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Introduced Version House Bill 3362 History

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HB3362 intr
H. B. 3362


(By Delegates Amores, Hartman and Morgan)



(Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary)



[March 29, 2005]


A BILL to amend and reenact §19-20-1 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new article, designated §19-20B-1, §19-20B-2, §19-20B-3, §19- 20B-4, §19-20B-5, §19-20B-6, §19-20B-7, §19-20B-8 and §19- 20B-9, all relating to the control of canine hybrids; adding the definition of canine hybrid to the definition of dog; including relevant definitions; records; confinement, care and inspection; entry into state; vaccination; penalties; and local regulation.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

That §19-20-1 of the code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended and reenacted; that said code be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §19-20B-1, §19-20B-2, §19-20B-3, §19-20B-4, §19-20B-5, §19-20B-6, §19-20B-7, §19-20B-8 and §19-20B-9, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 20. DOGS AND CATS.

§19-20-1. Dogs subject to taxation; declared to be personal property.

(a) Any dog shall be and is hereby declared to be personal property within the meaning and construction of the laws of this State, and any dog above the age of six months shall be subject to taxation.

(b) For the purpose of this article the definition of "dog" includes a hybrid canine as defined in section two, article twenty- B of this chapter.

ARTICLE 20B. HYBRID CANINE CONTROL ACT.

§19-20B-1 Title.

This act may be known as the "Hybrid Canine Control Act."

§19-20B-2 Definitions.

As used in this article:

(a) "Commissioner," the state commissioner of agriculture;

(b) "Hybrid canine" means any animal which at any time has been or is permitted, registered, licensed, advertised or otherwise described or represented as a hybrid canine, wolf-dog hybrid, wolf, coyote or as being the offspring of a wolf and domestic dog by its owner to a licensed veterinarian, law-enforcement officer, humane officer, dog warden, deputy dog warden, animal control officer, an official of a county health department, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture or the Director of the Division of Natural Resources.

(c) "Responsible ownership" means the ownership and humane care of a hybrid canine in such a manner as to comply with all laws and ordinances regarding hybrid canines and prevent endangerment by the animal to public health and safety.

19-20B-3. Records.

(a) Owners of hybrid canines shall maintain all health records of each hybrid canine, including health certificates, records of immunization, and any other documentary evidence pertaining to the health and welfare of the animal.

(b) The owner shall maintain records of acquisitions and disposals of hybrid canines, including the name and address of the person with whom a transaction is conducted, with entries being made on the day of the transaction.

(c) Records shall be available for inspection by law enforcement personnel at reasonable hours.

19-20B-4. Confinement; Care; Inspections.

(a) Hybrid canines shall be provided adequate confinement and adequate feeding.

(b) Adequate confinement shall include at least:

(1) A brick, concrete, or chain link enclosure surrounded by two (2) layers of fencing as follows:

(A) For a single animal:

(i) Either an inner chain link fence a minimum of fifteen feet by eight feet by ten feet (15' x 8' x 10') or an electric
fence that prevents climbing over, and either extending two feet (2') underground or employing some other means that prevents digging under; and
(ii) An outer fence eight feet (8') high with at least four feet (4') between the two (2) fences unless the inner fence is an electric fence posted with warning signs and the gate is locked at all times;

(B) For a pair, double the cage length for a single animal; or

(C) For more than two (2) animals, add ten feet (10') to the single animal length and width for each additional animal;

(2) A secluded den four feet (4') square for each animal; and

(3) No more than four (4) total of wolves or wolf-dog hybrids, or both, per acre.

(c) Adequate confinement shall not include tethering of a wolf or wolf-dog hybrid not under the direct supervision and control of the owner or custodian.

(d)(1) Adequate feeding shall include daily feedings and provisions of water.

(2) The feed used shall consist of a minimum meat-based protein content of twenty-five percent (25%) and crude fat of fifteen percent (15%), with exceptions for geriatric and overweight animals or under the advice of a licensed veterinarian.

(e) Owners and custodians of wolves and wolf-dog hybrids shall allow inspections by law enforcement personnel at reasonable
hours to ensure adequate confinement and adequate feeding.
(f) This section applies only to owners of four (4) or more adult hybrid canines, one (1) year of age or older.

