Virginia's Comprehensive Animal Laws, Chapter 27.4, of the Code of Virginia, as set forth in §§ 3.1-796.66 through and including 3.1-796.129, as amended, including subsequent amendments, are hereby adopted by reference, unless otherwise excluded in § 22-22 herein. There is hereby created the position of Animal Control Officer and Assistant Animal Control Officer and provisions made for the licensing and regulation of dogs in Buchanan County. The duties and powers of the Animal Control Officer shall be those provided for in the aforesaid sections of the Code of Virginia and such other duties as may be provided for by the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors, subject only to the exceptions set forth herein.
For the purposes of this article, the definitions set forth in the previously cited and adopted Code of Virginia sections, including § 3.1-796.66, shall apply, unless otherwise defined herein.
It shall be unlawful for any person to own a dog four months old or over in this County unless such dog is licensed as required by the provisions of this article. The license tax may be paid for a one-year or three-year period and the license tax shall be payable at the office of the Treasurer and shall be as follows:
"Kennels," for the purposes of this article, shall mean one continuous penned or fenced common area within which is contained one or more shelters of five or more dogs owned by members of the same household. This definition shall apply to such structures built after January 1, 1997.
On January 1 and not later than January 31 of each year, the owner of any dog four months old or older shall pay a license tax as prescribed in § 22-7. The license tax may be paid for a one-year or three-year period but the period of the license tax may not exceed the period of years that the rabies inoculation is effective as shown on a rabies certificate of vaccination issued by a state-licensed veterinarian for the particular canine vaccinated and licensed.
Payment of the license tax subsequent to a summons to appear before the Judge of the Buchanan County General District Court (hereafter "County Court") or other court of proper jurisdiction for failure to do so within the time required shall not operate to relieve such owner from the penalties provided. Additionally, the Treasurer shall charge an administrative fee of $25 for each license issued subsequent to such summons.
Any dog not wearing a collar bearing a license tag of the proper calendar year shall, prima facie, be deemed to be unlicensed, and in any proceedings under this article, the burden of proof of the fact that the dog has been licensed or is otherwise not required to bear a tag at the time shall be borne by the owner of the dog.
Any resident of this County or his designee may obtain a dog license by making an oral or written application to the Treasurer, accompanied by the amount of the license tax and certificate of vaccination. The Treasurer shall have authority to license only dogs of resident owners or custodians who reside within the boundary limits of this County and may require information to this effect of any applicant. Upon receipt of proper application and certificate of vaccination, the Treasurer shall issue a license receipt for the amount, upon which he shall record the name and address of the dog's owner or custodian, the date and amount of payment, the year for which issued, the serial number of the tag and whether the dog is male, unsexed female, female or the license is for a kennel and shall deliver the metal license tags or plates herein provided for. The applicant shall inform the Treasurer if a summons pursuant to § 22-9 is pending when the application is made. Failure by the applicant to do so shall be punishable as set forth in § 22-21.
A dog license shall consist of a license receipt and a metal tag in the style and design adopted by the Virginia Comprehensive Animal Laws. The tag shall be stamped or otherwise permanently marked to show the sex of the dog and the calendar year for which issued and set forth a serial number. The license tag for a kennel shall indicate the number of dogs authorized to be kept under such license and have attached thereto a metal identification plate for each of such dogs, numbered to correspond with the serial number of the license tag.
If the license shall become lost, destroyed or stolen, the owner or custodian shall at once apply to the Treasurer who issued the same 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 shall issue a duplicate license, which 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 shall be $1.
Dog license receipts shall be carefully preserved by the licensee and exhibited promptly on request for inspection by any Animal Control Officer. Dog license tags shall be securely fastened to a substantial collar by the owner or custodian and worn by such dog, and it shall be unlawful for the owner to permit any licensed dog four months old or over to run or roam at large at any time without a license tag, except that when engaged in lawful hunting, in the open season and accompanied by the owner or custodian, the collar and tag may be temporarily removed.
The owner of a kennel shall securely fasten the license tag to the kennel enclosure in full view and keep one of the identification plates provided therewith attached to the collar of each dog authorized to be kept enclosed in the kennel. Any identification plates not so in use must be kept by the owner or custodian and promptly shown to any Animal Control Officer or other officer upon request. A kennel dog shall not be permitted to stray beyond the limits of the enclosure except while under the control of the owner or custodian for the purpose of exercising, hunting, breeding, trial or show. A kennel shall not be operated in such manner as to defraud the County of the license tax applying to dogs or in any manner violate other provisions of this article.
All dogs in this County which are licensed and all dogs under four months of age, whether licensed or not, shall be deemed personal property and may be the subject of larceny and malicious or unlawful trespass, and the owners thereof may maintain an action for the killing of such dogs or injury thereto or unlawful detention or use thereof as in the case of other personal property. It shall be unlawful for any person except the owner or his authorized agent to kill any dog, except as otherwise provided in this article. The owner of any dog which is injured or killed contrary to provisions of this article by any person shall be entitled to recover the value thereof or for the damage done thereto in an appropriate action at law from such person. An Animal Control Officer or other officer finding a stolen dog or a dog held or detained contrary to law shall have authority to seize and hold such dog pending action before the appropriate court. If no such action is instituted within five days after seizure, the Animal Control Officer or other officer shall deliver the dog to its owner. The presence of a dog on the premises of a person other than its legal owner shall raise no presumption of theft against the owner of such premises, but it shall be such person's duty to notify the Animal Control Officer, and that Officer shall take such dog in charge and notify its legal owner to remove him. The dog's legal owner shall pay a reasonable charge for the keep of such dog while in the possession of the Animal Control Officer.
