Statutes

Statute by category Citationsort descending Summary
VA - Vehicle - § 29.1-539. Keeping deer or bear struck by motor vehicle; VA Code Ann. § 29.1-539 Any person driving a motor vehicle who collides with a deer or bear may, upon compliance with relevant provisions, keep the deer or bear for his or her own use. The person shall immediately report the accident to a conservation police officer or other law-enforcement officer. If the officer believes that the deer or bear was killed by the collision, he shall award the animal to the person claiming the deer or bear, and shall give the person a certificate to that effect.
VA - Restaurant - § 3.2-5115. Animals VA Code Ann. § 3.2-5115 This Virginia law states that no animal shall be permitted in any area used for the manufacture or storage of food products. However, a dog may be allowed in designated areas of a distillery, winery, or brewery as defined in the law.
VA - Resarch animals - Article 13. Animal Research VA Code Ann. § 3.2-6591 - 6593 This Virginia set of laws, enacted in 2018, relates to animal research. The section states that no manufacturer or contract testing facility shall use an animal test method when an alternative test method is available. The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate circuit court for injunctive relief to enforce the provisions of this article. Any person violating these provisions may result in a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 and any court costs and attorney fees.
VA - Disaster - § 44-146.18. Department of Emergency Services continued as Department of Emergency Management; VA Code Ann. § 44-146.18

In Virginia, the State Department of Emergency Management must develop an emergency response plan to address the needs of individuals with household pets and service animals in the event of a disaster (subsection (B)(19)).

VA - Trusts - § 64.2-726. Trust for care of animal VA Code Ann. § 64.2-726

This Virginia pet trust law becomes effective July 1, 2006.  The law provides that a trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal or, if the trust was created to provide for the care of more than one animal alive during the settlor's lifetime, upon the death of the last surviving animal.

VA - Cemeteries, Pet - Article 8. Pet Cemeteries VA Code Ann. §§ 57-39.20 - 57-39.25

This Virginia chapter concerns pet cemeteries. “Pet cemetery” means land, together with any structures, facilities, or buildings appurtenant thereto provided to members of the public for use or reservation for use for the individual interment, above or below ground, of pet remains. The owner of land used for a pet cemetery must file a declaration in the office of the clerk restricting the land use. Each pet cemetery operation must establish a "perpetual care fund" of  at least $12,000 before the first plot is sold in the pet cemetery. Violation of § 57-39.22 relating to the perpetual care fund is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

VA - Hunting - § 29.1-521. Unlawful to hunt, trap, possess, sell or transport wild birds and wild animals except as permitted; e Va. Code Ann. § 29.1-521 This statute makes it a Class 3 misdemeanor to take listed wild animals. In 2014, Virginia prohibited hunting or killing any deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs on Sundays. This statute also provides a procedural mechanism for registered Virginia Native Americans to obtain wild animal parts (i.e., eagle feathers) for ceremonial religious use.
VA - Hunting - § 29.1-521.1. Willfully impeding hunting or trapping; penalty Va. Code Ann. § 29.1-521.1 & § 29.1-529

This law reflects Virginia's hunter harassment provision. Under the law, it is unlawful to willfully and intentionally impede the lawful hunting or trapping of wild birds or wild animals. Violation is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

VA - Dogs - Consolidated Dog Laws Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-5900 - 6590; § 15.2-981; § 18.2-97, 97.1; § 18.2-313.1; § 18.2-403.3; § 29.1-422; § 29.1-516.1; § 32.1-48.1 - .4

These Virginia statutes comprise the state's dog laws.  Among the provisions include laws on the sale of dogs, rabies control laws, and sections concerning damage done by dogs.

VA - Equine - Chapter 62. Equine Activity Liability/Chapter 63. Ox Activity Liability Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6200 - 6302

This Virginia section provides that an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person shall not be liable for an injury to or death of a participant resulting from the intrinsic dangers of equine activities.  Liability is not limited where the equine professional intentionally injures the participant, commits an act or omission that constitutes negligence for the safety of the participant, or knowingly provides faulty equipment or tack that causes injury.  The statute seems to imply that a waiver should be executed when a participant engages in equine activities to adequately insulate the equine professional.

