County of York, VA
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003; Ord. No. 06-7, 6-27-2006; Ord. No. 09-2, 2-17-2009]
For the purpose of this article, and unless otherwise required by the context, the following words and terms shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
DANGEROUS DOG
Any canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal that is a dog or cat, or killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat. However, when a dog attacks or bites 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 dog or cat as a result of the attack or bite, (ii) if both 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 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. No dog that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person shall be found to be a dangerous dog if the court determines, based on the totality of the evidence before it, that the dog is not dangerous or a threat to the community.
TREASURER
Includes the treasurer of the County and his assistants or other officer designated by law to collect taxes in the County.
VICIOUS DOG
Any canine or canine crossbreed that has (i) killed a person; (ii) inflicted serious injury to a person, including multiple bites, serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of bodily function; or (iii) continued to exhibit the behavior that resulted in a previous finding by a court or, on or before July 1, 2006, by an animal control officer as authorized by ordinance that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003]
(a) 
All dogs and cats shall be deemed personal property and may be the subject of larceny and malicious or unlawful trespass. "Owners," as defined in § 4-2 of this chapter, may maintain any action for the killing of any such animals, or injury thereto, or unlawful detention or use thereof, as in the case of other personal property. The owner of any dog or cat which is injured or killed contrary to the provisions of this chapter by any person shall be entitled to recover the value thereof or the damage done thereto in any appropriate action at law from such person.
(b) 
The animal control officer or other officer finding a stolen dog or cat, or a dog or cat held or detained contrary to the law, shall have the authority to seize and hold such animal pending action before the general district court or other court. If no such action is instituted within seven days, the animal control officer or other officer shall deliver the dog or cat to its owner. The presence of a dog or cat on the premises of a person other than its legal owner shall raise no presumption of theft against the owner of such premises, and the animal control officer may take such animal in charge and notify its legal owner to remove it. The legal owner of the animal shall pay $5 per day or any part of a day, or such other sum as may be prescribed by the board of supervisors, for the keep of such animal while impounded.
(a) 
Is shall be unlawful for the owner or custodian of any dog to allow such dog to run at-large within the County at any time during any month of any year.
(b) 
For the purpose of this section, a dog shall be deemed to run at-large while roaming, running or self-hunting off the property of its owner or custodian and not under its owner's or custodian's immediate control. Any person who permits his dog to run at-large, or remain unconfined, unrestricted or not penned up, shall be deemed to have violated the provisions of this section.
It shall be unlawful and shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor for the owner or custodian of any dog with a contagious or infectious disease or any dog that is in season to stray from his premises if such condition is known to the owner or custodian.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003; Ord. No. 09-2, 2-17-2009]
(a) 
Any dog found running at-large without the tag required by § 4-53 or in violation of § 4-35 of this article shall be apprehended by the animal control officer or other officer and placed in a pound meeting the requirements of the Code of Virginia. All drugs and drug administering equipment used by animal wardens or other officers to capture dogs shall have been approved by the state veterinarian.
(b) 
A dog impounded under this section shall be kept for a period of not less than five days, such period to commence on the day immediately following the day the dog is initially confined, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner thereof. The operator or custodian of the pound shall make a reasonable effort to ascertain whether the animal has a collar, tag, license, tattoo, or other form of identification. If such identification is found on the animal, the animal shall be held for an additional five days, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner. If the rightful owner of the animal can be readily identified, the operator or custodian of the pound shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owner of the animal's confinement within the next 48 hours following its confinement.
(c) 
If any animal confined pursuant to this section is claimed by its rightful owner, such owner may be charged with the actual expenses incurred in keeping the animal impounded.
(d) 
If a dog confined pursuant to this section has not been claimed upon expiration of the appropriate holding period as provided by Subsection (b), it shall be deemed abandoned and become the property of the pound. The dog may be euthanized or disposed of as permitted by any applicable provision of Code of Virginia § 3.2-6546.
(e) 
No provision of this section shall prohibit the euthanasia of a critically injured, critically ill or unweaned animal for humane purposes.
(f) 
Any animal euthanized pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be euthanized by one of the methods prescribed by or approved by the state veterinarian.
