Proposed ordinance to address animal issues in Hanover

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - A proposed ordinance in Hanover County would address nuisance animals. You likely remember our coverage of an injured kangaroo that was attacked and severely injured by dogs on a Montpelier farm. Several other animals were killed. In connection to the case, a woman was found guilty for allowing her four dogs to run free. The new ordinance would help the county better address these types of situations.

Right now there is a lease law in effect in Hanover County for certain months during the year but no nuisance animal law. If county leaders decide to adopt this ordinance, it will define what a nuisance animal is and allow the county to step in when owners aren't exercising proper care and control of their animals.

Dogs running at large and attacks on animals in the Rockville area of Hanover County have been headline news and hot topics at county board meetings all year. Citizens want the county to take action, and now, a proposed animal ordinance aims to address a number of issues.

"What we discovered is according to current law, our opportunities to deal with these types of problems were limited," said Hanover Board of Supervisor John Gordon.

Under the new ordinance, attacking livestock and other animals on two or more occasions would constitute a nuisance, unless it happens on the owner's property. Chasing, threatening or harassing cars, bikes or people on any public or private right of way would also qualify as a nuisance.

"This is not intended to interfere with an individuals rights to enjoy pet ownership or animal ownership, but it is designed to encourage them to take more responsibility for those animals so they do not have a negative impact on their neighbors," said Gordon.

Violation of the nuisance animal ordinance would constitute a civil penalty and carry a fine of up to $250. If animal control confines an alleged nuisance animal, the owner would also be responsible for impound fees.

And in a time when pit bulls and other bully breeds often get a bad rap, this ordinance would also take steps to prevent discrimination against any certain type of dog stating that no dog can be deemed a nuisance animal solely because it's breed.

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