There are two matters of significant importance before the General Assembly this week, and we need your help to better ensure a positive vote.
Please take a moment to contact your state delegate and senator before Wednesday and urge them to support the essential pieces of legislation outlined below that will protect defenseless animals and the individuals who care for them throughout Virginia. It’s important that you call your House and Senate representatives since ultimately the bills, if passed in the Senate, will cross over to the House for another vote and ultimate passage. To obtain the contact information for the representatives of your districts, click here. Calls are always best; however, emails can also be effective.
This bill, which is patroned by Sen. David Marsden, would make fox penning a Class 1 Misdemeanor that is punishable with up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. Currently in Virginia, wild foxes can be trapped and transported to fenced enclosures where they are released. Hounds are then turned out in these pens in order to chase the foxes, whom they oftentimes tragically tear apart and kill. Opponents of this bill say that fox pens provide a safe training tool for dogs and that the foxes are hardly ever harmed. In reality, this activity is tantamount to animal fighting, and more than 3,600 foxes died in these pens over the last three years (and it was not from old age). In summary, we hope very much that legislators will support and pass S.B. 202 to ban fox pens in Virginia because they are inhumane and because they pose a serious threat to Virginia’s wildlife heritage. Read the Richmond Times-Dispatch's editorial, which supports S.B. 202.
This bill, which is patroned by Sen. Creigh Deeds, would clarify the existing Virginia code in order to protect individuals who compassionately care for feral cats. Under current law, returning a spayed or neutered feral cat to his outdoor home may be construed as a crime of abandonment. In some municipalities, this means that feral cat caregivers are prevented from engaging in the responsible practice of Trap-Neuter-Return and are threatened with charges and penalties by local law enforcement who claim the caregivers are acting as “owners” of the cats once they trap them. Under S.B. 359, returning a feral cat to his colony after he’s been neutered could no longer be interpreted as abandonment. In summary, we hope very much that legislators will support and pass S.B. 359 to reaffirm Virginia’s commitment to animal welfare and to protect individuals who are responsibly ensuring that feral cats are being sterilized and vaccinated against rabies. To read a prior blog post on this bill, click here.
We are grateful for your deep commitment to the animals who share our world and for your ongoing advocacy.
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