It’s a part of Virginia law that mostly pertains to rural areas, crafted to protect farmers and their livestock. But it could also potentially apply to Arlington, should the county allow residents to raise egg-laying hens.
Virginia law section § 3.2-6552 allows for citizens to kill any dog caught in the act of killing or injuring poultry. After the fact, Virginia courts have the power to order animal control officers to kill any dog found to be a “confirmed poultry killer.”
The little-known law may be a deal-breaker for dog-loving Arlington residents, should the county follow a task force recommendation and require potential hen owners to first win the approval of adjacent property holders.
“That could really cause some problems between neighbors,” said Jim Pebley, of the group Backyards, Not Barnyards, which opposes urban chickens in Arlington. “This just adds another reason why relaxing restrictions on raising poultry in residential areas is not a very good idea.”
Asked about the law, supporters of backyard hens didn’t seem concerned, however.
“Thankfully, dogs, people and hens co-exist happily in Baltimore, Richmond, Raleigh, and hundreds of other urban communities across the country that embrace henkeeping,” said Ed Fendley, of the Arlington Egg Project. “We are confident that in Arlington, too, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
Other states have similar laws on the books. Two weeks ago in the San Francisco area, two dogs were killed by the owner of chickens the dogs had just killed. The killing of the dogs would be legal under California law, unless the dogs “suffered unduly” and animal cruelty charges can be brought.
The Virginia law is as follows:
It shall be the duty of any animal control officer or other officer who may find a dog in the act of killing or injuring livestock or poultry to kill such dog forthwith whether such dog bears a tag or not. Any person finding a dog committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section shall have the right to kill such dog on sight as shall any owner of livestock or his agent finding a dog chasing livestock on land utilized by the livestock when the circumstances show that such chasing is harmful to the livestock. Any court shall have the power to order the animal control officer or other officer to kill any dog known to be a confirmed livestock or poultry killer, and any dog killing poultry for the third time shall be considered a confirmed poultry killer. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner, custodian, or harborer of the dog to produce the dog.
Any animal control officer who has reason to believe that any dog is killing livestock or poultry shall be empowered to seize such dog solely for the purpose of examining such dog in order to determine whether it committed any of the depredations mentioned herein. Any animal control officer or other person who has reason to believe that any dog is killing livestock, or committing any of the depredations mentioned in this section, shall apply to a magistrate serving the locality wherein the dog may be, who shall issue a warrant requiring the owner or custodian, if known, to appear before a general district court at a time and place named therein, at which time evidence shall be heard. If it shall appear that the dog is a livestock killer, or has committed any of the depredations mentioned in this section, the district court shall order that the dog be: (i) killed immediately by the animal control officer or other officer designated by the court; or (ii) removed to another state that does not border on the Commonwealth and prohibited from returning to the Commonwealth. Any dog ordered removed from the Commonwealth that is later found in the Commonwealth shall be ordered by a court to be killed immediately.
New Laws, Sales Tax Hike Takes Effect in Va. — Today, July 1, a number of new laws take effect in Virginia. Among them: a new law cracking down on texting and driving, the decriminalization of unmarried cohabitation, and an increase in the sales tax in Northern Virginia from 5 to 6 percent. [WTOP]
NSF Buildings to Be Sold, Redeveloped — Changes may be on the way for the two office buildings in Ballston being vacated by the National Science Foundation in 2017. One of the building is being offered for sale, while the other is being considered for a conversion to apartments or a hotel, according to the Washington Business Journal.
Challenge to Va. Gay Marriage Law Considered — The law barring same-sex marriage in Virginia may face legal challenges in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, according to several local elected officials. [Sun Gazette]
Wayne Street Apartments to be Renovated — The Wayne Street Apartments on 2nd Street S. in Penrose have been acquired by developer Penzance. The company plans to renovate the aging complex, raise rents and incorporate the complex into the Myerton community apartment across the street. [Globe St.]