VA - Breeder - § 3.2-6500. Definitions (definitions for commercial breeder) Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6500

Provides most recent definitions for terms used throughout the rest of the statute, including but not limited to private and public animal shelters, commercial breeder, shelter, pet shop, and kennel.

VA - Vehicle - § 3.2-6504.1. Civil immunity; forcible entry of motor vehicle to remove unattended companion animal. Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6504.1 This Virginia law was signed by the Governor on April 1, 2016. The law provides that no law-enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, or animal control officer who in good faith forcibly enters a motor vehicle in order to remove an unattended companion animal that is at risk of serious bodily injury or death shall be liable for any property damage to the vehicle entered or injury to the animal resulting from such forcible entry and removal of the animal, unless such property damage or injury results from gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
VA - Rabies - § 3.2-6522. Rabid animals Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6522 This Virginia statute provides that, when there is sufficient reason to believe that a rabid animal is at large, the governing body of any county, city or town shall have the power to pass an emergency ordinance that shall become effective immediately upon passage, requiring owners of all dogs and cats therein to keep the same confined.  It further outlines the steps that must be undertaken pursuant to such an ordinance, including proof of vaccination from pet owners, procedures for impounding and euthanizing suspected infected animals, and procedures relating to an animal biting a person.
VA - Rabies - § 3.2-6523. Inoculation for rabies at animal shelters Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6523

This Virginia statute provides that animals at a shelter may be inoculated by a licensed veterinary technician who is under the direct supervision of a veterinarian when an emergency rabies ordinance has been issued by a city or county.

VA - Licenses - § 3.2-6524. Unlicensed dogs prohibited; ordinances for licensing cats Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6524 This Virginia statute provides that it is unlawful for any person to own a dog four months old or older in the state unless such dog is licensed.  With regard to cats, the governing body of any county, city or town may, by local ordinance, prohibit any person from owning a cat four months or older within such locality unless such cat is licensed.
VA - Rabies - § 3.2-6525. Regulations to prevent spread of rabies Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6525

This Virginia statute provides that the governing body of any county, city or town may adopt such ordinances, regulations or other measures as may be deemed reasonably necessary to prevent the spread within its boundaries of the disease of rabies, and to regulate and control the running at large within its boundaries of vicious or destructive dogs. Penalties may be provided for the violation of any such ordinances.  The governing body of any county that has adopted the urban county executive form of government may adopt an ordinance creating a program for the distribution of oral rabies vaccine within its boundaries to prevent the spread of rabies.

VA - Licenses - § 3.2-6527. How to obtain license Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6527 This Virginia statute describes the process under which an individual may obtain a dog or cat license.  Generally, it states that any person may obtain a dog license or cat license if required by an ordinance by making oral or written application to the treasurer of the county or city in which such person resides, accompanied by the amount of license tax and current certificate of vaccination as required by this article.
VA - Licenses - § 3.2-6528. Amount of license tax Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6528 This Virginia statute provides that the governing body of each county or city shall impose by ordinance a license tax on the ownership of dogs within its jurisdiction.  With regard to cats, the governing body of any county, city or town which has adopted an ordinance requiring licensing of cats shall impose by ordinance a license tax on the ownership of cats within its jurisdiction.  The tax amount may vary depending on whether the pet is male or female, and neutered or spayed. 
VA - Assistance animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6528, 6588; § 46.2-932.1 - 934; § 51.5-40.1 - 51.5-46; § 36-96.1.1 - 3.2

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

VA - Ordinances - § 3.2-6537. Ordinances; penalties (pet shops) Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6537 This Virginia statute provides that the governing body of any county, city or town may, by local ordinance, require a person operating a pet shop or operating as a dealer in companion animals to obtain a permit.  It further outlines the specific requirements the ordinance may provide, including record-keeping and penalties.
VA - Ordinances - § 3.2-6539. Ordinance requiring dogs to be kept on leash Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6539 This Virginia statute provides that the governing body of any city may adopt regulations or ordinances requiring that dogs to be kept on a leash or otherwise restrained and may request the court to order a referendum as to whether any such ordinance so adopted shall become effective in the city. The results of the referendum shall not be binding upon the governing body of any such city but may be used in ascertaining the sense of the voters.
VA - Dangerous - § 3.2-6540. Control of dangerous or vicious dogs; penalties Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6540 - 6542

These Virginia statutes amended in 2013 provide the state's dangerous dog laws. The first law outlines control procedures for a dangerous dog, defined as a canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal that is a dog or cat, or killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat.. The new section deals with a "vicious dog," defined 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.

