2006 Code of Virginia § 3.1-796.122 - Cruelty to animals; penalty

3.1-796.122. Cruelty to animals; penalty.

A. Any person who (i) overrides, overdrives, overloads, tortures, ill-treats,abandons, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain not connected with bonafide scientific or medical experimentation, or cruelly or unnecessarilybeats, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal, whether belonging to himself oranother; (ii) deprives any animal of necessary food, drink, shelter oremergency veterinary treatment; (iii) sores any equine for any purpose oradministers drugs or medications to alter or mask such soring for the purposeof sale, show, or exhibition of any kind, unless such administration of drugsor medications is within the context of a veterinary client-patientrelationship and solely for therapeutic purposes; (iv) willfully sets onfoot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty toany animal; (v) carries or causes to be carried in or upon any vehicle,vessel or otherwise any animal in a cruel, brutal, or inhumane manner, so asto produce torture or unnecessary suffering; or (vi) causes any of the abovethings, or being the owner of such animal permits such acts to be done byanother, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. Any person who (i) tortures, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or painnot connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation, orcruelly and unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates or kills any animal whetherbelonging to himself or another; (ii) sores any equine for any purpose oradministers drugs or medications to alter or mask such soring for the purposeof sale, show, or exhibit of any kind, unless such administration of drugs ormedications is under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and solelyfor therapeutic purposes; (iii) instigates, engages in, or in any wayfurthers any act of cruelty to any animal set forth in clause (i); or (iv)causes any of the actions described in clauses (i) through (iii), or beingthe owner of such animal permits such acts to be done by another; and hasbeen within five years convicted of a violation of this subsection orsubsection A, shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony if the current violation orany previous violation of this subsection or subsection A resulted in thedeath of an animal or the euthanasia of an animal based on the recommendationof a licensed veterinarian upon determination that such euthanasia wasnecessary due to the condition of the animal, and such condition was a directresult of a violation of this subsection or subsection A.

C. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the dehorning ofcattle.

D. For the purposes of this section and 3.1-796.111, 3.1-796.113,3.1-796.114, 3.1-796.115, and 3.1-796.125, the word animal shall be construedto include birds and fowl.

E. This section shall not prohibit authorized wildlife management activitiesor hunting, fishing or trapping as regulated under other titles of the Codeof Virginia, including, but not limited to Title 29.1, or to farmingactivities as provided under this title or regulations promulgated thereto.

F. In addition to the penalties provided in subsection A, the court may, inits discretion, require any person convicted of a violation of subsection Ato attend an anger management or other appropriate treatment program orobtain psychiatric or psychological counseling. The court may impose thecosts of such a program or counseling upon the person convicted.

G. It is unlawful for any person to kill a domestic dog or cat for thepurpose of obtaining the hide, fur or pelt of the dog or cat. A violation ofthis subsection shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor. A second orsubsequent violation of this subsection shall constitute a Class 6 felony.

H. Any person who (i) tortures, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or painnot connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation or cruellyand unnecessarily beats, maims or mutilates any dog or cat that is acompanion animal whether belonging to him or another and (ii) as a directresult causes the death of such dog or cat that is a companion animal, or theeuthanasia of such animal on the recommendation of a licensed veterinarianupon determination that such euthanasia was necessary due to the condition ofthe animal, shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony. If a dog or cat is attackedon its owner's property by a dog so as to cause injury or death, the owner ofthe injured dog or cat may use all reasonable and necessary force against thedog at the time of the attack to protect his dog or cat. Such owner may bepresumed to have taken necessary and appropriate action to defend his dog orcat and shall therefore be presumed not to have violated this subsection. Theprovisions of this subsection shall not overrule 3.1-796.93:1 or 3.1-796.116.

I. Any person convicted of violating this section may be prohibited by thecourt from possession or ownership of companion animals.

(1984, c. 492, 29-213.91; 1987, c. 488; 1992, c. 177; 1998, c. 817; 1999,cc. 209, 620, 645; 2002, cc. 351, 500, 583, 613; 2003, cc. 787, 788; 2004, c.217.)

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