TITLE 3.1. AGRICULTURE, HORTICULTURE AND FOOD.
CHAPTER 27.4. COMPREHENSIVE ANIMAL LAWS.
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
§ 3.1-796.66 Definitions.
The following words as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:
"Abandon" means to desert, forsake, or absolutely give up an animal without having secured another owner or custodian for the animal or by failing to provide the elements of basic care as set forth in § 3.1-796.68 for a period of five consecutive days.
"Adequate care" or "care" means the responsible practice of good animal husbandry, handling, production, management, confinement, feeding, watering, protection, shelter, transportation, treatment, and, when necessary, euthanasia, appropriate for the age, species, condition, size and type of the animal and the provision of veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering or impairment of health.
"Adequate exercise" or "exercise" means the opportunity for the animal to move sufficiently to maintain normal muscle tone and mass for the age, species, size, and condition of the animal.
"Adequate feed" means access to and the provision of food which is of sufficient quantity and nutritive value to maintain each animal in good health; is accessible to each animal; is prepared so as to permit ease of consumption for the age, species, condition, size and type of each animal; is provided in a clean and sanitary manner; is placed so as to minimize contamination by excrement and pests; and is provided at suitable intervals for the species, age, and condition of the animal, but at least once daily, except as prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation or fasting normal for the species.
"Adequate shelter" means provision of and access to shelter that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of each animal; provides adequate space for each animal; is safe and protects each animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, the adverse effects of heat or cold, physical suffering, and impairment of health; is properly lighted; is properly cleaned; enables each animal to be clean and dry, except when detrimental to the species; and, for dogs and cats, provides a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floormat, or similar device that is large enough for the animal to lie on in a normal manner and can be maintained in a sanitary manner. Under this chapter, shelters whose wire, grid, or slat floors (i) permit the animals' feet to pass through the openings, (ii) sag under the animals' weight, or (iii) otherwise do not protect the animals' feet or toes from injury are not adequate shelter.
"Adequate space" means sufficient space to allow each animal to (i) easily stand, sit, lie, turn about, and make all other normal body movements in a comfortable, normal position for the animal and (ii) interact safely with other animals in the enclosure. When an animal is tethered, "adequate space" means a tether that permits the above actions and is appropriate to the age and size of the animal; is attached to the animal by a properly applied collar, halter, or harness configured so as to protect the animal from injury and prevent the animal or tether from becoming entangled with other objects or animals, or from extending over an object or edge that could result in the strangulation or injury of the animal; and is at least three times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, except when the animal is being walked on a leash or is attached by a tether to a lead line. When freedom of movement would endanger the animal, temporarily and appropriately restricting movement of the animal according to professionally accepted standards for the species is considered provision of adequate space.
"Adequate water" means provision of and access to clean, fresh, potable water of a drinkable temperature which is provided in a suitable manner, in sufficient volume, and at suitable intervals, but at least once every twelve hours, to maintain normal hydration for the age, species, condition, size and type of each animal, except as prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation or fasting normal for the species; and is provided in clean, durable receptacles which are accessible to each animal and are placed so as to minimize contamination of the water by excrement and pests or an alternative source of hydration consistent with generally accepted husbandry practices.
"Adoption" means the transfer of ownership of a dog or cat from a releasing agency to an individual.
"Agricultural animals" means all livestock and poultry.
"Ambient temperature" means the temperature surrounding the animal.
"Animal" means any nonhuman vertebrate species except fish. For the purposes of § 3.1-796.98, animal means any species susceptible to rabies. For the purposes of § 3.1-796.122, animal means any nonhuman vertebrate species including fish except those fish captured and killed or disposed of in a reasonable and customary manner.
"Animal shelter" means a facility which is used to house or contain animals and which is owned, operated, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals.
"Animal warden" means any person employed, contracted, or appointed by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision for the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of this law or any other law or ordinance relating to the licensing of dogs, control of dogs and cats, cruelty to animals, or seizure and impoundment of companion animals and includes any state or municipal police officer, animal control officer, sheriff, constable, or other employee whose duties in whole or in part include assignments which involve seizure or taking into custody of any dog or other animal.
"Board" means the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
"Boarding establishment" means a place or establishment other than a pound or animal shelter where companion animals not owned by the proprietor are sheltered, fed, and watered in exchange for a fee.
"Collar" means a well-fitted device, appropriate to the age and size of the animal, attached to the animal's neck in such a way as to prevent trauma or injury to the animal.
"Companion animal" means any domestic or feral dog, domestic or feral cat, non-human primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit not raised for human food or fiber, exotic or native animal, reptile, exotic or native bird, or any feral animal or any animal under the care, custody, or ownership of a person or any animal which is bought, sold, traded, or bartered by any person. Agricultural animals, game species, or any animals regulated under federal law as research animals shall not be considered companion animals for the purposes of this chapter.
"Consumer" means any natural person purchasing an animal from a dealer or pet shop or hiring the services of a boarding establishment. The term "consumer" shall not include a business or corporation engaged in sales or services.
