Prince Edward County updates Animal Control Ordinance

Published 6:10 pm Saturday, September 17, 2022

FARMVILLE – Due to changes in the Code of Virginia, the Prince Edward County Animal Control Ordinance is due for some updates.

At the Tuesday, Sept. 13 Board of Supervisors meeting, Chris Riviere, chief animal control officer for Prince Edward County, presented the changes made to the current ordinance by County Attorney Terri Atkins Wilson and County Administrator Sarah Puckett.

According to Riviere, they had noticed changes in the Code of Virginia starting in 2019 in reference to animal control laws. Looking back through the ordinances already in place for the county, they found a few areas that need to be updated to reflect what the state changed. Overall, there are three main changes to the current ordinance.

A look at the changes

The largest change appeared in Section 10-100, which updated the County’s Code for Dangerous and Vicious Dogs. This change noted in the code explains how the law enforcement or animal control officers are to issue a summons for the dog and that the hearing or appeal will not take place within 30 days of the summons unless good cause is found by the court.

“The largest section was actually the dangerous dog and vicious dog section,” said Riviere. He explained that in the past, county staff had used the state ordinance to charge a person with a dangerous dog. However, the county does have a dangerous dog ordinance, so the staff just adapted it to mirror what the state version says.

Another change is in Section 10-61 dealing with rabies clinics. Before, the county was responsible for having rabies clinics available once a year. Now, the county will ensure that a rabies clinic is conducted at least once every two years.

The final change didn’t affect local pet owners. It was simply rewording a portion of Section 10-10 to make sure it references the Code of Virginia. According to Riviere, this was a statute that was repealed and replaced with a newer version, therefore the county needed to update it by adopting the changes.

“It was just clear that the State had gone through and updated a few statutes and we wanted to make sure that we were in compliance with that and update what we had,” said Riviere.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to hold a public hearing on these changes at the Tuesday, Oct. 11 meeting. Riviere will be present at the hearing to answer any questions that the Board or citizens may have.


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