21102789D
SENATE BILL NO. 1390
Senate Amendments in [ ] February 1, 2021
A BILL to amend and reenact §§3.2-6500, 3.2-6524, 3.2-6546, and 3.2-6551 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding a section numbered 3.2-6579.1, relating to cats; trap, neuter, and return programs; civil penalty.
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Patron Prior to Engrossment--Senator Lewis
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Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
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Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That §§3.2-6500, 3.2-6524, 3.2-6546, and 3.2-6551 of the Code of Virginia are amended and reenacted and that the Code of Virginia is amended by adding a section numbered 3.2-6579.1 as follows:

§3.2-6500. Definitions.

As used in this chapter unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Abandon" means to desert, forsake, or absolutely give up an animal without having secured another owner or custodian for the animal or by failing to provide the elements of basic care as set forth in § 3.2-6503 for a period of four consecutive days. "Abandon" shall not include the return of a community cat by a TNR program volunteer.

"Adequate care" or "care" means the responsible practice of good animal husbandry, handling, production, management, confinement, feeding, watering, protection, shelter, transportation, treatment, and, when necessary, euthanasia, appropriate for the age, species, condition, size and type of the animal and the provision of veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering or impairment of health.

"Adequate exercise" or "exercise" means the opportunity for the animal to move sufficiently to maintain normal muscle tone and mass for the age, species, size, and condition of the animal.

"Adequate feed" means access to and the provision of food that is of sufficient quantity and nutritive value to maintain each animal in good health; is accessible to each animal; is prepared so as to permit ease of consumption for the age, species, condition, size and type of each animal; is provided in a clean and sanitary manner; is placed so as to minimize contamination by excrement and pests; and is provided at suitable intervals for the species, age, and condition of the animal, but at least once daily, except as prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation or fasting normal for the species.

"Adequate shelter" means provision of and access to shelter that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of each animal; provides adequate space for each animal; is safe and protects each animal from injury, rain, sleet, snow, hail, direct sunlight, the adverse effects of heat or cold, physical suffering, and impairment of health; is properly lighted; is properly cleaned; enables each animal to be clean and dry, except when detrimental to the species; during hot weather, is properly shaded and does not readily conduct heat; during cold weather, has a windbreak at its entrance and provides a quantity of bedding material consisting of hay, cedar shavings, or the equivalent that is sufficient to protect the animal from cold and promote the retention of body heat; and, for dogs and cats, provides a solid surface, resting platform, pad, floormat, or similar device that is large enough for the animal to lie on in a normal manner and can be maintained in a sanitary manner. Under this chapter, shelters whose wire, grid, or slat floors (i) permit the animals' feet to pass through the openings, (ii) sag under the animals' weight, or (iii) otherwise do not protect the animals' feet or toes from injury are not adequate shelter. The outdoor tethering of an animal shall not constitute the provision of adequate shelter (a) unless the animal is safe from predators and well suited and well equipped to tolerate its environment; (b) 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 a winter storm, tornado, or severe thunderstorm warning, unless an animal control officer, having inspected an animal's individual circumstances in clause (c)(1), (2), or (3), has determined the animal to be safe from predators and well suited and well equipped to tolerate its environment.

"Adequate space" means sufficient space to allow each animal to (i) easily stand, sit, lie, turn about, and make all other normal body movements in a comfortable, normal position for the animal and (ii) interact safely with other animals in the enclosure. When an animal is tethered, "adequate space" means that the tether to which the animal is attached permits the above actions and is appropriate to the age and size of the animal; is attached to the animal by a properly applied collar, halter, or harness that is configured so as to protect the animal from injury and prevent the animal or tether from becoming entangled with other objects or animals, or from extending over an object or edge that could result in the strangulation or injury of the animal; is at least 15 feet in length or four times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail, whichever is greater, except when the animal is being walked on a leash or is attached by a tether to a lead line or when an animal control officer, having inspected an animal's individual circumstances, has determined that in such an individual case, a tether of at least 10 feet or three times the length of the animal, but shorter than 15 feet or four times the length of the animal, makes the animal more safe, more suited, and better equipped to tolerate its environment than a longer tether; does not, by its material, size, or weight or any other characteristic, cause injury or pain to the animal; does not weigh more than one-tenth of the animal's body weight; and does not have weights or other heavy objects attached to it. The walking of an animal on a leash by its owner shall not constitute the tethering of the animal for the purpose of this definition. When freedom of movement would endanger the animal, temporarily and appropriately restricting movement of the animal according to professionally accepted standards for the species is considered provision of adequate space. The provisions of this definition that relate to tethering shall not apply to agricultural animals.