VA - Dangerous - § 3.2-6541. Authority to prohibit training of attack dogs Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6541

This Virginia statute provides that Fairfax County may enact an ordinance that prohibits persons from training dogs on residential property to attack.

VA - Ordinances - § 3.2-6543. Governing body of any locality may adopt certain ordinances Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6543 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.
VA - Impound - § 3.2-6545. Regulation of sale of animals procured from animal shelters Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6545

This Virginia statute provides that any city, county or town which supports an animal shelter may by ordinance provide that no person who acquires an animal from a shelter shall be able to sell such animal within a period of six months from the time the animal is acquired from the shelter. Violation of such an ordinance shall constitute a misdemeanor.

VA - Impound - § 3.2-6547. Acceptance of animals for research or experimentation; prohibition Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6547

This Virginia statute provides that no animal bearing a tag, license or tattooed identification shall be used or accepted by any person for the purpose of medical research or experimentation, unless the individual who owns such animal consents in writing.

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

This Virginia statute outlines the requirements for private animal shelters.  Included are provisions that each animal shelter must obtain a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, and staff specifying that the individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment.  The State Veterinarian's office is responsible for inspection of the facilities to be sure the spaces for animals are adequate.  The statute also describes the requirements for animal foster care homes and states the penalties for violations of this statutory section.

VA - Impound - § 3.2-6549. Releasing agencies other than pounds or animal shelters; confinement and disposition of companion ani Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6549

This Virginia statute outlines the requirements for releasing agencies other than pounds or animal shelters.  Included in the provisions are recordkeeping requirements, a requirement that each agency receives a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, or animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and owner notice provisions.

VA - Impound - § 3.2-6551. Notification by individuals finding companion animals; penalty Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6551

This recent Virginia statute provides that any individual who finds a companion animal and provides care shall, within 48 hours, make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the companion animal, if the owner can be ascertained from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other form of identification and notify the pound that serves the locality where the companion animal was found.  Any individual who violates this section may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $50 per companion animal.

VA - Dangerous - § 3.2-6553. Compensation for livestock and poultry killed by dogs Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6553 This Virginia statute states that any person who has any livestock or poultry killed or injured by any dog not his or her own shall be entitled to receive the fair market value of such livestock or poultry not to exceed $750 per animal or $10 per fowl, provided that the claimant has furnished evidence, the animal control officer was notified within seventy-two hours after discovery of the damage, and the claimant has exhausted other legal remedies.  However, local jurisdictions may by ordinance waive the last two requirements provided that the ordinance adopted requires that the animal control officer has conducted an investigation and that his investigation supports the claim.
VA - Cruelty - Article 7. Animal Control Officers and Humane Investigators. Article 8. Search, Seizure, Impounding, and Enforcem Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6555 - 3.2-6569

These chapters relate to the qualifications and duties of animal control officers and the procedures for impounding stray animals.

VA - Fur - § 3.2-6570. Cruelty to animals; penalty (dog/cat fur prohibition) Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6570

In Virginia, it is unlawful for any person to kill a domestic dog or cat for the purpose of obtaining the hide, fur or pelt of the dog or cat (subsection E). A violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony.

VA - Fighting - § 3.2-6571. Animal fighting; penalty Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6571

This section makes it unlawful to knowingly promote, prepare, engage in or attend an exhibition of the fighting of animals. The violation becomes a Class 6 felony if: 1) one of the animals is a dog; 2) a device or substance is used to enhance the dog's ability to fight; 3) money or something else of value is wagered; 4) admission is paid; 5) an animal is owned or possessed with the intent to engage in an animal fight; or 6) a person causes a minor to attend or undertake in the activities. An animal used in fighting may be confiscated by law enforcement. Additionally, any person convicted of violating any listed provision shall be prohibited by the court from possession or ownership of companion animals or cocks.