"Dealer" means any person who in the regular course of business for compensation or profit buys, sells, transfers, exchanges, or barters companion animals. Any person who transports companion animals in the regular course of business as a common carrier shall not be considered a dealer.
"Emergency veterinary treatment" means veterinary treatment to stabilize a life-threatening condition, alleviate suffering, prevent further disease transmission, or prevent further disease progression.
"Enclosure" means a structure used to house or restrict animals from running at large.
"Euthanasia" means the humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that involves instantaneous unconsciousness and immediate death or by a method that involves anesthesia, produced by an agent which causes painless loss of consciousness, and death during such loss of consciousness.
"Exhibitor" means any person who has animals for or on public display, excluding an exhibitor licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
"Housing facility" means any room, building, or area used to contain a primary enclosure or enclosures.
"Humane" means any action taken in consideration of and with the intent to provide for the animal's health and well-being.
"Humane society" means any chartered, nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth and organized for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals and promoting humane care and treatment of animals.
"Investigator" or "humane investigator" means a natural person who is authorized to investigate complaints of alleged violations of this chapter and who is either (i) employed by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and is under the direction of the State Veterinarian or (ii) has met the training requirements and qualifications required by regulations promulgated pursuant to § 3.1-796.106 and who has a valid court order of appointment as a humane investigator for the jurisdiction in which official actions are being taken and which was issued in accordance with the provisions of s 3.1-796.109 and 3.1-796.110.
"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.
"Livestock" includes all domestic or domesticated: bovine animals; equine animals; ovine animals; porcine animals; cervidae animals; capradae animals; animals of the genus Lama; ratites; fish or shellfish in aquaculture facilities, as defined in § 3.1-73.6; enclosed domesticated rabbits or hares raised for human food or fiber; or any other individual animal specifically raised for food or fiber, except companion animals.
"Local ordinance" means any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance promulgated by the governing body of any county, city, or town.
"New owner" means an individual who is legally competent to enter into a binding agreement pursuant to subdivision B 2 of § 3.1-796.126:1, and who adopts or receives a dog or cat from a releasing agency.
"Other officer" includes all other persons employed or elected by the people of Virginia, or by any municipality, county, or incorporated town thereof, whose duty it is to preserve the peace, to make arrests, or to enforce the law.
"Owner" means any person who: (i) has a right of property in an animal, (ii) keeps or harbors an animal, (iii) has an animal in his care, or (iv) acts as a custodian of an animal.
"Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, joint-stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity.
"Pet shop" means an establishment where companion animals are bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale or exchange to the general public.
"Poultry" includes all domestic fowl and game birds raised in captivity.
"Pound" means a facility operated by the Commonwealth, or any political subdivision, for the purpose of impounding or harboring seized, stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted animals; or a facility operated for the same purpose under a contract with any county, city, town, or incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
"Primary enclosure" means any structure used to immediately restrict an animal or animals to a limited amount of space, such as a room, pen, cage, compartment, or hutch. For tethered animals, the term includes the shelter and the area within reach of the tether.
"Properly cleaned" means that carcasses, debris, food waste and excrement are removed from the primary enclosure with sufficient frequency to minimize the animals' contact with the above-mentioned contaminants; the primary enclosure is sanitized with sufficient frequency to minimize odors and the hazards of disease; and the primary enclosure is cleaned so as to prevent the animals confined therein from being directly or indirectly sprayed with the stream of water, or directly or indirectly exposed to hazardous chemicals or disinfectants.
"Properly lighted" means sufficient illumination to permit routine inspections, maintenance, cleaning, and housekeeping of the shelter, and observation of the animal; to provide regular diurnal lighting cycles of either natural or artificial light, uniformly diffused throughout the animal facilities; and to promote the well-being of the animals.
"Releasing agency" means a pound, animal shelter, humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other similar entity that releases a dog or cat for adoption pursuant to Article 6.1 (§ 3.1-796.126:1 et seq.) of this chapter.
"Research facility" means any place, laboratory, or institution licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at which scientific tests, experiments, or investigations involving the use of living animals are carried out, conducted, or attempted.
"Sanitize" means to make physically clean and to remove and destroy, to a practical minimum, agents injurious to health.
"State Veterinarian" means the veterinarian employed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services as provided in § 3.1-723.
"Sterilize" or "sterilization" means a surgical or chemical procedure performed by a licensed veterinarian that renders a dog or cat permanently incapable of reproducing.
"Treasurer" includes the treasurer and his assistants of each county or city or other officer designated by law to collect taxes in such county or city.
"Treatment" or "adequate treatment" means the responsible handling or transportation of animals in the person's ownership, custody or charge, appropriate for the age, species, condition, size and type of the animal.
"Veterinary treatment" means treatment by or on the order of a duly licensed veterinarian.
"Weaned" means that an animal is capable of and physiologically accustomed to ingestion of solid food or food customary for the adult of the species, and has ingested such food, without nursing, for a period of at least five days.
