City of Lexington, VA
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or raise fowl, poultry or livestock within the City.
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or raise pigs or hogs within the City. The term "pigs" shall also include potbellied pigs.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or harbor any poisonous animal or reptile, nonhuman primate, wild animal, all nondomesticated cats, including but not limited to bobcats, lynx, ocelots, mountain lions, tigers, panthers and lions, and/or skunks, foxes, raccoons, crocodiles, alligators or caimans, without first having obtained a valid permit from the United States Department of Agriculture. No permitted animal, wild animal, or poisonous or nonpoisonous reptile shall be permitted to be at large within the City.
B. 
All poisonous and nonpoisonous reptiles and lizards shall be kept in locked, escape-proof cages or containers except when being handled. Reptiles and lizards shall not be handled or kept in a manner so as to be seen by the general public.
C. 
It shall constitute a misdemeanor for any person to allow or permit any of the aforementioned animals or reptiles to escape its container or permit such animal or reptile to roam at large within the City.
Every animal pen, run, cage or other yard establishment wherein any dog, cat or other animal is kept, or the inside of any residence structure or other building wherein any dog, cat or other animal is kept, shall be maintained in a manner so that no offensive, disagreeable or noxious smell or odor arises therefrom to the injury, annoyance or inconvenience of any neighbor or person. All animal manure, waste or feces accumulation wherein any animal is kept shall be removed and disposed of in such a manner as to prevent the breeding of flies, mosquitoes or other parasites and the creation of any offensive, disagreeable or noxious smells or odors.
A. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
HYBRID CANINE
Any animal which either is or at any time has been or is permitted, registered, licensed, advertised or otherwise described or represented as a hybrid canine, wolf or coyote by its owner to a licensed veterinarian, law enforcement officer, animal warden humane investigator, officer of the Department of Health or compliance officer who is under the direction of the State Veterinarian, or which is determined to be a hybrid canine by a licensed veterinarian, law enforcement officer, animal warden humane investigator, officer of the Department of Health or compliance officer who is under the direction of the State Veterinarian.
B. 
Permits required for hybrid canines.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to own, to be the owner or custodian of, any hybrid canine unless he shall have obtained a valid hybrid canine permit within 30 days. No more than two hybrid canine permits shall be issued per residence. All permits must be renewed annually on or before January 1 and not later than January 31.
(2) 
Any person who is the owner of more than two hybrid canines as of the effective date of this section shall be permitted to keep such hybrid canines for as long as they shall live, provided that the owner obtains a permit for each hybrid canine within 30 days of the effective date of this section.
(3) 
Violation of this section shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor for the first violation and a Class 1 misdemeanor for a second or subsequent violation. In addition, any person who violates this section shall be required to immediately surrender the hybrid canine for euthanasia in accordance with Code of Virginia, § 3.1-796.119.
C. 
Application for hybrid canine permit and renewal of canine hybrid permits. All hybrid canine permits shall be issued by the City Treasurer after approval by the Animal Control Officer. All hybrid canine permits shall be renewed annually per Subsection B of this section. The permit application fee shall be $50 for each permit sought. In order to obtain a hybrid canine permit or renewal, an applicant shall:
(1) 
Provide adequate proof that each hybrid canine will bear an identification tag immediately upon assuming possession. Failure to obtain or display such tag shall result in immediate revocation of the hybrid canine permit(s) by the Animal Control Officer.
(2) 
Provide adequate proof that each hybrid canine will be housed indoors on the property of its owner and/or provided with a pen with a fence eight feet high with an overhang constructed so that at least one foot of additional fence is leaning over the pen. Such fence shall be constructed of 11 gauge or equivalent chain link enclosure with a concrete pad, or concrete skirting, at least two feet in from the perimeter of the fencing, or like construction to provide an escape-proof enclosure, providing a minimum of 400 square feet of floor space for one animal (any owner of a hybrid canine previously licensed under then applicable regulations who has previously constructed an enclosure conforming to then applicable standards of less than 400 square feet may continue to utilize said enclosure, provided that all other requirements of this section are complied with) and an additional 200 square feet for two animals, that is securely enclosed and locked.
(a) 
Such fence shall either be:
[1] 
Constructed of material fine enough to prohibit a child from putting his or her fingers through the fence;
[2] 
Have such material attached to the fencing in a permanent manner, all to a height of five feet; or
[3] 
Constructed with a secondary fence no closer than three feet to the pen and designed to prohibit children from reaching into the pen.
