Chapter 6.10
DOGS AND CATS

Sections:

Article I. Generally

6.10.010    Rabies vaccination or inoculation of cats, dogs and ferrets.

6.10.020    Same – Certificate and tag.

6.10.030    Procedure in event of widespread rabies epizootic.

6.10.040    Prohibited in cemeteries.

6.10.050    Teasing or enticing dog to bite or otherwise take vicious action.

6.10.060    Owner or custodian of companion animal to clean bowel evacuation.

Article II. License

6.10.070    Required.

6.10.080    Application – Applicant to be city resident.

6.10.090    Tax imposed.

6.10.100    When tax due and payable.

6.10.110    Failure to pay tax when due.

6.10.120    Issuance.

6.10.130    Composition and contents.

6.10.140    Preservation and exhibition of license receipt – Tag to be worn – Exceptions.

6.10.150    Unlawful removal of tag.

6.10.160    Duplicate tags.

6.10.170    Record of tags issued.

6.10.180    Kennel license.

Article III. General Requirements and Prohibitions

6.10.190    Running at large.

6.10.191    Notification by persons finding companion animals – Penalty.

6.10.200    Leash required at certain places.

6.10.210    Impoundment generally – Public animal shelter designated.

6.10.220    Impoundment and disposition of animals.

6.10.230    Repealed.

6.10.240    Nuisance animals.

Article IV. Dangerous and Vicious Dogs

6.10.250    Repealed.

6.10.260    Repealed.

6.10.270    Repealed.

6.10.280    Repealed.

Article I. Generally

6.10.010 Rabies vaccination or inoculation of cats, dogs and ferrets.

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep, hold or harbor any cat, dog or ferret over the age of four months within the city limits unless such cat, dog or ferret shall have been vaccinated with a vaccine licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as recommended in the current “Compendium of Animal Rabies Control,” prepared by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. If, however, the requirement of vaccination or inoculation threatens the physical well-being of such cat, dog or ferret, the owner or custodian of such animal shall have a certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian certifying the same; and the owner shall provide a copy of the signed veterinarian certificate to the city’s animal control officer. A copy of such certificate will be forwarded to the local health department officer within one working day of receipt by the animal control officer. The owner or custodian of a dog, cat or ferret shall furnish upon request of an animal control officer, deputy animal control officer, humane investigator, law enforcement officer or official of the local health department, the current certificate of vaccination for such animal.

(2) Any person transporting a cat, dog or ferret into the city from another jurisdiction shall immediately conform with the provisions of this section.

(3) The first violation of this section shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor. The second violation as to the same animal shall constitute a Class 3 misdemeanor. Subsequent violations as to the same animal shall constitute Class 2 misdemeanors. Upon being found guilty of a third or subsequent violation related to the same animal, the court may also order the confiscation and the proper disposition of the animal. (Ord. 2008-03. Code 1964, §§ 6-20, 6-21; Code 1985, § 6-18).

6.10.020 Same – Certificate and tag.

(1) At the time of vaccination of a dog or cat, as required by SCC 6.10.010, a suitable and distinctive collar tag indicating such vaccination and a certificate of vaccination shall be issued to the owner of the dog or cat.

(2) A certificate issued pursuant to this section shall be properly executed and signed by a licensed veterinarian and shall certify that the dog or cat has been vaccinated in accordance with the provisions of SCC 6.10.010. Such certificate shall show the date of vaccination, the vaccination tag number, a brief description of the dog or cat, its sex and breed, and the name of the owner thereof.

(3) The vaccination tag issued pursuant to this section shall be securely fastened to a substantial collar by the owner of the dog or cat and worn by such dog or cat; provided, however, that the owner may remove such collar and tag under the circumstances stated in SCC 6.10.140. (Code 1964, § 6-22; Code 1985, § 6-19).

6.10.030 Procedure in event of widespread rabies epizootic.

When, in the judgment of the health department, an emergency is deemed to exist in the city, or any section thereof, due to a widespread rabies epizootic, the health department shall, for the protection of the public health, immediately report such emergency to the city council for such action as to quarantines as is provided for by law. The city council may, in its discretion, declare a quarantine and restrict all dogs or cats to the owners’ premises or to the immediate custody of a responsible person, either or both, for the duration of such emergency as it is set forth. (Code 1964, § 6-28; Code 1985, § 6-20).