§ 3.1-796.67 Rules, regulations, and guidelines.
The Board may promulgate rules and regulations or guidelines consistent with the objectives and intent of this chapter concerning the care and transportation of animals.
§ 3.1-796.67:1 Authority of the Commissioner.
The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall have the power to enter into agreements with local, state and federal agencies or other persons for the control of coyotes which pose a danger to agricultural animals.
§ 3.1-796.67:2 Animal shelters; power to inspect.
The State Veterinarian or his representative shall have the power to conduct inspections of animal shelters, at any reasonable time, for the purposes of determining if a violation of § 3.1-796.68 has occurred.
§ 3.1-796.68 Care of animals by owner; penalty.
A. Each owner shall provide for each of his companion animals:
1. Adequate feed;
2. Adequate water;
3. Adequate shelter that is properly cleaned;
4. Adequate space in the primary enclosure for the particular type of animal depending upon its age, size, species, and weight;
5. Adequate exercise;
6. Adequate care, treatment, and transportation; and
7. Veterinary care when needed or to prevent suffering or disease transmission.
The provisions of this section shall also apply to every animal shelter, pound, dealer, pet shop, exhibitor, kennel, groomer, and boarding establishment. This section shall not require that animals used as food for other animals be euthanized. For the purposes of this section and § 3.1- 796.83:1, "groomer" means a person who, for a fee, cleans, trims, brushes, makes neat, manicures, or treats for external parasites an animal.
B. Game and wildlife species shall be cared for in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries by January 1, 1994.
C. Violation of this section is a Class 4 misdemeanor.
ARTICLE 2. ANIMAL WELFARE.
§ 3.1-796.69 Transporting animals; requirements; penalty.
No owner, railroad or other common carrier when transporting any animal shall allow that animal to be confined in any type of conveyance more than twenty- four consecutive hours without being exercised, properly rested, fed and watered as necessary for that particular type and species of animal. A reasonable extension of this time shall be permitted when an accident, storm or other act of God causes a delay. Adequate space in the primary enclosure within any type of conveyance shall be provided each animal depending upon the particular type and species of animal. No person shall import into the Commonwealth, nor export from the Commonwealth, for the purpose of sale or offering for sale any dog or cat under the age of eight weeks without its dam. Violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
§ 3.1-796.72 Misrepresentation of animal's condition; penalties.
No person shall misrepresent the physical condition of any animal at the animal's sale, trade, delivery, or other method of transfer. For the purpose of this section misrepresentation shall include selling, trading, delivering or otherwise transferring an animal to another person with the knowledge that the animal has an infection, communicable disease, parasitic infestation, abnormality or other physical defect that is not made known to the person receiving the animal. Violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.
§ 3.1-796.73 Abandonment of animal; penalty.
No person shall abandon any animal. Violation of this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the release of an animal by its owner to an animal shelter, pound, or humane society establishment.
§ 3.1-796.74 Exceptions regarding veterinarians.
Sections 3.1-796.68 through 3.1-796.73, 3.1-796.78 through 3.1-796.83:2, 3.1- 796.105 through 3.1-796.108, 3.1-796.120, and 3.1-796.126:1 through 3.1- 796.126:7 shall not apply to: (i) a place or establishment which is operated under the immediate supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian as a hospital or boarding establishment where animals are harbored, boarded and cared for incident to the treatment, prevention, or alleviation of disease processes during the routine practice of the profession of veterinary medicine, or (ii) animals boarded under the immediate supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian.
§ 3.1-796.75 Procedure for animals left unclaimed with veterinarian or boarding establishment after public notice; lien; sale.
Any animal not claimed by its owner from a licensed veterinarian or boarding establishment within fourteen days after a letter of notice has been sent to the owner, by the veterinarian or boarding establishment, may be sold by the veterinarian or boarding establishment. The animal may be sold at public or private sale for fair compensation to a person capable of providing care consistent with this chapter. Any expense incurred by the veterinarian or boarding establishment becomes a lien on the animal and the proceeds of the sale shall first discharge this lien. Any balance of the proceeds shall be paid to the owner. If the owner cannot be found within the next ensuing thirty days, the balance shall be paid to the state treasury. If no purchaser is found, the animal may be offered for adoption or euthanized.
§ 3.1-796.76 Injured or sick animal; action by veterinarian.
If a licensed veterinarian is called or by his own action comes upon an animal that is sick or injured and the owner of such animal cannot be immediately located, then the licensed veterinarian, in his professional judgment, may treat, hospitalize or euthanize the animal without the permission of the owner. The veterinarian shall make such reports and keep such records of such sick or injured animals as may be prescribed by the Board of Veterinary Medicine, including the information required under subsection B of § 3.1- 796.105. In no event shall a licensed veterinarian who has properly exercised professional judgment regarding such an animal be subject to liability for his actions.
§ 3.1-796.77 Disposal of animals by means of decompression chamber prohibited.
No animal shall be euthanized pursuant to the provisions of this chapter by means of a high altitude decompression chamber.
