Dog bill is senseless

Published 2:56 pm Thursday, February 2, 2017

The last time we checked, dogs cannot read, speak or write the English language.

Some members of the Virginia General Assembly would like us to think they’ve learned how.

There’s a piece of legislation being considered by state legislators — House Bill 1900 — that, if approved, would result in fines upwards of $250 for dog owners when their canine decides to roam, run or self-hunt onto someone else’s property while it chases game or makes a great deal of noise.

The bill, introduced by Republican Speaker of the House William “Bill” Howell, further defines “running at large” as off the property of its owner or custodian and not under its owner’s or custodian’s immediate control.

Did we mention dogs also don’t know where property lines begin and end?

While private property rights and the right to tranquility on one’s land is paramount, we think the legislation is senseless for many reasons.

How will the legislation, if it becomes law, be enforced? Who will enforce it? What evidence will there be when law enforcement or animal control officers show up 5-10 minutes after the report and the dog is long gone?

According to the bill, “Any owner or custodian of a dog who, without permission, allows it to run at large onto the property of another for the purpose of hunting or chasing game and in a manner that unduly burdens the quiet use and enjoyment of the property after receiving appropriate notice by the landowner, his agent, or the lessee that hunting or chasing game with dogs without permission is forbidden on such property.”

State legislators should use their time more wisely rather than introduce legislation that would cause undue burdens on those who own or hunt with dogs.