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Rappahannock County, VA
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[Adopted 7-6-1994[1]; amended in its entirety 5-4-2015]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was readopted 12-2-1996.
As required by § 3.2-6528 of the Code of Virginia, an annual license tax as set forth below is imposed on the ownership of all dogs four months or older that are kept within Rappahannock County, Virginia. There is a rebuttable presumption that if the dog's owner resides within Rappahannock County, the dog is kept within Rappahannock County and is subject to this tax. If the dog's owner does not reside within Rappahannock County, but the dog is normally kept within Rappahannock County, then the dog shall be subject to this tax, provided a dog shall not be subject to this tax in any year the dog wears a current valid license tag issued in another jurisdiction. It shall be the joint and several responsibility of all owners of the dog to pay the license tax and obtain and display the license, which is referred to as the tag.
Length of License
Amount of License Tax
(per dog)
1 year
2 years
3 years
If a two- or three-year license is obtained, the license tax shall not become due again until January 31 following the expiration of the license on December 31 of the last year of the license.
The license tax year shall run from January 1 to December 31. If a dog has attained the age of four months before January 1 of any year, the license shall be obtained and the tax paid before January 31 of that year. If the dog attains the age of four months after 1 January of any year, the license shall be obtained and the tax paid within 30 days of the dog becoming four months old. Any dog four months old or older brought into Rappahannock County to be kept after January 1 that is not licensed by another jurisdiction shall obtain the license and pay the tax within 30 days of being brought into the County, or within 30 days of the expiration of the license from the other jurisdiction, if any.
The Treasurer, in his/her discretion, may begin selling licenses on or after November 1 preceding any license tax year. (Note: See § 3.2-6527, 3.2-6530, Code of Virginia.)
Dogs maintained in a kennel, as herein defined, shall be exempt from the license tax provided for above, provided that the owner purchases an annual kennel tag as follows:
Number of Dogs in Kennel
Annual License Tax
1 to 25
26 or more
A "kennel" is defined to be a structure for the confinement of dogs consisting of walls or a fenced area where only one breed of dogs is maintained. All such dogs must comply with the rabies vaccination requirements of § 65-20 of this Code and § 3.2-6521 of the Code of Virginia.
No license tax shall be levied on any dog that is trained and serves as a guide dog for a blind person, that is trained and serves as a hearing dog for a deaf or hearing-impaired person or that is trained and serves as a service dog for a mobility-impaired or otherwise disabled person. As used in this section, "hearing dog," "mobility-impaired person," "otherwise disabled person," and "service dog" have the same meanings as assigned by § 51.5-40.1 of the Code of Virginia. Such dogs are subject to the mandatory vaccination provisions of § 3.2-6521 of the Code of Virginia and § 65-3 of this Code.
Payment of the tax provided hereby and issuance of the license shall be at the office of the Treasurer of Rappahannock County. Upon payment of the tax, a tag shall be issued for each dog. Dog license receipts shall be carefully preserved by the licensees and exhibited promptly on request for inspection by any animal control officer or other officer. Dog license tags shall be securely fastened to a substantial collar by the owner or custodian and worn by such dog. The owner of the dog may remove the collar and license tag required by this section when:
The dog is engaged in lawful hunting;
The dog is competing in a dog show;
The dog has a skin condition that would be exacerbated by the wearing of a collar;
The dog is confined; or
The dog is under the immediate control of its owner.
Dog tags are not transferrable from one dog to another.
If a dog license tag is lost, destroyed or stolen, the owner or custodian shall at once apply to the Treasurer who issued the original license for a duplicate license tag, presenting the original license receipt. Upon affidavit of the owner or custodian before the Treasurer that the original license tag has been lost, destroyed or stolen, he/she shall issue a duplicate license tag that the owner or custodian shall immediately affix to the collar of the dog. The Treasurer shall endorse the number of the duplicate and the date issued on the face of the original license receipt. The fee for a duplicate tag for any dog shall be $1. (Note: See §§ 3.2-6526, 3.2-6527, 3.2-6531, 3.2-6532, Code of Virginia.)
No dog or kennel license tag shall be issued until the owner or custodian provides written proof that all dogs to be licensed have been vaccinated against rabies by presenting the state-prescribed certificate of vaccination from a licensed veterinarian, or from a licensed veterinarian technician under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. The certificate must show the dog has been vaccinated, and the expiration date on the certificate must be after July 1 of the license year if a one-year license is sought, or after July 1 of the last year of the license if a multiyear license is sought, provided nothing in this provision shall relieve the owner or custodian from complying with the vaccination requirements of § 65-3 of this Code, or § 3.2-6521 of the Code of Virginia, which require a dog to always be subject to an unexpired vaccination certificate. If an animal suffers from an underlying medical condition that is likely to result in a life-threatening condition in response to vaccination, and such exemption would not risk public health and safety, an exemption granted to a dog by regulation of the Board of Health shall be considered in place of a current certificate of vaccination only for the purpose of obtaining a license. (Note: See §§ 3.2-6521, 3.2-6526, 3.2-6527 and 3.2-6529, Code of Virginia.)
It shall be a violation of this article, punishable by a civil fine of $150 per violation, for:
Any person, other than the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL) or other releasing agency, to own or have custody of a dog required to be licensed by this article unless such dog is licensed (Note: See § 3.2-6524, Code of Virginia); or
The owner or custodian to fail to affix the tag to the dog as required by § 65-19 above; or
Any person to make a false statement in order to secure a dog license; or
Any person to otherwise violate any provision of this article.
Each of the above shall be a separate violation subject to a separate civil penalty, and shall be in addition to any criminal penalties provided for in this chapter. There shall be a civil penalty of $150 for each violation of this article. An animal control officer or law enforcement officer may issue a summons for a violation. Any person summoned or issued a ticket for a scheduled violation may make an appearance, in person or in writing by mail, to the Clerk of the General District Court of Rappahannock County prior to the date fixed for trial in court. Any person so appearing may enter a waiver of trial, admit liability, and pay the civil penalty established for the offense charged. (Note: See § 3.2-6543, Code of Virginia.)