§ 3.1-796.83:1 Boarding establishments and groomers; veterinary care requirements; consumer notification; penalty.
A. When an animal is boarded at a boarding establishment, or under the care, custody or subject to the actions of a groomer, the boarding establishment or groomer shall be responsible for providing the animal care requirements for each animal as specified in § 3.1-796.68.
B. If an animal becomes ill or injured while in the custody of the boarding establishment or groomer, the boarding establishment or groomer shall provide the animal with emergency veterinary treatment for the illness or injury. The consumer shall bear the reasonable and necessary costs of emergency veterinary treatment for any illness or injury occurring while the animal is in the custody of the boarding establishment or groomer. The boarding establishment or groomer shall pay for veterinary treatment of any injury that the animal sustains while at the establishment or under the care or custody of a groomer if the injury resulted from the establishment's or groomer's failure, whether accidental or intentional, to provide the care required by § 3.1-796.68, or if the injury is a result of the actions of the boarding establishment or groomer; however, boarding establishments and groomers shall not be required to bear the cost of veterinary treatment for injuries resulting from the animal's self- mutilation.
C. If an animal is seized from a boarding establishment or groomer because of the establishment's or groomer's failure to provide adequate food, water, shelter, exercise, and care as defined in § 3.1-796.66 and required by § 3.1- 796.68 or because of any other violation of this chapter, the animal shall be returned to the rightful owner as soon as possible or, if the owner refuses to reclaim the animal, be impounded and disposition made pursuant to § 3.1- 796.115.
D. Violation of this section by a boarding establishment or groomer is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
ARTICLE 3.1. BOARDING ESTABLISHMENTS.
§ 3.1-796.83:2 Written notice of consumer remedies required to be supplied by boarding establishments; penalty.
A. A boarding establishment shall give the notice hereinafter set forth in writing to a consumer prior to the consumer's delivery of the animal to the boarding establishment. Such notice shall be embodied in a written document and shall state in ten-point bold-faced type the following:
The boarding of animals is subject to Article 3.1 (§ 3.1-796.83:1 et seq.) of Chapter 27.4 of Title 3.1. If your animal becomes ill or injured while in the custody of the boarding establishment, the boarding establishment shall provide the animal with emergency veterinary treatment for the illness or injury.
The consumer shall bear the reasonable and necessary costs of emergency veterinary treatment for any illness or injury occurring while the animal is in the custody of the boarding establishment. The boarding establishment shall bear the expenses of veterinary treatment for any injury the animal sustains while at the boarding establishment if the injury resulted from the establishment's failure, whether accidental or intentional, to provide the care required by § 3.1-796.68; however, boarding establishments shall not be required to bear the cost of veterinary treatment for injuries resulting from the animal's self-mutilation.
B. In addition, the boarding establishment shall display the following notice, in ten-point bold-faced type, on a sign placed in a conspicuous location and manner at the boarding establishment's intake area:
THE BOARDING OF ANIMALS BY A BOARDING ESTABLISHMENT IS SUBJECT TO ARTICLE 3.1 (§ 3.1-796.83:1 et seq.) OF CHAPTER 27.4 OF TITLE 3.1 OF THE CODE OF VIRGINIA. YOU HAVE SPECIFIC REMEDIES WHEN BOARDING ANIMALS IN THIS OR ANY OTHER BOARDING ESTABLISHMENT IN VIRGINIA. A COPY IS AVAILABLE IMMEDIATELY UPON REQUEST AND IS TO BE PRESENTED TO YOU AT THE TIME OF INTAKE IN THE FORM OF A WRITTEN DOCUMENT. IF YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT, YOU MAY CONTACT YOUR LOCAL LAW-ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR THE VIRGINIA DIVISION OF ANIMAL HEALTH, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.
C. Failure to display or provide the consumer with the written notice as required by this section is punishable as a Class 3 misdemeanor.
ARTICLE 5. ANIMAL WARDENS AND HUMANE INVESTIGATORS.
§ 3.1-796.104 Position of animal warden created.
The governing body of each county or city shall, or each town may, appoint an officer to be known as the animal warden who shall have the power to enforce this chapter, all ordinances enacted pursuant to this chapter and all laws for the protection of domestic animals. The governing body may also appoint one or more deputy animal wardens to assist the animal warden in dog inspection activities and in dog law enforcement. Such animal wardens and deputy animal wardens shall have a knowledge of the animal control and protection laws of Virginia which they are required to enforce. When in uniform or upon displaying a badge or other credentials of office, animal wardens and deputy animal wardens shall have the power to issue a summons to any person found in the act of violating any such law or any ordinance enacted pursuant to such law of the locality in which the warden or deputy warden is appointed. The animal warden and the deputy animal wardens shall be paid as the governing body of each locality shall prescribe.
The governing body of any local jurisdiction in which an animal warden or deputy animal wardens have been appointed may contract with one or more additional local jurisdictions for enforcement of the dog laws in the local jurisdictions by the animal warden or deputy animal wardens. Any such contract may provide that the local jurisdiction employing the animal warden or deputy animal wardens shall be reimbursed a portion of the salary and expenses of the animal warden or deputy animal wardens.
