Code of Virginia

 

Equine Liability Act

§ 3.2-6200. Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning: “Engages in an equine activity” means: (i) any person, whether mounted or unmounted, who rides, handles, trains, drives, assists in providing medical or therapeutic treatment of, or is a passenger upon an equine; (ii) any person who participates in an equine activity but does not necessarily ride, handle, train, drive, or ride as a passenger upon an equine; (iii) any person visiting, touring or utilizing an equine facility as part of an event or activity; or (iv) any person who assists a participant or equine activity sponsor or management in an equine activity. The term “engages in an equine activity” does not include being a spectator at an equine activity, except in cases where the spectator places himself in an unauthorized area and in immediate proximity to an equine or equine activity. “Equine” means a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or hinny.“Equine activity” means: (i) equine shows, fairs, competitions, performances, or parades that involve any or all breeds of equines and any of the equine disciplines, including dressage, hunter and jumper horse shows, grand prix jumping, three-day events, combined training, rodeos, driving, pulling, cutting, polo, steeple chasing, endurance trail riding and western games, and hunting; (ii) equine training or teaching activities; (iii) boarding equines; (iv) riding, inspecting, or evaluating an equine belonging to another whether or not the owner has received some monetary consideration or other thing of value for the use of the equine or is permitting a prospective purchaser of the e quine to ride, inspect, or evaluate the equine; (v) rides, trips, hunts, or other equine activities of any type however informal or impromptu that are sponsored by an equine activity sponsor; (vi) conducting general hoofcare, including placing or replacing horseshoes or hoof trimming of an equine; and (vii) providing or assisting in breeding or therapeutic veterinary treatment.“Equine activity sponsor” means any person or his agent who, for profit or not for profit, sponsors, organizes, or provides the facilities for an equine activity, including pony clubs, 4-H clubs, hunt clubs, riding clubs, school- and college-sponsored classes and programs, therapeutic riding programs, and operators, instructors, and promoters of equine facilities, including stables, clubhouses, ponyride strings, fairs, and arenas where the activity is held.“Equine professional” means a person or his agent engaged for compensation in: (i) instructing a participant or renting to a participant an equine for the purpose of riding, driving, or being a passenger upon an equine; or (ii) renting equipment or tack to a participant.“Intrinsic dangers of equine activities” means those dangers or conditions that are an integral part of equine activities, including: (i) the propensity of equines to behave in ways that may result in injury, harm, or death to persons on or around them; (ii) the unpredictability of an equine\’s reaction to such things as sounds, sudden movement, and unfamiliar objects, persons, or other animals; (iii) certain hazards such as surface and subsurface conditions; (iv) collisions with other animals or objects; and (v) the potential of a participant acting in a negligent manner that may contribute to injury to the participant or others, such as failing to maintain control over the equine or not acting within the participant\’s ability.“Participant” means any person, whether amateur or professional, who engages in an equine activity, whether or not a fee is paid to participate in the equine activity.(1991, c. 358, § 3.1-796.130; 2003, c. 876; 2008, c. 860.)§ 3.2-6201. Horse racing excluded.The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to horse racing, as that term is defined by §59.1-365. (1991, c. 358, § 3.1-796.131; 2008, c. 860.)§ 3.2-6202. Liability limited; liability actions prohibited. A. Except as provided in § 3.2-6203, an equine activity sponsor, an equine professional, or any other person, which shall include a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company, shall not be liable for an injury to or death of a participant resulting from the intrinsic dangers of equine activities and, except as provided in § 3.2-6203, no participant nor any participant\’s parent, guardian, or representative shall have or make any claim against or recover from any equine activity sponsor, equine professional, or any other person for injury, loss,damage, or death of the participant resulting from any of the intrinsic dangers of equine activities. B. Except as provided in § 3.2-6203, no participant or parent or guardian of a participant who has knowingly executed a waiver of his rights to sue or agrees to assume all risks specifically enumerated under this subsection may maintain an action against or recover from an equine activity sponsor or an equine professional for an injury to or the death of a participant engaged in an equine activity.The waiver shall give notice to the participant of the intrinsic dangers of equine activities. The waiver shall remain valid unless expressly revoked in writing by the participant or parent or guardian of a minor. (1991, c. 358, § 3.1-796.132; 2003, c. 876; 2008, c. 860.) § 3.2-6203. Liability of equine activity sponsors, equine professionals. No provision of this chapter shall prevent or limit the liability of an equine activity sponsor or equine professional or any other person who: 1. Intentionally injures the participant; 2. Commits an act or omission that constitutes negligence for the safety of the participant and such act or omission caused the injury, unless such participant, parent or guardian has expressly assumed the risk causing the injury in accordance with subsection B of §3.2-6202; or 3. Knowingly provides faulty equipment or tack and such equipment or tack was faulty to the extent that it did cause the injury or death of the participant. (1991, c. 358, § 3.1-796.133; 2003, c. 876; 2008, c. 860.)

