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Virginia Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Does a tenant have a case of Constructive Eviction if another tenant does not resolve their animal noise?
F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Jun 8, 2021

In Virginia, constructive eviction is generally applied when there is physical damage to the premises, such as the roof caving in, that causes the tenant to not be able to live in the premises. Animal noise, by itself, would not be considered in Virginia a claim for constructive eviction.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: The county had took my dogs and we now have a court date to try and get them back how likely will we be to get them back
Timothy Carignan
Timothy Carignan answered on May 5, 2021

It depends on why the county took them away.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: My boyfriend just passed away a week ago and we adopted a pitbull and have papers for her and we're only allowed to put

We were only allowed to put her in one person's name and we put her in his name well his legal wife and they've been separate for 10 14 years is trying to get my dog she has going as far as stealing all the dogs papers out of the house cuz she's a special needs dog she is in a... Read more »

Juliet Piccone
Juliet Piccone answered on Feb 19, 2021

I am so sorry for your loss. Dogs are considered personal property. The decedent’s personal property can only be legally transferred to another person by virtue of either a will or by intestate succession. Either way, the wife has no rights unless she applies to be the personal representative of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Animal / Dog Law and Small Claims for Virginia on
Q: Found puppy at work no collar, in rough shape. $600 in vet bills, p.o. charged me w/ larceny and refuse reimbursement.

Ultimately want to regain custody of dog due to previous owners neglect, (also found that she has 4 previous unrelated missing dog posts on fb in the last few years) the puppy was not on their property, had no collar or chip, and was in need of medical attention. I had her 5 weeks and then saw... Read more »

Daniel P Leavitt
Daniel P Leavitt answered on Nov 10, 2020

You will want to hire a lawyer for the felony charges. Usually those should play out first and then if you are successful in getting those dismissed you may or may not want to talk to a civil lawyer about potential remedies.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: The county is saying my dog is a dangerous dog with no proof. Allegedly attacked another dog with no proof. No blood.

We had court on Jun 24 2020 and we were turned away because we didn’t meet the criteria to enter the building due to Covid. The deputy told me to call the clerk and and it was to late to even call because the judge declared my dog dangerous. I need a lawyer my dog hasn’t hurt a fly? The dog is... Read more »

Shemeka C Hankins
Shemeka C Hankins answered on Oct 2, 2020

Unfortunately unless you already noted your appeal, your options are going to be severely limited. I would get an attorney ASAP who can advise you if you can have a motion to rehear on the case, if you haven't appealed. Someone locally should be able to better advise you of a potential... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts, Real Estate Law and Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: Does a lease voids when the home is sold in VA? I signed the lease in 2007 and it stated nothing about not having pets

On the bottom of each page on the lease states this contract is for use by ___. Use by any other party is illegal and voids the contract. So can the new landlord put an X where the pets section is without us both signing? Is this contract valid? Is my landlord in the wrong for threatening me about... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Aug 11, 2020

Generally in Virginia, when there is an existing lease in place and the owner/landlord sells the premises to a buyer, the lease remains in place, the buyer assumes the rights and obligations under the existing lease, and the lease's terms remain unchanged between the new owner/landlord and the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: Good afternoon, While ago my wife and I purchases two puppies for 3,800, after 10 days one of them died.
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 24, 2020

Probably had Parvo or distemper. You should take the other dog to the vet immediately to make sure it isn’t sick, too. You might be able to sue the seller, but there’s a lot more information needed to say whether or not you can file a lawsuit.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: Hi, My dads dog chased a horse. The horse ran through a fence and died. The dog in no way attacked or bit the horse

What is my dads liability or how much does he have to pay the owner of the horse.

This happened in Catlett, Virginia

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 23, 2020

It kind of depends on how much of the horse running through the fence can be attributed to your dad’s dog. And legally, he would only have to pay if the horse owners sued him and won; this isn’t a criminal matter.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: He wants to take my dogs. Can he??

My bf of 11 years and I are about to break up due to issues. He is not able to take care of these dogs. He works to much and they will be kept in a crate or in a house for 13 to 14 hours a day. Legally I am the owner, the vet records and they are registered to me. He paid for them though. Can he... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 14, 2020

No. If your name is on their purchase/adoption paperwork plus all the other paperwork, he does not have any rights to them, regardless of his relationship with/to the dogs and/or any financial contribution. Dogs are property under the law, so they are like a couch or a car. If he continues to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Civil Litigation for Virginia on
Q: On 5/29/20 my poodle went to the groomer. When he was ready my husband brought him home. He texted me at work that the

dog was acting strange and had reddish diarrhea. The dog rested on sofa for the afternoon. I was at work til 6pm & he texted me at 6:02 that this wasn't our dog (after 5 hours) & to meet him at groomer, which was closed. My dog is diabetic and nearly blind and was due for insulin in an... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Jun 1, 2020

I regret that I do not handle dog injury or animal law matters. Sorry.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Virginia on
Q: If a dog runs under me while going down a flight of stairs and causes slip and fall injuries is it a policy claim?