§ 3.1-796.105 Animal wardens; limitations; records; penalties; training courses.
A. No animal warden shall give or sell or negotiate for the gift or sale to a pet shop, dealer, or research facility of any animal which may come into his custody in the course of carrying out his official assignments. No animal warden shall be granted a dealer's license, and each application for such license shall include a statement made under oath that neither the applicant nor any member or employee of the firm, partnership, or corporation making application is an animal warden within the meaning of the definition herein.
B. An animal warden or the custodian of any pound, 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 in the manner prescribed by local ordinance, and the record shall include a description of the animal including color, breed, sex, approximate weight, reason for seizure, location of seizure, the owner's name and address if known and all license or other identification numbers and the disposition of the animal. Records required by this subsection shall be available for public inspection upon request.
C. Any animal warden or custodian of any pound who violates any provision of this chapter which relates to the seizure, impoundment and custody of animals by an animal warden may be subject to suspension or dismissal from his position.
D. Animal wardens, custodians or animal control officers engaged in the operation of a pound shall be required to have a knowledge of the laws of Virginia governing animals, including this chapter, as well as basic animal care. They shall avail themselves of at least one training course offered by the Commonwealth for law-enforcement officers or for humane investigators, or any animal warden, humane officer, or law officer workshop approved by the State Veterinarian. The Commonwealth shall bear the expenses associated with any required attendance of such a training course, and the State Veterinarian shall approve the training course prior to any expenditure of state funds for the course.
§ 3.1-796.106 Investigators; qualifications. The Board shall establish by rule or regulation reasonable qualifications for approved humane investigators. The State Veterinarian shall maintain a current list of all approved humane investigators which shall be available for public inspection. Circuit court judges, in making appointments pursuant to § 3.1- 796.109, shall make such appointments from such list. Qualifications for approved humane investigators shall include a knowledge of the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter and satisfaction of the requirements of § 3.1-796.109 and 3.1-796.110.
§ 3.1-796.107 Complaint of suspected violation; investigation.
A. Upon receiving a complaint of a suspected violation of this chapter, any animal warden, court-appointed humane investigator, Division of Animal Health compliance officer, or other law-enforcement official 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, or boarding establishment. Upon obtaining a warrant as provided for in § 3.1-796.113, the law-enforcement officer, compliance officer, animal warden, or court-appointed humane investigator may enter upon any other premises where the animal or animals described in the complaint are housed or kept. Attorneys for the Commonwealth and law-enforcement officials shall provide such assistance as may be required in the conduct of such investigations.
B. If the investigation discloses that a violation of § 3.1-796.68 has occurred, the investigating official shall notify the owner or custodian of the complaint and of what action is necessary to comply with this chapter.
§ 3.1-796.108 Impoundment; expenses; lien; disposition of animal.
When a humane investigator, any law-enforcement official, or animal warden finds that an apparent violation of this chapter has rendered an animal in such a condition as to constitute a direct and immediate threat to its life, safety or health which the owner or custodian has failed or refuses to remedy, such humane investigator, animal warden, or law-enforcement official may impound the animal pursuant to § 3.1-796.115 in a facility which will provide the elements of good care as set forth in § 3.1-796.68 and shall then proceed to take such steps as are required to dispose of the animal pursuant to § 3.1-796.115.
§ 3.1-796.109 Humane investigators may arrest offenders.
Any humane investigator whose appointment shall have been approved as hereinafter provided, shall have power to arrest, after obtaining a warrant, any person found violating in his presence any of the provisions of law concerning cruelty to animals. Upon making the arrest the humane investigator shall convey the person arrested before the court or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense and there make complaint against him. Any humane investigator shall have power to execute any warrant issued by a magistrate for the violation of any of such provisions, whether the offense was committed in his presence or not.
Humane investigators shall not be authorized to make arrests within any political subdivision, unless their appointment has been approved by the circuit court thereof, but may perform any of the acts in § 3.1-796.115 in any jurisdiction in the Commonwealth. Circuit courts, upon the recommendation of the local attorney for the Commonwealth, may make appointments of humane investigators from a list of approved humane investigators provided by the State Veterinarian pursuant to § 3.1-796.106 and may remove the humane investigators for cause upon complaint by the State Veterinarian or any other person.
The State Veterinarian may investigate complaints against humane investigators and report his findings and recommendations to the circuit court.
§ 3.1-796.110 Bonds and certificates of humane investigators; expenses.
Each humane investigator appointed pursuant to § 3.1-796.109 shall give bond with surety in the circuit court of the county, or city, in which the court appointing him is located, in the penalty of $500, with security conditioned according to law that the humane investigator will not knowingly make a false or improper arrest. The bond shall be effective and operative in any county or corporation for which such agent may be subsequently appointed. The State Veterinarian shall provide a certificate that the humane investigator is qualified as required by § 3.1-796.106. The certificate shall also bear the written approval by the circuit court of the appointment, as provided for in § 3.1-796.109. If requested, the humane investigator shall show his certificate when acting officially.