"Adequate water" means provision of and access to clean, fresh, potable water of a drinkable temperature that is provided in a suitable manner, in sufficient volume, and at suitable intervals appropriate for the weather and temperature, to maintain normal hydration for the age, species, condition, size and type of each animal, except as prescribed by a veterinarian or as dictated by naturally occurring states of hibernation or fasting normal for the species; and is provided in clean, durable receptacles that are accessible to each animal and are placed so as to minimize contamination of the water by excrement and pests or an alternative source of hydration consistent with generally accepted husbandry practices.

"Adoption" means the transfer of ownership of a dog or a cat, or any other companion animal, from a releasing agency to an individual.

"Agricultural animals" means all livestock and poultry.

"Ambient temperature" means the temperature surrounding the animal.

"Animal" means any nonhuman vertebrate species except fish. For the purposes of §3.2-6522, animal means any species susceptible to rabies. For the purposes of §3.2-6570, animal means any nonhuman vertebrate species including fish except those fish captured and killed or disposed of in a reasonable and customary manner.

"Animal control officer" means a person appointed as an animal control officer or deputy animal control officer as provided in § 3.2-6555.

"Boarding establishment" means a place or establishment other than a public or private animal shelter where companion animals not owned by the proprietor are sheltered, fed, and watered in exchange for a fee. "Boarding establishment" shall not include any private residential dwelling that shelters, feeds, and waters fewer than five companion animals not owned by the proprietor.

"Collar" means a well-fitted device, appropriate to the age and size of the animal, attached to the animal's neck in such a way as to prevent trauma or injury to the animal.

"Commercial dog breeder" means any person who, during any 12-month period, maintains 30 or more adult female dogs for the primary purpose of the sale of their offspring provided that a person who breeds an animal regulated under federal law as a research animal shall not be deemed to be a commercial dog breeder.

"Community cat" means a domestic or feral, outdoor, free-roaming cat that is (i) unowned or (ii) lost or abandoned and whose owner cannot be ascertained from a microchip, tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other visible form of identification.

"Companion animal" means any domestic or feral dog, domestic or feral cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit not raised for human food or fiber, exotic or native animal, reptile, exotic or native bird, or any feral animal or any animal under the care, custody, or ownership of a person or any animal that is bought, sold, traded, or bartered by any person. No agricultural animal, game species, or animal regulated under federal law as a research animal shall be considered a companion animal for the purposes of this chapter.

"Consumer" means any natural person purchasing an animal from a dealer or pet shop or hiring the services of a boarding establishment. The term "consumer" shall not include a business or corporation engaged in sales or services.

"Dealer" means any person who in the regular course of business for compensation or profit buys, sells, transfers, exchanges, or barters companion animals. The following shall not be considered dealers: (i) any person who transports companion animals in the regular course of business as a common carrier or (ii) any person whose primary purpose is to find permanent adoptive homes for companion animals.

"Direct and immediate threat" means any clear and imminent danger to an animal's health, safety or life.

"Dump" means to knowingly desert, forsake, or absolutely give up without having secured another owner or custodian any dog, cat, or other companion animal in any public place including the right-of-way of any public highway, road or street or on the property of another.

"Emergency veterinary treatment" means veterinary treatment to stabilize a life-threatening condition, alleviate suffering, prevent further disease transmission, or prevent further disease progression.

"Enclosure" means a structure used to house or restrict animals from running at large.

