1. Make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the companion animal if the owner can be ascertained from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other form of identification or markings or if the owner of the animal is otherwise known to the individual; and

2. Notify the public animal shelter that serves the locality where the companion animal was found and provide to the shelter contact information, including at least a name and a contact telephone number, a description of the animal, including information from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other identification or markings, and the location where the companion animal was found.

B. If an individual finds a companion animal and (i) provides care or safekeeping or (ii) retains the companion animal in such a manner as to control its activities, the individual shall comply with the provisions of § 3.2-6503.

C. Any individual who violates this section may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $50 per companion animal.

2003, c. 1007, § 3.1-796.96:7; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6552. Dogs killing, injuring, or chasing livestock or poultry.

A. 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 seize or 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.

B. 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 serving the locality wherein the 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 or euthanized immediately by the animal control officer or other officer designated by the court or (ii) removed to another state that does not border on the Commonwealth and prohibited from returning to the Commonwealth. Any dog ordered removed from the Commonwealth that is later found in the Commonwealth shall be ordered by a court to be killed or euthanized immediately.

C. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection B, if it is determined that the dog has killed or injured only poultry, the district court may, instead of ordering killing, euthanasia, or removal to another state pursuant to this section, order either (a) that the dog be transferred to another owner whom the court deems appropriate and permanently fitted with an identifying microchip registered to that owner or (b) that the dog be fitted with an identifying microchip registered to the owner and confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked structure of sufficient height and design to prevent the dog's escape; direct contact with the dog by minors, adults, or other animals; or entry by minors, adults, or other animals. The structure shall be designed to provide the dog with shelter from the elements of nature. When off its owner's property, any dog found to be a poultry killer shall be kept on a leash and muzzled in such a manner as not to cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration, but so as to prevent it from biting a person or another animal.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.85; 1985, c. 385; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.116; 1990, c. 222; 1993, c. 977; 1998, c. 817; 2008, cc. 551, 691, 860; 2014, c. 137; 2016, c. 757.

§ 3.2-6553. 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 $750 per animal or $10 per fowl if (i) the claimant has furnished evidence within 60 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 72 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 clause (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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.87; 1986, c. 108; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.118; 1992, c. 461; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2014, cc. 116, 160.

§ 3.2-6554. Disposal of dead companion animals.

The owner of any companion animal shall forthwith cremate, bury, or sanitarily dispose of the animal upon its death. If, after notice, any owner fails to do so, the animal control officer or other officer shall bury or cremate the companion animal, and he may recover on behalf of the local jurisdiction from the owner his cost for this service.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.90; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.121; 1993, c. 174; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

Article 7. Animal Control Officers and Humane Investigators.

§ 3.2-6555. Position of animal control officer created.

The governing body of each county or city shall, or each town may, employ 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 employ 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 knowledge of the animal control and protection laws of the Commonwealth that 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 or obtain a felony warrant as necessary, providing the execution of such warrant shall be carried out by any law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101, to any person found in the act of violating any such law or any ordinance enacted pursuant to such law of the locality where the animal control officer or deputy animal control officer is employed. Commercial dog breeding locations shall be subject to inspection by animal control at least twice annually and additionally upon receipt of a complaint or their own motion to ensure compliance with state animal care laws and regulations. The animal control officer and the deputy animal control officers shall be paid as the governing body of each locality shall prescribe.

Any locality where an animal control officer or deputy animal control officers have been employed 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 State Veterinarian, on a form provided by him, information concerning the employment and training status of the animal control officers employed by the locality. The State Veterinarian may require that the locality notify him of any change in such information.

1984, cc. 254, 492, § 29-213.73; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.104; 1998, c. 817; 2003, c. 804; 2004, c. 181; 2008, cc. 852, 860.

§ 3.2-6556. Training of animal control officers.

A. Every locality employing animal control officers shall require that every animal control officer and deputy animal control officer completes the following training:

1. A basic animal control course that has been approved by the State Veterinarian. The basic animal control course shall include training in recognizing suspected child abuse and neglect and information on how complaints may be filed and shall be approved and implemented. Any animal control officer hired on or after July 1, 1998, and before July 1, 2017, shall complete the basic animal control course within two years from the date of hire. Any animal control officer hired on or after July 1, 2017, shall complete the basic animal control course within one year from the date of hire or within two years if the officer is attending a law-enforcement academy; and

2. Every three years, additional training approved by the State Veterinarian, 15 hours of which shall be training in animal control and protection.