6.10.040 Prohibited in cemeteries.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit such dog to go, be or remain on any of the property of any cemetery in the city, whether such dog is leashed or otherwise under restraint or not, unless such cemetery is otherwise open for such use in accordance with authorized rules for the cemetery. (Ord. 2011-04; Code 1964, § 6-9; Code 1985, § 6-21).

6.10.050 Teasing or enticing dog to bite or otherwise take vicious action.

It shall be unlawful for any person to tease or entice a dog so as to cause such dog to bite, attack, charge or otherwise take vicious action against any person or other animal. (Code 1964, § 6-10; Code 1985, § 6-22).

6.10.060 Owner or custodian of companion animal to clean bowel evacuation.

If an owner, custodian, or any other person in charge of a companion animal, as defined in SCC 6.05.010, has knowledge that the animal has evacuated its bowels on property other than that of the owner, custodian, or person in charge, such person shall immediately clean up such evacuation and dispose of the same in some sanitary manner. If such evacuation occurs while said animal is under the control of the owner, custodian, or other person in charge, it shall be presumed that such knowledge exists. A violation of this section shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.00. (Code 1985, § 6-23; Ord. 3-13-97).

Article II. License

6.10.070 Required.

It shall be unlawful for any person to own a dog four months old or older in this city, unless such dog is licensed under the provisions of this article. (Code 1964, § 6-13; Code 1985, § 6-36).

6.10.080 Application – Applicant to be city resident.

(1) Any person may obtain a dog license by making oral or written application to the city treasurer, accompanied by the amount of the license tax and the certificate referred to in SCC 6.10.120. The city treasurer shall only have authority to license dogs of resident owners or custodians who reside within the limits of the city and may require information to this effect from any applicant.

(2) It shall be unlawful for any person to make any false statement in or present any false evidence with an application submitted under this section, in order to secure a dog license to which such person is not entitled. (Code 1985, § 6-37).

6.10.090 Tax imposed.

(1) An annual license tax is hereby imposed on dogs required to be licensed under this article in the following amounts:

(a) Male or female sexed dog: $10.00.

(b) Neutered or spayed dog: $10.00, with a veterinarian’s certificate that the dog has been neutered or spayed.

(2) A multi-year license may be issued for an individual dog for a period equal to and concurrent with the effective period of the rabies inoculation or vaccination administered to such dog, provided in no event shall the multi-year license be valid for a period in excess of three years. When a multi-year license has been issued for an individual dog, the license tax shall next be due within 30 days of the expiration of the multi-year license. A multi-year tax shall be payable in an amount of $15.00 for a two-year license or $20.00 for a three-year license.

(3)  No license tax shall be levied under the provisions of this section 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. As used herein, 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.

(4) In no event shall the treasurer pay any refund of the license tax imposed by this section.

(5) Any person giving false information in the procurement of a license pursuant to the provision of this section shall be deemed guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (Ord. 2008-20; Ord. 2008-03. Code 1964, § 6-22.1; Code 1985, § 6-38).

6.10.100 When tax due and payable.

The license tax on dogs shall be due and payable, unless otherwise specifically provided, not later than 30 days of the dog becoming in the possession of the owner or the dog becoming four months of age. (Ord. 2008-03. Code 1985, § 6-39).

6.10.110 Failure to pay tax when due.

(1) It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to fail to pay the tax imposed by the provisions of this article when the same is due. Payment of such 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.

(2) The first violation for failure to pay the tax when due shall constitute a Class 4 misdemeanor. The second violation as to the same animal shall constitute a Class 3 misdemeanor. Subsequent violations as to the same animal shall constitute Class 2 misdemeanors. Upon being found guilty of a third or subsequent violation related to the same animal, the court may also order the confiscation and the proper disposition of the animal. (Ord. 2008-03. Code 1985, § 6-40).

6.10.120 Issuance.

Upon receipt of a proper application and the prescribed license tax, the city treasurer shall issue a dog license; provided, that no such license shall be issued for any dog, unless there is presented to the city treasurer a vaccination certificate issued for such animal pursuant to SCC 6.10.020. When the license has been issued, such certificate shall be so marked and returned to the owner. It shall be unlawful for any person to present such a certificate of vaccination for a dog or cat other than that for which it was issued. (Code 1964, §§ 6-23, 6-24; Code 1985, § 6-41).

