West Virginia Statutes
|Statute by category||Citation||Summary|
|WV - Assistance Animal - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws||W. Va. Code, § 5-15-1 to 9; § 19-20-2; § 5-11A-3, 5-11A-5||
The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.
|WV - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes||W. Va. Code, § 7-10-1 to 5; W. Va. Code, § 61-8-19 to 23; W. Va. Code, § 19-33-1 - 5||
These West Virginia statutes comprise the state's anti-cruelty and animal fighting provisions. If any person cruelly mistreats, abandons or withholds proper sustenance, including food, water, shelter or medical treatment, necessary to sustain normal health and fitness or to end suffering or abandons any animal to die, or uses, trains or possesses any domesticated animal for the purpose of seizing, detaining or maltreating any other domesticated animal, he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor. If any person intentionally tortures or maliciously kills an animal, or causes, procures or authorizes any other person to torture or maliciously kill an animal, he or she is guilty of a felony. The provisions of this section do not apply to lawful acts of hunting, fishing, trapping or animal training or farm livestock, poultry, gaming fowl or wildlife kept in private or licensed game farms if kept and maintained according to usual and accepted standards of livestock, poultry, gaming fowl or wildlife or game farm production and management. The section also prohibits animal fighting, making it a felony if the animal is a dog or other fur-bearing animal ("canine, feline, porcine, bovine, or equine species whether wild or domesticated"), and a misdemeanor if not (i.e., cockfighting).
|WV - Cruelty, reporting - § 9-6-9a. Mandatory reporting suspected of animal cruelty by adult protective service workers||W. Va. Code, § 9-6-9a, W. Va. Code, § 48-27-702, W. Va. Code, § 49-2-806||
These West Virginia statutes require that an adult protective services worker, a child protective services worker, or a law enforcement officer who responds to an alleged domestic violence incident, who form a reasonable suspicion that an animal is the victim of cruelty, shall report their suspicion to the county humane society within twenty-four hours.
|WV - Dangerous - § 19-20-21. License fee for keeping vicious or dangerous dog.||W. Va. Code, § 19-20-9a; § 19-20-20 - 21||These West Virginia statutes provide that any person who owns or harbors any dog, cat or other domesticated animal, whether licensed or unlicensed, which bites any person, shall confine and quarantine the animal for a period of ten days for rabies observation. The state apparently has a prohibition against owning a dangerous dog, such that no person shall own, keep or harbor any dog known by him to be vicious, dangerous, or in the habit of biting or attacking other persons, whether or not such dog wears a tag or muzzle. However, another section provides that any person who keeps a dog which is generally considered to be vicious, for the purpose of protection, shall acquire a special license therefor from the county assessor and then keep the dog restrained/enclosed.|
|WV - Dangerous - § 20-2-16. Dogs chasing deer||W. Va. Code, § 20-2-16||
This West Virginia statute mandates that no person shall permit his dog to hunt or chase deer. A conservation officer shall take into possession any dog known to have hunted or chased deer and the director shall advertise that such dog is in his possession, giving a description of the dog and stating the circumstances under which it was taken. The owner then has ten days to reclaim the dog. If after a bona fide but unsuccessful effort to capture dogs detected chasing or pursuing deer, an officer may kill the offending dogs.
|WV - Dogs - Consolidated Dog Laws||W. Va. Code, §§ 5A-4-4; § 7-7-6d; § 19-9-1 - 40; § 19-20-1 - 26; § 19-20A-1 - 8; § 19-20B-1 - 6; § 19-20C-1 - 3; § 19-20D-1 - 3; § 20-2-5; § 20-2-5f; § 20-2-16; § 20-2-22a; § 20-2-56a||
These West Virginia statutes comprise the state's dog laws. Among the provisions include registration requirements, rabies control, and hunting laws that impact dogs.
|WV - Domestic Violence - § 48-27-503. Permissive provisions in protective order.||W. Va. Code, §§ 48-27-503; 48-27-702||In West Virginia, the terms of a protective order may include awarding the petitioner the exclusive care, possession, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by either the petitioner or the respondent or a minor child residing in the residence or household of either the petitioner or the respondent and prohibiting the respondent from taking, concealing, molesting, physically injuring, killing or otherwise disposing of the animal and limiting or precluding contact by the respondent with the animal. Furthermore, West Virginia mandates that law enforcement officers who suspect animal cruelty during an alleged incident of domestic violence must report that suspicion and the grounds therefor to the county humane officer within twenty-four hours of the response to the alleged incident of domestic violence.|
|WV - Eagle - § 20-2-5c. Protection of bald eagles and golden eagles; unlawful acts;||W. Va. Code, § 20-2-5c||
This statute makes it a misdemeanor to possess or barter in golden or bald eagles, and any subsequent convictions under this chapter result in felony prosecution. In addition to fines and imprisonment, violators face revocation of hunting license privileges for up to ten years.