"Euthanasia" means the humane destruction of an animal accomplished by a method that involves instantaneous unconsciousness and immediate death or by a method that involves anesthesia, produced by an agent that causes painless loss of consciousness, and death during such loss of consciousness.

"Exhibitor" means any person who has animals for or on public display, excluding an exhibitor licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Facility" means a building or portion thereof as designated by the State Veterinarian, other than a private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds, that is used to contain a primary enclosure or enclosures in which animals are housed or kept.

"Farming activity" means, consistent with standard animal husbandry practices, the raising, management, and use of agricultural animals to provide food, fiber, or transportation and the breeding, exhibition, lawful recreational use, marketing, transportation, and slaughter of agricultural animals pursuant to such purposes.

"Foster care provider" means a person who provides care or rehabilitation for companion animals through an affiliation with a public or private animal shelter, home-based rescue, releasing agency, or other animal welfare organization.

"Foster home" means a private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds, or any facility other than a public or private animal shelter, at which site through an affiliation with a public or private animal shelter, home-based rescue, releasing agency, or other animal welfare organization care or rehabilitation is provided for companion animals.

"Groomer" means any person who, for a fee, cleans, trims, brushes, makes neat, manicures, or treats for external parasites any animal.

"Home-based rescue" means an animal welfare organization that takes custody of companion animals for the purpose of facilitating adoption and houses such companion animals in a foster home or a system of foster homes.

"Humane" means any action taken in consideration of and with the intent to provide for the animal's health and well-being.

"Humane investigator" means a person who has been appointed by a circuit court as a humane investigator as provided in § 3.2-6558.

"Humane society" means any incorporated, nonprofit organization that is organized for the purposes of preventing cruelty to animals and promoting humane care and treatment or adoptions of animals.

"Incorporated" means organized and maintained as a legal entity in the Commonwealth.

"Inspector" means a State Animal Welfare Inspector employed pursuant to §3.2-5901.1 or his representative.

"Kennel" means any establishment in which five or more canines, felines, or hybrids of either are kept for the purpose of breeding, hunting, training, renting, buying, boarding, selling, or showing.

"Law-enforcement officer" means any person who is a full-time or part-time employee of a police department or sheriff's office that is part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof and who is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the penal, traffic or highway laws of the Commonwealth. Part-time employees are compensated officers who are not full-time employees as defined by the employing police department or sheriff's office.

"Livestock" includes all domestic or domesticated: bovine animals; equine animals; ovine animals; porcine animals; cervidae animals; capradae animals; animals of the genus Lama or Vicugna; ratites; fish or shellfish in aquaculture facilities, as defined in §3.2-2600; enclosed domesticated rabbits or hares raised for human food or fiber; or any other individual animal specifically raised for food or fiber, except companion animals.

"New owner" means an individual who is legally competent to enter into a binding agreement pursuant to subdivision B 2 of § 3.2-6574, and who adopts or receives a dog or cat from a releasing agency.

"Ordinance" means any law, rule, regulation, or ordinance adopted by the governing body of any locality.

"Other officer" includes all other persons employed or elected by the people of Virginia, or by any locality, whose duty it is to preserve the peace, to make arrests, or to enforce the law.

"Owner" means any person who: (i) has a right of property in an animal; (ii) keeps or harbors an animal; (iii) has an animal in his care; or (iv) acts as a custodian of an animal.

"Pet shop" means a retail establishment where companion animals are bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale or exchange to the general public.

"Poultry" includes all domestic fowl and game birds raised in captivity.

"Primary enclosure" means any structure used to immediately restrict an animal or animals to a limited amount of space, such as a room, pen, cage, compartment, or hutch. For tethered animals, the term includes the shelter and the area within reach of the tether.

"Private animal shelter" means a facility operated for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals that is used to house or contain animals and that is owned or operated by an incorporated, nonprofit, and nongovernmental entity, including a humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other similar organization.

"Properly cleaned" means that carcasses, debris, food waste, and excrement are removed from the primary enclosure with sufficient frequency to minimize the animals' contact with the above-mentioned contaminants; the primary enclosure is sanitized with sufficient frequency to minimize odors and the hazards of disease; and the primary enclosure is cleaned so as to prevent the animals confined therein from being directly or indirectly sprayed with the stream of water, or directly or indirectly exposed to hazardous chemicals or disinfectants.

