Full Statute Name:  West's Annotated Code of Virginia. Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food. Subtitle V. Domestic Animals. Chapter 65. Comprehensive Animal Care. Article 6. Authority of Local Governing Bodies. § 3.2-6540. Control of dangerous or vicious dogs; penalties

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Primary Citation:  Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6540 - 6543.1 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  January, 2022 Alternate Citation:  VA ST § 3.2-6540 - 6543.1 Date Adopted:  1993 Historical: 
Summary: These Virginia statutes comprise the state's dangerous dog laws, which were updated in 2021. Any law-enforcement officer or animal control officer who (i) has reason to believe that an animal is a dangerous dog and (ii) is located in the jurisdiction where the animal resides or in the jurisdiction where the act was committed may apply to a magistrate for the issuance of a summons requiring the owner, 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. Section 3.2-6540.1 also defines a vicious dog as "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."

§ 3.2–6540 . Control of dangerous dogs; penalties

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

§ 3.2-6540.02. Notice of dangerous dog finding; penalty

§ 3.2-6540.03. Violation of law by owner of dangerous dog; penalty

§ 3.2-6540.04. Subsequent attack or bite by dangerous dog; penalty

§ 3.2–6540.1 . Vicious dogs; penalties

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

§ 3.2-6541.1. Authority to prohibit ownership of particular breed

§ 3.2-6542 . Establishment of Dangerous Dog Registry

§ 3.2-6542.1. Renewal of dangerous dog registration

§ 3.2-6542.2. Dangerous dog fees; local fund

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

§ 3.2-6543.1. Authority to enact parallel dangerous dog ordinance

 

 

§ 3.2–6540. Control of dangerous dogs; penalties

A. As used in this section, “dog” includes a hybrid canine as defined in § 3.2-6581.

B. Any law-enforcement officer or animal control officer who (i) has reason to believe that an animal is a dangerous dog and (ii) is located in the jurisdiction where the animal resides or in the jurisdiction where the act was committed may apply to a magistrate for the issuance of a summons requiring the owner, 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.

C. No law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall apply for a summons pursuant to subsection B if, upon investigation, the officer finds (i) in the case of an injury to a companion animal that is a dog or cat, that no serious injury has occurred as a result of the attack or bite, that both animals are owned by the same person, or that the incident originated on the property of the attacking or biting dog's owner or (ii) in the case of an injury to a person, that the injury caused by the dog upon the person consists solely of a single nip or bite resulting only in a scratch, abrasion, or other minor injury. In determining whether serious injury to a companion animal that is a dog or cat has occurred, the officer may consult with a licensed veterinarian.

D. A law-enforcement officer or animal control officer who applies for a summons pursuant to subsection B shall provide the owner with written notice of such application. For 30 days following such provision of written notice, the owner shall not dispose of the animal other than by surrender to the animal control officer or by euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian. Following such provision of written notice, an owner who elects to euthanize a dog that is the subject of a dangerous dog investigation shall provide documentation of such euthanasia to the animal control officer.

E. If a law-enforcement officer successfully makes an application for the issuance of a summons pursuant to subsection B, 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.

F. Following the issuance of a summons following an application pursuant to subsection B, an animal control officer may confine the animal until the evidence is heard and a verdict rendered. If the animal control officer determines that the owner can confine the animal in a manner that protects the public safety, he may permit the owner to confine the animal until the evidence is heard and a verdict rendered. Upon being served with a summons for a dangerous dog, the owner shall not dispose of the animal, other than by euthanasia, until the case has been adjudicated. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner of the animal to produce the animal and to provide documentation that it has been, or will be within three business days, implanted with electronic identification registered to the owner. The owner shall provide the registration information to the animal control officer.

G. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an animal control officer or law-enforcement officer from securing a summons for a hearing to determine whether a dog that is surrendered but not euthanized is a dangerous dog.