(b) 
The structure shall be designed to provide each hybrid canine with shelter from the elements of nature. Such pen shall be constructed no closer than five feet to any adjacent property line.
(c) 
When any hybrid canine is out of the pen or residence, it must be muzzled and leashed with a chain leash so as to prevent it from biting any other person or animal and under the control of its owner at all times. The muzzle shall not cause injury to the hybrid canine and shall not interfere with the animal's vision or respiration. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in immediate revocation of a hybrid canine permit by the Animal Control Officer or any law enforcement officer.
(3) 
Provide adequate proof of homeowner's insurance coverage which includes liability coverage and coverage for any injury by animals owned by the homeowner and which contains no exception to injury by animals owned by the homeowner; in the alternative, provide a bond in the amount of $50,000 in form acceptable to the City. Failure to maintain such insurance coverage or post such bond shall result in immediate revocation of the hybrid canine permit.
(4) 
Complete and submit an application for each hybrid canine permit sought to the Animal Control Officer and provide proof of and keep current all appropriate vaccinations as determined by the Animal Control Officer.
(5) 
Provide adequate proof of written notice of the request for each hybrid canine permit sought to all adjacent property owners (for the purposes of this provision, "adjacent property owners" shall include those located directly across any alley or street).
(6) 
Provide adequate proof of being 18 years of age or older.
(7) 
Provide adequate proof that the residence is, and will continue to be, posted with clearly visible signs warning both minors and adults of the presence of the hybrid canine(s) on the property.
D. 
Upon receipt of hybrid canine permit, the owner shall affix a uniformly designed tag to the hybrid canine's collar, which tag shall be provided by the Treasurer, and the owner shall ensure that the hybrid canine wears the collar and tag at all times. Any person to whom a hybrid canine permit has been issued shall immediately notify the animal warden if the hybrid canine is loose or unconfined; bites a person or attacks another animal; is sold, given away or dies; or has been moved to a different address.
A. 
Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
DANGEROUS DOG
A canine or canine crossbreed which has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal, other than a dog, or killed a companion animal.
VICIOUS DOG
Any canine or canine crossbreed which has:
(1) 
Killed a person;
(2) 
Inflicted serious injury to a person, including multiple bites, serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious impairment of a bodily function; or
(3) 
Continued to exhibit the behavior which resulted in a previous finding by a court that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.
B. 
Procedure for declaring a dog to be dangerous or vicious; keeping of dangerous dog; destruction of vicious dog.
(1) 
Any animal control officer who has reason to believe that a canine or canine crossbreed within the City is a dangerous dog or a vicious dog shall apply to a magistrate of the City for the issuance of a summons requiring the owner or custodian, if known, to appear before the General District Court at a specified time. The summons shall advise the owner of the nature of the proceeding and the matter 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.
(2) 
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 this section. 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 § 3.1-796.119 of the Code of Virginia.
C. 
Licensure of dangerous dog. The owner of any animal found by a court to be a dangerous dog shall, within 10 days of such finding, obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate from the animal warden for a fee of $50 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 subsection shall be renewed annually for the same fee and in the same manner as the initial certificate was obtained.
D. 
Renewals. All certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this section shall only be issued to persons 18 years of age or older who present satisfactory evidence of the animal's current rabies vaccination, if applicable, and 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 in 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 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 the animal has been permanently identified by means of a tattoo on the inside thigh or by electronic implantation.
E. 
Keeping of dangerous dogs; conditions. 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. 
Notification. After the animal has been found by a court to be a dangerous dog, the animal's owner shall immediately, upon learning of the same, notify the local animal control authority if the animal is loose or unconfined; bites a person or attacks another animal; is sold, given away or dies; or has been moved to a different address.
G. 
Minor owners. 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.
H. 
Violations. The owner of an animal which has been found by a court to be a dangerous dog who willfully fails to comply with the requirements of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
I. 
Exceptions.
(1) 
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 committing, at the time, a crime upon the premises occupied by the animal's owner or custodian; committing, at the time, a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the animal's owner or custodian; or provoking, tormenting or physically abusing the animal, or can be shown to have repeatedly provoked, tormented, abused or assaulted the animal at other times.
