[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Buchanan County 2-7-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[In regard to statutory references, unless the county specifically amends the statutory provisions to the contrary or repeals the statutory provisions, future amendments to said statute shall take effect as provided by law.]
Animals — See Ch. 22.
Building construction — See Ch. 25.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 33A, Fences, adopted 10-3-2005.
The title of this chapter is "An Ordinance Establishing a Fence Law in Buchanan County, Virginia."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes all horses, cattle, sheep, goats, chickens and any other animals domesticated by man except dogs and cats.
The boundary line of each lot or tract of land in Buchanan County shall be a lawful fence as to any of the livestock as defined herein.
It shall be unlawful for the owner or manager of any livestock as described herein to permit any such animal to run at large beyond the limits of his own lands.
The owner of any such livestock running at large shall be liable for the actual damages inflicted by such animal or animals to properties of other persons. Upon subsequent offenses, the owner of livestock running at large shall be liable for twice the amount of actual damages.
The owner or manager of any such livestock who shall knowingly permit such animal or animals to run at large shall be deemed to be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. Each and every day the owner or manager of any such livestock knowingly permits such animal or animals to run at large shall constitute a separate offense.
Any law-enforcement office or animal control officer may lawfully seize and impound any animal that has been abandoned, has been cruelly treated, or is suffering from an apparent violation of chapter 65 of Title 3.2 of the Virginia Code that has rendered the animal in such a condition as to constitute a direct and immediate threat to its life, safety or health. Before seizing or impounding any livestock, such law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall contact the State Veterinarian or a State Veterinarian's representative, for a recommendation as to the most appropriate action for the disposition of such livestock. The law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall notify the owner of the livestock and the Commonwealth Attorney of such recommendation.
The law-enforcement officer or animal control officer may impound the livestock on the land where the livestock is located if:
The owner or tenant of the land where the livestock animal is located gives written permission:
The General District Court so orders; or
The owner or tenant of the land where the livestock animal is located cannot be immediately located, and it is in the best interests of the livestock animal to be impounded on the land where it is located until written permission of the owner or tenant of the land can be obtained.
If there is a direct and immediate threat to a livestock animal, the law-enforcement officer or animal control officer may seize the livestock animal, in which case said officer shall file within five business days on a form approved by the State Veterinarian a report.
Upon seizing or impounding a livestock animal the law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall petition the General District for a hearing within 10 days of the seizure or impounding of the livestock animal to determine whether the livestock animal has been abandoned, has been cruelly treated, or has not been provided adequate care.
The law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall cause to be served upon the person with a right of property in the livestock animal or the custodian of such animal with notice of the hearing in General District Court. If the person to be served is known and lives within Buchanan County, written notice shall be given at least five days prior to the hearing of the time and place of the hearing. If the person to be served is known and resides outside of Buchanan County, written notice of the hearing shall be given by any method or service of process as is provided by the Code of Virginia. If the person to be served is not known, the law-enforcement officer or animal control officer shall cause to published in a newspaper of general circulation notice of the hearing at least one time prior to the hearing and shall further cause such notice to be posted in the public notice locations at the Buchanan County Courthouse.
The procedure for trial and appeal shall be the same as that provided for misdemeanors. The Commonwealth shall be required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Animal Control Department shall provide for the livestock animal until the court has concluded the hearing. If the time of seizure or impoundment continues beyond 30 days, the owner of such seized or impounded animal shall post a surety bond for the amount of the costs of boarding said livestock animal for up to nine months. The bond shall not be forfeited if the owner of the livestock animal is found to be not guilty of the violation.
If the Court determines that the animal has been neither abandoned, cruelly treated, nor deprived of adequate care, as that term is defined in Virginia Code § 3.2-6500, the livestock animal shall be returned to the owner.
If, however, the Court determines that said livestock animal has been abandoned, cruelly treated or deprived of adequate care as that term is defined in Virginia Code § 3.2-6500, then the Court shall order that said livestock animal be:
Sold by the Board of Supervisors; or
Be humanely destroyed; or
Disposed of by sale or gift to a federal agency, state-supported institution, agency of the commonwealth, agency of another state, or a licensed federal dealer having its principal place of business located within the Commonwealth; or
Delivered to any local humane society or shelter, or to any person who is a resident of Buchanan County or county adjacent to Buchanan County and who will pay the required license fee, if any, on such livestock animal.
In no case shall the livestock animal be returned to the owner where the Court determines that the animal has been either abandoned, cruelly treated or deprived of adequate care. The Court shall direct that the animal be delivered to the person with a property right in the animal, upon his or her request, if the Court finds that the abandonment, cruel treatment, or deprivation of adequate care was not attributable to the actions or inactions of such person.
The Court shall order the owner of any animal determined to have been abandoned, cruelly treated or deprived of adequate care to pay all reasonable expenses incurred in caring and providing for such animal from the time the animal is seized or impounded until such time that the animal is disposed as provided herein. Furthermore, if the court finds that the livestock animal has been abandoned or cruelly treated, the court may prohibit the owner of such livestock animal to possess or own any other livestock animal when the evidence establishes a pattern of abandoning or cruelly treating livestock animals from previous convictions of violations of Virginia Code § 3.2-6504 or Virginia Code § 3.2-6570. In making the determination to prohibit possession or ownership of a livestock animal, the Court may consider the owner's mental and physical condition. A person who has been ordered not to possess or own a livestock animal may petition the court two years after the entry of such order to repeal the prohibition upon a finding by the court that the cause for the prohibition has ceased to exist. In cases where the livestock is sold, the proceeds shall be applied in the following order of priority:
To costs of sale;
Then to unreimbursed expenses for the care and provision of the livestock animal;
And any remaining funds, if any, shall be paid to the owner of the livestock animal;
If the owner of the livestock animal cannot be found, any remaining proceed shall be paid into the Literary Fund.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the humane destruction of a critically injured or ill livestock animal for humane purposes by the impounding law-enforcement officer, animal control officer or licensed veterinarian.