ORDINANCE

 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND SECTION 4-26 OF THE FAUQUIER COUNTY CODE PERTAINING TO DANGEROUS AND VICIOUS DOGS

 

           WHEREAS, Section 3.1-796.93:1 of the Code of Virginia authorizes counties to adopt ordinances regulating dangerous dogs and vicious dogs; and

 

            WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors, after due notice and public hearing, has determined that it is in the best interest of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Fauquier County to adopt this Ordinance; now, therefore, be it

 

            ORDAINED, by the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors this 8th day of September 2005, That Section 4-26 of the Code of Fauquier County be, and is hereby, amended, which Sections shall read as follows:

 

Sec. 4-26. Dangerous or vicious dogs.

(a)     Any animal warden who has reason to believe that a canine or canine crossbreed within his jurisdiction is a dangerous dog or vicious dog shall apply to a magistrate or 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. The animal warden or owner 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 dangerous dog, the court shall order the animal's owner to comply with the provisions of the ordinance. 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 Section 3.1-796.119 of the Code of Virginia, as amended.

(b)     No canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a dangerous dog or vicious dog solely because it is a particular breed, nor shall the local governing body prohibit the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed. No animal shall be found to be a dangerous dog or 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 or other tort 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 which was engaged in the performance of its duties as such at the time of the acts complained of shall be found to be a dangerous dog or a vicious dog. No animal which, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, or its owner or owner's property, shall be found to be a dangerous dog or a vicious dog.

(c)     The owner of any animal found by a court to be a dangerous dog shall, within ten (10) days of such finding, obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate from the animal warden for a fee of fifty dollars in addition to other fees that may be authorized by law. The local animal warden shall also provide the owner with a uniformly designed tag which 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. All certificates obtained pursuant to this subdivision shall be reviewed annually for the same fee and in the same manner as the initial certificate was obtained.

(d)     All certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this section shall only be issued to persons eighteen years of age or older who present satisfactory evidence (i) of the animal's current rabies vaccination, if applicable, and (ii) that the animal is and will be confined in a proper enclosure, or is and will be confined inside the owner's residence, or is and will be muzzled and confined inside the owner's fenced-in yard until the proper enclosure is constructed. In addition, owners who apply for certificates or renewals thereof under this section shall not be issued a certificate or renewal thereof unless they present satisfactory evidence that (i) their residence is and will continue to be posted with clearly visible signs warning both minors and adults of the presence of a dangerous dog on the property, and (ii) the animal has been permanently identified by means of a tattoo on the inside thigh or by electronic implantation.

(e)     While on the property of its owner, an animal found by a court to be a dangerous dog shall be confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked structure of sufficient height and design to prevent its escape or direct contact with or entry by minors, adults, or other animals. The structure shall be designed to provide the animal with shelter from the elements of nature. When off its owner's property, an animal found by a court to be a dangerous dog shall be kept on a leash and muzzled in such a manner as not to cause injury to the animal or interfere with the animal's vision or respiration, but so as to prevent it from biting a person or another animal.

(f)     If the owner of an animal found by a court 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.

(g)     After an animal has been found by a court to be a dangerous dog, the animal's owner shall immediately, upon learning of same, notify the local animal control authority if the animal (i) is loose or unconfined; (ii) bites a person or attacks another animal; (iii) is sold, given away, or dies; or (iv) has been moved to a different address.

(h)     The owner of any animal which has been found by a court to be a dangerous dog who willfully fails to comply with the requirements of the ordinance shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(i)     All fees collected pursuant to the ordinance, less the costs incurred by the animal control authority in producing and distributing the certificates and tags required by the ordinance, shall be paid into a special dedicated fund in the treasury of the county for the purpose of paying the expenses of any training course required under Section 3.1-796.105 3.1-796.104:1 of the Code of Virginia, as amended.

(Ord. No. 05-_____, 09-08-05)

State law references: Authority to control dangerous or vicious dogs, 3.1-796.93.1.