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 shall not apply to animal control officers or deputy animal control officers hired before July 1, 1998. The State Veterinarian may grant exemptions from the requirements of subdivision 1 to animal control officers hired on or after July 1, 1998, based on the animal control officer's previous training.

The State Veterinarian shall work to ensure the availability of these training courses through regional criminal justice training academies or other entities as approved by him. Based on information provided by authorized training entities, the State Veterinarian shall maintain the training records for all animal control officers for the purpose of documenting and ensuring that they are in compliance with this subsection.

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 for the 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.

1998, c. 817, § 3.1-796.104:1; 2002, c. 418; 2004, c. 181; 2008, c. 860; 2016, cc. 60, 172.

§ 3.2-6557. Animal control officers and humane investigators; limitations; records; penalties.

A. No animal control officer, humane investigator, humane society, or custodian of any public or private 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 that may come into his custody in the course of carrying out his official assignments. No animal control officer, humane investigator, or custodian of any public or private animal shelter shall be granted a dealer's license. Violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall preclude any animal control officer or humane investigator from lawfully impounding any animal pursuant to § 3.2-6569.

B. An animal control officer, law-enforcement officer, humane investigator, or custodian of any public or private 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, law-enforcement officer, humane investigator, or custodian of any public or private animal shelter who takes custody of animals in the course of his official duties or representative of a humane society who takes custody of animals on behalf of the society shall annually file with the State Veterinarian a copy of his intake policy.

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

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

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.74; 1986, c. 315; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.105; 1991, c. 65; 1993, c. 601; 1997, c. 286; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148; 2016, c. 678.

§ 3.2-6558. Humane investigators; qualifications; appointment; term.

A. A circuit court may reappoint any person as a humane investigator for any locality within its jurisdiction if the person:

1. Was appointed as a humane investigator prior to July 1, 2003; 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.

B. A circuit court may appoint a person to fill a vacancy in that jurisdiction created when a humane investigator who was appointed prior to July 1, 2003, is no longer willing or eligible to be a humane investigator, provided the person seeking appointment:

1. Has received a written recommendation from the administrative entity that oversees animal control in the locality where the humane investigator seeks appointment;

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; and

3. Has completed a basic animal control course approved by the State Veterinarian pursuant to § 3.2-6556.

C. 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 where he is seeking appointment.

D. Reappointments of humane investigators shall be for terms of three years. Each humane investigator shall, during each term for which he is appointed, complete 15 hours of training in animal care and protection approved for animal control officers. If a humane investigator is appointed to a succeeding term before or within 30 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 30 days after his current term expires, the humane investigator shall not be appointed to another term.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.75; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.106; 1998, c. 817; 2003, c. 858; 2004, c. 181; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6559. Powers and duties of humane investigators.

A. Any humane investigator may, within the locality where 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 locality where the humane investigator is appointed. The identification card shall include the following information regarding the humane investigator:

1. His full name;

2. The locality where 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 administrative entity that oversees animal control 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 administrative agency that oversees animal control on an approved form. A humane investigator's appointment may be revoked as provided in § 3.2-6561 if he fails to file such report.

1998, c. 817, § 3.1-796.106:2; 2003, c. 858; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6560. 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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.79; 1986, c. 362; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.110; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6561. Revocation of appointment of humane investigators.

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 administrative entity that oversees animal control in the locality where the humane investigator was appointed of such revocation.

B. Any law-enforcement officer may investigate any allegation that a humane investigator has violated this chapter and report his findings and recommendations to the attorney for the Commonwealth.

1998, c. 817, § 3.1-796.106:1; 1999, c. 376; 2003, c. 858; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6562. Capturing, confining, and euthanizing companion animals by animal control officers; approval of drugs 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 § 3.2-6546, 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 § 3.2-6546 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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.88; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.119; 1991, c. 348; 1997, c. 159; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6562.1. Rabies exposure; local authority and responsibility plan.

The local health director, in conjunction with the governing body of the locality, shall adopt a plan to control and respond to the risk of rabies exposure to persons and companion animals. Such plan shall set forth a procedure that promptly ensures the capture, confinement, isolation, or euthanasia of any animal that has exposed, or poses a risk of exposing, a person or companion animal to rabies. The plan shall identify the authority and responsibility of the local health department, law-enforcement officers, animal control officers, and any other persons with a duty to control or respond to a risk of rabies exposure. The plan shall provide for law-enforcement officers, animal control officers, and other persons to report to and be directed by the local health director for such purposes.