6.10.130 Composition and contents.

Each license issued under this article shall consist of a license tax receipt and a metal tag. Such receipt shall have recorded thereon the amount of tax paid, the name and address of the owner or custodian of the animal, the date of payment, the year for which the license is issued, the serial number of the tag, and whether the license is for a male, female, or unsexed dog. Such metal tag shall be stamped or otherwise permanently marked to show the name of the city, the sex of the animal, and the calendar year for which issued and shall bear a serial number. (Code 1985, § 6-42).

6.10.140 Preservation and exhibition of license receipt – Tag to be worn – Exceptions.

(1) A dog license receipt shall be carefully preserved by the person to whom it is issued and exhibited promptly on request for inspection by the animal control officer or any other officer. License tags shall be securely fastened to a substantial collar by the owner or custodian and worn by such animal. The owner of the animal may remove the collar and license tag required by this section when the animal is engaged in lawful hunting; when the animal is competing in a show; when the animal has a skin condition which would be exacerbated by the wearing of a collar; when the animal is confined; or when the animal is under the immediate control of its owner.

(2) Any animal 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 such animal has been licensed or is otherwise not required to bear a tag at the time shall be on the owner of the animal. (Ord. 2008-03. Code 1964, § 6-13; Code 1985, § 6-43).

6.10.150 Unlawful removal of tag.

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. (Code 1985, § 6-44).

6.10.160 Duplicate tags.

If a license tag issued hereunder is lost, destroyed, or stolen, the owner or custodian shall at once apply to the city treasurer for a duplicate license tag, presenting the original license receipt. Upon affidavit of the owner or custodian before the city treasurer that the original license tag has been lost, destroyed, or stolen, the treasurer shall issue a duplicate license tag, which the owner or custodian shall immediately affix to the collar of the animal. The city 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 $1.00. (Code 1985, § 6-45).

6.10.170 Record of tags issued.

The city treasurer shall maintain a record of the identifying numbers of all dog license tags issued and shall make this record available to the public during the period for which such tags are valid. (Ord. 2008-03. Code 1985, § 6-46).

6.10.180 Kennel license.

(1) In the event a person, firm or corporation operates a kennel, as defined in this article, in lieu of the licensing requirements set forth heretofore, there is hereby imposed a license tax on such kennel operation of $50.00.

(2) Application for a kennel license shall be made on or before January 1st and not later than January 31st of each year, or in the case of a new kennel opening during a calendar year, prior to opening a business for such kennel. A new business opened during a calendar year shall not be entitled to a license tax proration.

(3) The application made hereunder shall be accompanied by the certificate referred to in SCC 6.10.120, the provisions of which are applicable hereto.

(4) No operation of a kennel shall occur in the city unless and until a license has been issued, and no license shall be issued absent compliance with all applicable provisions of SCC Title 18. (Ord. 2008-20; Ord. 2008-03. Code 1985, § 6-47; Ord. 3-13-97).

Article III. General Requirements and Prohibitions

6.10.190 Running at large.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit such dog, whether it is licensed or unlicensed, to run at large within the city at any time. (Code 1964, § 6-16; Code 1985, § 6-53).

6.10.191 Notification by persons finding companion animals – Penalty.

(1) Any person who finds a companion animal and (a) provides care or safekeeping, or (b) retains a companion animal in such a manner as to control its activities shall, within 48 hours:

(a) Make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the companion animal, if the owner can be ascertained from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other form of identification or markings, or if the owner of the animal is otherwise known to the person; and

(b) Notify the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center (SVASC) and provide to such SVASC contact information including at least a name and a contact telephone number, a description of the animal including information from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other identification or markings, and the location where the companion animal was found.

(2) If a person finds a companion animal and (a) provides care or safekeeping, or (b) retains a companion animal in such a manner as to control its activities, the person shall comply with the provisions of SCC 6.05.080.

(3) Any person who violates this section may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $50.00 per companion animal. (Ord. 2017-12; Ord. 2008-03).

6.10.200 Leash required at certain places.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to permit such dog, whether it is licensed or not, to go, be, or remain on any property of the public school system or on any city park or playground or at any place where 10 or more people may be present, unless such dog is on a leash and under the direct control of some responsible person. (Ord. 2008-03. Code 1985, § 6-54).

