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West Virginia
Anti-Cruelty Statutes

WEST VIRGINIA CODE 1966
CHAPTER 19. AGRICULTURE.
ARTICLE 20. DOGS AND CATS.

s 19-20-12 Dogs, other animals and reptiles protected by law; unlawful killing thereof; aggrieved owner's remedy; penalties; penalties for unlawful stealing of pets.

(a) Any dog which is registered, kept and controlled as provided in this article or any dog, cat, other animal or any reptile which is owned, kept and maintained as a pet by any person, irrespective of age, shall be protected by law; and any person who shall intentionally and unlawfully kill, injure or poison any such dog, cat, other animal or any reptile as specified above, or shall, in any other manner, intentionally and unlawfully cause the death or injury of any such dog, cat, other animal or any reptile shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be ordered to provide public service for not less than thirty nor more than ninety days, or fined not more than three hundred dollars, or both. Any person whose dog, cat, other animal or reptile as specified herein shall be killed or injured wrongfully or unlawfully by any other person shall have a right of action against the person who shall so kill or injure such dog, cat, animal or reptile but in no case involving a dog can recovery be had in excess of the assessed value of such dog.

(b) Any person who shall intentionally and unlawfully steal a dog, cat, other animal or reptile as specified in subsection (a) of this section, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be ordered to provide public service for not less than thirty nor more than ninety days or fined not less than three hundred nor more than five hundred dollars, or both. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection shall, for the second or subsequent offense, be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in the county jail for a period of not less than ninety days nor more than six months, or shall be ordered to provide public service for not more than one year, and fined not less than five hundred nor more than one thousand dollars. In no case can any action or prosecution relating to a dog under the provisions of this section be maintained if the dog concerned shall not have been duly registered pursuant to the provisions of this article or owned and kept pursuant to the provisions of this section or owned and kept pursuant to the provisions of this section at the time the cause of action shall have arisen.

(c) The commissioner of agriculture is hereby authorized to designate such reasonable number of his present employees as may be necessary to investigate alleged incidents of the unlawful stealing of dogs, other domestic animals or reptiles, alleged incidents of cruelty to such animals or reptiles and the alleged incidents of the unlawful stealing of such animals or reptiles for the purpose of sale to medical or other research companies. Such deputies shall make the results of their investigations known to any law-enforcement officers who have authority to enforce the provisions of this article.

(d) It shall be the duty of all members of the department of public safety, sheriffs and police officers to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this article, and, for services rendered in the enforcement thereof, such persons shall be entitled to fees in the amounts set forth in section eight [s 19-20-8]. Such fees shall be paid by the county commission from the dog and kennel fund.

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