2010, c. 834.

§ 3.2-6563. When animals to be euthanized; procedure.

Any humane investigator may lawfully cause to be euthanized 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 euthanized.

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 euthanized. 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 48 hours after such humane investigator first decides the animal should be euthanized. 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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.83; 1986, c. 362; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.114; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

Article 8. Search, Seizure, Impounding, and Enforcement.

§ 3.2-6564. 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 § 3.2-6568, 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 § 3.2-6503 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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.76; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.107; 1991, c. 451; 1993, c. 174; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6565. 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 that the owner or custodian has failed to remedy, such animal control officer, humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or State Veterinarian's representative may impound the animal pursuant to § 3.2-6569 in a facility that will provide the elements of good care as set forth in § 3.2-6503 and shall then proceed to take such steps as are required to dispose of the animal pursuant to § 3.2-6569.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.77; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.108; 1994, c. 387; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6566. 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 humane investigator or State Veterinarian's representative in the discharge of his rights, powers, and duties as authorized and prescribed by law is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.80; 1986, c. 362; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.111; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2010, c. 240.

§ 3.2-6567. Enforcement authority.

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

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.81; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.112; 1991, c. 121; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6568. Power of search for violations of statutes against cruelty to animals.

When an affidavit is made under oath before a magistrate or court of competent jurisdiction 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 magistrate or judge, 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. After issuing a warrant under this section, the magistrate or judge shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54. After executing the warrant, the animal control officer, humane investigator, law-enforcement officer, or State Veterinarian's representative shall return the warrant to the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county wherein the search was made.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.82; 1986, c. 362; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.113; 1994, c. 168; 1998, c. 817; 2008, cc. 543, 707, 860; 2014, c. 354.

§ 3.2-6569. 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. The seizure or impoundment of an equine resulting from a violation of clause (iv) of subsection A or clause (ii) of subsection B of § 3.2-6570 may be undertaken only by the State Veterinarian or State Veterinarian's representative who has received training in the examination and detection of sore horses as required by 9 C.F.R. Part 11.7.

B. Before seizing or impounding any agricultural animal, the humane investigator, law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall contact the State Veterinarian or State Veterinarian's representative, who shall recommend to the person the most appropriate action for effecting the seizure and impoundment. 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 location of impoundment, and any other information required by the State Veterinarian.

C. 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 where the animal is seized for a hearing. The hearing shall be not more than 10 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.

D. 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.

E. 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.

F. 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 require the owner of any animal held pursuant to this subsection for more than 30 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 by ordinance, not to exceed nine months.

In any locality that has not adopted such an ordinance, a court may order the owner of an animal held pursuant to this subsection for more than 30 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 not to exceed nine months. The bond shall not be forfeited if the owner is found to be not guilty of the violation.

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 (i) abandoned or cruelly treated, (ii) deprived of adequate care, as that term is defined in § 3.2-6500, or (iii) raised as a dog that has been, is, or is intended to be used in dogfighting in violation of § 3.2-6571, then the court shall order that the animal may be: (a) sold by a local governing body, if not a companion animal; (b) disposed of by a local governing body pursuant to subsection D of § 3.2-6546, whether such animal is a companion animal or an agricultural animal; or (c) delivered to the person with a right of property in the animal as provided in subsection G.

G. 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. 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.

H. 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.

I. 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.

J. 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 § 3.2-6504 or 3.2-6570. 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.

K. Any person who is prohibited from owning or possessing animals pursuant to subsection I or J 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.

L. 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.

M. 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.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.84; 1986, c. 362; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.115; 1990, c. 322; 1992, c. 123; 1993, c. 119; 1994, c. 387; 1998, c. 817; 1999, c. 113; 2002, c. 500; 2008, cc. 510, 860; 2011, cc. 754, 886; 2019, cc. 536, 537.

Article 9. Cruelty to Animals.

§ 3.2-6570. Cruelty to animals; penalty.