6.10.210 Impoundment generally – Public animal shelter designated.

Any animal observed running at large by the animal control officer, or any other officer or in violation of any provision of this title, may be impounded and confined at the city public animal shelter. The Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center is the city-designated public animal shelter facility for the purposes of this chapter. (Ord. 2017-12; Ord. 2008-03. Code 1964, § 6-17; Code 1985, § 6-55).

6.10.220 Impoundment and disposition of animals.

(1) If an animal impounded under SCC 6.10.210 is wearing a tag indicating the name and address of its owner, or such name and address are otherwise known, the impounding officer shall give notice to the owner within 24 hours after seizure of such animal. If such animal has upon it a license tag, the impounding officer shall give notice to the person in whose name the license stands within 24 hours after obtaining such name. Notice of the impounding shall be in writing, by mail, postage prepaid, or posted on the front door of the address of the owner, if known, and shall be construed as having been given at the time of posting. If the animal impounded has no name, address or license tag upon it and the owner is not otherwise known, then no notice shall be necessary.

(2) An animal confined pursuant to subsection (1) of 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 animal is initially confined in the facility, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner thereof, or, if the animal’s rightful owner has surrendered all property rights in such animal and has read and signed a statement as required by subsection (7) of this section, disposed of as provided in subsections (5)(b), (c), (d), and (e) of this section.

(3) Any feral dog or feral cat not bearing a collar, tag, tattoo, or other form of identification which, based on the written certification of a disinterested person, exhibits behavior that poses a risk of physical injury to any person confining the animal, may be euthanized after being kept for a period of not less than three days, at least one of which shall be a full business day, such period to commence on the day the animal is initially confined in the facility, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner. The certification of the disinterested person shall be kept with the animal as required by Section 3.2-6557 of the Code of Virginia. For purposes of this subsection, a disinterested person shall not include a person releasing or reporting the animal to the facility.

(4) Within 10 days after the notice provided for above or, in case such notice is not required, within five days after seizure of the animal, the owner of an animal impounded under this section shall be entitled to possession of such animal by complying with the following:

(a) Presenting proof of ownership satisfactory to the city’s animal control officer.

(b) Complying with all applicable provisions of this article, including vaccination against rabies and licensing, if applicable.

(c) Paying the customary charges of the shelter for providing maintenance and shelter, not to exceed the actual expenses incurred thereby.

(d) Paying the civil penalty, as established in SCC 6.05.020(4), to the city, payment of which shall be deemed to be an admission of violation and waiver of a court hearing. Such payment shall be deemed to be in full satisfaction of such violation.

(5) If an animal confined pursuant to this section has not been claimed, it may be humanely destroyed or disposed of by:

(a) Sale or gift to a federal agency, state-supported institution, agency of the commonwealth of Virginia, agency of another state, or a licensed federal dealer having its principal place of business located within the commonwealth; provided, that such agency, institution, or dealer agrees to confine the animal for an additional period of not less than five days;

(b) Delivery to any humane society or animal shelter within the commonwealth;

(c) Adoption by any person who is a resident of the county or city for which the pound is operated and who will pay the required license fee, if any, on such animal;

(d) Adoption by a resident of an adjacent political subdivision of the commonwealth; or

(e) Delivery, for the purposes of adoption or euthanasia only, to a humane society or an animal shelter located in and lawfully operating under the laws of another state; provided, that such humane society or animal shelter: (i) maintains records which would comply with Section 3.2-6557 of the Code of Virginia; (ii) requires that adopted dogs and cats be sterilized; and (iii) has been approved by the State Veterinarian or his designee as a facility which maintains such records, requires adopted dogs and cats to be sterilized, and provides adequate care and euthanasia.

(6) The operator or custodian of the pound shall make a reasonable effort to ascertain if the animal has a collar, tag, license, or tattooed identification. If such identification is found on the animal, a reasonable effort shall be made to return the animal to its owner or place the animal for adoption before humanely destroying the animal. Such animal may not be 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. Such identified animal shall be held for five days more than the holding period prescribed in subsection (2) of this section unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner. If the rightful owner of any animal confined may 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 24 hours following its confinement. At the expiration of the holding period required for such identified animal, the animal may be delivered to any resident who proposes to adopt it as a pet and who will pay the required license fee, if any, on the animal or to any humane society or animal shelter, or to a resident of an adjacent political subdivision of the commonwealth; however, no more than two animals or a family of animals shall be delivered during any 30-day period to any one such person.