|WV - Equine Activity Liability - Article 4. Equestrian Activities Responsibility Act.||W. Va. Code, § 20-4-1 to 7||
This West Virginia section expressly recognizes the value of equestrian activities to the state. Thus, in order to limit liability to those who provide equine services, the duties of both the horsemen who provide such services and the participants who engage in such activities are stated. Each participant in an equestrian activity expressly assumes the risk of and legal responsibility for any injury, loss or damage to person or property which results from participation in an equestrian activity. Horsemen are required to ensure the safety of the participants and the equipment provided.
|WV - Exotic Pet - § 20-2-51. Permit for keeping pets; § 20-2-52. Permits for roadside menageries||W. Va. Code, § 20-2-51; W. Va. Code, § 20-2-52||
This West Virginia statute provides that the state fish and game director may issue a permit to a person to keep and maintain in captivity as a pet, a wild animal acquired from a commercial dealer or during the legal open season. The fee is charged is two dollars.
|WV - Exotic Pets - Article 34. Dangerous Wild Animals Act||W. Va. Code, § 19-34-1 to 9||The State of West Virginia found the possession of dangerous wild animals to present a serious public health and safety concern. Because of this, the state prohibits a person from possessing a dangerous wild animal unless the animal was owned prior to June 1, 2015 and the owner obtained a permit. Under this statute, a “Dangerous wild animal” means a mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian or aquatic animal, including a hybrid that is dangerous to humans, other animals or the environment due to its inherent nature and capability to do significant harm.|
|WV - Horse Slaughter - Article 2B. Inspection of Meat and Poultry.||W. Va. Code, §§ 19-2B-1 to 12||
The stated purpose of this article is to provide for the inspection, labeling and disposition of animals, poultry, carcasses, meat products and poultry products which are to be sold or offered for sale through commercial outlets for human consumption, the licensing of commercial slaughterers, custom slaughterers and processors, and the inspection of slaughterhouses and processing plants located in the state of West Virginia. With regard to horse slaughter, the article makes it unlawful to add kangaroo meat, horse meat, mule meat or other equine meat to any animal meat, meat product or poultry product to be sold or offered for sale through commercial outlets or distributors for human consumption.
|WV - Humane Slaughter - Article 2E. Humane Slaughter of Livestock.||W. Va. Code, §§ 19-2E-1 to 7||
The West Virginia humane slaughter provisions apply to livestock, defined as cattle, swine, sheep or goats. Humane methods of slaughtering livestock include those where the animal is rendered insensible to pain by a single blow, gunshot or by electrical, chemical or other means, or by slaughtering in accordance with the ritual requirements of the Jewish faith or any other religious faith that prescribes a method of slaughter by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries. The section provides a graduating scheme of penalties for violation; a first offense results in a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100 - $500; a second offense results in a misdemeanor with a fine of $500 - 1,000 and suspension of the license to do business as a slaughtering establishment until the facility is in compliance.
|WV - Hunting - § 20-2-2a. Interference with hunters, trappers and fishermen||W. Va. Code, § 20-2-2a||
This law reflects West Virginia's hunter harassment provision. Under the law, a person may not willfully obstruct or impede the participation of any individual in the lawful activity of hunting, fishing or trapping. Violation is a misdemeanor with a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500 or imprisonment for 10 - 100 days, or both. Subsequent violations within two years of any prior violation result in a fine of up to $1000 and imprisonment for up to one year, or both. A violator is also liable to the person for damages.
|WV - Hunting - § 20-2-5a. Forfeiture by person causing injury, death or destruction||W. Va. Code, § 20-2-5a||
Under this statute, defendants must pay an additional monetary penalty in the form of a "replacement cost" for the unlawful killing of certain listed species ($5,000 for each bald or golden eagle killed). If two defendants were implicated in the killing, each must pay the full penalty. For discussion of federal Eagle Act, see Detailed Discussion .
|WV - Hunting, Internet - § 20-2-5. Unlawful methods of hunting and fishing and other unlawful acts.||W. Va. Code Ann. § 20-2-5||This statute prohibits unlawful hunting in the state of West Virginia. Subsection (a)(27) effectively serves as the remote hunting ban. It is unlawful for any person to "[h]unt or conduct hunts for a fee when the person is not physically present in the same location as the wildlife being hunted within West Virginia." The statute (subsection (5)) also prohibits hunting by airplane or other airborne conveyance or by "a drone or other unmanned aircraft." Subsection (12) prohibits hunting by use of a ferret.|
|WV - Impound - § 19-20-8. Impounding and disposition of dogs; costs and fees||W. Va. Code, § 19-20-8||
This West Virginia statute provides that dogs seized and impounded as provided in this article shall be kept housed and fed in the county dog pound for five days after notice of seizure and impounding has been given or posted. Upon expiration this time period, all dogs which have not previously been redeemed by their owners shall be sold or humanely destroyed (this statute outlines what constitutes "humanely destroyed"). The owner may, at any time prior to the expiration of five days retrieve his or her dog by paying the requisite fees and satisfying any other provisions.
