Sec. 4-1. Definitions.
Notwithstanding anything in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
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 article, 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.
Animal shall include any live vertebrate creature, domestic or wild, not to include birds.
Animal warden. The term "animal warden" means any person employed, contracted, or appointed by the board of supervisors of the county for the purpose of aiding in the enforcement of this chapter 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.
Companion animal. 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.
Dangerous dog. The term "dangerous dog" means any canine or canine crossbreed which has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal that is a dog or cat. However, when a dog attacks or bites a companion animal that is a dog or cat, the attacking or biting dog shall not be deemed dangerous:
(1) If no serious physical injury as determined by a licensed veterinarian has occurred to the dog or cat as a result of the attack or bite;
(2) Both animals are owned by the same person;
(3) If such attack occurs on the property of the attacking or biting dog's owner or custodian; or
(4) For other good cause as determined by the court.
No dog shall be found to be a dangerous dog as a result of biting, attacking or inflicting injury on a dog or cat while engaged with an owner or custodian as part of lawful hunting or participating in an organized, lawful dog handling event.
Dealer. Any person who in the regular course of business for compensation or profit buys, sells, transfers, exchanges, or barters companion animals. The following shall not be considered dealers:
(1) Any person who transports companion animals in the regular course of business as a common carrier; or
(2) Any person or organization whose primary purpose is to find permanent adoptive homes for companion animals.
Kennel. Any establishment in which five (5) or more canines, felines, or hybrids of either are kept for the purpose of breeding, hunting, training, renting, buying, boarding, selling or showing.
Own; owner. The terms "own" and "owner" apply to any person having a right of property in a dog or cat; any person who keeps or harbors a dog or cat or has it in his/her care, or who acts as a custodian of a dog or cat.
Pet shall mean any animal kept for pleasure rather than utility.
Vicious dog. The term "vicious dog" means a canine or canine crossbreed which has (i) killed a person; (ii) inflicted serious injury to a person, including multiple bites, serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of a bodily function; or (iii) continued to exhibit that behavior which resulted in a previous finding by a court that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.
Wild or exotic animal shall mean any live monkey (non-human primate), raccoon, skunk, wolf, squirrel, fox, leopard, panther, tiger, lion, lynx or any other warm-blooded animal, poisonous snake, constricting snake greater than three (3) feet in length or tarantula, which can normally be found in the wild state or any other member of crocodilian, including but not limited to, alligators, crocodiles, caymans, and gavials. Ferrets, rabbits, and laboratory rats which have been bred in captivity, and which have never known the wild, shall be excluded from the definition.
(Ord. No. 95-30, 10-3-95; Ord. No. 05-08, 11-10-05; Ord. No. 05-09, 11-10-05; Ord. No. 06-05, 12-14-06)
Sec. 4-25. Certain other acts declared unlawful.
The following shall be deemed unlawful acts:
(a) Diseased dog or cat. For the owner of any dog or cat with a contagious or infectious disease to permit such dog or cat to stray from his/her premises, if such disease is known to the owner.
(b) Female dog or cat in season. For the owner of any female dog or female cat to permit such dog or cat to stray from his/her premises while such dog or cat is known to such owner to be in season.
(c) 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, or to conceal a rabid dog or a rabid cat to keep it from being killed.
(d) 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.
(e) Adequate shelter or space. For any person to confine any companion animal for more than 12 continuous hours in any 24 hour period to any area that does not meet the definitions of adequate shelter and adequate space as set forth in Section 4-1. Any violation of this subsection shall be deemed a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be prosecuted in the same manner as violations of Section 4-6, cruelty to animals.
Any violation of (a) through (d) of this section shall be punished in a manner set forth in section 4-28 of this chapter.
(Ord. No. 95-30, 10-3-95)
State law references: Penalties for offenses involving animals, § 3.1-796.128.