"Properly lighted" when referring to a facility means sufficient illumination to permit routine inspections, maintenance, cleaning, and housekeeping of the facility, and observation of the animals; to provide regular diurnal lighting cycles of either natural or artificial light, uniformly diffused throughout the facility; and to promote the well-being of the animals.

"Properly lighted" when referring to a private residential dwelling and its surrounding grounds means sufficient illumination to permit routine maintenance and cleaning thereof, and observation of the companion animals; and to provide regular diurnal lighting cycles of either natural or artificial light to promote the well-being of the animals.

"Public animal shelter" means a facility operated by the Commonwealth, or any locality, for the purpose of impounding or sheltering seized, stray, homeless, abandoned, unwanted, or surrendered animals or a facility operated for the same purpose under a contract with any locality.

"Releasing agency" means (i) a public animal shelter or (ii) a private animal shelter, humane society, animal welfare organization, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other similar entity or home-based rescue that releases companion animals for adoption.

"Research facility" means any place, laboratory, or institution licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at which scientific tests, experiments, or investigations involving the use of living animals are carried out, conducted, or attempted.

"Sanitize" means to make physically clean and to remove and destroy, to a practical minimum, agents injurious to health.

"Sore" means, when referring to an equine, that an irritating or blistering agent has been applied, internally or externally, by a person to any limb or foot of an equine; any burn, cut, or laceration that has been inflicted by a person to any limb or foot of an equine; any tack, nail, screw, or chemical agent that has been injected by a person into or used by a person on any limb or foot of an equine; any other substance or device that has been used by a person on any limb or foot of an equine; or a person has engaged in a practice involving an equine, and as a result of such application, infliction, injection, use, or practice, such equine suffers, or can reasonably be expected to suffer, physical pain or distress, inflammation, or lameness when walking, trotting, or otherwise moving, except that such term does not include such an application, infliction, injection, use, or practice in connection with the therapeutic treatment of an equine by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Notwithstanding anything contained herein to the contrary, nothing shall preclude the shoeing, use of pads, and use of action devices as permitted by 9 C.F.R. Part 11.2.

"Sterilize" or "sterilization" means a surgical or chemical procedure performed by a licensed veterinarian that renders a dog or cat permanently incapable of reproducing.

"TNR program" means a program, otherwise known as trap, neuter, and return (TNR), for the temporary capture, provision of treatment, and return to the same approximate location as captured of any community cat. In addition to procedures for sterilization and vaccination against rabies, such program may include provision of urgent veterinary treatment. Such program shall ensure that (i) all vaccines are administered in accordance with a protocol approved by a licensed veterinarian and (ii) rabies vaccines are administered by a licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician under the immediate direction and supervision of a licensed veterinarian in accordance with §3.2-6521.

"TNR program volunteer" means any person who temporarily captures and returns to the same approximate location a community cat in accordance with a TNR program.

"Treasurer" includes the treasurer and his assistants of each county or city or other officer designated by law to collect taxes in such county or city.

"Treatment" or "adequate treatment" means the responsible handling or transportation of animals in the person's ownership, custody or charge, appropriate for the age, species, condition, size and type of the animal.

"Veterinary treatment" means treatment by or on the order of a duly licensed veterinarian.

"Weaned" means that an animal is capable of and physiologically accustomed to ingestion of solid food or food customary for the adult of the species and has ingested such food, without nursing, for a period of at least five days.

§3.2-6524. Unlicensed dogs prohibited; ordinances for licensing cats.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person other than a releasing agency that has registered as such annually with local animal control to own a dog four months old or older in the Commonwealth unless such dog is licensed, as required by the provisions of this article.

B. The governing body of any locality may, by ordinance, prohibit any person other than a releasing agency that has registered as such annually with local animal control from owning a cat four months old or older within such locality unless such cat is licensed as provided by this article.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the temporary capture and return of a community cat by a TNR program volunteer.