It shall be the duty of any Animal Control Officer who may find a dog in the act of killing or injuring sheep or killing or injuring other livestock to kill such dog forthwith, whether such dog bears a tag or not, or any person finding a dog committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section shall have the right to kill such dog on sight. The County Court or any other court of proper jurisdiction shall have the power to order the Animal Control Officer or other officer to kill any dog known to be a livestock or poultry killer. Any Animal Control Officer or other person who has probable cause to believe that any dog is killing livestock or committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section shall apply to a Magistrate of this County, who shall issue a warrant requiring the dog's owner or custodian, if known, to appear before the Judge of the County Court at the time and place named therein, at which time evidence shall be heard; and if it shall appear that such dog is a livestock killer or has committed any of the depredations mentioned in this section, the dog shall be ordered killed immediately, which the Animal Control Officer or other officer designated by the Judge shall do.
It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Officer to kill any dog of unknown ownership found running at large on which a license fee has not been paid, provided that the Animal Control Officer may deliver such dog to any person in this County who will pay the required license fee on such dog, with the understanding that should the legal owner thereafter claim the dog and prove his ownership, he may recover such dog by paying to the person to whom it was delivered by the Animal Control Officer the amount of the license fee paid by him and a reasonable charge for the keep of the dog while in his possession. Any person, Animal Control Officer or other officer killing a dog under this chapter shall do so pursuant to applicable statute.
Any dog which has died from disease or other cause shall forthwith be cremated or buried by the owner. If the owner fails to do so, the Judge of the County Court, after notice to such owner, shall order such dead dog to be cremated or buried by such person as he may designate and shall require the owner to pay the person so designated not exceeding the sum of $25.
The following shall be deemed unlawful and enforced by proceedings before a Judge of the County Court in like manner and with like right of appeal as if such violations were misdemeanors. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than $150 or imprisoned for not more than 10 days in the County jail, or both.
Diseased dog: for the owner of any dog with a contagious or infectious disease to permit such dog to stray from his premises, if such disease is known or upon reasonable inspection should have been known to the owner.
Female dog in season: for the owner of any female dog to permit such dog to stray from his premises while such dog is known to such owner to be in season.
Removing collar tag: for any person, except the owner or custodian, to remove a legally acquired license tag from a dog.
Concealing a dog: for any reason to conceal or harbor a dog on which license tax has not been paid or to conceal a rabid dog to keep the same from being killed.
Any person who shall make a false statement in order to secure a dog license to which he is not entitled shall be fined not less than $25 nor more than $150. Any person convicted of failure to pay the license tax prior to February 1 of any year or as otherwise provided in this article on any dog owned by him shall be fined not less than the amount of the license tax required by law to be paid on such dog nor more than $50 and shall be required to obtain proper license forthwith; and unless the fine and license tax is immediately paid, the County Court shall order the dog killed by the Animal Control Officer or some other officer, but the killing of such dog shall not relieve its owner of the payment of the fine and license tax already due. If a dog is found running and roaming at large at any time of the year in violation of §§ 22-14 and 22-15 of this article, its owner shall pay a fine of not less than $25 for the first offense and $50 for each offense thereafter; and, if it is a kennel dog, the license may be revoked if the law appears to the trial court to have been violated by reason of carelessness or negligence on the part of the owner, who shall thereupon be required to secure individual license on each dog. Any other violations of this article for which a specific penalty is not provided shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500 and imprisonment of not more than 30 days in the County jail and shall be enforced by proceedings before a Judge of the County Court in like manner as that prescribed for other County matters.
The provisions of the foregoing Code of Virginia sections adopted by reference herein which may be interpreted to require leashing and/or confinement of all dogs in Buchanan County are expressly excluded. Only female dogs in heat, vicious dogs and diseased dogs are required to be leashed or confined by this article. Additional leash requirements, other than those specifically set forth herein, shall be enforced only upon appropriate public notice and as an amendment to this article. Nothing herein shall be construed to relieve a dog owner of his responsibility under applicable statutory law, common law and this article to prevent his dog from injuring, disturbing or harming the person and property of others; nor is § 22-15 amended or excluded by this section.
The provisions of Chapter 2, entitled "Disease Prevention and Control," as set forth in Article 3.1, § 32.1-48.1 et seq., of the Code of Virginia, and subsequent amendments thereto, are hereby adopted by reference and shall be imposed in the event of an outbreak of rabies. Upon petition of local or state health officials, the Buchanan County Board of Supervisors shall enforce such measures as required or allowed by law to protect the public health and safety from rabies. A dog owner who fails to have a dog timely vaccinated against rabies as required by this article as set forth in Chapter 27.4 of the Code of Virginia or to legally cooperate with governmental officials under this section to prevent rabies shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.