ATTN Virginia Farmers: According to the Tazewell Town Police Department, you are no longer allowed to stop at a convenience store while you are using your farm-use vehicles for farm business.
This edict appears nowhere in Virginia State Law and, in fact, is in contravention of “farm use” definition in VA Code 4.2-698.
…B. A farm motor vehicle is used exclusively for farm use:
1. When owned by a person who is engaged either as an owner, renter, or operator of a farm of a size reasonably requiring the use of such vehicle or vehicles and when such vehicle is:
a. Used in the transportation of agricultural products of the farm he is working to market, or to other points for sale or processing, or when used to transport materials, tools, equipment, or supplies which are to be used or consumed on the farm he is working, or when used for any other transportation incidental to the regular operation of such farm;
b. Used in transporting forest products, including forest materials originating on a farm or incident to the regular operation of a farm, to the farm he is working or transporting for any purpose forest products which originate on the farm he is working; or
c. Used in the transportation of farm produce, supplies, equipment, or materials to a farm not worked by him, pursuant to a mutual cooperative agreement.
2. When the nonfarm use of such motor vehicle is limited to the personal use of the owner and his immediate family in attending church or school, securing medical treatment or supplies, or securing other household or family necessities.
Before anyone asks, we rescue small livestock as well as domestic pets. And yes, we have small livestock currently in residence.
I received a ticket tonight for stopping at a convenience store to purchase a soft drink and staple grocery items. I was on my way to meet someone who was donating several hundred pounds of animal food for my 501c3 rescue. This person did, in fact, show up on scene with the food and interacted with the police officers personally.
A few days ago, I published an article about a repeat criminal offender who received a $25 fine in General District Court for abandoning a dog. (Virginia Code 3.2-6504) This act was caught on video by a Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department trail cam. Read the story HERE.
In 2010, the perpetrator, Worley Glover Whitt, was fined $150 for illegally parking in a handicap spot. In 2014 and again in 2015, he was fined $150 for littering. The message sent by our General District Court suggests that animal abuse/negligence is only 16.4 percent as serious as tossing trash along the highway or inconveniencing a person in a wheelchair.
I’m interested to see how the same General District Court responds to this traffic charge against me. Will I be fined more for stopping at a convenience store while on farm-use business than a repeat offender who was caught on camera dumping a dog? Stay tuned. I will happily keep you informed.