ORDINANCE 

AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND SECTIONS 4-1 AND 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 14th day of December 2006, That Sections 4-1 and 4-26 of the Code of Fauquier County be, and are hereby, amended, which Sections shall read as follows:

 

Sec. 4-1. Definitions.

            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. or killed a companion animal; hHowever, when a dog attacks or bites another a companion animal that is a dog or cat, the attacking or biting dog shall not be deemed dangerous: (i) if no serious physical injury as determined by a licensed veterinarian has occurred to the other dog or cat as a result of the attack or bite, or (ii) both dogs animals are owned by the same person (iii) if such attack occurs on the property of the attacking or biting dog’s owner or custodian, or (iv) 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 another  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. 

Sec. 4-26. Dangerous or vicious dogs.

(a)   Any law-enforcement officer or animal warden control officer 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. If a law-enforcement officer successfully makes an application for the issuance of a summons, he shall contact the local animal control officer and inform him of the location of the dog and the relevant facts pertaining to his belief that the dog is dangerous or vicious.  The animal warden control officer or owner shall confine the animal until such time as evidence shall be heard and a verdict rendered. If the animal control officer determines that the owner or custodian can confine the animal in a manner that protects the public safety, he may permit the owner or custodian to 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,. iIf, 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 this 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 is the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed prohibited. 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 trespassor 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 whichthat, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, or a person, or its owner or owner's or custodian’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 local animal warden control officer for a fee of fifty dollars in addition to other fees that may be authorized by law. The local animal warden control officer 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.  The animal control officer shall provide a copy of the dangerous dog registration certificate and verification of compliance to the State Veterinarian.

(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.  All certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this ordinance shall only be issued to persons who present satisfactory evidence that the owner has liability insurance coverage, to the value of at least $100,000, that covers animal bites.  The owner may obtain and maintain a bond in surety, in lieu of liability insurance, to the value of at least $100,000.

(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)   The owner of any dog found to be a dangerous dog shall register the animal with the Commonwealth of Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry, as established under § 3.1-796.93:3 of the Code of Virginia, as amended, within 45 days of such a finding by a court of competent jurisdiction.  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.  The owner shall also cause the local animal officer to be promptly notified of (i) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all owners; (ii) all of the means necessary to locate the owner and the dog at any time; (iii) any complaints or incidents of attack by the dog upon any person or cat or dog; (iv) any claims made or lawsuits brought as a result of any attack; (v) tattoo or chip identification information or both; and (vi) proof of insurance or surety bond.  Any owner of a dangerous dog who relocates to a new address shall, within 10 days of relocating, provide written notice to the appropriate local animal control authority for the old address from which the animal has moved and the new address to which the animal has been moved. 

(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)  Any owner or custodian of a canine or canine crossbreed or other animal is guilty of a:

1.  Class 2 misdemeanor if the canine or canine crossbreed previously declared a dangerous dog pursuant to this section, when such declaration arose out of a separate and distinct incident, attacks and injures or kills a cat or dog that is a companion animal belonging to another person;  or

2.  Class 1 misdemeanor if the canine or canine crossbreed previously declared a dangerous dog pursuant to this section, when such declaration arose out of a separate and distinct incident, bites a human being or attacks a human being causing bodily injury.

The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any animal that, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, a person, or its owner’s or custodian’s property, or when the animal is a policy dog that is engaged in the performance of its duties at the time of the attack.

(j)   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 3.1-796.104:1 of the Code of Virginia, as amended.

(Ord. No. 95-30, 10-3-95, Ord. No. 05-11, 09-08-05, Ord. No. 06-_____, 12-14-06)

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

 

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