Virginia is soon to have three new laws that will affect its pet owners and dogs across the state once they kick in. Recently signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe, the changes in legislation are meant to have a positive impact on the public, making it easier to get lifetime licensing of animals previously requiring yearly updates on their tags. The other two laws were set in motion in an effort to clean up the dog breeding industry and to redefine the legal description of the term “dangerous dog.”
Lifetime Licensing of Pets
If you’ve ever forgotten to get your pet license and shots updated when they’re due, you’re not alone. Most of us have at one time or another. Yes, the reminders that usually come in the mail are a great way of keeping up to date on vaccines, but remembering to send the little postcard back with our fee sometimes slips our minds. With that thought, Virginia residents will soon be able to pay a maximum fee of $50 for a lifetime license, as opposed to the $10 yearly fee for tags. There are caveats that go with it, however, so read the fine print in HB 1477, if you live there.
Getting rid of puppy mills and their unscrupulous owners is going to be near impossible, but SB 852 is geared toward breeders and intermediate brokers that sell to pet stores. The language in the bill clearly outlines the fact that the seller must have a valid Department of Agriculture license and store owners won’t be allowed to buy dogs from anyone who has previously received citations for three or more noncritical violations or one critical violation from the USDA in the two years prior to receiving the dog.
Violation of the bill would see Class 1 misdemeanor charges per each dog sold, possible jail time and fines of up to $2,500. Hopefully, it will have a positive impact.
Over the years many different breeds of dogs have gotten a bad rap due to a minority of animals’ aggressive behavior and general hysteria from the public. HB 2381 is said to modify the state’s current description of what is termed a “dangerous dog.” As of now, if a dog is labeled dangerous, it must be registered in an online registry for the state and the owner is required to have insurance specific to the animal along with paying a $150 fee annually, for as long as they own the dog.
Going forward, animal control will have wider latitude for determining themselves whether or not a dog should be classified as dangerous after a minor incident. Often times all the circumstances aren’t taken into account before being branded for life.
State Laws Regarding Animals
What are the laws like in your state regarding animals? Are they as progressive as Virginia’s, more so, or woefully lacking? If they are, would you like to see them change? Speak out about it here in our comments section below and let us know your thoughts and a little about the law where you live.