As of July 1, 2020, the VA Code §3.2-6500 has been updated to include extra provisions for tethered/chained dogs. Under the Adequate Shelter definition it now states that:
An animal cannot be chained/tethered under these 3 sets of conditions:
- unless the animal is safe from predators and well suited and well equipped to tolerate its environment; or
- during the effective period for a hurricane warning or tropical storm warning issued for the area by the National Weather Service; or
- (c)(1) during a heat advisory issued by a local or state authority, (2) when the actual or effective outdoor temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, or (3) during the effective period for a severe weather warning issued for the area by the National Weather Service, including winter storm, tornado, or severe thunderstorm warning.
While there are exceptions within the Code for an Animal Control Officer or LEO to certify “the animal is safe from predators and well suited and well equipped to tolerate its environments,” this certification could allow for the officer, their agency, and the jurisdiction to be held liable if the animal was injured or dies after certification is made. Due to the potential for liability, it is our opinion that it would be extremely rare that this certification would be made.