H. Unless good cause is determined by the court, the evidentiary hearing pursuant to the dangerous dog summons shall be held not more than 30 days from the issuance of the summons. 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. The court shall determine that the animal is a dangerous dog if the evidence shows that it (i) killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat or inflicted serious injury on a companion animal that is a dog or cat, including a serious impairment of health or bodily function that requires significant medical attention, a serious disfigurement, any injury that has a reasonable potential to cause death, or any injury other than a sprain or strain or (ii) directly caused serious injury to a person, including laceration, broken bone, or substantial puncture of skin by teeth. Unless good cause is determined by the court, the appeal of a dangerous dog finding shall be heard within 30 days.

I. If after hearing the evidence the court finds that the animal is a dangerous dog, the court:

1. Shall order the animal's owner to comply with the provisions of this section and §§ 3.2-6540.01, 3.2-6542, and 3.2-6542.1;

2. May order the owner of the animal to pay restitution for actual damages to any person injured by the animal or whose companion animal was injured or killed by the animal. Such order shall not preclude the injured person from pursuing civil remedies, including damages that accrue after the original finding that the animal is a dangerous dog; and

3. 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 as the animal is disposed of or returned to the owner.

J. 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, including the requirement that the owner provide documentation that the dog has been, or will be within three business days, implanted with electronic identification registered to the owner. The registration information shall be provided to the animal control officer. 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.

K. No animal shall be found by the court to be a dangerous dog:

1. Solely because it is a particular breed;

2. 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; (ii) committing at the time a willful trespass upon the premises occupied by the animal's owner; 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;

3. If the animal is a police dog that was engaged in the performance of its duties as such at the time of the act complained of;

4. If at the time of the acts complained of the animal was responding to pain or injury or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, a person, or its owner's property;

5. As a result of killing or inflicting serious injury on a dog or cat while engaged with its owner as part of lawful hunting or participating in an organized, lawful dog handling event; or

6. 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.
L. 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 and §§ 3.2-6540.01, 3.2-6540.02, 3.2-6540.03, 3.2-6540.04, 3.2-6542, and 3.2-6542.1.

Credits
Acts 2008, c. 860, eff. Oct. 1, 2008; Acts 2008, c. 360; Acts 2008, c. 551; Acts 2008, c. 691. Amended by Acts 2009, c. 377; Acts 2012, c. 107; Acts 2012, c. 236; Acts 2013, c. 58; Acts 2013, c. 732; Acts 2017, c. 396; Acts 2019, c. 190; Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Credits
Added by Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

§ 3.2-6540.02. Notice of dangerous dog finding; penalty

A. Any releasing agency transferring or releasing for adoption within the Commonwealth an animal found to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540 shall notify in writing the receiving party of the requirements of this section and §§ 3.2-6540, 3.2-6540.01, 3.2-6540.03, and 3.2-6540.04.

B. Any releasing agency transferring or releasing for adoption outside the Commonwealth an animal found to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540 shall notify the appropriate animal control officer in the receiving jurisdiction that the animal has been so adjudicated.

C. Any owner of an animal found to be a dangerous dog in another state shall, upon bringing such animal to reside within the Commonwealth, notify the animal control officer of the jurisdiction in which the owner resides that the animal has been so adjudicated.

D. Any owner who disposes by surrender to a releasing agency, gift, sale, transfer, or trade of an animal found to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540 shall notify the receiver in writing that the animal has been so adjudicated. A violation of this subsection is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Credits
Added by Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

§ 3.2-6540.03. Violation of law by owner of dangerous dog; penalty

A. If an owner of an animal previously found to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540 is charged with a violation of § 3.2-6540, 3.2-6540.01, 3.2-6540.02, or 3.2-6540.04, the animal control officer shall confine the dangerous dog until such time as evidence shall be heard and a verdict rendered pursuant to § 3.2-6540. Unless good cause is determined by the court, such evidentiary hearing shall be held within 30 days of the issuance of the summons. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner of the animal to produce the animal.

B. 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 § 3.2-6540.01, 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 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.