Virginia Driving Regulations

By John Likens, DOT Contact Center, jrlikens2@aol.com

Who needs a US DOT number?

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) requires carriers who operate in INTERstate commerce and have a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or a combined weight (Truck, & Cargo, Truck & Trailer or Truck, Trailer & Cargo) ABOVE 10,000lbs to obtain a US DOT number.

If you ONLY operate in your state (INTRAstate) it is up to each individual state to say if they require a carrier to obtain a US DOT number or not. Currently, Virginia does NOT require a US DOT number for intrastate carriers.

If we haul our own horses do we need a US DOT number?

If you are hauling your own horses to go horseback riding or are just moving them from one pasture to another, you do NOT need a US DOT number. This is considered personal, non-commercial use – regardless of crossing state lines or not.

If you are crossing state lines to go and participate in horse shows, horse races and the like and have a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or a combined weight (Truck, & Cargo, Truck & Trailer or Truck, Trailer & Cargo) ABOVE 10,000lbs , then YES, you do need to obtain a US DOT number. This is because there are prizes/winnings at these types of events and therefore not considered personal, but a commercial activity. The same applies to people who race cars.

What if we are paid to transport horses?

If you are being paid to transport another person’s horses across state lines to participate in horse shows or horse races and meet the GVWR requirements above, then a US DOT and MC number (Operating Authority) are required. Race horses and show horses are not exempt. (Administrative Ruling No. 119)

If paid to transport riding horses or farm horses across state lines and meet the GVWR requirements above, then only a US DOT number is required as these classifications of horses are exempt from needing an MC number. (Administrative Ruling No. 119)

Taken from Composite Commodity List Of Administrative Ruling No. 119

  • Race horses – Not exempt – Law
  • Registered or purebred cattle – for ordinary farm or ranch uses, not chiefly valuable for breeding, race, show, or other special purposes – Exempt – Law
  • Riding horses – used for personal pleasure riding – Exempt – Office
  • Rodeo animals – bucking horses, cow ponies, parade horses, pick-up horses, Brahma bulls, steers, calves, buffalo – Not exempt – Office
  • Show horses – Not exempt – Law

 

For more regulatory information please contact the Virginia Federal Field Office at 804-771-8585. All Federal Field Offices are responsible for answering questions pertaining to FMCSA’s rules and regulations.

For more information or for help in applying for a US DOT number, please contact me at jrlikens2@aol.com. I would be happy to assist you.

John Likens
The DOT Contact Center
www.DOTContactCenter.com (under construction)
703-867-4399
jrlikens2@aol.com

 

For Additional Information, please see:  Are You Legal Transporting Horses Across State Lines?

Landowner Liability Law

 (Effective January 1, 2008) Duty of care and liability for damages of landowners to hunters, fishermen, sightseers, etc.
 
A. For the purpose of this section:  “Fee” means any payment or payments of money to a landowner for use of the premises or in order to engage in any activity described in subsections B and C of this section, but does not include rentals or similar fees received by a landowner from governmental sources or payments received by a landowner from incidental sales of forest products to an individual for his personal use, or any action taken by another to improve the land or access to the land for the purposes set forth in subsections B and C of this section or remedying damage caused by such uses. “Land” or “premises” means real property, whether rural or urban, waters, boats, private ways, natural growth, trees and any building or structure which might be located on such real property, waters, boats, private ways and natural growth. “Landowner” means the legal title holder, lessee, occupant or any other person in control of land or premises. “Low-head dam” means a dam that is built across a river or stream for the purpose of impounding water where the impoundment, at normal flow levels, is completely within the banks, and all flow passes directly over the entire dam structure with in the banks, excluding abutments, to a natural channel downstream.
 
B. A landowner shall owe no duty of care to keep land or premises safe for en try or use by others for hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, participation in water sports, boating, hiking, rock climbing, sightseeing, hang gliding, skydiving, horseback riding, foxhunting, racing, bicycle riding or collecting, gathering, cutting or removing firewood, for any other recreational use, or for use of an easement granted to the Commonwealth or any agency thereof to permit public passage across such land for access to a public park, historic site, or other pubic recreational area. No landowner shall be required to give any warning of hazardous conditions or uses of, structures on, or activities on such
land or premises to any person entering on the land or premises for such purposes, except as provided in subsection D.
 