A. Any person who (i) overrides, overdrives, overloads, ill-treats, or abandons any animal, whether belonging to himself or another; (ii) tortures any animal, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain not connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation on any animal, or cruelly or unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal, whether belonging to himself or another; (iii) deprives any animal of necessary food, drink, shelter, or emergency veterinary treatment; (iv) sores any equine for any purpose or administers drugs or medications to alter or mask such soring for the purpose of sale, show, or exhibition of any kind, unless such administration of drugs or medications is within the context of a veterinary client-patient relationship and solely for therapeutic purposes; (v) ropes, lassoes, or otherwise obstructs or interferes with one or more legs of an equine in order to intentionally cause it to trip or fall for the purpose of engagement in a rodeo, contest, exhibition, entertainment, or sport unless such actions are in the practice of accepted animal husbandry or for the purpose of allowing veterinary care; (vi) willfully sets on foot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal; (vii) carries or causes to be carried by any vehicle, vessel or otherwise any animal in a cruel, brutal, or inhumane manner, so as to produce torture or unnecessary suffering; or (viii) causes any of the above things, or being the owner of such animal permits such acts to be done by another is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

In addition to the penalties provided in this subsection, the court may, in its discretion, require any person convicted of a violation of this subsection 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.

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; (ii) sores any equine for any purpose or administers drugs or medications to alter or mask such soring for the purpose of sale, show, or exhibit of any kind, unless such administration of drugs or medications is under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and solely for therapeutic purposes; (iii) ropes, lassoes, or otherwise obstructs or interferes with one or more legs of an equine in order to intentionally cause it to trip or fall for the purpose of engagement in a rodeo, contest, exhibition, entertainment, or sport unless such actions are in the practice of accepted animal husbandry or for the purpose of allowing veterinary care; (iv) maliciously deprives any companion animal of necessary food, drink, shelter or emergency veterinary treatment; (v) instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal set forth in clauses (i) through (iv); or (vi) causes any of the actions described in clauses (i) through (v), 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, is 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. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the dehorning of cattle conducted in a reasonable and customary manner.

D. 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 Title 29.1, or to farming activities as provided under this title or regulations adopted hereunder.

E. 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 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony.

F. 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, or mutilates any dog or cat that is a companion animal whether belonging to him or another and (ii) as a direct result causes serious bodily injury to such dog or cat that is a companion animal, the death of such dog or cat that is a companion animal, or the euthanasia of such animal on the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian upon determination that such euthanasia was necessary due to the condition of the animal is guilty of a Class 6 felony. If a dog or cat is attacked on its owner's property by a dog so as to cause injury or death, the owner of the injured dog or cat may use all reasonable and necessary force against the dog at the time of the attack to protect his dog or cat. Such owner may be presumed to have taken necessary and appropriate action to defend his dog or cat and shall therefore be presumed not to have violated this subsection. The provisions of this subsection shall not overrule § 3.2-6540, 3.2-6540.1, or 3.2-6552.

For the purposes of this subsection, "serious bodily injury" means bodily injury that involves substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

G. Any person convicted of violating this section may be prohibited by the court from possession or ownership of companion animals.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.91; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.122; 1992, c. 177; 1998, c. 817; 1999, cc. 209, 620, 645; 2002, cc. 351, 500, 583, 613; 2003, cc. 787, 788; 2004, c. 217; 2007, c. 743; 2008, c. 860; 2013, cc. 58, 732; 2015, c. 491; 2019, cc. 536, 537.

§ 3.2-6570.1. Sale of animals after cruelty or neglect conviction; penalty.

Any person who has been convicted of a violation of any law concerning abuse, neglect, or cruelty to animals that sells, offers for sale, or trades any companion animal is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, a person may dispose of animals under the provisions of a court order.

2008, c. 852, § 3.1-796.122:1.

§ 3.2-6571. Animal fighting; penalty.

A. No person shall knowingly:

1. Promote, prepare for, engage in, or be employed in, the fighting of animals for amusement, sport, or gain;

2. Attend an exhibition of the fighting of animals;

3. Authorize or allow any person to undertake any act described in this section on any premises under his charge or control; or

4. Aid or abet any such acts.

Except as provided in subsection B, any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. Any person who violates any provision of subsection A in combination with one or more of the following is guilty of a Class 6 felony:

1. When a dog is one of the animals;

2. When any device or substance intended to enhance an animal's ability to fight or to inflict injury upon another animal is used, or possessed with intent to use it for such purpose;

3. When money or anything of value is wagered on the result of such fighting;

4. When money or anything of value is paid or received for the admission of a person to a place for animal fighting;

5. When any animal is possessed, owned, trained, transported, or sold with the intent that the animal engage in an exhibition of fighting with another animal; or

6. When he permits or causes a minor to (i) attend an exhibition of the fighting of any animals or (ii) undertake or be involved in any act described in this subsection.

