what you need to know if you see a dog off leash

STAUNTON – Have you ever walked your dog in downtown Staunton, or just enjoyed a summer evening in your backyard, when a rampaging dog approaches? You are not alone.

Since the start of the summer, at least seven residents have posted to the Staunton VA Facebook group about encounters with unleashed dogs. Several posts are about dogs attacking animals and even people.

More recently, Facebook user and Staunton resident Cheyenne Devine shared that her kitten was attacked by a rampaging dog on August 6.

“Second time one of my pets was attacked by a dog in downtown Staunton,” Devine wrote in the Aug. 6 post. “I’m taking my kitten to the vet with a mutilated paw screaming in pain. He didn’t expect to be attacked in his garden…”

Another Staunton resident, Chad Blain, claimed he had to retrieve his dog while walking around the Dogwood Hill neighborhood because a rampaging dog charged at them. He wrote in a post on the Staunton VA Facebook page that when he told the owner his dog should be on a leash, he responded with “little female dog.”

What are Staunton’s leash laws?

Dogs in Staunton, whether licensed or not, are not allowed to run loose.

“‘Running loose’ means an animal off the real property of its owner or custodian and not under the immediate control of the owner or custodian,” said Staunton Police Public Information Officer Butch Shifflett. , in an email.

Areas where dogs must be leashed include: city parks, playgrounds, public schools, or any location with 10 or more people, per Staunton city code.

After:Man issued summons following fatal dog attack in Waynesboro

After:Murder charges have been filed against a Waynesboro couple after a 7-year-old girl was killed by a dog

If at any time you see an off-leash animal within the city limits, contact the police department at 540-332-3842. If you have seen an off-leash animal attacking another animal or person, immediately call 911″ to obtain medical services for the person and to alert officers so they can attempt to locate the animal and secure it if needed,” Shifflett said.

Animals that create a nuisance in Staunton are investigated under city code depending on the circumstances of the incident and whether the victim wishes to prosecute.

A “pest” is defined as follows:

  • repeatedly finds himself at large
  • damages the property of someone other than its owner
  • molests or intimidates pedestrians or bystanders
  • hunt vehicles
  • excessively makes disturbing noises, including, but not limited to, howling, barking, whining, or other continuous and repeated utterances causing unreasonable annoyance, disturbance, or annoyance to neighbors or others near the premises where the animal is kept or housed
  • causes the air to become clogged with body odor and thereby creates unreasonable annoyance or inconvenience to neighbors or others near the premises where the animal is kept or housed
  • causes unsanitary conditions in the enclosures or surroundings where the animal is kept or housed
  • attacks other pets
  • has been declared, after notice to its owner and hearing by a court of competent jurisdiction, to be a nuisance to the public because of its threat to public health, welfare or safety

If a dog injures an animal or person and meets the criteria of a dangerous dog or a vicious dog, according to the Virginia code, officers will get a court summons. The animal can be impounded until the court hearing.

— Katelyn Waltemyer (her) is the government watchdog reporter for The News Leader. Do you have any local government news? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.

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