(g) 
Prior to disposition by euthanasia, or otherwise, all the provisions of this section shall have been complied with.
(h) 
In the event that the County has contracted with any other entity to maintain a pound enclosure, then, in addition to any fees specified in this section, the person claiming the impounded animal shall pay all applicable fees charged by the entity maintaining the pound enclosure.
(i) 
The payment of any fees provided for in this section shall not relieve the owner of his liability for any violation of § 4-35 of this article.
(j) 
For purposes of this section, "rightful owners" means a person with a right of property in the animal.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003; Ord. No. 06-7, 6-27-2006; Ord. No. 09-2, 2-17-2009]
(a) 
Any law-enforcement officer or animal 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 of the County 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 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 control officer 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. 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 Code of Virginia § 3.2-6562. The procedure for appeal and trial shall be the same as provided by law for misdemeanors. Trial by jury shall be as provided in Article 4 (§ 19.2-260 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 19.2 of the Code of Virginia. The County or the Commonwealth shall be required to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
(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 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 trespass 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 that 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 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, shall be found to be a dangerous dog, or a vicious dog.
(c) 
If the owner of an animal found 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.
(d) 
The owner of any animal found to be dangerous dog shall, within 10 days of such finding, obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate from the animal control officer or treasurer for a fee of $50 in addition to other fees that may be authorized by law. The animal control officer or treasurer shall also provide the owner with a uniformly designed tag that 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. The animal control officer shall provide a copy of the dangerous dog registration certificate and verification of compliance to the State Veterinarian.
(e) 
All dangerous dog registration 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 (i) of the animal's current rabies vaccination, if applicable, (ii) that the animal has been neutered or spayed, and (iii) 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 (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 section 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.
(f) 
While on the property of its owner, an animal found 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 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.
(g) 
The owner of any dog found to be dangerous shall register the animal with the Commonwealth of Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry, as established under Code of Virginia § 3.2-6542, within 45 days of such a finding by a court of competent jurisdiction.
The owner shall also cause the animal control 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; (vi) proof of insurance or surety bond; and (vii) the death of the dog.
(h) 
After an animal has been found to be a dangerous dog, the animal's owner shall immediately, upon learning of same, cause the animal control authority to be notified if the animal (i) is loose or unconfined; or (ii) bites a person or attacks another animal; or (iii) is sold, given away, or dies. 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.
(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; or
(3) 
Class 1 misdemeanor if any owner or custodian whose willful act or omission in the care, control, or containment of a canine, canine crossbreed, or other animal is so gross, wanton and culpable as to show a reckless disregard for human life, and is the proximate cause of such dog or other animal attacking and causing serious bodily injury to any person.
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 police dog that is engaged in the performance of its duties at the time of the attack.
(j) 
The owner of any animal that has been found to be a dangerous dog who willfully fails to comply with the requirements of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
(k) 
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 County for the purpose of paying the expenses of any training course required under Code of Virginia § 3.2-6556.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003; Ord. No. 09-2, 2-17-2009]
(a) 
It shall be the duty of the animal control officer or other officer, when he finds a dog in the act of killing or injuring livestock or poultry, to kill such dog forthwith, whether such dog bears a tag or not, and any person finding a dog committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section shall have the right to kill such dog on sight, as shall any owner of livestock or his agent finding a dog chasing livestock on land utilized by the livestock when the circumstances show that such chasing is harmful to the livestock. Any court shall have the power to order the animal control officer or other officer to kill any dog known to be a confirmed livestock or poultry killer, and any dog killing poultry for the third time shall be considered a confirmed poultry killer. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner, custodian or harborer of the dog to produce the dog.
(b) 
If the animal control officer has reason to believe that any dog is killing livestock or poultry, he shall be empowered to seize such dog solely for the purpose of examining such dog in order to determine whether it committed any of the depredations mentioned in this section.