Flickr pool photo by Eschweik
In April, the Arlington County Board quietly approved a site plan amendment for the vacant National Gateway building at 3500 and 3550 S. Clark Street, along Jefferson Davis Highway near Potomac Yard. The amendment was granted to allow the office building to be used for educational purposes.
Specifically, the building was to be occupied by a new 1,300-student law school, complete with 22 classrooms, a law library, a bookstore, a moot courtroom and a cafe.
Since April, however, no construction permits have been issued for the building. InfiLaw System, a Florida-based consortium of independent law schools that was planning to open the new school, now says that plans have fallen through, at least for now.
“The InfiLaw System was exploring opening a law school in Arlington, Virginia,” confirmed Kathy Heldman, the organization’s vice president of marketing, via email last night. “We have decided to put the initiative on hold.”
No word yet on whether InfiLaw might revive the law school plans at some point in the near future. The decision is another blow to Arlington’s commercial real estate market, which is reeling from the National Science Foundation’s decision to move to Alexandria and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s expected decision to move to the Skyline area of Fairfax County.
Photo via nationalgatewayarlington.com
(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Police have begun their annual crackdown on passengers who aren’t wearing seat belts. The Click It or Ticket enforcement period began yesterday (May 20) and runs through Sunday, June 2.
The Arlington County Police Department says motorists should always wear seat belts, and those who refuse to will be targeted. ACPD is joining other local and state law enforcement officers, as well as those across the country, who are focusing on seat belt laws during this time period.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Safety Office, preliminary statistics show that last year 305 of Virginia’s 774 fatalities were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics from 2011 indicate 272 Virginians lived through accidents due to wearing a seat belt.
Per state law, everyone in a vehicle must be wearing a seat belt. Drivers are encouraged to tell all people riding with them to buckle up. If there are passengers under the age of 18 violating the law, the driver can receive tickets for each unrestrained minor. Passengers over the age of 18 can receive their own tickets if unrestrained while riding in a car.
ACPD recorded 630 seat belt violations during traffic stops from May 2012 through April 2013.
Lane Markings Repainted Near Pentagon — The lane markings on Route 110 near the Pentagon were repainted this week after NBC4 alerted VDOT to “awkward lane markings” left there by construction work. Before the repainting, “motorists drove along seemingly in one lane, only to have that lane disappear right under them,” NBC4′s Adam Tuss said. [NBC Washington]
Va. Anti-Sodomy Law Overturned — A U.S. appeals court panel has ruled that Virginia’s anti-sodomy law is unconstitutional. The case involved a man accused of soliciting sodomy with a 17-year-old girl. One of the judges said that “Virginia can and should punish adults who have sexual relations with minors, but the state cannot use an unconstitutional law to do so.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Arlington Plans to Sell $264 Million in Bonds — Arlington County is planning to sell up to $264 million in municipal bonds next month. The sale would include $94 million in new bonds and $170 million in refinanced existing bonds. The debt service on the new bonds will add about $8.7 million per year to the county’s budget. [Sun Gazette]
Moran Calls for Action on Climate Change — Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) took to the House floor on Tuesday to call for Congress to take action to “prevent further damage from climate change by developing a long-term strategy to address the issue.” [YouTube]
Photo courtesy Scott Shelbo
But Clarendon resident H. Paul Moon is not your average government lawyer. He’s a composer, playwright and blogger who only recently added filmmaking to his list of side-projects. Earlier this month, he became an “award-winning” filmmaker at Arlington’s Rosebud Film and Video Festival.
Moon won the festival’s “Best of Show” award for El Toro, a short experimental film that seeks to make a visual connection between Spanish bullfighting and the passion of the Christ.
Armed with “modest” video equipment during a trip to Madrid, Moon attended a bullfight in the Plaza de Toros, a violent experience he says he does not want to repeat. Several months after returning home, Moon found inspiration and decided to turn his travel video into a film.
“I juxtaposed those bloody bullfighting scenes with carefully composed shots inside Madrid’s central cathedral, and heavily processed my edit with light manipulation and other visual effects to create a sort of dream-like meditation set to music,” he said. Then, one year after his trip, the Rosebud judges bestowed “an unexpected an encouraging honor” — the festival’s top prize.