19-20B-5. Entry into the state.

(a) Hybrid canines may enter into this state only if each animal is accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection indicating that the animal is free from disease or exposure to infectious or contagious disease.

(b) No animals from rabies-quarantined areas shall be admitted into this state.

19-20B-6. Vaccination.

(a) Hybrid canines are required to be vaccinated against rabies with a vaccine approved for dog use as provided by article twenty-A, chapter nineteen of the code, and a rabies certificate may be issued pursuant to section four, article twenty-A, chapter nineteen of the code.

(b) Veterinarians must inform the owner of the hybrid canine, preferably in writing, that the vaccination is considered "off label" and that protection against rabies is not guaranteed.

(c) If a hybrid canine bites a person, the following criteria will be used by the Commissioner in dealing with the animal:

(1) The decision shall consider, at least:

(A) The epidemiology and risk of rabies in the species of animal in question;

(B) Possible prior exposure to a rabies vector;

(C) Behavior of the animal at the time of the bite;

(D) Prior rabies vaccinations; and

(E) Other circumstances that may exist;

(2) In some situations, the department will consider the initiative and willingness of the individual so exposed to submit to post-exposure anti-rabies immunization after being adequately informed of all potential risks;

(3) Upon written order by the Commissioner or a specifically designated representative, any biting animal determined to be at significant risk for the transmission of rabies shall be humanely killed and the brain tissue submitted for testing; and

(4) The Commissioner has the authority to order the quarantine of an animal determined to be a very low risk for the transmission of rabies for a thirty-day observation period as an alternate method to euthanasia and testing.

(d) Owners must be notified and given three (3) business days to provide proof to the department in their animal's defense before the animal can be euthanized.

(e) If, in the future, the United States Department of Agriculture approves the use of rabies vaccines in wolves or hybrid canines, or both, then wolves and hybrid canines will fall under the same statutory provisions as dogs regarding biting humans and rabies control.

19-20B-7. Penalties.

(a) If a hybrid canine bites a person or injures or destroys another animal while out of its confined area, the person responsible for the adequate confinement of the animal upon conviction shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, be fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or be confined in a regional jail not less than ten days nor more than sixty days, or both.

(b) If a hybrid canine is not adequately confined or fed, the person responsible for adequate confinement or adequate feeding of the animal, or both adequate feeding and adequate confinement upon conviction shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, be fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or be confined in a regional jail not less than ten days nor more than sixty days, or both.

(c) A person who abandons or releases a hybrid canine into the wild upon conviction shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, be fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or be confined in a regional jail not less than ten days nor more than sixty days, or both.

(d) Magistrates shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit courts to enforce the penalties prescribed by this article.

19-20B-8. Local regulation.

(a) Any county, city or town may, by ordinance, establish a permit system to ensure the adequate confinement and responsible
ownership of hybrid canines: Provided, that such ordinances shall not be less strict than the provisions of this article or any other statute of this state.
(b) An ordinance enacted pursuant to this section may include requirements pertaining to: (i) the term and expiration date of the permit, (ii) the number of hybrid canines that may be owned by a permittee, (iii) identification tags or tattooing of the animal, (iv) where the animal may be kept, (v) handling of the animal while not on the property of the owner, and (vi) information required to be provided when applying for a permit, such as the sex, color, height, vaccination records, length, or identifying marks of the hybrid canine. The ordinance shall not require that hybrid canines be disposed of by the owner unless the owner fails or refuses to obtain or renew any required permit or violates a provision of the ordinance or any other law pertaining to the responsible ownership of the hybrid canine. The locality may impose a permit fee to cover the cost of the permitting system.

(c) The ordinance may require a violator to surrender the hybrid canine for euthanasia in accordance with section eight, article twenty, chapter nineteen of this code.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not affect any ordinance adopted prior to the effective date of this section.



Note: This bill creates the "Hybrid Canine Control Act" to require specific record-keeping, care, confinement and control of hybrid canines, wolf-dog hybrid, wolf, coyote or an animal which is the offspring of a wolf and domestic dog.



Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

§§19-20B-1 through 19-20B-8 are new, therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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