(c) 
If the animal control officer or any other person has reason to believe that any dog is killing livestock, or committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section, he shall apply to a magistrate of the County, who shall issue a warrant requiring the owner or custodian of the dog, if known, to appear before the general district court at a time and place named therein, at which time evidence shall be heard and, if it shall appear that such a dog is a livestock killer, or has committed any of the depredations mentioned in this section, the dog shall be (i) ordered killed immediately, which the animal control officer, or other officer designated by the judge of the court to act, shall do, or (ii) removed to another state which does not border on the Commonwealth and prohibited from returning to the Commonwealth. Any dog ordered removed from the Commonwealth which is later found in the Commonwealth shall be ordered by a court to be killed immediately.
(d) 
Any person who has any livestock or poultry killed or injured by any dog not his own shall be entitled to receive as compensation the fair market value of such livestock or poultry, not to exceed $400 per animal or $10 per fowl; provided, that the claimant has furnished evidence within 60 days of discovery of the quantity and value of the dead or injured livestock and the reasons the claimant believes that death or injury was caused by a dog; the animal control officer or other officer shall have been notified of the incident with 72 hours of its discovery; and the claimant first has exhausted his legal remedies against the owner, if known, of the dog doing the damage for which compensation under this section is sought. Exhaustion shall mean a judgment against the owner of the dog upon which an execution has been returned unsatisfied. Upon payment under this section, the board of supervisors shall be subrogated to the extent of compensation paid to the right of action to the owner of the livestock or poultry against the owner of the dog and may enforce the same in an appropriate action at law.
(e) 
It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to present a false claim or to receive any money on a false claim under this section.
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 division. A violation of this section shall be punished by imposition of a civil penalty as is set out in § 1-10 of this Code.
[Ord. No. 06-7, 6-27-2006]
(a) 
Any person may obtain a dog license by making oral or written application to the treasurer, accompanied by the amount of the license tax and the certificate of vaccination required by § 4-69 of this article, or evidence satisfactory to the treasurer that such certificate has been obtained. 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 establish the location of the residence of any applicant.
(b) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to make a false statement in, or present any false evidence with, an application submitted under this section, in order to secure a dog license to which he is not entitled.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003; Ord. No. 18-6, 4-17-2018]
(a) 
An annual license tax on the ownership of dogs within the County is hereby imposed in the following amounts:
(1) 
Male, female and spayed or neutered dogs (Lifetime): $10.
(2) 
Kennel of not more than 10 dogs (Annual): $15.
(3) 
Kennel of not more than 20 dogs (Annual): $20.
(4) 
Kennel of not more than 30 dogs (Annual): $25.
(5) 
Kennel of not more than 40 dogs (Annual): $30.
(6) 
Kennel of not more than 50 dogs (Annual): $35.
(b) 
No license tax shall be levied on any dog that is trained and serves as a guide dog for a blind person or 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 person. As used in this subsection, the term "hearing dog" means a dog trained to alert its owner, by touch, to sounds of danger and sounds to which the owner should respond, and the term "service dog" means a dog trained to accompany its owner for the purpose of carrying items, retrieving objects, pulling a wheelchair, or other such activities of service or support.
[Ord. No. 06-7, 6-27-2006; Ord. No. 09-2, 2-17-2009; Ord. No. 18-6, 4-17-2018]
The license tax imposed on individual dogs by § 4-47 of this article shall be due and payable not later than 30 days after a dog has reached the age of four months, or not later than 30 days after an owner acquires a dog four months of age, and shall be valid for the lifetime of the dog, or for so long as the dog's owner resides in York County and the dog's rabies vaccination is kept current. Any kennel license tax imposed by § 4-47 is an annual tax and shall be due on January 1 and shall be paid not later than January 31 of each year.
If shall be unlawful and shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor for any person to fail to pay the dog license tax when the same is due. In addition, the court may order confiscation and proper disposition of the dog. Payment of the license tax subsequent to a summons to appear before a court for failure to do so within the time required shall not operate to relieve such owner from the penalties provided for such failure.