C. 1. Any animal control officer, as defined in § 3.2-6500, shall confiscate any tethered cock or any other animal that he determines has been, is, or is intended to be used in animal fighting and any equipment used in training such animal or used in animal fighting.

2. Upon confiscation of an animal, the animal control officer shall petition the appropriate court for a hearing for a determination of whether the animal has been, is, or is intended to be used in animal fighting. The hearing shall be not more than 10 business days from the date of the confiscation of the animal. If the court finds that the animal has not been used, is not used, and is not intended to be used in animal fighting, it shall order the animal released to its owner. However, if the court finds probable cause to believe that the animal has been, is, or is intended to be used in animal fighting, the court shall order the animal forfeited to the locality unless the owner posts bond in surety with the locality in an amount sufficient to compensate the locality for its cost of caring for the animal for a period of nine months. He shall post additional bond for each successive nine-month period until a final determination by the trial court on any criminal charges brought pursuant to subsection A or B.

3. Upon a final determination of guilt by the trial court on criminal charges brought pursuant to subsection A or B, the court shall order that the animal be forfeited to the locality. Upon a final determination of not guilty by the trial court on the underlying criminal charges, a confiscated animal shall be returned to its owner and any bond shall be refunded to him.

D. Any person convicted of violating any provision of subsection A or B shall be prohibited by the court from possession or ownership of companion animals or fowl.

E. In addition to fines and costs, the court shall order any person who is convicted of a violation of this section to pay all reasonable costs incurred in housing, caring for, or euthanizing any confiscated animal. If the court finds that the actual costs are reasonable, it may order payment of actual costs.

F. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any law-enforcement officer in the performance of his duties. This section shall not prohibit (i) authorized wildlife management activities or hunting, fishing, or trapping authorized under any title of the Code of Virginia or regulations promulgated thereto or (ii) farming activities authorized under Title 3.2 of the Code of Virginia or regulations promulgated thereto.

1985, c. 408, § 29-213.92:1; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.124; 1998, c. 817; 1999, c. 113; 2003, c. 857; 2008, cc. 543, 707, 860; 2019, c. 345.

§ 3.2-6572. Reserved.

Reserved.

§ 3.2-6573. Shooting birds for amusement, and renting premises for such purposes; penalty.

Live pigeons or other birds or fowl shall not be kept or used for the purpose of a target, or to be shot at either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship. It is a Class 4 misdemeanor to shoot at a bird kept or used as aforesaid, or to be a party to such shooting. Any person who lets any building, room, field or premises, or knowingly permits the use thereof for the purpose of such shooting is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Nothing contained herein shall apply to the shooting of wild game.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.94; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.126; 2008, c. 860.

Article 10. Mandatory Sterilization of Dogs and Cats Adopted from Releasing Agencies.

§ 3.2-6574. Sterilization of adopted dogs and cats; enforcement; civil penalty.

A. Every new owner of a dog or cat adopted from a releasing agency shall cause to be sterilized the dog or cat pursuant to the agreement required by subdivision 2 of subsection B of this article.

B. A dog or cat shall not be released for adoption from a releasing agency unless:

1. The animal has already been sterilized; or

2. The individual adopting the animal signs an agreement to have the animal sterilized by a licensed veterinarian: (i) within 30 days of the adoption, if the animal is sexually mature; or (ii) within 30 days after the animal reaches six months of age, if the animal is not sexually mature at the time of adoption.

C. A releasing agency may extend for 30 days the date by which a dog or cat must be sterilized on presentation of a written report from a veterinarian stating that the life or health of the adopted animal may be jeopardized by sterilization. In cases involving extenuating circumstances, the veterinarian and the releasing agency may negotiate the terms of an extension of the date by which the animal must be sterilized.

D. Nothing in this section shall preclude the sterilization of a sexually immature dog or cat upon the written agreement of the veterinarian, the releasing agency, and the new owner.

E. Upon the petition of an animal control officer, humane investigator, the State Veterinarian or a State Veterinarian's representative to the district court of the county or city where a violation of this article occurs, the court may order the new owner to take any steps necessary to comply with the requirements of this article. This remedy shall be exclusive of and in addition to any civil penalty that may be imposed under this article.

