Proposed Addition to Chapter 612 of Loudoun County's Ordinances

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is considering a new section of Chapter 612 of the Codified Ordinances of Loudoun County that, if adopted, would prohibit private ownership of certain exotic and venomous species of animals that present a risk to public health and safety, such as wolf hybrids, kangaroos, scorpions, baboons, venomous snakes and other venomous reptiles, and non-native venomous spiders. Loudoun County currently does not prohibit the ownership of these animals by ordinance; however, similar ordinances already exist in the Town of Leesburg; Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties; the District of Columbia; and jurisdictions in Maryland.

The proposed ordinance also prohibits the breeding of such animals. Virginia law already restricts private ownership of many other wild and exotic animals, such as big cats and bears. The proposed ordinance would not impact entities that are licensed or permitted through the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources or other state or federal agencies to house restricted species, such as zoos, exhibitors or rehabilitators. The Board will also consider whether to allow current owners of the listed animals to keep them upon registration through a process the county would establish to ensure awareness by first responders in the event of an emergency. Currently, a violation of Chapter 612 is a class 4 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $250. 

January 2023 Informational Presentation

Loudoun County Animal Services (LCAS) hosted a virtual, informational meeting January 5, 2023. A brief overview of the proposed addition to Chapter 612 was provided.

Provide Comments

Members of the public who would like to provide comments about the proposed ordinance may do so through an online comment form.

The comments submitted online will be provided to the Board of Supervisors. In addition to the online comment form, members of the public may provide feedback on the proposed new section of the county’s ordinances to the Board of Supervisors by:

  • Signing Up to Speak at the Public Hearing: To provide input and comment on the current draft text, members of the public can sign up to speak at the February 15, 2023, public hearing when this item will be considered by the Board of Supervisors. Information about how to sign up to speak at the public hearing is posted atloudoun.gov/signuptospeak
  • Contacting the Board of Supervisors: Members of the public may provide comment to the Board of Supervisors at any time  by email or by calling the Board’s Comment Line at 703-777-0115. 

Board of Supervisors Meetings on Proposed Addition to Chapter 612: Public Hearing Scheduled for February 15, 2023

At its January 17, 2023, meeting, the Board of Supervisors forwarded the proposed ordinance changes to the February 15, 2023, public hearing. Documents prepared for the public hearing will be posted in advance. The meeting will be televised on Comcast Government Channel 23 or Verizon Channel 40 and livestreamed at loudoun.gov/meetings.

The staff report prepared for the January 17 meeting is online:

In December 2022, the Board's Finance, Government Operations and Economic Development Committee took up the proposed changes.

Background

In November 2022, the Board of Supervisors’  Animal Advisory Committee voted unanimously to support the staff proposal for a new section of the ordinance, which is being proposed by the Department of Animal Services, whose humane law enforcement officers have encountered venomous animals when responding to routine calls for service. LCAS identified a public safety concern after learning no effective anti-venom is readily available in Loudoun County. Informing the proposed ordinance is LCAS officers’ collective experience investigating complaints involving wolf-hybrids, scorpions, monkeys and venomous snake species, which indicates that exotic and venomous species are present in Loudoun County residential settings.