§3.2-6546. County or city public animal shelters; confinement and disposition of animals; affiliation with foster care providers; penalties; injunctive relief.

A. For purposes of this section:

"Animal" shall not include agricultural animals.

"Rightful owner" means a person with a right of property in the animal.

B. The governing body of each county or city shall maintain or cause to be maintained a public animal shelter and shall require dogs running at large without the tag required by §3.2-6531 or in violation of an ordinance passed pursuant to §3.2-6538 to be confined therein. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit confinement of other companion animals in such a shelter. The governing body of any county or city need not own the facility required by this section but may contract for its establishment with a private group or in conjunction with one or more other local governing bodies. The governing body shall require that:

1. The public animal shelter shall be accessible to the public at reasonable hours during the week;

2. The public animal shelter shall obtain a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, or animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and each shelter shall update such statement as changes occur;

3. If a person contacts the public animal shelter inquiring about a lost companion animal, the shelter shall advise the person if the companion animal is confined at the shelter or if a companion animal of similar description is confined at the shelter;

4. The public animal shelter shall maintain a written record of the information on each companion animal submitted to the shelter by a private animal shelter in accordance with subsection D of §3.2-6548 for a period of 30 days from the date the information is received by the shelter. If a person contacts the shelter inquiring about a lost companion animal, the shelter shall check its records and make available to such person any information submitted by a private animal shelter or allow such person inquiring about a lost animal to view the written records;

5. The public animal shelter shall maintain a written record of the information on each companion animal submitted to the shelter by a releasing agency other than a public or private animal shelter in accordance with subdivision F 2 of §3.2-6549 for a period of 30 days from the date the information is received by the shelter. If a person contacts the shelter inquiring about a lost companion animal, the shelter shall check its records and make available to such person any information submitted by such releasing agency or allow such person inquiring about a lost companion animal to view the written records; and

6. The public animal shelter shall maintain a written record of the information on each companion animal submitted to the shelter by an individual in accordance with subdivision A 2 of §3.2-6551 for a period of 30 days from the date the information is received by the shelter. If a person contacts the shelter inquiring about a lost companion animal, the shelter shall check its records and make available to such person any information submitted by the individual or allow such person inquiring about a lost companion animal to view the written records.

C. An animal confined pursuant to this section, other than a community cat brought to a public animal shelter pursuant to a TNR program, shall be kept for a period of not less than five days, such stray hold period to commence on the day immediately following the day the animal is initially confined in the facility, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner thereof.

The operator or custodian of the public animal shelter shall make a reasonable effort to ascertain whether the animal has a collar, tag, license, tattoo, or other form of identification. If such identification is found on the animal, the animal shall be held for an additional five-day stray hold period, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner. If the rightful owner of the animal can be readily identified, the operator or custodian of the shelter shall make a reasonable effort to notify the owner of the animal's confinement within the next 48 hours following its confinement.

During the stray hold period that an animal is confined pursuant to this subsection, the operator or custodian of the public animal shelter may vaccinate the animal to prevent the risk of communicable diseases, provided that (i) all vaccines are administered in accordance with a protocol approved by a licensed veterinarian and (ii) rabies vaccines are administered by a licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician under the immediate direction and supervision of a licensed veterinarian in accordance with §3.2-6521. Indoor enclosures used to confine the animal during the applicable stray hold period shall be constructed of materials that are durable, nonporous, impervious to moisture, and able to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. During the applicable stray hold period, the operator or custodian shall provide the animal with adequate care, including reasonable access to outdoor areas to ensure that the animal has adequate exercise and adequate space.

If any animal confined pursuant to this section is claimed by its rightful owner, such owner may be charged with the actual expenses incurred in keeping the animal impounded. In addition to this and any other fees that might be levied, the locality may, after a public hearing, adopt an ordinance to charge the owner of an animal a fee for impoundment and increased fees for subsequent impoundments of the same animal.

D. If an animal confined pursuant to this section has not been claimed upon expiration of the applicable stray hold period as provided by subsection C, it shall be deemed abandoned and become the property of the public animal shelter.