In no case shall the appointment of the humane investigators, or any services performed by them, entail any cost or expense upon the county or municipal corporation or upon the Commonwealth.
§ 3.1-796.111 Such humane investigators shall prevent cruelty to animals; interference with such agents; penalty.
Any humane investigator whose appointment shall have been approved as provided in § 3.1-796.109 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 in the discharge of his rights, powers, and duties as authorized and prescribed by law shall be deemed guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.
§ 3.1-796.112 Enforcement authority.
All law-enforcement officers in the Commonwealth of Virginia and compliance officers under the direction of the State Veterinarian shall enforce the provisions of this chapter to the same extent other laws in the Commonwealth are enforced.
§ 3.1-796.113 Power of search for violations of statutes against cruelty to animals.
When a sworn complaint is made to any proper authority by any humane investigator, law-enforcement official or animal warden that the complainant believes and has reasonable cause to believe that the laws in relation to cruelty to animals have been, are being, or are about to be violated in any particular building or place, such authority, if satisfied that there is reasonable cause for such belief, shall issue a warrant authorizing any sheriff, deputy sheriff or police officer, to search the building or place. No search shall be made after sunset unless specially authorized by the authority upon satisfactory cause shown.
§ 3.1-796.114 When animals to be destroyed; procedure.
Any humane investigator may lawfully destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any animal in his charge or found abandoned or not properly cared for, when, in the judgment of the humane investigator and two reputable citizens called to view the same in his presence, and who shall give their written certificate, the animal appears to be injured, disabled or diseased, past recovery, or the injury, disease or disability, is such that a reasonable owner would cause the animal to be destroyed.
Any humane investigator shall make every reasonable effort immediately to notify the owner of the animal that the humane investigator intends the animal to be destroyed. The owner shall have a right to select one of the two reputable citizens called to view the animal and give written certificate of the animal's condition. In no event shall the determination as to disposition of the animal be delayed beyond forty-eight hours after such humane investigator first decides the animal should be destroyed. In the event that the two citizens called to give such certificate are unable to agree, they shall select a third reputable citizen and his decision shall be final.
§ 3.1-796.115 Seizure and impoundment of animals; notice and hearing; disposition of animal; disposition of proceeds upon sale.
A. Any humane investigator, law-enforcement official, or animal warden, 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. Upon seizing or impounding the animal, such person shall petition the general district court in the city or county wherein the animal is seized for a hearing. The hearing shall be not more than ten business days from the date of the seizure of the animal. The hearing shall be to determine whether the animal has been abandoned, has been cruelly treated, or has not been provided adequate care.
B. The humane investigator, law-enforcement official, or animal warden 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 official, or animal warden shall cause to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the jurisdiction wherein such animal is seized notice of the hearing at least one time prior to the hearing and shall further cause notice of the hearing to be posted at least five days prior to the hearing at the place provided for public notices at the city hall or courthouse wherein such hearing shall be held.
C. The procedure for appeal and trial shall be the same as provided by law for misdemeanors. Trial by jury shall be as provided in Article 4 (§ 19.2-260 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 19.2. The Commonwealth shall be required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
D. The humane investigator, law-enforcement official, or animal warden shall provide for such animal until the court has concluded the hearing. If the court determines that the animal has been neither abandoned, cruelly treated, nor deprived of adequate care, the animal shall be returned to the owner. If the court determines that the animal has been abandoned, cruelly treated, or deprived of adequate care, then the court shall order that the animal be: (i) sold by a local governing body; (ii) humanely destroyed, or disposed of by sale or gift to a federal agency, state supported institution, agency of the Commonwealth, agency of another state, or a licensed federal dealer having its principal place of business located within the Commonwealth; (iii) delivered to any local humane society or shelter, or to any person who is a resident of the county or city where the animal is seized or an adjacent county or city in the Commonwealth and who will pay the required license fee, if any, on such animal, or (iv) delivered to the person with a right of property in the animal as provided in subsection E.
E. In no case shall the owner be allowed to purchase, adopt, or otherwise obtain the animal if the court determines that the animal has been abandoned, cruelly treated, or deprived of adequate care; however, the court shall direct that the animal be delivered to the person with a right of property in the animal, upon his request, if the court finds that the abandonment, cruel treatment, or deprivation of adequate care is not attributable to the actions or inactions of such person.
F. The court shall order the owner of any animal determined to have been abandoned, cruelly treated, or deprived of adequate care to pay all reasonable expenses incurred in caring and providing for such animal from the time the animal is seized until such time that the animal is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of this section, to the provider of such care.
G. The court may prohibit the possession or ownership of other companion animals by the owner of any companion animal found to have been abandoned, cruelly treated, or deprived of adequate care. In making a determination to prohibit the possession or ownership of companion animals, the court may take into consideration the owner's past record of convictions under this chapter or other laws prohibiting cruelty to animals or pertaining to the care or treatment of animals and the owner's mental and physical condition.
