2006 Code of Virginia § 3.1-796.127 - Dogs and cats deemed personal property; rights relating thereto

3.1-796.127. Dogs and cats deemed personal property; rights relatingthereto.

All dogs and cats shall be deemed personal property and may be the subject oflarceny and malicious or unlawful trespass. Owners, as defined in 3.1-796.66, may maintain any action for the killing of any such animals, orinjury thereto, or unlawful detention or use thereof as in the case of otherpersonal property. The owner of any dog or cat which is injured or killedcontrary to the provisions of this chapter by any person shall be entitled torecover the value thereof or the damage done thereto in an appropriate actionat law from such person.

An animal control officer or other officer finding a stolen dog or cat, or adog or cat held or detained contrary to law, shall have authority to seizeand hold such animal pending action before a general district court or othercourt. If no such action is instituted within seven days, the animal controlofficer 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 legalowner shall raise no presumption of theft against the owner, and the animalcontrol officer may take such animal in charge and notify its legal owner toremove it. The legal owner of the animal shall pay a reasonable charge as thelocal governing body by ordinance shall establish for the keep of such animalwhile in the possession of the animal control officer.

(1984, c. 492, 29-213.95; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 537; 1998, c. 817.)

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