C. Any owner of a dangerous dog who is charged with a violation pursuant to subsection A and is found to have willfully failed to comply with the requirements of § 3.2-6540, 3.2-6540.01, 3.2-6540.02, or 3.2-6540.04 is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The court may determine that a person convicted under this subsection shall be prohibited from owning, possessing, or residing on the same property with a dog.

Credits
Added by Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

§ 3.2-6540.04. Subsequent attack or bite by dangerous dog; penalty

A. Any owner of an animal found to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540, when such finding arose out of a separate and distinct incident, is guilty of a:

1. Class 2 misdemeanor if such dog attacks and injures or kills a cat or dog that is a companion animal belonging to another person; or

2. Class 1 misdemeanor if such dog bites a human being or attacks a human being causing bodily injury.

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

C. The court may determine that a person convicted under this section shall be prohibited from owning, possessing, or residing on the same property with a dog.

Credits
Added by Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

§ 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.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2013, c. 58; Acts 2013, c. 732.

 

§ 3.2-6541.1. Authority to prohibit ownership of particular breed

No locality shall prohibit the ownership of a particular breed of dog.

Credits
Added by Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

§ 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.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 2008, c. 860, eff. Oct. 1, 2008.

 

§ 3.2-6542. Establishment of Dangerous Dog Registry

A. The Commissioner shall establish the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry to be maintained by the Department. 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. The website list shall be known as the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry.

B. 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 found dangerous, and information necessary to access court records of the adjudication shall be available to the general public. If 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.

C. Each county or 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.

D. Actions of the Department relating to the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry under this section or § 3.2-6542.1 shall be exempt from the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

E. 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.

Credits
Acts 2008, c. 860, eff. Oct. 1, 2008. Amended by Acts 2009, c. 354; Acts 2012, c. 107; Acts 2012, c. 236; Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

§ 3.2-6542.1. Renewal of dangerous dog registration

A. By January 31 of each year, until the animal is deceased, the owner of an animal found to be a dangerous dog pursuant to § 3.2-6540 shall update and renew the dangerous dog registration certificate obtained pursuant to § 3.2-6540.01 for a fee of $85 in the same manner as the initial certificate was obtained. However, if the dangerous dog adjudication occurred within 60 days of the end of the calendar year, the first renewal shall be included in the initial registration at no additional charge to the owner.

B. Prior to the renewal date of a dangerous dog registration each year, a local animal control officer shall conduct an inspection of the dangerous dog and the premises on which it is kept, and no certificate of renewal shall be issued without such inspection. The animal control officer shall post registration information on the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry established by § 3.2-6542.

C. No dangerous dog registration certificate required to be obtained under this section shall be issued to any person who is younger than 18 years of age or who fails to present satisfactory evidence of (i) compliance with the provisions of §§ 3.2-6540, 3.2-6540.01, 3.2-6540.02, 3.2-6540.03, and 3.2-6540.04; (ii) the animal's current rabies vaccination, if applicable; and (iii) a current county or city dog license, as appropriate.

Credits
Added by Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

§ 3.2-6542.2. Dangerous dog fees; local fund

All fees collected by a locality pursuant to § 3.2-6540, 3.2-6540.01, 3.2-6540.02, 3.2-6540.03, 3.2-6540.04, 3.2-6542, or 3.2-6542.1, less the costs incurred by the animal control officer in producing and distributing any certificate or tag required by such section and any fees due to the Department for maintenance of the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry established by § 3.2-6542, 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.

Credits
Added by Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

§ 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.

Credits
Acts 2008, c. 860, eff. Oct. 1, 2008. Amended by Acts 2009, c. 107, eff. Feb. 25, 2009.

 

§ 3.2-6543.1. Authority to enact parallel dangerous dog ordinance

The governing body of any locality may enact an ordinance regulating dangerous dogs that is parallel to § 3.2-6540, 3.2-6540.01, 3.2-6540.02, 3.2-6540.03, or 3.2-6540.04. No locality shall impose a felony penalty for violation of such ordinance.

Credits
Added by Acts 2021, Sp. S. I, c. 464, eff. July 1, 2021.

 

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