C. Any landowner who gives permission, express or implied, to another person to hunt, fish, launch and retrieve boats, swim, ride, foxhunt, trap, camp, hike, rock climb, hang glide, skydive, sightsee, engage in races, to collect, gather, cut or remove forest products upon land or premises for the personal use of such person, or for the use of an easement as set forth in subsection B does not thereby:
1. Impliedly or expressly represent that the premises are safe for such purposes; or
2. Constitute the person to whom such permission has been granted an invitee to whom a duty of care is owed; or
3. Assume responsibility for or incur liability for any intentional or negligent acts of such person or any other person, except as provided in subsection D.
 
D. Nothing contained in this section, except as provided in subsection E, shall limit the liability of a landowner which may otherwise arise or exist by reason of his gross negligence or willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity. The provisions of this section shall not limit the liability of a landowner which may otherwise arise or exist when the landowner receives a fee for use of the premises or to engage in any activity described in subsections B and C of this section. Nothing contained in this section shall relieve any sponsor or operator of any sporting event or competition including but not limited to a race or triathlon of the duty to exercise ordinary care in such events. Nothing contained in this section shall limit the liability of an owner of a low-head dam who fails to implement safety measures described in subsection F.
 
E. For purposes of this section, whenever any person enters into an agreement with, or grants an easement to, the Commonwealth or any agency thereof, any county, city, or town, or with any local or regional authority created by law for public park, historic site or recreational purposes, concerning the use of, or access over, his land by the public for any of the purposes enumerated in subsections B and C of this section, the government, agency, county, city, town, or authority with which the agreement is made shall hold a person harmless from all liability and be responsible for providing, or for paying the cost of, all reasonable legal services required by any person entitled to the benefit of this section as the result of a claim or suit attempting to impose liability. Any action against the Commonwealth, or any agency, thereof, for negligence arising out of a use
of land covered by this section shall be subject to the provisions of the Virginia Tort Claims Act (§8.01-195.1 et seq.). Any provisions in a lease or other agreement which purports to waive the benefits of this section shall be invalid, and any action against any county, city, town, or local or regional authority shall be subject to the provisions of §15.2-1809, where applicable.
 
F. Any owner of a low-head dam may mark the areas above and below the dam and on the banks immediately adjacent to the dam with signs and buoys of a design and content, in accordance with the regulations of the Board, to warn the swimming, fishing, and boating public of the hazards posed by the dam. Any owner of a low-head dam who marks a low-head dam in accordance with this subsection shall be deemed to have met the duty of care for warning the public of the hazards posed by the dam. Any owner of a low-head dam who fails to mark a low-head dam in accordance with this subsection shall be presumed not to have met the duty of care for warning the public of the hazards posed by the dam.
 
(Code 1950, §§ 8-654.2, 29-130.2; 1962, c. 545; 1964,c. 435; 1977, c. 624; 1979, c. 276; 1980, c.560; 1982, c. 29; 1983, c. 283; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 191; 1989, cc. 26, 500, 505; 1990, cc. 799, 808; 1991, c. 305; 1992, c. 285; 1994, c. 544; 2007, c. 664.)

 Agriculture, Animal Care

(Website Page)

§ 3.2-6502. State Veterinarian’s power to inspect premises where animals are kept; investigations and search warrants.

A. The State Veterinarian and each State Veterinarian’s representative shall have the power to conduct inspections of public and private animal shelters, and inspect any business premises where animals are housed or kept, including any boarding establishment, kennel, pet shop, or the business premises of any dealer, exhibitor or groomer, at any reasonable time, for the purposes of determining if a violation of: (i) this chapter; (ii) any other state law governing the care, control or protection of animals; or (iii) any other state law governing property rights in animals has occurred.

B. Provisions for investigation of suspected violations of this chapter and other laws pertaining to animals are provided in § 3.2-6564. Provisions for obtaining a warrant and the power of search for violations of animal cruelty laws are provided in § 3.2-6568.

1993, c. 601, § 3.1-796.67:2; 1998, c. 817; 2002, c. 787; 2003, c. 1007; 2008, c. 860; 2014, c. 148.

§ 3.2-6503.1. Care of agricultural animals by owner; penalty.

A. Each owner shall provide for each of his agricultural animals:

1. Feed to prevent malnourishment;

2. Water to prevent dehydration; and

3. Veterinary treatment as needed to address impairment of health or bodily function when such impairment cannot be otherwise addressed through animal husbandry, including humane destruction.

B. The provisions of this section shall not require an owner to provide feed or water when such is customarily withheld, restricted, or apportioned pursuant to a farming activity or if otherwise prescribed by a veterinarian.

C. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that there has been no violation of this section if an owner is unable to provide feed, water, or veterinary treatment due to an act of God.

D. The provisions of this section shall not apply to agricultural animals used for bona fide medical or scientific experimentation.

E. A violation of this section is a Class 4 misdemeanor.

2011, cc. 754, 886.