Be Cruel To Your Pet & Go To Jail
If a person is charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals under the Virginia Beach City code and is convicted, he or she could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and be forced to pay a fine up to $2500.
Under Virginia Beach Code § 5-11 anyone who “tortures, ill treats, abandons, willfully inflicts inhumane injury or pain not connected with bona fide scientific or medical experimentation to, or cruelly or unnecessarily beats, maims, mutilates or kills any animal, whether belonging to himself or another, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance, food or drink or proper shelter and protection from the weather or causes any of the above things or, being the owner of such animal, permits such acts to be done by another” is guilty of cruelty to animals. You can also be found guilty of this crime if all you do is instigate someone else to be cruel to an animal.
If the animal control officer discovers an animal has been abused, they must take the animal into custody and impound the animal at the pound. The bureau of animal control must inform the owner of the animal impounded that the animal has been impounded within 48 hours. Owners having animals impounded are charged a fee of twenty dollars ($20.00), plus ten dollars ($10.00) for each additional day or part thereof that the animal is impounded. The payment of such fees shall not relieve the owner from prosecution for violation of Virginia Beach Code § 5-11. If an animal impounded and is not claimed by its owner within five (5) days, it shall be made available for adoption, if suitable, or disposed of.
Police are not the only agency that can enforce this cruelty to animal provisions. The Virginia Code gives the SPCA humane officers the authority to enforce this section of the law.
It is also against the law to abandon any dog, cat or other domesticated animal in any public place, including the right-of-way of any public road, street or highway, or on someone else’s property. If you commit this crime the punishment is a fine up to $500.