One in particular we believe to be very illegal. That code, 3-18, has been covered on this site multiple times. We put together a flyer and started to distribute it through various means and we contacted both of the above papers as well as WXGM, who to the best of our knowledge has not covered the issue, and the Daily Press who also, to the best of our knowledge has not yet covered it. It's not to say that the Daily Press will not cover the matter, but they have already had several days with the information sent to them.
We are asking as many people who can, to come to the Board of Supervisors meeting being held this coming Wednesday Evening starting at 7:00 PM at the Gloucester Courthouse Circle, old colonial courthouse building to speak out against proposed ordinance 3-18. There are so many issues with it. For one, by asking county law enforcement to enforce this ordinance potentially puts them at risk for being maimed or even killed performing the duties covered under this ordinance.
Another issue is that the county seeks to create requirements on manufacturers that not even the Federal government makes. Air Conditioned vehicles. If you do not have air conditioning in your vehicle, when temperatures reach 80 degrees or higher, and you leave an animal in a vehicle, you risk becoming a criminal for the rest of your life.
The way this ordinance is being re worded, the back of pick up trucks, horse trailers and other vehicles will be required to have air conditioning in order to transport any animal for any reason when the temperature reaches 80 degrees or higher outside. Animal Control could have deputies sitting at the local vets businesses just waiting for you or at the local feed stores such as Tractor Supply or Southern States.
Sec. 3-18. Animals in enclosed vehicles.
(a) It shall be unlawful to leave any animal in a vehicle without the
benefit of air conditioning when the outside temperature reaches
eighty (80) degrees Fahrenheit or greater.
(b) Any person who confines an animal in an unattended vehicle so as
to cause the animal to suffer from heat stress, shall be guilty of a
Class 1 misdemeanor. The animal control officer or other officer
shall have the authority to remove any animal found left in an
enclosed vehicle that appears to be suffering from heat stress.
The animal shall be provided immediate veterinary care. The
animal owner or custodian shall be responsible for all expenses
incurred during the removal of the animal or its subsequent
treatment and impoundment.
(c) In the event that the person responsible for the violation cannot be
ascertained, the registered owner of the vehicle, as required by
Chapter 6 of Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia, shall constitute in
evidence a prima facie presumption that such registered owner
was the person who committed the violation."
Now look at the above picture. Gloucester says they can charge you up to $2,000.00 and put in you jail or both. Plus, they say they have the legal right to break into your vehicle by whatever means and take your pet. (Who knows what else may end up missing if they do this).
Also, they state right there in the ordinance, the animal only needs to appear to be suffering. Who is to make the determination that the animal is actually potentially suffering? A deputy who is also an officer of the court who will testify against you in court and you will need a lawyer who is also an officer of the court. Those cards are stacked against you so you will not win even if you show your pet was never in any danger. And you get a criminal record.
There is no corresponding state code that we have been able to find despite looking all over for it. Since there appears to be no corresponding state code, that makes this ordinance illegal based on the Dillon Rule.
This is anarchistic. Anyone traveling into the area has no idea of Gloucester's ordinances. Other localities do not have this ordinance as they know it's illegal, so it has not been an issue in other areas a traveler has already been through. But they come here and park their car and leave their pet in the vehicle while the temperature is only nearing 80 degrees, animal control gets a call from a plant who snoops parking lots, and wham, instant victim to milk. A speed trap.
There are already codes on the state books that cover cruelty to animals. If Gloucester wants this to be legal, they need to get it through on the state level. Now we are not against the safety of animals, but let's keep within the laws of the state as required. Stop making up anarchistic ordinances just for milking unsuspecting victims. So we are asking everyone to stand up against this and let the Board of Supervisors know that you do not consent to this. It's a violation of our rights and freedoms.
If you can not attend the meeting, email the Board of Supervisors and let them know before this upcoming meeting.
There are also other illegal ordinances on the books here in Gloucester as well. We will be posting the entire list very soon.