Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
9/20/2020

Article 7. Special Provisions for Unincorporated Communities.

§ 55.1-2827. Courts to fix boundaries of villages to prevent animals from running at large.

The circuit court of any county in which is situated any village or unincorporated community having within defined boundaries a population of 300 or more shall have jurisdiction to fix the boundaries of such village or unincorporated community for the purpose of preventing domesticated livestock from running at large within such boundaries.

Code 1950, § 8-893; 1977, c. 624, § 55-323; 1979, c. 486; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2828. Petition for action to fix boundaries of village or unincorporated community.

Twenty or more landowners residing within the boundaries referred to in § 55.1-2827 may file a petition signed by them requesting that the boundaries of such village or unincorporated community be fixed for the purposes of § 55.1-2827. Notice of the intention to file such petition, stating the date on which the petition will be filed, and such notice shall be (i) posted at the front door of the courthouse of such county, and at three or more conspicuous places within such boundaries and (ii) published once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county where the village or unincorporated community is located, at least 10 days before the day on which such petition is to be presented. Such petition shall state with reasonable certainty the boundaries within which it is desired to prohibit such animals from running at large, that at least 300 persons reside within such boundaries, and that a majority of the landowners residing therein are in favor of prohibiting such animals from running at large.

Code 1950, § 8-894; 1977, c. 624, § 55-324; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2829. Entry of order if petition not contested.

A petition filed pursuant to § 55.1-2828, if verified by the oath of one or more of the petitioners, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein, and the court without further evidence shall proceed to enter the order fixing the boundaries of the village or unincorporated community unless such petition is contested.

Code 1950, § 8-895; 1977, c. 624, § 55-325; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2830. Procedure in case of contest.

Any person having a lawful interest in any land within the boundaries referred to in any petition to fix the boundaries of a village or unincorporated community who wishes to contest such petition may intervene in such action as a defendant. In case of such contest, the judge shall hear the evidence and, if in doubt as to the facts, may appoint one or more persons to canvass such community and report to the court the number of persons residing within such boundaries, the names of all the landowners residing therein, and whether such landowners are for or against the petition.

Code 1950, § 8-896; 1977, c. 624, § 55-326; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2831. Order of court.

The court shall enter an order fixing the boundaries of any village or unincorporated community having within defined boundaries a population of 300 or more for the purpose of preventing domesticated livestock from running at large within such boundaries if (i) in the case of a contested petition, it appears from the evidence or from a report, if any is required pursuant to § 55.1-2830, that at least 300 persons reside within the boundaries referred to in a petition filed pursuant to § 55.1-2828 and that a majority of the landowners residing therein are in favor of prohibiting domesticated livestock from running at large or (ii) in the case of an uncontested petition, on the basis of the evidence presented in the petition itself.

Code 1950, § 8-897; 1977, c. 624, § 55-327; 1979, c. 486; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2832. Animals shall not run at large after entry of order.

After the expiration of 10 days from the date of entering an order pursuant to § 55.1-2831, it is unlawful for any domesticated livestock to run at large within such boundaries, and any person owning or having charge of any such animal who permits such livestock to run at large within such boundaries is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Each day such animal is permitted to run at large constitutes a separate offense, and any such animal found running at large upon any street, alley, road, or other public ground within such boundaries may be taken up and impounded by any person who may retain such animal in his custody until the expense of keeping such animal is paid.

Code 1950, § 8-898; 1977, c. 624, § 55-328; 1979, c. 486; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2833. Costs.

If the petition is uncontested, the costs shall be borne by the petitioner; if it is contested, costs shall be awarded to the prevailing party.

Code 1950, § 8-899; 1977, c. 624, § 55-329; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-2834. Owner of domesticated livestock liable for trespasses.

If any domesticated livestock, as to which the boundaries of the lots or tracts of land in any county, magisterial district, or selected portion of such county constitute a lawful fence, are found going at large within such county, district, or portion of such county, or upon the lands of any person other than the owner, the owner or manager of such animals shall be liable for all damage or injury done by such animals to the owner of the crops or lands upon which they trespass, whether the animals wander from the premises of their owner in the county in which the trespass was committed or from another county, provided that when the boundaries of lots or tracts of land in only one of two adjoining counties constitutes a lawful fence, and any of such animals escapes across the line or boundary of the two counties, the owner of such animal shall not be liable to the fine imposed by subsection B of § 55.1-2810, nor for any trespass committed by such animal upon the lands lying next to such line or boundary, nor to a forfeiture of the animal, unless the land upon which the trespass is alleged to have been committed is enclosed, as provided in § 55.1-2804.

Code 1950, § 8-900; 1977, c. 624, § 55-330; 1979, c. 486; 2019, c. 712.

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

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