VA - Exotic Pets - Article 11. Hybrid Canines Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6581 - 6584

This section provides Virginia's hybrid canine laws (registered or described to a veterinarian, animal control, or other listed authority as a wolf or coyote-dog cross) . Under the section, any locality may, by ordinance, establish a permit system to ensure the adequate confinement and responsible ownership of hybrid canines. Violation of an ordinance enacted pursuant to this section is a Class 3 misdemeanor for the first violation and a Class 1 misdemeanor for any subsequent violation. Further, it is the duty of any animal control officer or other officer who may find a hybrid canine in the act of killing or injuring livestock or poultry to kill such hybrid canine forthwith, whether such hybrid canine bears a tag or not.

VA - Property - § 3.2-6585. Dogs and cats deemed personal property; rights relating thereto Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6585 This Virginia statute provides that all dogs and cats shall be deemed personal property and may be the subject of larceny and malicious or unlawful trespass.  It further grants authority to animal control officers to seize a stolen dog or cat pending court action.
VA - Ordinance - § 3.2-6587. Unlawful acts; penalties Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6587

This Virginia statute describes the unlawful acts related to pets that will constitute Class 4 misdemeanors.  Included are furnishing a false license application, failing to pay license tax, violating a leash or rabies ordinance, not disposing of dead companion animals per statute, and improperly concealing a pet.  Also, a Class 1 misdemeanor may be imposed for falsely impersonating a humane officer or for falsifying a claim for animal damage.

VA - Fur - § 3.2-6589. Selling garments containing dog or cat fur prohibited; penalty Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6589

This Virginia statute makes it illegal to sell a garment containing the fur of a "domestic" dog or cat.  Violation incurs up to a $10,000 penalty.

VA - Rabies - § 32.1-48.3. Regulations of Commissioner covering local ordinances and requirements Va. Code Ann. § 32.1-48.3 This Virginia statute specifically authorizes preemption of local control in the event of a rabies outbreak.  It states that if the governing body of the county or city in which the outbreak exists does not adopt ordinances, regulations and measures to prohibit the running at large of dogs and to prevent the spread of rabies, the State Health Commissioner is authorized to adopt regulations providing for the matters contained in such sections and to enforce the same in the same manner as if they had been specifically adopted by the governing body of the county or city involved.
VA - Liens - § 43–32 Lien of keeper of livery stable, marina, etc. Va. Code Ann. § 43-32

Every keeper of a livery stable, hangar, tie-down, or marina, and every person pasturing or keeping any horses or other animals, boats, aircrafts, or harness, will have a lien for the amount that would be due for towing, storage, recovery, keeping, supporting, and care. The lien will be removed once the amount is paid.

VA - Veterinary - Chapter 38. Veterinary Medicine. Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-3800 - 3813

These are the state's veterinary practice laws.  Among the provisions include licensing requirements, laws concerning the state veterinary board, veterinary records laws, and the laws governing disciplinary actions for impaired or incompetent practitioners.

VA - Endangered Species - Article 6. Endangered Species. Va. Code Ann. §§ 29.1-563 - 570 The taking, transportation, possession, sale, or offer for sale within the Commonwealth of any fish or wildlife appearing on any list of threatened or endangered species published by the United States Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-205), or any modifications or amendments thereto, is prohibited except as provided in § 29.1-568. Interestingly, the state mandates that anyone who keeps a non-native or exotic reptile must keep the reptile so as to prevent it from running-at-large or escaping.  Violation of this provision is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
VA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes Va. Code Ann. §§ 3.2-6500 - 6590; Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-361; § 18.2-144.1

These Virginia statutes set forth Title 3.2, the Comprehensive Animal Care laws, which include the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions. For the purposes of § 3.2-6570, the operative animal cruelty law, animal means any nonhuman vertebrate species including fish except those fish captured and killed or disposed of in a reasonable and customary manner. The section has a misdemeanor animal cruelty law as well as a felony provision related to torture or willful infliction of cruelty. The section requires companion animal owners to provide adequate care.