“This was the first festival screening that I ever received since starting to make films 1-1/2 years ago,” Moon said.
It will almost certainly not be his last. Moon has continued cranking out experimental/environmental/landscape films inspired by his extensive international travels. In addition to the abstract and non-narrative, he has also been working on documentaries that profile performing artists.
Currently, Moon says he’s hard at work on a “biographical portrait of the American composer Samuel Barber.” The choice of documentary subject reflects the fact that Moon — a prolific creator of art — is also a voracious consumer of art.
“When something fascinates me, now I can’t stop myself from making a project out of it,” he said.
El Toro currently is not available online, but you can watch some of Moon’s other films here.
Photos from El Toro courtesy of H. Paul Moon
Last week we told you about a seemingly innocuous event held by the Arlington Young Democrats: a happy hour to give free beer to anyone who showed up at a bar with a sticker indicating they voted absentee.
But apparently nobody told local burrito chain California Tortilla. The company, which has a store in Courthouse, is offering a free taco to anyone who shows up with an “I Voted” sticker.
How long until the feds politely shut it down? Or, at least, force California Tortilla to give away tacos to everyone?
Update at 9:20 a.m. — As a commenter points out, the giveaway may be legal, after all. If you simply scream “I love election day” you qualify for a free taco, according to the California Tortilla website. Any federal election lawyers want to weigh in?
Politico is reporting that an Arlington Young Democrats-sponsored “absentee voting happy hour” last week may have broken federal election laws.
The event, at Velocity Five in Courthouse, promised free beer for anyone who showed up with a sticker proving that they voted absentee.
“In elections in which federal candidates are on the ballot, no one can offer any kind of benefit or reward for voting,” an election law professor told Politico.
AYD President Gordon Simonett said “zero people” showed up to take advantage of the group’s offer.
Will Capital Bikeshare Experience Distribution Problems? – Due to the one-way flow of commuters, bike share programs tend to experience some degree of distribution problems. At any given time, some stations will be full of bikes, making it impossible to return one, while other stations will be empty, making it impossible to rent one. Such a situation forces bike share officials to manually move bikes from place to place, adding costs to the system. More from TheCityFix blog.
Moran Throws Racy Fundraiser – Rep. Jim Moran is pitching a night at the theater for big donors — but they have to leave the kids at home. For $2,400, donors get two tickets to the anti-Vietnam War musical “Hair” at the Kennedy Center, along with an invite to a pre-show dinner reception. But the offer comes with a warning: “Please note: this performance contains strong language, mature content and brief nudity.” More from Politico.
Arlington Man Kicked Off Flight Due to Disability — Arlington resident Zuhair Mahmoud says a Dubai-based airline refused to allow him to board a flight because he is blind and was not traveling with a companion. The airline’s CEO says he’s sorry for the incident. More from the Associated Press.
Arlington Lawyer Stripped of License — An Arlington lawyer accused of practicing law without a license, who had his license to practice law reinstated in April, has been stripped of the license by the D.C. Court of Appeals. Howard Deiner is accused of representing families of children with special needs in cases while his license lapsed due to unpaid bills. More from the Washington Post.
The Arlington County Police Department does not plan on changing its hands-off immigration policies after Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli ruled that law enforcement can ask about the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest.
Cuccinelli’s legal opinion also allows police to arrest individuals suspected of committing criminal violations of immigration laws (such as illegally crossing the border).
Currently, ACPD will not ask about citizenship status unless such information is relevant to solving a crime. The department does not arrest undocumented immigrants for federal immigration violations, and only reports undocumented immigrants to U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they’re:
- Involved in terrorist, subversive or street gang activities
- Arrested for a violent felony
- Convicted of a non-violent felony
- Helping others enter the U.S. through fraud
“The police department does not plan to change policies at this point,” said police spokesperson Det. Crystal Nosal. “Citizens living or traveling through Arlington should not be worried that our actions will be changing.”
Nosal said the department wants witnesses and victims of crime to feel safe coming to the police, “regardless of immigration status.”