For any animal not subject to a stray hold period, including an animal for whom the stray hold period has ended, the operator or custodian of the public animal shelter shall confine the animal in an enclosure that can safely house and allow for adequate separation of animals of different species, sexes, ages, and temperaments. Such enclosure may have both an outdoor area and an indoor area. If the facility has an outdoor area, the facility shall ensure that the outdoor areas do not present conditions that would be detrimental to the health of the animal. Indoor areas shall have a solid floor. Each operator or custodian shall ensure adequate access to water, food, and a resting platform, bedding, or perch as appropriate to the animal's species, age, and condition. Any regulation by the Board that applies to an animal not subject to a stray hold period shall not be so restrictive as to fail to allow for adequate care, adequate exercise, and adequate space, including meaningful indoor and outdoor recreation for the animal.

Such animal may be euthanized in accordance with the methods approved by the State Veterinarian or disposed of by the methods set forth in subdivisions D 1 through 5. No shelter shall release more than two animals or a family of animals during any 30-day period to any one person under subdivision D 2, 3, or 4.

1. Release to any humane society, public or private animal shelter, or other releasing agency within the Commonwealth, provided that each humane society, animal shelter, or other releasing agency obtains a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, or animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment and updates such statements as changes occur;

2. Adoption by a resident of the county or city where the shelter is operated and who will pay the required license fee, if any, on such animal, provided that such resident has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment;

3. Adoption by a resident of an adjacent political subdivision of the Commonwealth, if the resident has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment;

4. Adoption by any other person, provided that such person has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment and provided that no dog or cat may be adopted by any person who is not a resident of the county or city where the shelter is operated, or of an adjacent political subdivision, unless the dog or cat is first sterilized, and the shelter may require that the sterilization be done at the expense of the person adopting the dog or cat; or

5. Release for the purposes of adoption or euthanasia only, to an animal shelter, or any other releasing agency located in and lawfully operating under the laws of another state, provided that such animal shelter, or other releasing agency: (i) maintains records that would comply with § 3.2-6557; (ii) requires that adopted dogs and cats be sterilized; (iii) obtains a signed statement from each of its directors, operators, staff, and animal caregivers specifying that each individual has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and updates such statement as changes occur; and (iv) has provided to the public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency within the Commonwealth a statement signed by an authorized representative specifying the entity's compliance with clauses (i) through (iii), and the provisions of adequate care and performance of humane euthanasia, as necessary in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

For purposes of recordkeeping, release of an animal by a public animal shelter to a public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency shall be considered a transfer and not an adoption. If the animal is not first sterilized, the responsibility for sterilizing the animal transfers to the receiving entity.

Any proceeds deriving from the gift, sale, or delivery of such animals shall be paid directly to the treasurer of the locality. Any proceeds deriving from the gift, sale, or delivery of such animals by a public or private animal shelter or other releasing agency shall be paid directly to the clerk or treasurer of the animal shelter or other releasing agency for the expenses of the society and expenses incident to any agreement concerning the disposing of such animal. No part of the proceeds shall accrue to any individual except for the aforementioned purposes.

E. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the immediate euthanasia of a critically injured, critically ill, or unweaned animal for humane purposes. Any animal euthanized pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be euthanized by one of the methods prescribed or approved by the State Veterinarian.

F. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the immediate euthanasia or disposal by the methods listed in subdivisions D 1 through 5 of an animal that has been released to a public or private animal shelter, other releasing agency, or animal control officer by the animal's rightful owner after the rightful owner has read and signed a statement: (i) surrendering all property rights in such animal; (ii) stating that no other person has a right of property in the animal; and (iii) acknowledging that the animal may be immediately euthanized or disposed of in accordance with subdivisions D 1 through 5.

G. Nothing in this section shall prohibit any feral dog or feral cat not bearing a collar, tag, tattoo, or other form of identification that, based on the written statement of a disinterested person, exhibits behavior that poses a risk of physical injury to any person confining the animal, from being euthanized after being kept for a period of not less than three days, at least one of which shall be a full business day, such period to commence on the day the animal is initially confined in the facility, unless sooner claimed by the rightful owner. The statement of the disinterested person shall be kept with the animal as required by §3.2-6557. For purposes of this subsection, a disinterested person shall not include a person releasing or reporting the animal.