Virginia General Laws 1893: Cruelty to Animals Va. Code Ann. §§ 4554-4567 (Michie 1913)

A collection of Virginia laws from 1893 concerning the punishment and enforcement against cruelty to animals.  The laws cover cruelty to animals, power of agents of the court to search for cruelty to animals, and the punishment for shooting pigeons among other things.

VA - Domestic Violence - Protective orders Va. Code Ann.§§ 16.1-253, 16.1-253.1, 16.1-253.4, 16.1-279.1, 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9, and 19.2-152.10 In 2014, Virginia amended its Protective Order laws to grant petitioners possession of any “companion animal," so long as the petitioner is considered the owner. Companion animals include any family pets, such as dogs, cats, hamsters, etc., but do not include farm animals. To be considered an owner, a petitioner must either have a property interest in the animal, keep or house the animal, have the animal in their care, or have acted as a custodian of the animal. This new provision is now included in Virginia's Emergency Protective Orders, Preliminary Protective Orders, and Protective Orders.
TX - Racing - Art. 179e, Texas Racing Act Vernon's Ann. Texas Civ. St. Art. 179e This Texas Act was enacted for the purpose of strictly regulating horse racing, greyhound racing, and pari-mutuel wagering. The Act created the Texas Racing Commission which is charged with regulating and supervising every race meeting that involves wagering on the result of greyhound or horse racing. The commission must adopt rules for conducting greyhound or horse racing as well as rules for administering the Act. A person is required to apply for a license from the commission in order to conduct a greyhound or horse race where wagering is to take place. A person is also not allowed to participate in racing involving pari-mutuel wagering unless they obtain a license form the commission.
VA - Initiatives - Virginia Ballot Measure 2 (2000), Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Game Virginia Ballot Measure 2 (2000), Right to Hunt, Fish, and Harvest Game (passed) This Virginia ballot measure passed in 2000 provided by constitutional amendment that, "The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law." It passed with 60% of the vote.
WY - Cruelty, livestock - Chapter 29. Protection of Livestock Animals. W. S. 1977 §§ 11-29-101 to 115

This chapter concerns cruelty to livestock animals. The laws state that every person who confines or causes to be confined any livestock animal under the laws of this state, must supply to the livestock animal during confinement a sufficient quantity of wholesome food and water. The section also provides that officers and agents of the Wyoming livestock board must be provided with a certificate and badge. Any peace officer, agent or officer of the board may lawfully interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any livestock animal in his or her presence.

WY - Livestock - Chapter 30. Offenses Concerning Livestock and Other Animals. W. S. 1977 § 11-30-101 to 115

This Wyoming chapter of laws covers such offenses from misbranding livestock to a prohibition on the desertion and abandonment of sheep. Specific horse offenses are detailed, such as taking possession of any horse or mule found running at large on the open range with the intent of working or riding it, and the use of horses by a stable keeper without consent of the owner. The chapter also makes it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $750 and/or imprisonment for up to 6 months for willfully or maliciously killing a wild horse.

WY - Horses - § 11-30-115. Unlawful killing of wild horses W. S. 1977 § 11-30-115

This Wyoming statute provides that it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $750 with possible imprisonment of up to six months to maliciously kill a "wild horse" (one that is unbranded and unclaimed and lives on state or public land).  This was signed into law in March of 2001.

WY - Ordinances - § 11-31-301. Public nuisance; notice; penalties; rules and regulations; W. S. 1977 § 11-31-301

This Wyoming statute provides that a board of county commissioners may declare the running at large of any specified animals in unincorporated areas within the county limits a public nuisance.  Dogs or other animals, whose ownership cannot be determined, may be destroyed.  A dog injuring or killing livestock may be killed by the owner of the livestock or his agent or any peace officer.  However, any dog attacking any person in a vicious manner may be impounded by the county sheriff or animal control officer and held in quarantine for at least fifteen (15) days and not more than twenty (20) days after the attack to determine whether the dog has any disease which may be communicated to humans.  A board of county commissioners may enact regulations relative to dogs running at large, vicious dogs, dogs running wild game or livestock or acts by other animals which shall carry out the purposes of this section.  The county may also establish a county license fee and an animal control program/facility.

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