F. Any person who violates subsection A or B of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $250.

1993, c. 959, § 3.1-796.126:1; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2010, c. 875.

§ 3.2-6575. Sterilization agreement.

Any agreement used by a releasing agency pursuant to subsection B of § 3.2-6574 shall contain:

1. The date of the agreement;

2. The names, addresses, and signatures of the releasing agency and the new owner;

3. A description of the dog or cat to be adopted;

4. The date by which the dog or cat is required to be sterilized; and

5. A statement printed in conspicuous, bold print, that sterilization of the dog or cat is required under this article; that a person who violates this article is subject to a civil penalty; and that the new owner may be compelled to comply with the provisions of this article.

1993, c. 959, § 3.1-796.126:2; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6576. Sterilization confirmation; civil penalty.

Each new owner who signs a sterilization agreement shall, within seven days of the sterilization, cause to be delivered or mailed to the releasing agency written confirmation signed by the veterinarian who performed the sterilization. The confirmation shall briefly describe the dog or cat; include the new owner's name and address; certify that the sterilization was performed; and specify the date of the procedure. Any person who violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $150.

1993, c. 959, § 3.1-796.126:3; 1999, cc. 627, 672; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6577. Notification concerning lost, stolen or dead dogs or cats; civil penalty.

If an adopted dog or cat is lost or stolen or dies before the animal is sterilized and before the date by which the dog or cat is required to be sterilized, the new owner shall, within seven days of the animal's disappearance or death, notify the releasing agency of the animal's disappearance or death. Any person who violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $25.

1993, c. 959, § 3.1-796.126:4; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6578. Exemptions.

This article shall not apply to:

1. An owner reclaiming his dog or cat from a releasing agency;

2. A releasing agency within a locality that has adopted a more stringent mandatory sterilization ordinance; and

3. A local governing body that has disposed of an animal by sale or gift to a federal agency, state-supported institution, agency of the Commonwealth, agency of another state, or licensed federal dealer having its principal place of business located within the Commonwealth.

1993, c. 959, § 3.1-796.126:5; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6579. Releasing agency; fees and deposits.

A local governing body or releasing agency may charge and collect from the new owner a fee or deposit before releasing a dog or cat for adoption to ensure sterilization.

1993, c. 959, § 3.1-796.126:6; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6580. Civil penalties.

Any animal control officer, humane investigator, releasing agency, the State Veterinarian or State Veterinarian's representative shall be entitled to bring a civil action for any violation of this article that is subject to a civil penalty. Any civil penalty assessed pursuant to this article shall be paid into the treasury of the city or county where such civil action is brought and used for the purpose of defraying the costs of local animal control, including efforts to promote sterilization of cats and dogs.

1993, c. 959, § 3.1-796.126:7; 1998, c. 817; 2002, c. 787; 2008, c. 860.

Article 11. Hybrid Canines.

§ 3.2-6581. Definitions.

As used in this article:

"Adequate confinement" means that, while on the property of its owner and not under the direct supervision and control of the owner or custodian, a hybrid canine shall be confined in a humane manner in a securely enclosed and locked structure of sufficient height and design to: (i) prevent the animal's escape; or if the hybrid canine is determined to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540, the structure shall prevent direct contact with any person or animal not authorized by the owner to be in direct contact with the hybrid canine; and (ii) provide a minimum of 100 square feet of floor space for each adult animal. Tethering of a hybrid canine not under the direct supervision and control of the owner or custodian shall not be considered adequate confinement.

"Hybrid canine" means any animal that is or can be demonstrated to be a hybrid of the domestic dog and any other species of the Canidae family; that at any time has been permitted, registered, licensed, or advertised as such; or that at any time has been described, represented, or reported as such by its owner to a licensed veterinarian, law-enforcement officer, animal control officer, humane investigator, official of the Department of Health, or State Veterinarian's representative.

"Responsible ownership" means the ownership and humane care of a hybrid canine in such a manner as to comply with all laws and ordinances regarding hybrid canines and prevent endangerment by the animal to public health and safety.

1997, c. 918, § 3.1-796.126:8; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 461.

§ 3.2-6582. Hybrid canine ordinance; penalty.

