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Virginia

Virginia General Laws 1893: Cruelty to Animals

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: Va. Code Ann. 4554-4567 (Michie 1913)



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Summary:   A collection of Virginia laws from 1893 concerning the punishment and enforcement against cruelty to animals.  The laws cover cruelty to animals, power of agents of the court to search for cruelty to animals, and the punishment for shooting pigeons among other things.


Statute in Full:

THE GENERAL LAWS OF THE STATE OF VIRGINIA


TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTION

  1. Cruelty to animals.

  2. Officers and agents of societies for prevention of cruelty to animals given power to arrest offenders.

  3. Officers and agents of such societies may prevent cruelty to animals; interference with a misdemeanor.

  4. Power of search for violations of statutes against cruelty to animals.

  5. When animals to be destroyed.

  6. When agent or officer of such society to take charge of animals and vehicle; notice to owner; lien for care, etc.

  7. When such agent or officer may take charge of animals abandoned, neglected, cruelly treated, or unfit for use; notice to owner; expense of care and provision.

  8. Lien for food, shelter, and keep of animals; how enforced.

  9. Jurisdiction of justices; right of appeal.

  10. Half of fines collected in certain prosecutions to go to society for prevention of cruelty to animals.

  11. When officer or agent to be set down as prosecutor.

  12. To whom fines go.

  13. Shooting of pigeons, or other birds or fowls for amusement, and renting premises for such purposes.

  14. Injury to hired horse, etc., or vehicle by reckless riding, driving, etc.; defrauding livery man; how punished.

 

Section 4554. Cruelty to animals. - Any person who overrides, over drives, overloads, tortures, ill-treats, or cruelly or unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates, or kills any animal, whether belonging to himself or another, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, owner of such animal permits such acts to be done by another, or who willfully sets on foot, instigates, engages in, or in any way furthers any act of cruelty to any animal; or who shall carry or cause to be carried in or upon any vehicle or vessel or otherwise any animal in a cruel, brutal, or inhuman manner, so as to produce torture or unnecessary suffering, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor; but nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the dehorning of cattle.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4555. Officers and agents of societies for prevention of cruelty to animals given power to arrest offenders. - Any officer or agent of any society duly incorporated under the laws of this State for the prevention of cruelty to animals whose appointment shall have been approved as hereinafter provided shall have power to arrest without warrant any person found violating in his presence any of the provisions of law concerning cruelty to animals, and upon making such arrest shall forthwith convey the person arrested before some court or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense and there make complaint against him; but said officers and agents shall not be authorized to make such arrests within any municipal corporation unless their appointment has been approved by the mayor thereof, nor within any county beyond the limits of a municipal corporation unless their appointment has been approved by the circuit judge of said county; and the mayor or circuit judge shall keep a record of all such appointments and require the officer or agent will not knowingly make a false or improper arrest. Such officers and agents shall be provided with a certificate by the society appointing them that they are such officers or agents, in such form as the directors of said society may choose, which certificate shall also bear the written approval by the mayor or circuit judge of such appointment as provided for in this section, and the said officers and agents shall, if requested, show such certificates when acting officially; and any such officer or agent shall have power to execute any warrant issued by a magistrate for the violation of any of the said provisions, whether the offense was committed in his presence or not.

In no case shall the appointment of such officers or agent or any services performed by them entail any cost or expense upon such county or municipal corporation or upon the State.[1]

(1893-4, page 163.)

[1] Revisers' Note.  - This and the eleven following sections are taken from the same act.  Various changes in phraseology have been made, and some changes in meaning.  Section 4554 is taken from section 1 of the act with material changes: (1) The words, "or who having in custody any maimed, diseased, disabled, or infirm animal leaves it to lie or be in a street, road, or public place," found in the section as it appears in the act, have been transferred to section 4743.  (2) The punishment is now as for a misdemeanor, for which see section 4782.  Formerly, it was by fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or confinement in jail not exceeding twelve months, or both.  (3) The act excepted the docking of horses' tails as well as the dehorning of cattle, but the revised section makes one exception.  There can be no necessity for docking a horse's tail, and it subjects the animal to the greatest annoyance and distress in the summer season.  In prohibiting the docking of horses' tails, Virginia now follows the laws of various other states.

                For note upon the question whether cruelty to turtles falls within the statue, see 18 Va. L. Reg. 791.

                For W. Va. Decisions on similar statute, see Justis' Annotations, chapter 149, section 14.