It’s a Farm Bureau Insurance Policy

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on May 20, 2020

I regret that I do not handle slip and fall cases or personal injury matters. Sorry.

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Animal / Dog Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: Can I challenge the legality of Va. Code 18.2-136 "Right to Retrieve" in appellate court?

Owners of hunting dogs can access private property with or with out permission of the owner at any time. In fact, by code, a property owner can't deny access to private land under any circumstance.

I think the General Assembly has this wrong. How can I challenge this in court. Seems... Read more »

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg answered on Nov 26, 2019

One thing I love about law practice is that I keep learning new things 35 years after I started practice and about 29 years after I became a Virginia lawyer. Interesting Code section. A trip to a real library rather than the Internet version would get the history of the statute first enacted before... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: I got a puppy from someone and didnt pay can they press chatmrges on me
Gary Kollin
Gary Kollin answered on Sep 1, 2019

Did you steal it or did you get it with the intent to pay?

There is no debtor's prison

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: Would i be able to get him back?

I gave my dog away to a girl i knew from school cause i just had a newborn and he stayed by my feet and i was so heartbroken she said when she came to get him that i could get him back when i was ready. Now she is taken back what she said and will not let me have him.

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Apr 15, 2019

Even though your female friend has not told her side of the story here, this appears to be another "he said she said" situation. Unless I miss my guess, your female friend would probably say that you gave the dog to her, and that she never said she would return the dog "whenever you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Libel & Slander, Animal / Dog Law, Civil Litigation and Civil Rights for Virginia on
Q: My ex is filing a damaged property claim against me. If I haven't done anything wrong, how can I defend myself?

If my ex has threatened taking me to court before and never did anything. My ex also stated in a phone call "you just made your life harder for you"... Can I sue for emotional harassment?

My ex is also in possession of my cat (which I pay monthly vet bills for) can I 1) get... Read more »

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on Feb 1, 2019

Rather than suing for emotional harassment, which may require your physiatrist's testimony to prove your claim, you would be better served to go to the Court and apply for a "protective order" based on harassment.

I do not handle domestic cases, especially with regard to cats. Sorry.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: Can my mother press charges for me taking my dog?

My parents bought the dog for me and the dog has lived with me at college. She is very attached to me and I have been the primary caretaker of the dog. I even have ESA paperwork filed at my college for the dog. The problem is that all of the dogs paperwork is in my mothers name. I am recently... Read more »

Jessica Wildeus
Jessica Wildeus answered on Jan 16, 2019

Probably not.

Generally speaking, Virginia law treats animals as property, making theft of animals in Virginia a crime. Va. Code 18.2-97 defines this as larceny and a felony.

In order for anyone to be prosecuted for this, a complaining witness must first establish that the animal in...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: What do I do if I’ve been charged for lying to a police officer when I didn’t really lie to them?

My grandmothers dog was taken by her x and was later found in a complete different location by animal control after we went and got him from animal control had pictures and vet info they called me and told me that they had found the actual owner because that person had recent pictures and charged... Read more »

G. Rex Flynn Jr.
G. Rex Flynn Jr. answered on Jun 17, 2018

If you have been charged with a crime, the burden of persuasion before the court if on the Government. In other words, the government has to convince the judge / jury that there is no reasonable doubt that you lied to them. That is an extremely high burden to meet. Obviously, preparation of a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Civil Litigation and Consumer Law for Virginia on
Q: Emotional Support Animal with all legal documents relating to ADA necessity made to pay for travel with owner.

What kind of lawyer do I need to bring this major company to court for denying ADA rights to emotionally disabled individuals.

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof answered on May 15, 2018

You need an ADA rights lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Virginia on
Q: If vet does not confirm the cause of death of puppy can owner sue me for puppy not being healthy when sold.

The owner said puppy ate did not actually see puppy eat. Went to take the puppy outside she was wobbly, falling down, and possibly vomited and urinated. Took puppy to vet, the vet suggested puppy had a partial seizure. Ran a test and then give puppy overdose of Valium (0.37ml) when should have been... Read more »

Jan F Hoen
Jan F Hoen answered on Apr 3, 2018

Your question is unclear as to how you would be responsible.

In any event, an expert veterinary opinion to prove causation of death would be required to pursue any claim.

Also, there is no value to the claim other than the replacement cost for the puppy. Animals are considered...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for Virginia on
Q: a woman was going to give me 2 dogs, had me spend money on things they needed in order to get them and then backed out

She was coming from virginia, she is a friend of a friend agreed to bring 2 husky puppies because she was basically fostering them and couldn’t keep them, she said she would bring them once I had fencing set up for them we agreed and went and bought fencing kennel and told her she said she would... Read more »

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Mar 5, 2018

You can sue her for the extras on the grounds of detrimental reliance. But you'd have to sue her there, go down to court there. May just be as you were set on getting two pups to look around and get one you like for starters and leave that issue be.

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