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

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Primary Citation:  Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6543 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  February, 2024 Alternate Citation:  VA ST § 3.2-6543 Date Adopted:  1976 Historical: 
Summary: This Virginia statute provides that the governing bodies of counties, cities, and towns of the Commonwealth are hereby authorized to adopt, in their discretion, ordinances which parallel statutory sections dealing with licensing of dogs, taxation, impoundment, and regulation of dangerous dogs. It also provides that nothing in this section shall be construed so as to prevent or restrict any local governing body from adopting local animal control ordinances which are more stringent than the relevant state statutory sections. It further outlines how ordinances may impose civil penalties for violations of the above.

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.


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


Acts 2005, c. 304 added the second sentence in the first paragraph in subsec. A in former § 3.1-796.94, from which this section was derived. The second enactment of Acts 2005, c. 304 provided:

“That any ordinance adopted pursuant to § 3.1-796.94 prior to the enactment of this act shall be deemed valid.”

Acts 2009, c. 107 amended subsec. A regarding adopting by reference ordinances of surrounding counties. The second enactment of Acts 2009, c. 107 provided:

“That an emergency exists and this act is in force from its passage.”


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


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