House Bill No. 4082
(By Delegates Caputo, By Request,
Prunty, Manchin and Davis)
[Introduced January 19, 2000; referred to the Committee
Political Subdivisions then Government Organizations.]
A BILL to amend article ten, chapter seven of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated section six; and to
amend and reenact section six, article twenty, chapter
nineteen of said code, all relating to including cats, as well
as dogs, within the responsibilities of the county dog warden,
their licensing and control and providing definitions and
procedures for humane euthanasia.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That article ten, chapter seven of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new section, designated section six; and that
section six, article twenty, chapter nineteen of said code be
amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 7. COUNTY COMMISSIONS AND OFFICERS.
ARTICLE 10. HUMANE OFFICERS.
§7-10-6. Destruction of animals.
(a) Any humane officer may lawfully destroy or cause to be
destroyed any animal in his or her charge when, in the judgment of
the officer and by a written certificate of a regularly licensed
veterinary surgeon that the animal appears to be injured, disabled,
diseased past recovery or the animal is unclaimed.
(b) The terms "destroy," "cause to be destroyed" and
"destroyed according to acceptable humane standards," as used in
this section and in section four, article ten, chapter seven of the
code of West Virginia are defined in accordance with the humane
euthanasia procedures set forth in sections six-d and six-e,
article twenty, chapter twenty-nine of this code.
CHAPTER 19. AGRICULTURE.
ARTICLE 20. DOGS AND CATS.
§19-20-6. County dog warden; rules for dog and cat control;
prosecution and penalties for violation of
(a) The county commission of each county may appoint and
employ a county dog warden, and
such the number of deputies, for
such a time, and at such compensation, as such the county
commission shall deem considers reasonable and necessary to enforce
the provisions of this code with respect to the control and registration of dogs and cats, the impounding, care and destruction
of unlicensed dogs and cats. Such The county dog warden may be
appointed as a deputy assessor for the purpose of collecting the
dog and cat tax and registration fees, taking the dog and cat
registration and providing the tags authorized by this article.
The county dog warden or any deputies may, in the discretion of the
county commission, be regularly employed officers or agents of any
humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals,
organized and operating under the laws of this state and owning,
controlling and operating a suitable place within the county for
impounding and destroying dogs and cats. In addition to the
compensation provided for above, a bounty of fifty cents per dog
and cat shall be paid to the county dog warden or deputy who
captures an unregistered dog or cat. Such The county dog warden
and deputy wardens shall each give bond in a sum of not less than
one thousand dollars and not more than two thousand dollars
conditioned on the faithful performance of their duties. Such The
bonds shall be filed with the county commission by which such those
persons are appointed.
The county dog warden and his or her deputies shall patrol the
county in which they are appointed and shall seize on sight and
impound any dog or cat more than six months of age found not
wearing a valid registration tag, except dogs or cats kept
constantly confined in a registered dog kennel. They shall be responsible for the proper care and final disposition of all
impounded dogs and cats. The county dog warden shall make a
monthly report, in writing, to the county commission of his or her
county. When any dog or cat
shall have has been seized and
impounded, the county dog warden shall forthwith give notice to the
owner of such the dog or cat, if such the owner be known to the
warden, that such the dog or cat has been impounded and that it
will be sold or destroyed if not redeemed within five days. If the
owner of such the dog or cat be not known to the dog warden, he
shall post a notice in the county courthouse. The notice shall
describe the dog or cat and the place where seized and shall advise
the unknown owner that such the dog or cat will be sold or
destroyed if not redeemed within five days.
(b) Any county commission may promulgate and enforce such
ordinances and rules
and regulations not inconsistent with the
provisions of this article, as it considers necessary or convenient
for the control and management of all dogs and cats in the county,
or any portion thereof, regardless of the age of any such dog or
cat: Provided, That the county commissions may promulgate and
enforce such the ordinances and rules and regulations to the extent
necessary for the implementation of the provisions contained in
(c) The county commission of each county may provide in
the ordinance for the arrest, conviction and punishment of any person who violates the provisions thereof. The county commission
of each county may provide in any such the ordinance that any
person who violates the provisions of the ordinance is guilty of a
misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, that such the person is
subject to a fine or fines. The amount of such the fine for a
single violation of any such ordinance may not exceed one hundred
dollars. Magistrate courts and circuit courts shall have
concurrent jurisdiction with respect to such the misdemeanors.
(d) The terms "destruction," "destroy," "cause to be
destroyed" and "destroyed according to acceptable humane
standards," as used in this section and WV Code §30-10A and
§7-0-5, mean humane euthanasia of dogs, cats or other moderately
sized to large mammals in the following order of preference: (1)
A lethal dose of sodium pentobarbital, a sodium pentobarbital
derivative or the most recent "euthanasia drug of choice," as
defined in section eight, article ten-a, chapter thirty of this
code, to be administered by intravenous injection by hypodermic
needle by a licensed veterinarian or by a certified euthanasia
technician in accordance with the provisions of article ten-a,
chapter thirty of this code; (2) any other procedure approved by
the American veterinary medical association, the humane society of
the United States or the American humane association.
(e) Emergency method:
The following method may be used only in an emergency situation in which the safety of people or other animal life is
threatened or in a situation in which the mandatory method of
euthanasia of cats and dogs cannot be implemented expeditiously and
will cause undue suffering. This method shall not be used as a
substitute for the mandatory method.
Shooting: The animal may be destroyed by shooting: Provided,
(1) The animal is restrained in a humane manner.
(2) Shooting is performed by a highly skilled and trained
person utilizing a weapon and ammunition of suitable caliber and
other characteristics to produce instantaneous death by a single
(3) Maximum precaution is taken to protect the general public,
employees and other animals.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to include cats, as well as
dogs, for licensing and control by dog wardens, and to provide for
humane disposition of diseased, injured and unclaimed cats, dogs
and other moderate to large-sized mammals.
§7-10-6 is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring
have been omitted.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would