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One vote defeats bill to fine trespassing dogs’ owners

A bill to impose fines on hunters whose dogs entered private property was killed on the House floor by a one-vote margin on Feb. 6.

HB 1900, introduced by House Speaker William Howell (R-Fredericksburg), would have fined hunters up to $100 for a first offense and up to $250 for a second offense if their dogs trespassed on private property.

For the fines to apply, landowners would have to either post signs to keep dogs out or inform the hunter in writing to keep dogs off their property.

“I feel this bill would unproportionally punish people for the actions of a few,” Del. Thomas C Wright Jr. (R-Lunenburg) said during a floor debate. He said the bill would hurt local economies and impede the culture of Virginia.

Del. James P. Massie (R-Henrico) said the bill would protect private property.

“Presently, landowners all over Virginia have no recourse to protect themselves when the dogs’ running unduly burdens the owner’s use of the property,” Massie s...

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