A. Any locality may, by ordinance, establish a permit system to ensure the adequate confinement and responsible ownership of hybrid canines. Such ordinance may include requirements pertaining to (i) the term and expiration date of the permit; (ii) the number of hybrid canines that may be owned by a permittee; (iii) identification tags or tattooing of the animal; (iv) where the animal may be kept; (v) handling of the animal while not on the property of the owner; and (vi) information required to be provided when applying for a permit, such as the sex, color, height, vaccination records, length, or identifying marks of the hybrid canine. The ordinance shall not require that hybrid canines be disposed of by the owner unless the owner fails to obtain or renew any required permit or violates a provision of the ordinance or any other law pertaining to the responsible ownership of the hybrid canine. The locality may impose a permit fee to cover the cost of the permitting system.

B. Violation of an ordinance enacted pursuant to subsection A is a Class 3 misdemeanor for the first violation and a Class 1 misdemeanor for any subsequent violation. The ordinance may require a violator to surrender the hybrid canine for euthanasia in accordance with § 3.2-6562.

C. The provisions of subsections A and B shall not affect any ordinance adopted prior to July 1, 1997.

D. Any locality may, by ordinance, prohibit the keeping of hybrid canines.

1997, c. 918, § 3.1-796.126:9; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 461.

§ 3.2-6583. Hybrid canines killing, injuring or chasing livestock.

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

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

1997, c. 918, § 3.1-796.126:10; 1998, c. 817; 2008, cc. 551, 691, 860.

§ 3.2-6584. Compensation for livestock and poultry killed by hybrid canines.

Any person who has any livestock or poultry killed or injured by any hybrid canine not his own shall be entitled to receive as compensation the fair market value of such livestock or poultry not to exceed $750 per animal or $10 per fowl if (i) the claimant has furnished evidence within 60 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 hybrid canine; (ii) the animal control officer or other officer shall have been notified of the incident within 72 hours of its discovery; and (iii) the claimant first has exhausted his legal remedies against the owner, if known, of the hybrid canine doing the damage for which compensation under this section is sought. Exhaustion shall mean a judgment against the owner of the hybrid canine upon which an execution has been returned unsatisfied.

Local jurisdictions may by ordinance waive the requirements of clause (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 hybrid canine and may enforce the same in an appropriate action at law.

1997, c. 918, § 3.1-796.126:11; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860; 2014, cc. 116, 160.

Article 12. Miscellaneous Provisions.

§ 3.2-6585. Dogs and cats deemed personal property; rights relating thereto.

All dogs and cats shall be deemed personal property and may be the subject of larceny and malicious or unlawful trespass. Owners, as defined in § 3.2-6500, may maintain any action for the killing of any such animals, or injury thereto, or unlawful detention or use thereof as in the case of other personal property. The owner of any dog or cat that is injured or killed contrary to the provisions of this chapter by any person shall be entitled to recover the value thereof or the damage done thereto in an appropriate action at law from such person.

An animal control officer or other officer finding a stolen dog or cat, or a dog or cat held or detained contrary to law, shall have authority to seize and hold such animal pending action before a general district court or other court. If no such action is instituted within seven days, the animal control officer or other officer shall deliver the dog or cat to its owner.

The presence of a dog or cat on the premises of a person other than its legal owner shall raise no presumption of theft against the owner, and the animal control officer may take such animal and notify its legal owner. The legal owner of the animal shall pay a reasonable charge as the local governing body by ordinance shall establish for the keep of such animal while in the possession of the animal control officer.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.95; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.127; 1988, c. 537; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6586. Dog injuring or killing other companion animals.

The owner of any companion animal that is injured or killed by a dog shall be entitled to recover damages consistent with the provisions of § 3.2-6585 from the owner of such dog in an appropriate action at law if: (i) the injury occurred on the premises of the companion animal's owner; and (ii) the owner of the offending dog did not have the permission of the companion animal's owner for the dog to be on the premises at the time of the attack.

2003, c. 841, § 3.1-796.127:1; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6587. Unlawful acts; penalties.

A. The following shall be unlawful acts and are Class 4 misdemeanors:

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

2. For any dog or cat owner to fail to pay any license tax required by this chapter 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.

3. For any dog owner to allow a dog to run at large in violation of an ordinance passed pursuant to § 3.2-6539.

4. For any person to fail to obey an ordinance passed pursuant to §§ 3.2-6522 and 3.2-6525.

5. For any owner to fail to dispose of the body of his companion animals in accordance with § 3.2-6554.

6. For the owner of any dog or cat with a contagious or infectious disease to permit such dog or cat to stray from his premises if such disease is known to the owner.