(7) No provision herein shall prohibit the immediate destruction of a critically injured or critically ill animal for humane purposes. Any animal destroyed pursuant to the provisions of this title shall be euthanized by one of the methods prescribed or approved by the State Veterinarian. The pound shall be accessible to the public at reasonable hours during the week. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit confinement of other companion animals in such a pound or enclosure. Neither shall any provision in this section prohibit the immediate destruction, for humane purposes, of any animal not weaned, whether or not the animal is critically injured or critically ill.

Nothing in this section shall prohibit the immediate destruction or disposal by the methods listed in subsections (5)(b) through (e) of this section of an animal that has been delivered voluntarily or released to a pound, animal shelter, animal control officer, or humane society by the animal’s rightful owner after the rightful owner has, in writing, surrendered all property rights in such animal and has read and signed a statement (a) certifying that no other person has a right of property in the animal and (b) acknowledging that the animal may be immediately euthanized or disposed by the methods listed in subsections (5)(b) through (e) of this section.

For purposes of this section, the term “animal” shall include agricultural animals; the term “rightful owner” shall mean a person with a right of property in the animal; and “humane society,” when referring to an organization without the commonwealth, means any nonprofit organization organized for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals and promoting humane care and treatment or adoption of animals. (Ord. 2017-12; Ord. 2008-03. Code 1985, § 6-56).

6.10.230 Prosecution of owner redeeming dog.

Repealed by Ord. 2008-03. (Code 1985, § 6-57).

6.10.240 Nuisance animals.

(1) No person shall own or maintain a nuisance animal in the city.

(2) Nuisance Animal Defined. Any animal or animals that unreasonably annoy humans, endanger the life or health of other animals or persons, or substantially interfere with the rights of citizens, other than their owners, to enjoyment of life or property. The term “nuisance animal” shall mean and include, but is not limited to, any animal that:

(a) Is repeatedly found at large;

(b) Damages the property of anyone other than its owner;

(c) Molests or intimidates pedestrians or passersby;

(d) Chases vehicles;

(e) Excessively makes disturbing noises, including, but not limited to, continued and repeated howling, barking, whining, or other utterances causing unreasonable annoyance, disturbance, or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where the animal is kept or harbored;

(f) Causes fouling of the air by body odor and thereby creates unreasonable annoyance or discomfort to neighbors or others in close proximity to the premises where the animal is kept or harbored;

(g) Causes unsanitary conditions in enclosures or surroundings where the animal is kept or harbored;

(h) Attacks other domestic animals; or

(i) Has been found, after notice to its owner and a hearing by a court of competent jurisdiction, to be a public nuisance animal by virtue of being a menace to the public health, welfare, or safety.

(3) Whenever a formal complaint has been received by the police department or animal control officer of such a nuisance and the complaint is found to be justified, the police department or animal control officer shall notify the owner of the animal of the complaint and instruct such owner to abate such nuisance. If, after such notice, the owner fails to properly control the animal that creates or constitutes the nuisance, the police department or animal control officer shall take the necessary legal action to abate the nuisance by having the animal impounded or the owner of the animal charged with a violation of this section, either or both.

(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, whenever in the discretion of the police department or animal control officer a complaint hereunder is justified and an immediate threat to the public health, welfare, or safety is posed, the police department and/or animal control officer may have the animal impounded immediately and charges filed hereunder. In such case, the provisions of SCC 6.10.220 shall apply except that the animal shall remain impounded until disposition of the charges by the court.

(5) Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a nuisance animal is impounded absent a complaint, the owner of such animal shall pay all charges of the impoundment, including charges for shelter and maintenance, not to exceed the actual expenses.

(6) Nothing contained in this section shall prohibit any person from bringing a charge of violation hereunder directly without proceeding through the police department or animal control officer. (Ord. 2008-03. Code 1985, § 6-58; Ord. 5-23-02).

Article IV. Dangerous and Vicious Dogs

6.10.250 Purpose.

Repealed by Ord. 2008-03. (Code 1985, § 6-70).

6.10.260 Definitions.

Repealed by Ord. 2008-03. (Ord. 2004-24. Code 1985, § 6-71).

6.10.270 Procedure.

Repealed by Ord. 2008-03. (Code 1985, § 6-72; Ord. 2-26-98).

6.10.280 Determination by animal control officer.

Repealed by Ord. 2008-03. (Code 1985, § 6-73; Ord. 2-26-98).