Arlington police will, however, continue to enforce all warrants from federal agencies, including immigration-related warrants.
Arlington is missing out on millions of dollars worth of annual tax revenue because of overly restrictive rules governing how lawyers are admitted to the Virginia Bar, according to a new report by Arlington Economic Development.
AED says that Arlington could be a very attractive location for major law firms. After all, real estate rates in Arlington are significantly lower than K Street and the other prime DC environs currently favored by large firms. Plus, a higher concentration of lawyers live in Arlington than the District, according to AED.
However, a tough written exam is required for admission into the Virginia Bar, even for lawyers already licensed in Florida, California, Maryland and, in many cases, DC. By contrast, the DC Bar only requires a simple application to admit lawyers from states like Florida, California and Maryland. AED says that gives DC firms a big recruiting advantage over Virginia firms, and precludes Arlington from serious consideration as a destination for major law firms.
Membership in the Virginia Bar is required in order to practice law in the Commonwealth.
AED is calling on Virginia’s Board of Bar Examiners to consider ways to adjust the rules, which are set by the Virginia Supreme Court but administered by the Board.
“Both Arlington County and the Commonwealth of Virginia would have a significant positive net fiscal impact from some adjustments to the rules governing admission to membership in the Virginia Bar,” AED said in its report.
The organization estimates that if Arlington could attract one out of every five DC firms with leases expiring over the next ten years, it could bring a tax windfall: nearly $4 million per year for Arlington, and $500,000 per year for the state.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is looking for a few good barristers. Here’s the listing from Volunteer Arlington:
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness, seeks volunteer attorneys and law students to provide general legal information and referrals (not legal advice) to people affected by mental illness issues.
NAMI’s 1,100+ affiliates engage in advocacy, research, support and education. Its members are families, friends and people living with major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.
Volunteers must have law degree or be in law school, have good oral and written communication skills, sensitivity to people affected by mental illness issues, and conscientious work habits. Must be available at least 4 hours a week between 10 am and 6 pm weekdays for, ideally, at least 6 months.
NAMI is located at 3803 N. Fairfax Drive, in Courthouse. Anyone interested in this opportunity should contact Maggie Scheie-Lurie at 703-516-0689.
It’s not every day you hear someone complementing the way things are done at the Department of Motor Vehicles. It’s also fairly rare these days to hear a progressive Huffington Post blogger saying nice things about the Commonwealth of Virginia, land of the Confederate History Month and the anti-anti-discrimination directive.
But blogger Tamar Abrams was so delighted with her teen daughter’s experience with Virginia’s unique “juvenile licensing ceremony” that she felt compelled to tell the world.
There is one shining beacon of brilliance that I witnessed yesterday in the Arlington County Courthouse and which makes me want, for a moment, to brag about the state in which I’ve resided for 18 years.
Instead of just being handed a shiny new driver’s license at the DMV counter, new drivers under the age of 18 are summoned to appear in family court with a parent. There they watch a driving safety video (narrated by Arlington-born newswoman Katie Couric), hear a talk about teen driving laws, and are finally handed their license by a stern-looking judge.
Abrams wrote that the ceremony left a lasting impression.
It feels good to be proud of my home state, even for a moment. I can’t find any statistics proving that the juvenile licensing ceremony has reduced teen accidents in Virginia, but I know for one teen and her mom it reminded us of the gravity of earning a right to drive.
Update: The bill has narrowly passed the House Transportation Committee. The Virginia Bicycling Federation is calling on supporters to call their local delegate in advance of an upcoming vote before the full House.
A bill that would increase the minimum distance drivers must maintain when passing bicyclists is being considered in Richmond Richmond. The bill, HB 1048, would increase the minimum passing distance in Virginia from two feet to three feet. The bill would also prohibit drivers from following bicyclists too closely.
According to the Virginia Bicycling Federation, the bill will be considered by a state House Transportation subcommittee Wednesday morning. If it passes, it will likely be considered by the full Transportation Committee on Thursday.
The state Senate unanimously passed an identical bill, SB 566, last week.