Dog bill result is a good one

Published 1:36 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The last time we checked, dogs cannot read, speak or write the English language.

Some members of the Virginia General Assembly would like us to think they’ve learned how.

We’re glad a piece of legislation considered by state legislators — House Bill 1900 — that, if approved, would have resulted in fines upwards of $250 for dog owners when their canine decides to roam, run or self-hunt onto someone else’s property while it chases game or makes a great deal of noise — was defeated recently on the House of Delegates.

The bill, introduced by Republican Speaker of the House William “Bill” Howell, further defined “running at large” as off the property of its owner or custodian and not under its owner’s or custodian’s immediate control.

Did we mention dogs also don’t know where property lines begin and end?

While private property rights and the right to tranquility on one’s land is paramount, we think the legislation was senseless for many reasons.

How would the legislation be enforced? Who would have enforced it? What evidence would there be when law enforcement or animal control officers show up 5-10 minutes after the report and the dog is long gone?

According to the dead bill, “Any owner or custodian of a dog who, without permission, allows it to run at large onto the property of another for the purpose of hunting or chasing game and in a manner that unduly burdens the quiet use and enjoyment of the property after receiving appropriate notice by the landowner, his agent, or the lessee that hunting or chasing game with dogs without permission is forbidden on such property.”

State legislators should use their time more wisely rather than introducing legislation that would cause undue burdens on those who own or hunt with dogs.