(2) 
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.
(3) 
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 or a vicious dog.
(4) 
No canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a dangerous dog or a 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.
J. 
Collection and distribution of fees. All fees collected pursuant to this section, less the costs incurred by the animal control authority in producing and distributing the certificates and tags required by this section, shall be paid into a special dedicated fund in the treasury of the City for the purpose of paying the expenses of any training course required under § 3.1-796.105 of the Code of Virginia.
A. 
Any person who overrides, overdrives, overloads, tortures, ill treats, abandons, or willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain not connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation or cruelly or unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal, whether belonging to himself or another; deprives any animal of necessary food, drink, shelter or emergency veterinary treatment; carries or causes to be carried in or upon any vehicle, vessel or otherwise any animal in a cruel, brutal or inhumane manner, so as to produce torture or unnecessary suffering; causes any of the above things, or being the owner of such animal permits such acts to be done by another, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
B. 
Any person who has been within five years convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony if the current violation or any previous violation of this section resulted in the death of an animal or the euthanasia of an animal based on the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian upon determination that such euthanasia was necessary due to the condition of the animal.
C. 
For the purposes of this section, the word "animal" shall be construed to also include birds and fowl.
D. 
This section shall not prohibit authorized wildlife management activities or hunting or fishing as regulated under other titles of the Code of Virginia.
E. 
In addition to the penalties provided for in this section, the court may, in its discretion, require any person convicted of a violation of this section to attend an anger management or other appropriate treatment program or obtain psychiatric or psychological counseling. The court may also impose the costs of such program or counseling upon the person convicted.
F. 
Any person who tortures, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain not connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation or cruelly and unnecessarily beats, maims or mutilates any dog or cat that is a companion animal, whether belonging to him or another, and as a direct result causes the death of such dog or cat that is a companion animal, or the euthanasia of such animal on the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian upon determination that such euthanasia was necessary due to the condition of the animal, shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. If a dog or cat is attacked on its owner's property by a dog so as to cause injury or death, the owner of the injured dog or cat may use all reasonable and necessary force against the dog at the time of the attack to protect his dog or cat. Such owner may be presumed to have taken necessary and appropriate action to defend his dog or cat and shall therefore be presumed not to have violated this section.
G. 
Any person convicted of violating this section may be prohibited by the court from possession or ownership of companion animals.
(1) 
The procedure for appeal and trial shall be the same as provided in Article 4 (§ 19.2-260 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 19.2 of the Code of Virginia. The case must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
(2) 
The humane investigator or Animal Control Officer may provide for such animal until the owner is adjudged by the court able to adequately provide for such animal and a fit person to own the animal, in which case the animal shall be returned to the owner. If the owner is adjudged by the court unable to adequately provide for the animal or not a fit person to own the animal, then the court shall order that the animal be sold by the City; 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, shelter, or to any person who is a resident of the City and who will pay the required license fee, if any, on such animal. In no case shall the person adjudged unable to adequately provide for the animal or adjudged an unfit person to own the animal be allowed to purchase the animal at sale. The court may order any owner adjudged unable to adequately provide for his animal or not a fit person to own the animal to pay all reasonable expenses incurred in caring and providing for such animal from the time the animal is seized until such time that the animal is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(3) 
The court, in determining whether the owner is able to adequately provide for the animal or is a fit person to own the animal, may take into consideration, among other things, the owner's past record of convictions under this section or one similar thereto prohibiting cruelty to animals and the owner's mental and physical condition. In the case of sale, the proceeds shall first be applied to the cost of the sale then next to the previously unreimbursed expenses for the care and provision of the animal.
H. 
Any person who abandons any dog, cat or other domesticated animal or any reptile, lizard or wild animal in any public place, including the right-of-way of any public highway, road or street or on the property of another, shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Whenever any animal is found confined in a motor vehicle in a public place under weather conditions that endanger its life as determined by the Animal Control Officer, such shall be a violation of this section. The Animal Control Officer is hereby authorized, with assistance, if necessary, from the Police Department, which shall also be so authorized, to enter such vehicle and rescue such animal and thereafter impound it in accordance with § 115-28 of this chapter. A prominent written notice shall be left on or in such vehicle advising that the animal has been removed under the authority of this section and impounded at the animal shelter or veterinary clinic authorized to hold such animals.