H. If the court finds that an agricultural animal has been abandoned or cruelly treated, the court may prohibit the possession or ownership of any other agricultural animal by the owner of the agricultural animal if the owner has exhibited a pattern of abandoning or cruelly treating agricultural animals as evidenced by previous convictions of violating § 3.1-796.73 or § 3.1- 796.122. In making a determination to prohibit the possession or ownership of agricultural animals, the court may take into consideration the owner's mental and physical condition.
I. Any person who is prohibited from owning or possessing animals pursuant to subsections G or H may petition the court to repeal the prohibition after two years have elapsed from the date of entry of the court's order. The court may, in its discretion, repeal the prohibition if the person can prove to the satisfaction of the court that the cause for the prohibition has ceased to exist.
J. When a sale occurs, the proceeds shall first be applied to the costs of the sale then next to the unreimbursed expenses for the care and provision of the animal, and the remaining proceeds, if any, shall be paid over to the owner of the animal. If the owner of the animal cannot be found, the proceeds remaining shall be paid into the Literary Fund of the state treasury.
K. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the humane destruction of a critically injured or ill animal for humane purposes by the impounding humane investigator, law-enforcement official, animal warden, or licensed veterinarian.
L. The provisions of this section which address whether an animal has been provided with or deprived of adequate care shall apply only with respect to companion animals.
§ 3.1-796.116 Dogs killing, injuring or chasing livestock or poultry.
It shall be the duty of any animal warden or other officer who may find a dog in the act of killing or injuring livestock or poultry to kill such dog forthwith whether such dog bears a tag or not. Any person finding a dog committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section shall have the right to kill such dog on sight as shall any owner of livestock or his agent finding a dog chasing livestock on land utilized by the livestock when the circumstances show that such chasing is harmful to the livestock. Any court shall have the power to order the animal warden or other officer to kill any dog known to be a confirmed livestock or poultry killer, and any dog killing poultry for the third time shall be considered a confirmed poultry killer. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner, custodian, or harborer of the dog to produce the dog.
Any animal warden 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 warden or other person who has reason to believe that any dog is killing livestock, or committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section, shall apply to a magistrate of the county, city or town wherein such dog may be, who shall issue a warrant requiring the owner or custodian, if known, to appear before a general district court at a time and place named therein, at which time evidence shall be heard. If it shall appear that the dog is a livestock killer, or has committed any of the depredations mentioned in this section, the district court shall order that the dog be (i) killed immediately by the animal warden or other officer designated by the court or (ii) removed to another state which does not border on the Commonwealth and prohibited from returning to the Commonwealth. Any dog ordered removed from the Commonwealth which is later found in the Commonwealth shall be ordered by a court to be killed immediately.
§ 3.1-796.118 Compensation for livestock and poultry killed by dogs.
Any person who has any livestock or poultry killed or injured by any dog not his own shall be entitled to receive as compensation the fair market value of such livestock or poultry not to exceed $400 per animal or $10 per fowl, provided that: (i) the claimant has furnished evidence within sixty days of discovery of the quantity and value of the dead or injured livestock and the reasons the claimant believes that death or injury was caused by a dog; (ii) the animal warden or other officer shall have been notified of the incident within seventy-two hours of its discovery; and (iii) the claimant first has exhausted his legal remedies against the owner, if known, of the dog doing the damage for which compensation under this section is sought. Exhaustion shall mean a judgment against the owner of the dog upon which an execution has been returned unsatisfied.
Local jurisdictions may by ordinance waive the requirements of (ii) or (iii) or both provided that the ordinance adopted requires that the animal warden has conducted an investigation and that his investigation supports the claim. Upon payment under this section the local governing body shall be subrogated to the extent of compensation paid to the right of action to the owner of the livestock or poultry against the owner of the dog and may enforce the same in an appropriate action at law.
§ 3.1-796.119 Capturing, confining, and euthanizing companion animals by animal wardens; approval of drugs, etc., used.
It shall be the duty of the animal warden or any other officer to capture and confine any companion animal of unknown ownership found running at large on which license has not been paid. Following the expiration of the holding period prescribed in § 3.1-796.96, the animal warden 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, with the understanding that should the legal owner thereafter claim the companion animal and prove his ownership, he may recover such companion animal by paying to the person to whom it was delivered by the animal warden, the amount of the license fee paid by him and a reasonable charge for the keep of the companion animal while in his possession. Prior to disposition by euthanasia or otherwise, all the provisions of § 3.1-796.96 shall have been complied with. For all companion animals not otherwise disposed of as provided for in this chapter, it shall be the duty of the animal warden or any other officer to euthanize such companion animals. Any person, animal warden, 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 wardens or other officers to capture companion animals pursuant to this chapter shall have been approved by the State Veterinarian.
ARTICLE 6. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.
§ 3.1-796.122 Cruelty to animals; penalty.
