Charlottesville is home to many dog owners and dog lovers. As long as one's dog well-behaved or well trained, they can roam in one of the three dog parks. This year, there has even been talk of adding more fenced dog parks in the city. 

CHARLOTTESVILLE– Owners must buy an annual license (making sure to fill out a dog license application and show that the dog's rabies vaccination is up to date). $4 for unsexed (spayed or neutered) dogs. $10 for unspayed and unneutered. (For 3x the price, owners may also purchase three-year licenses for dogs that have at least a year remaining on their rabies vaccination certificate.) Annual licenses expire December 31 of each year. Three-year licenses can be purchased at the City Hall and one-year licenses from the SPCA at 3355 Berkmar Drive, which can be reached at 973-5959.

ALBEMARLE– $5 for spayed or neutered, $10 for fertile pets. Multi-year dog tags are now available at twice or triple the annual fees. Purchase at the Albemarle County Office Building, 401 McIntire Road (296-5851), the SPCA (973-5959), or from the Scottsville Town Administrator (286-2511).

Dogs in parks
A little over a decade ago, Charlottesville City Council passed a then-controversial law requiring dogs to be on a leash and under control in all city parks (as well as at schools, cemeteries, and the Downtown Mall). Three exceptions include a fenced-in area at Azalea Park; certain stretches of the Rivanna Trail on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays; and a one-acre fenced area at Darden Towe Park. As for Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home allows dogs on its grounds and at its Kemper Park, but dogs are not allowed inside buildings, on the buses, or on the swanky Saunders Trail.

Poop Scoopin'
Unlike the County, the City has a law mandating the cleanup of dog feces— and even provides plastic bag dispensers and containers in the parks to aid in the effort. Failure to scoop is a Class Four misdemeanor.

Loose/stray dogs- If they're friendly, many people take them directly to the Charlottsville-Albemarle SPCA, which adopted a no-kill policy when it moved into its new facilities several years ago. Otherwise, you can call the dispatcher for Charlottesville, Albemarle, and University Animal Control: 977-9041.

Dog-fighting— The scourge of dog-fighting is very much a reality in Virginia; and in 2003, legislation banning breeding, training, or selling dogs for dog-fighting sponsored by area legislator Rob Bell was signed into law. (The Hook bans "free to good home" pet ads because dog-fighters reportedly use such ads to obtain "bait animals.")

Charlottesville/Albemarle SPCA— In addition to its no-kill shelter, the SPCA also runs a rummage sale store on Preston Avenue that helps raise funds and support the organization. 293-8475

Caring for Creatures— Another no kill option, Caring for Creatures is located at 352 Sanctuary Lane, Palmyra, VA. 842-2404.

Fluvanna SPCA— Another branch of the SPCA, the FSPCA recently raised over $100,000 in their Annual Campaign in order to continue their no-kill policy. 591-0123.

Leash Laws
While control of your dog via voice command is sufficient in most areas of Charlottesville, Albemarle adopted a leash law in April 2012 which considers letting your dogs run free range a Class Four misdemeanor with fines up to $250.

In 2008, the County banned "audible noise" from animals but requires a complaining neighbor who has been hearing barking lasting for 30 minutes (with no stops longer than five minutes) to swear out an arrest warrant for this Class Three misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of $500. The county exempts breeders and dogs who live on over five acres of land.