Section 4556. Officers and agents of such societies may prevent cruelty to animals; interference with such officers and agents a misdemeanor. - Any such officer or agent whose appointment shall have been approved as provided in the preceding section may lawfully interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal in his presence, and every person who shall interfere with or obstruct or resist any such officer or agent in the discharge of his rights, powers, and duties as authorized and prescribed by law, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than fifty dollars or confined in jail not more than thirty days or both.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4557. Power of search for violations of statutes against cruelty to animals. - When a sworn complaint is made to any proper authority by any such agent or officer that the complainant believes and has reasonable cause to believe that the laws in relation to cruelty to animals have been, are being, or are about to be violated in any particular building or place, such authority, if satisfied that there is reasonable cause for such belief, shall issue a warrant authorizing any sheriff, deputy sheriff, sergeant, deputy sergeant, constable, police officer, or any such officer, or agent of such society to search such building or place; but no such search shall be made after sunset unless specially authorized by such authority upon satisfactory cause shown.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4558. When animals to be destroyed. - Any such agent or officer may lawfully destroy, or cause to be destroyed, any animal in his charge or found abandoned or not properly cared for, when in the judgement of such agent or officer and two reputable citizens called to view the same in his presence, one of whom may be selected by the owner of said animal, if he should so request, and who shall give their written certificate thereto, such animal appears to be injured, disabled, diseased, past recovery, or unfit for any useful purpose, and should the two citizens called in as above disagree they shall select a third, and his decision shall be final.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4559. When agent or officer of such society to take charge of animals and vehicle; notice to owner; lien for care, etc. - When any person arrested under any provision of law concerning cruelty to animals is at the time of such arrest in charge of any vehicle drawn by or containing any animal cruelly treated, any such agent or officer of such society may take charge of such animal and of such vehicle and its contents and shall give notice thereof to the owner if known, and shall care and provide for them until their owner shall take charge of the same, which he shall do within thirty days from the date of said notice, and the said society shall have a lien on said animals and vehicles for the expenses of such care and provision, which lien may be enforced as provided in section forty-five hundred and sixty one.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4560. When such agent or officer may take charge of animals abandoned, neglected, cruelly treated, or unfit for use; notice to owner; expense of care and provision. - Any such officer or agent may lawfully take charge of any animal found abandoned, neglected, or cruelly treated or unfit for use, and shall thereupon give notice thereof to the owner, if known, and may provide for such animal until the owner take charge of the same, and the expenses of such care and provision shall be a charge against the owner of such animal, collectible from the suit of the society whose officer or agent may have taken charge of such animal.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4561. Lien for food, shelter, and keep of animals; how enforced. - When any such society, acting through its agents or officers, shall provide a neglected or abandoned animal, or any other animal, taken charge of by the society, as thereinbefore provided, with proper food, shelter, and care, it may detain such animal until the expense of such food, shelter, and care is paid, and be not paid within thirty days after such food, shelter, and care begins to be furnished, as aforesaid, such animal may be sold at public auction upon giving written notice of the time and place of sale at least six days previous thereto to the owner if he be known, and if he be not known by giving notice of the time and place of such sale for at least six days previous thereto in some newspaper published in the county or city where such animal was found; and after discharging the lien on said animal or vehicle the proceeds remaining shall be paid over to owner of said animal.[2]

[2] Revisers' Note.  - The words, "thirty days" in the text are used in lieu of "twenty days," which appear in the act.

Section 4562. Jurisdiction of justices; right of appeal. - The provisions of the eight preceding sections may be enforced by any justice of the peace in cities, town, or counties wherein the offense is committed, or the offender or owner may be found, and every such offender shall have the right of appeal to the corporation court in cities and the circuit court in counties.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4653. Half of fines collected in certain prosecutions to go to society for prevention of cruelty to animals. - In every case prosecuted upon the evidence, complaint, or information of any officer or agent of any duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, one-half of the fine assessed against the accused person who may have been convicted shall, upon the collection of said fine, be paid over to the said society.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4564. When officer or agent to be set down as prosecutor. - Whenever a warrant is sworn out, or a presentment, indictment, or information is obtained upon the complaint or information of any such officer or agent, the name of such officer or agent shall be endorsed as prosecutor upon such warrant, indictment, information, or presentment.

(1893-4, page 163.)

Section 4565. To whom fines go. - The whole of the fines collected under the eleven preceding sections shall go to the Commonwealth unless the name of such officer or agent be endorsed on the warrant, presentment, indictment, or information sued out, or presentment found or obtained, upon the complaint and information of such officer or agent.

(183-4, page 163.)

Section 4566. Shooting of pigeons, or other birds or fowls for amusement, and renting premises for such purposes. - Whoever keeps or uses a live pigeon or other bird or fowl for the purpose of a target, or to be shot at either for amusement or as a test of skill in marksmanship, or shoots at a bird kept or used as aforesaid, or is a party to such shooting, or lets any building, room, field, or premises, or knowingly permits the use thereof for the purpose of such shooting, shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or by both. Nothing herein contained shall apply to the shooting of wild game.

(1906, page 448.)

Section 4567. Injury to hired horse, etc., or vehicle by reckless riding, driving, etc.; defrauding livery man; how punished. - If any person having hired from a licensed livery stable keeper or any other person, any horse, mule, automobile or other vehicle, willfully or negligently injure or damage the same by hard or reckless riding, driving, or using, or permit any other person so to do, or hire the same to any other person, or procure any horse, mule, automobile or other vehicle from a licensed livery stable keeper, or any other person, without previously making arrangements for credit, and use the same without paying therefor and with intent to cheat or defraud said licensed livery stable keeper, or other person, he shall be fined not less than ten nor more than fifty dollars.[3]

(Code 1887, Section 3797; 1904, page 79; 1910, page 347.)

[3] Revisers' Note.  - The words, "or any other person" found in the text are new, as are also the words, "or other person" found in the text.  The latter part of the section should be as comprehensive as the first.

                See Gregory's Forms, No. 692

               Cited but not construed in Wells' Case, 107 Va. 834, 57 S.E. 588



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