7. For any person to conceal or harbor any dog or cat on which any required license tax has not been paid.

8. 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.

9. Any other violation of this chapter for which a specific penalty is not provided.

B. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to:

1. Present a false claim or to receive any money on a false claim under the provisions of § 3.2-6553; or

2. Impersonate a humane investigator.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.99; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.128; 1993, cc. 174, 775, 817; 1998, c. 817; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6588. Intentional interference with a guide or leader dog; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for a person to, without just cause, willfully impede or interfere with the duties performed by a dog if the person knows or has reason to believe the dog is a guide or leader dog. A violation of this subsection is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

B. It is unlawful for a person to, without just cause, willfully injure a dog if the person knows or has reason to believe the dog is a guide or leader dog. A violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

"Guide or leader dog" means a dog that: (i) serves as a dog guide for a blind person as defined in § 51.5-60 or for a person with a visual disability; (ii) serves as a listener for a deaf or hard-of-hearing person as defined in § 51.5-111; or (iii) provides support or assistance for a physically disabled or handicapped person.

1995, c. 209, § 3.1-796.128:1; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6589. Selling garments containing dog or cat fur prohibited; penalty.

It is unlawful for any person to sell a garment containing the hide, fur, or pelt that he knows to be that of a domestic dog or cat. A violation of this section is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000.

1999, cc. 646, 678, § 3.1-796.128:2; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-6590. Jurisdiction of general district courts; right of appeal.

Unless otherwise provided, the provisions of this article may be enforced by any general district court in cities or counties wherein the offense is committed or the offender or owner may be found. Every such offender shall have the right of appeal to the appropriate circuit court.

1984, c. 492, § 29-213.100; 1987, c. 488, § 3.1-796.129; 2008, c. 860.

Article 13. Animal Research.

§ 3.2-6591. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Alternative test method" means a test method that (i) provides information of equivalent or better scientific quality and relevance than animal test methods, (ii) has been identified by a validation body and adopted by the relevant federal agency or program within an agency responsible for regulating the specific product or activity for which the test is being conducted, and (iii) does not use animals, or, when there is no test method available that does not use animals, uses the fewest animals possible and reduces the level of suffering or stress, to the greatest extent possible, of an animal used for testing. "Alternative test method" includes computational toxicology and bioinformatics, high-throughput screening methods, testing of categories of chemical substances, tiered testing methods, invitro studies, and systems biology and new or revised methods.

"Animal" means any live vertebrate nonhuman animal.

"Animal test method" means a process or procedure that uses animals to obtain information on the characteristics of a chemical or agent or the biological effect of exposure to a chemical or agent under specified conditions.

"Contract testing facility" means any partnership, corporation, association, or other legal relationship that tests chemicals, ingredients, product formulations, or products on behalf of another entity.

"Manufacturer" means any partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity that produces chemicals, ingredients, product formulations, or products.

"Validation body" means an organization that seeks to facilitate development, validation, and regulatory acceptance of new and revised regulatory test methods that reduce, refine, or replace the use of animals in testing, such as the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods or other similar organizations.

2018, c. 672.

§ 3.2-6592. Manufacturers and contract testing facilities required to use alternative test methods when available.

A. No manufacturer or contract testing facility shall use an animal test method when an alternative test method is available.

B. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of a test method that does not use animals.

C. This section shall not apply to any manufacturer or contract test facility using an animal test method for the purpose of medical research related to the causes, diagnosis, treatment, control, or prevention of physical or mental diseases and impairments of humans and animals, or related to the development of devices or drugs, as those terms are defined in 21 U.S.C. § 321, biomedical products, or any other products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, except for any product regulated under Subchapter VI of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.). Such medical research does not include the testing of an ingredient that (i) was formerly used in a drug; (ii) was tested for use in a drug using commonly accepted animal testing methods to characterize the ingredient and to substantiate its safety for human use; and (iii) is proposed for use in a product other than a biomedical product, medical device, or drug.

2018, c. 672.

§ 3.2-6593. Enforcement; civil action; penalty.

The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate circuit court for injunctive relief to enforce the provisions of this article. Any person who violates any provision of this article may, upon such finding by an appropriate circuit court, be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 and any court costs and attorney fees. Such civil penalties shall be paid into the state treasury.

2018, c. 672.

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