It shall be unlawful for any person to conceal or harbor any dog on which the license tax has not been paid in accord with this division.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003; Ord. No. 06-7, 6-27-2006]
(a) 
Upon receipt of a proper application and the prescribed license tax, the treasurer shall issue a dog license; provided that no such license shall be issued for any dog, unless there is presented to the treasurer a certificate of vaccination, or other evidence satisfactory to the treasurer that such dog has been inoculated or vaccinated against rabies by a currently licensed veterinarian or a currently licensed veterinarian technician who was under the immediate and direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian on the premises issued pursuant to § 4-69 of this article in accord with the provisions of such section. Upon issuance of the license, the treasurer shall make notation of the date of issuance of the license on the certificate of vaccination or other document, and return the certificate or other document to the applicant. It shall be unlawful for any person to present a certificate of vaccination for a dog other than that for which it was issued.
(b) 
Each dog license shall consist of a license tax receipt and a metal tag. Such receipt shall have recorded thereon the amount of the tax paid, the name and address of the owner or custodian of the dog, the date of payment, the year for which issued, the serial number of the tag and whether the license is issued for a male, or a female, whether spayed or neutered, or for a kennel. The metal tag issued hereunder shall be stamped or otherwise permanently marked to show the name of the County and the calendar year for which issued and shall bear a serial number.
(c) 
The information thus received shall be retained by the treasurer, open to public inspection, during the period for which such license is valid. The treasurer may establish substations in convenient locations in the County and appoint agents for the collection of the license tax and issuance of such licenses.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003]
Dog license receipts and kennel license receipts shall be carefully preserved by the owner or custodian of the dog licensed. Dog license receipts shall be exhibited promptly on request for inspection by the animal control officer or other officer. Kennel receipts shall be securely fastened to the kennel enclosure for which the license was issued, and one of the identification plates provided therewith shall be 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 dog animal control officer or other officer upon receipt. A violation of this section shall be punished by imposition of a civil penalty as is set out in § 1-10 of this Code.
(a) 
Dog license tags shall be securely fastened by the owner or custodian to a substantial collar and worn by such dog. The owner or custodian of the dog may remove the collar and license tag when the dog is engaged in lawful hunting, when the dog is competing in a dog show, when the dog has a skin condition which would be exacerbated by the wearing of a collar, when the dog is confined or when the dog is under the immediate control of its owner.
(b) 
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 division, 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 on the owner of the dog.
(c) 
A violation of this section shall be punished by imposition of a civil penalty as is set out in § 1-10 of this Code.
It shall be unlawful for any person, except the owner or custodian, to remove a legally acquired license tag from a dog without the permission of the owner or custodian.
If a dog license tag shall become lost, destroyed or stolen, the owner or custodian of the dog with reference to which the tag was issued shall at once apply to the treasurer 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 tag, 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.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003]
The treasurer shall enter, in a dog license sales record book, containing original and duplicate sheets, the date of sale of dog licenses, including kennel licenses, the names and addresses of persons to whom sold, and the serial numbers and the amount of the license tax paid. The treasurer shall deliver to the animal control officer, on or before the fifth day of each month, the original sheets from his dog license sales record book of all persons who bought dog tags during the previous month.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003; Ord. No. 09-2, 2-17-2009]
(a) 
Unless otherwise provided by ordinance of the board of supervisors, the treasurer shall deposit all money collected by him for dog license taxes in a separate account from all other funds collected by him. Such funds shall be used for the following purposes:
(1) 
The salary and expenses of the animal control officer and necessary staff;
(2) 
The care and maintenance of a dog pound;
(3) 
The maintenance of a rabies control program;
(4) 
Payments as a bounty to any person neutering or spaying a dog up to the amount of one year of the license fee set forth in § 4-47 of this article;
(5) 
Payments for compensation as provided in § 4-38(d) of this article; and
(6) 
Efforts to promote sterilization of dogs and cats.
(b) 
Any part or all of any surplus remaining in such account on December 31 of any year may be transferred by the board of supervisors into the general fund of the County.
[Ord. No. 03-19, 6-17-2003]
As soon as practicable after December 31st of each year, the treasurer shall prepare a list of all unsold dog license tags of that calendar year and, upon request, shall present such list to the County Administrator or to any auditors retained by the County to review the County's financial records. Following the acceptance by the board of supervisors of the County's audit report, the treasurer may destroy all such unsold license tags.