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2016 SESSION


VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY -- CHAPTER
An Act to amend and reenact 3.2-6549 and 3.2-6557 of the Code of Virginia, relating to requiring submission of animal intake policy.
[H 476]
Approved

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That 3.2-6549 and 3.2-6557 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted as follows:

3.2-6549. Releasing agencies other than public or private animal shelters; confinement and disposition of companion animals; recordkeeping; affiliation with foster care providers; penalties.

A. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter:

1. May confine and dispose of companion animals in accordance with subsections B through G of 3.2-6546 if incorporated and not operated for profit; and

2. Shall keep accurate records of each companion animal received for two years from the date of disposition of the companion animal. Records shall: (i) include a description of the companion animal, including species, color, breed, sex, approximate weight, age, reason for release, owner's or finder's name, address, and telephone number, and license number or other identifying tags or markings, as well as disposition of the companion animal;, and (ii) be made available upon request to the Department, animal control officers, and law-enforcement officers at mutually agreeable times. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall annually submit a summary of such records to the State Veterinarian annually in a format prescribed by him, wherein a post office box may be substituted for a home address; and

3. Shall annually file with the State Veterinarian a copy of its intake policy.

For purposes of recordkeeping, release of a companion animal by a releasing agency to a public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency shall be considered a transfer and not an adoption. If the animal is not first sterilized, the responsibility for sterilizing the animal transfers to the receiving entity.

B. Each releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall obtain a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, or animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and each such releasing agency shall update such statement as changes occur.

C. No releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall place a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider unless the foster care provider has read and signed a statement specifying that the foster care provider has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and such releasing agency shall update the statement as changes occur. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall maintain the original statement and any updates to such statement for so long as the releasing agency has an affiliation with the foster care provider.

D. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter that places a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider shall ensure that the foster care provider complies with 3.2-6503.

E. If a releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter finds a direct and immediate threat to a companion animal placed with a foster care provider, it shall report its findings to the animal control agency in the area where the foster care provider is located.

F. Any releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter that finds a companion animal or receives a companion animal that has not been released by its owner and (i) provides care or safekeeping or (ii) takes possession of such companion animal shall within 48 hours:

1. 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 identification or markings, or if the owner of the companion animal is otherwise known to the releasing agency; and

2. Notify the public animal shelter that serves the locality where the companion animal was found and provide to the shelter contact information including at least a name and a contact telephone number, a description of the companion animal including at least species, breed, sex, size, color, information from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other identification or markings, and the location where the companion animal was found.

G. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall comply with the provisions of 3.2-6503.

H. No releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter shall be operated in violation of any local zoning ordinance.

I. A releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter that violates any provision of this section, other than subsection G, may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $250.

3.2-6557. Animal control officers and humane investigators; limitations; records; penalties.

A. No animal control officer, humane investigator, humane society, or custodian of any public or private animal shelter shall (i) obtain the release or transfer of an animal by the animal's owner to such animal control officer, humane investigator, humane society, or custodian for personal gain or (ii) give or sell or negotiate for the gift or sale to any individual, pet shop, dealer, or research facility of any animal that may come into his custody in the course of carrying out his official assignments. No animal control officer, humane investigator, or custodian of any public or private animal shelter shall be granted a dealer's license. Violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall preclude any animal control officer or humane investigator from lawfully impounding any animal pursuant to 3.2-6569.

B. An animal control officer, law-enforcement officer, humane investigator, or custodian of any public or private animal shelter, upon taking custody of any animal in the course of his official duties, or any representative of a humane society, upon obtaining custody of any animal on behalf of the society, shall immediately make a record of the matter. Such record shall include:

1. The date on which the animal was taken into custody;

2. The date of the making of the record;

3. A description of the animal, including the animal's species, color, breed, sex, approximate age, and approximate weight;

4. The reason for taking custody of the animal and the location where custody was taken;

5. The name and address of the animal's owner, if known;

6. Any license or rabies tag, tattoo, collar, or other identification number carried by or appearing on the animal; and

7. The disposition of the animal.

Records required by this subsection shall be maintained for at least five years and shall be available for public inspection upon request. A summary of such records shall be submitted annually to the State Veterinarian in a format prescribed by him.

C. Any animal control officer, law-enforcement officer, humane investigator, or custodian of any public or private animal shelter who takes custody of animals in the course of his official duties or representative of a humane society who takes custody of animals on behalf of the society shall annually file with the State Veterinarian a copy of his intake policy.

D. Any animal control officer or custodian of any public animal shelter who violates any provision of this chapter that relates to the seizure, impoundment, and custody of animals by an animal control officer may be subject to suspension or dismissal from his position.

D. E. Custodians and animal control officers engaged in the operation of a public animal shelter shall be required to have knowledge of the laws of the Commonwealth governing animals, including this chapter, as well as basic animal care.