A. Any person who (i) overrides, overdrives, overloads, tortures, ill-treats, abandons, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain not connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation, or cruelly or unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal, whether belonging to himself or another; or (ii) deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food, drink or shelter; or (iii) willfully sets on foot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal; or (iv) carries or causes to be carried in or upon any vehicle, vessel or otherwise any animal in a cruel, brutal, or inhumane manner, so as to produce torture or unnecessary suffering; or (v) causes any of the above things, or being the owner of such animal permits such acts to be done by another, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Prosecution for violations of this subsection shall commence within five years after commission of the offense. Prosecutions of this subsection regarding agricultural animals, as defined in § 3.1-796.66, shall commence within one year after commission of the offense.
B. Any person who abandons any dog, cat or other domesticated animal in any public place including the right-of-way of any public highway, road or street or on the property of another shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
C. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the dehorning of cattle.
D. For the purposes of this section and §§ 3.1-796.109, 3.1-796.111, 3.1- 796.113 through 3.1-796.115, and 3.1-796.125, the word animal shall be construed to include birds and fowl.
§ 3.1-796.123 Soring horses; penalty.
For the purposes of this section, a horse shall be considered to be sored if, for the purpose of affecting its gait, a blistering agent has been applied internally or externally to any of the legs, ankles, feet, or other parts of the horse, or if burns, cuts, or lacerations have been inflicted on the horse, or if a chemical agent, or tacks, nails, or wedges have been used on the horse, or if any other method or device has been used on the horse, including, but not limited to chains or boots, which may reasonably be expected currently (i) to result in physical pain to the horse when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, or (ii) to cause extreme fear or distress to the horse.
It shall be unlawful for any person to deliver or receive into this Commonwealth for the purpose of showing or exhibiting, any horse which such person has reason to believe is suffering from the effects of being sored. It shall also be unlawful to show or exhibit or enter in any horse show or exhibition for the purpose of showing any horse which such person has reason to believe is sored. No one shall participate in or conduct any horse show or exhibition in which there is shown or exhibited a horse which such person has reason to believe is sored.
Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
TITLE 15.1. COUNTIES, CITIES AND TOWNS.
CHAPTER 1. GENERAL.
ARTICLE 2. GENERAL PROVISIONS; CERTAIN POWERS.
§ 15.1-29.1:1 Ordinances prohibiting cruelty to animals.
The governing body of any county, city or town may provide by ordinance that it shall be unlawful to be cruel to animals as set forth in § 3.1-796.122 and may provide penalties for the violation of such ordinance.
§ 15.1-870 Cruelty to animals; running at large and keeping of animals and fowl.
A municipal corporation may prevent 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.
TITLE 18.2. CRIMES AND OFFENSES GENERALLY.
CHAPTER 8. CRIMES INVOLVING MORALS AND DECENCY.
ARTICLE 8. OFFENSES INVOLVING ANIMALS.
§ 18.2-403.1 Offenses involving animals -- Class 1 misdemeanors.
The following unlawful acts and offenses against animals shall constitute and be punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor:
1. Violation of subsection A of § 3.1-796.122 pertaining to cruelty to animals.
2. Violation of § 3.1-796.69 pertaining to transporting animals under certain conditions.
3. Making a false claim or receiving money on a false claim under § 3.1- 796.118 pertaining to compensation for livestock and poultry killed by dogs.
4. Violation of § 3.1-796.83:1 pertaining to boarding establishments and groomers as defined in § 3.1-796.68.
§ 18.2-403.3 Offenses involving animals -- Class 4 misdemeanors.
The following unlawful acts and offenses against animals shall constitute and be punished as a Class 4 misdemeanor:
1. Violation of § 3.1-796.111 pertaining to interference of agents charged with preventing cruelty to animals.
2. Violation of § 3.1-796.126 pertaining to shooting pigeons.
3. Violation of § 3.1-796.121 pertaining to disposing of the body of a dead companion animal.
4. Violation of ordinances passed pursuant to §§ 3.1-796.98 and 3.1-796.100 pertaining to rabid dogs and preventing the spread of rabies and the running at large of vicious dogs.
5. Violation of an ordinance passed pursuant to § 3.1-796.95 requiring dogs to be on a leash.
6. Failure by any person to secure and exhibit the permits required by s 29.1-422 pertaining to field trails, night trails and foxhounds.
7. Diseased dogs. -- For the owner of any dog with a contagious or infectious disease to permit such dog to stray from his premises if such disease is known to the owner.
8. License application. -- For any person to make a false statement in order to secure a dog or cat license to which he is not entitled.
9. License tax. -- For any dog or cat owner to fail to pay any license tax required by § 3.1-796.88 before February 1 for the year in which it is due. In addition, the court may order confiscation and the proper disposition of the dog or cat.
10. Concealing a dog or cat. -- For any person to conceal or harbor any dog or cat on which any required license tax has not been paid.
11. Removing collar and tag. -- For any person, except the owner or custodian, to remove a legally acquired license tag from a dog or cat without the permission of the owner or custodian.
12. Violation of § 3.1-796.68 pertaining to care of animals by owner.