H. No public animal shelter shall place a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider unless the foster care provider has read and signed a statement specifying that he has never been convicted of animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment, and each shelter shall update such statement as changes occur. The shelter shall maintain the original statement and any updates to such statement in accordance with this chapter and for at least so long as the shelter has an affiliation with the foster care provider.

I. A public animal shelter that places a companion animal in a foster home with a foster care provider shall ensure that the foster care provider complies with §3.2-6503.

J. If a public animal shelter finds a direct and immediate threat to a companion animal placed with a foster care provider, it shall report its findings to the animal control agency in the locality where the foster care provider is located.

K. The governing body shall require that the public animal shelter be operated in accordance with regulations issued by the Board. If this chapter or such regulations are violated, the locality may be assessed a civil penalty by the Board or its designee in an amount that does not exceed $1,000 per violation. Each day of the violation is a separate offense. In determining the amount of any civil penalty, the Board or its designee shall consider (i) the history of previous violations at the shelter; (ii) whether the violation has caused injury to, death or suffering of, an animal; and (iii) the demonstrated good faith of the locality to achieve compliance after notification of the violation. All civil penalties assessed under this section shall be recovered in a civil action brought by the Attorney General in the name of the Commonwealth. Such civil penalties shall be paid into a special fund in the state treasury to the credit of the Department to be used in carrying out the purposes of this chapter.

L. If this chapter or any laws governing public animal shelters are violated, the Commissioner may bring an action to enjoin the violation or threatened violation of this chapter or the regulations pursuant thereto regarding public animal shelters, in the circuit court where the shelter is located. The Commissioner may request the Attorney General to bring such an action, when appropriate.

§3.2-6551. Notification by individuals finding companion animals; penalty.

A. Any individual who finds a companion animal and (i) provides care or safekeeping or (ii) retains the companion animal in such a manner as to control its activities shall within 48 hours:

1. Make a reasonable attempt to notify the owner of the companion animal if the owner can be ascertained from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other form of identification or markings or if the owner of the animal is otherwise known to the individual; and

2. Notify the public animal shelter that serves the locality where the companion animal was found and provide to the shelter contact information, including at least a name and a contact telephone number, a description of the animal, including information from any tag, license, collar, tattoo, or other identification or markings, and the location where the companion animal was found.

B. If an individual finds a companion animal and (i) provides care or safekeeping or (ii) retains the companion animal in such a manner as to control its activities, the individual shall comply with the provisions of § 3.2-6503.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the temporary capture and return of a community cat by a TNR program volunteer.

D. Any individual who violates this section may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $50 per companion animal.

§3.2-6579.1. Trap, neuter, and return programs.

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of §§3.2-6546, 3.2-6548, and 3.2-6549, any public or private animal shelter, releasing agency, or hospital or clinic that is operated under the immediate supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian may operate a TNR program.

B. A TNR program authorized pursuant to subsection A shall comply with the following provisions:

1. Any trap used for the TNR program shall be identified with the name and contact information of the TNR program volunteer or the organization with which the TNR program volunteer is working;

2. Any [ set ] TNR program trap [ set ] shall be checked at a minimum every 60 minutes;

3. Any animal that is not a community cat and is unintentionally caught in a trap set for a TNR program shall be immediately released [ from the trap at the location where trapped ] ;

4. The following records shall be kept for each community cat in a TNR program: (i) the general location of capture and a general description of the cat, (ii) the veterinarian-issued rabies certificate, and (iii) a written confirmation of sterilization by the veterinarian who performed the sterilization; and

5. In the event of a rabies outbreak involving community cats in a TNR program, rabies vaccination records for the community cats in the TNR program shall be disclosed upon request by animal control or public health officials.

C. The civil penalties that apply to this section pursuant to §3.2-6580 shall not exceed $150.