Leash Laws and County Ordinances

In the past few days, there have been several postings on the Glennet about leash laws and dogs running loose in the community.  This article provides key information and the county ordinances pertaining to this issue.  These ordinances apply to owners, family members, guests, and renters with dogs.  Here’s the key information.

  1. The Code of Virginia provides authority for the County to adopt ordinances paralleling the state animal laws.  Westmoreland County has adopted such ordinances, including a leash law, making it unlawful for any property owner to allow a dog to run at large in violation of an ordinance.
  1. The leash laws in Westmoreland County also apply to all recreational properties, including the beaches, that are part of the GH-CP Sanitary District.  Dogs are to be on leash or under the owner’s immediate control when on these properties.
  1. Westmoreland County adopted an ordinance that all dogs within certain county subdivisions are prohibited from running at large. Both Glebe Harbor and Cabin Point are included on the list of subdivisions.  A dog is deemed to run at large “while roaming, running or self-hunting off the property of its owner or custodian and not under its owner’s or custodian’s immediate control.”
  1. A dog may run loose when it is on the property of its owner or custodian. There is no requirement that an owner leash his/her dog when the animal is on the owner’s or custodian’s own property and under their immediate control. 
  1. The Sheriff’s Office is the office with authority to enforce the leash laws in Westmoreland County.  Your first call is to the non-emergency business number for the Sheriff’s Office (804-493-8066). You may be referred to another number, but this is where your first call is to be directed.  The Sheriff’s Office has assigned two deputies to Animal Control duties.
  1. When reporting incidents, please report the correct street name or location within the subdivision where the dogs were observed running loose and not under the immediate control of the owner or custodian.  There are several streets, drives, and courts with similar names in our community.  You do not want to misdirect responding officers or misrepresent the street name, location, or situation.  Again, it is not a violation of the County ordinance for a dog to be running loose on its owner’s or custodian’s property.

The full text of the Westmoreland County ordinance is available to view as follows:

Sec.10-2 Unlawful Act – Leash ordinance

Sec. 10-41 Dogs running at large