Alexandria Animal Legislation

Electronic Collars Not a Form of Physical Restraint

All dogs must be controlled by a physical leash while in public

Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to prohibit the use of electronic collars and similar electronic devices as forms of physical restraint for dogs in public areas. The ordinance to amend the definition of physical restraint goes into effect in Alexandria on September 1, 2012.

Electronic collars may still be used for training purposes at all eighteen of the City’s dog parks, at sanctioned obedience training classes and field trials, and on private property. The new ordinance does not restrict, prohibit, or endorse any training method, but all dogs must be controlled by a physical leash when walking in public.

The ordinance was proposed by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria as a measure to preserve public safety. The best way to protect residents and dogs is to use a physical leash. Our public areas are shared spaces to be enjoyed by everyone, and a physical leash signifies that a dog is under control by a capable handler.

The ordinance was adopted on June 16, 2012, with an effective date of September 1, 2012. Between June and September, animal control officers will be issuing warnings, educating the public, and urging compliance. City Staff and the AWLA are also working to spread the word and educate the public on the new ordinance.

Click here to read the ordinance. (PDF)
Click here to read the FAQ. (PDF)
Click here to read the press release. (PDF)


Amendment to Virginia Dangerous Dog Legislation

Changes effective July 1, 2012

Several changes have been made to the Code of Virginia sections pertaining to dangerous and vicious dogs and the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry. All changes will only apply to dogs deemed dangerous after June 30. To summarize:

  • Owners of dangerous dogs have 45 days to register the animal once it is deemed dangerous
  • Initial registration is now $150 and renewal is $85 each year
  • Animal control officers or other designated officials are responsible for posting initial information and updates to the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry
  • Each locality is responsible for collecting all dangerous dog fees from owners and submitting payment to the State Veterinarian ($90 for all new registrations and $25 for all renewals within the previous calendar year)

For more information on Virginia’s dangerous dog legislation and to view the Virginia Dangerous Dog Registry, click here.


City Council Approves Amendment

Tougher enforcement for pets left in hot cars

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria proposed an ordinance revisions which the City Council approved at their public hearing on the morning of November 12. The revision increases potential penalties for those who leave animals confined in unattended vehicles on warm days. The League proposed the revision to improve safety for all pets within the City.

The revision creates a new ordinance to City Code requiring that if an animal is confined in a vehicle when the external air temperature exceeds 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the vehicle’s air conditioning must be running to ensure that the ambient air temperature not exceed 80 degrees. Anyone found to not comply with this ordinance will be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor and if the animal suffers heat stress as diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian, the owner will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, and punishable by incarceration and fines. Additionally, law enforcement officers have been granted additional authority to use physical force to enter a vehicle if an animal is suspected of suffering from heat stress in order to provide him or her with immediate care.