State Code and Companion Animal Care

Sometimes rescue work is so frustrating…especially when you feel like you don’t get any support from your local animal control. Someone wrote a nice letter about a penned dog that was a victim of cruelty and neglect. The local animal control was contacted and the dog owner was found not to be in violation. We sent a volunteer over right after Animal Control left and the dog had no water (it is 82° here today), so please tell me how no violation was found?!!

Never mind that the State Code of Virginia states this:
§ 3.2-6503. Care of companion animals by owner; penalty.

A. Each owner shall provide for each of his companion animals:
1. Adequate feed;
2. Adequate water;
3. Adequate shelter that is properly cleaned;
4. Adequate space in the primary enclosure for the particular type of animal depending upon its age, size, species, and weight;
5. Adequate exercise;
6. Adequate care, treatment, and transportation; and
7. Veterinary care when needed or to prevent suffering or disease transmission.

The provisions of this section shall also apply to every pound, animal shelter, or other releasing agency, and every foster care provider, dealer, pet shop, exhibitor, kennel, groomer, and boarding establishment. This section shall not require that animals used as food for other animals be euthanized.

B. Violation of this section is a Class 4 misdemeanor.

So, what do we as a rescue group do? Try and educate the owner about proper care, of course but that doesn’t always result in a positive change for the dog. Try to get the owner to surrender the dog to that same animal control that didn’t care enough to make sure he had water? These laws are written to protect animals so why aren’t they being protected?