Va. bill lets localities regulate wolf-dog hybrids

WASHINGTON – A bill that passed the Virginia State Assembly would give localities authority to create regulations for owning so-called wolf-dog hybrids.

The legislation spearheaded by state Sen. Thomas K. Norment, Jr (R-Williamsburg) passed in the Senate on Thursday, after an amended House version passed earlier in the week.

Locals could establish their own individual systems that would force owners to obtain a permit to own a hybrid dog. The term and expiration date of the permit, the number of hybrid canines one person can own and where the animal may be kept are regulating guidelines contained within the bill, but aren’t requirements to be followed.

According to the bill, a hybrid canine is one that has been reported as one by its owner to a licensed veterinarian, law-enforcement officer, animal control officer, humane investigator, official of the Department of Health or state veterinarian’s representative.

If a permit system is enacted in a locality, failure to obtain one could result in a Class 3 misdemeanor for the first offense – which carries a $500 fine. The second offense would be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor – which could get an owner a $2,500 fine, a jail sentence up to 12 months, or both. A dog could also be subject to euthanasia.

The push for the legislation came after a deadly attack last October in James City County. A wolf-dog hybrid escaped from its owner’s yard and mauled a Yorkshire Terrier to death. The dog was later shot and killed by police.

The bill now goes to Gove. Terry McAuliffe for his signature.

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