|WV - Leash - § 5A-4-4. Unlawful to kill or molest animals, birds or fowls upon grounds of capitol;||W. Va. Code, § 5A-4-4||This West Virginia statute aims at protecting the state capitol grounds and governor's mansion from disturbance. In doing so, it makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly allow a dog owned by him or her to be upon the grounds of the capitol buildings or governor's mansion unless such dog is under control by leash. Any person who knowingly allows a dog owned by him to be upon the grounds of the capitol buildings or governor's mansion while not under control by leash shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, be fined not less than twenty-five nor more than one hundred dollars. Other interesting provisions are included in this law.|
|WV - Licenses - § 7-7-6d. Collection of head tax on dogs; duties of assessor and sheriff;||W. Va. Code, § 7-7-6d||This West Virginia statute provides that it is the duty of the county assessor at the time of assessment of the personal property within such county, to assess and collect a head tax of one dollar on each male or spayed female dog and of two dollars on each unspayed female dog. In addition to the above, the assessor and his deputies shall have the further duty of collecting any such head tax on dogs as may be levied by the ordinances of each and every municipality within the county. The tax also serves the function of providing a registration for the dog. Any person who refuses to pay the tax after a specified period may have his or her dog seized, which may then be sold or eventually destroyed.|
|WV - Lien - § 38-11-4. Lien of bailee of animals or vehicles||W. Va. Code, § 38-11-4||This West Virginia law (as it relates to animals) states the a person who keeps a livery stable, or boarding stable for animals, or one who boards, pastures, feeds or trains animals for hire, has a lien upon such animals for the sum due him for the care, boarding, pasturage, feeding, or training of such animals, or the care, keeping of such animals. This lien exists even though such animals are permitted to be taken out of the possession of the one claiming such lien even if the contract has not yet terminated for the lien. The purchaser of such an animal, while out of the possession of the person claiming the lien, can take the property free of the lien unless he or she had actual notice of the lien at the time of purchase.|
|WV - Ordinances - § 19-20A-8. Vaccinated dogs and cats may run at large; confinement may be required||W. Va. Code, § 19-20A-8||This West Virginia statute provides that dogs or cats vaccinated in compliance with the provisions of this article may run at large in any area or locality unless a county commission or a municipality has adopted and enforced ordinances to prevent dogs from running at large. The state commissioner of agriculture may also enforce an at large ban when a rabies quarantine is in effect. However, any county commission or municipality may not adopt any ordinance which purports to keep any vaccinated dog from running at large while engaged in any lawful hunting activity; from running at large while engaged in any lawful training activity; or from running at large while engaged in any lawful herding or other farm related activity.|
|WV - Pet Trust - § 44D-4-408. Trust for care of animal||W. Va. Code, § 44D-1-110; W. Va. Code, § 44D-4-408; W. Va. Code, § 44D-4-409||These West Virginia statutes regulate trusts for the care of animals. A pet trust may be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the grantor's lifetime. The trust terminates upon the death of the animal. Property of a trust may be applied only to its intended use. A trust may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust instrument or by a person appointed by the court.|
|WV - Racing - Article 23. Horse and Dog Racing||W. Va. Code, § 19-23-9 - § 19-23-30||This Act requires a license from the West Virginia Racing Commission in order to conduct horse or dog racing. Anyone who participates or has anything to do with dog racing or horse racing at a licensed track, such as employees and horse/dog owners, must have a permit from the commission. This Act allows for the West Virginia Racing Commission to continue its existence as a public corporation. The Commission has full jurisdiction over and must supervise all horse and dog race meetings and all persons involved in the holding or conducting of horse and dog race meetings. Each county that already permits horse racing must vote and approve dog racing in order for the Commission to issue a license for a racing facility.|
|WV - Scientific research - § 20-2-50. Permit to hunt, kill, etc., wildlife for scientific or propagation purposes||W. Va. Code, § 20-2-50||
Under this West Virginia law, the director may issue a permit to a person to hunt, kill, take, capture or maintain in captivity wildlife exclusively for scientific purposes, but not for any commercial purposes.
|WV - Veterinary - Article 10. Veterinarians.||W. Va. Code, § 30-10-1 to 23||
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.