Yesterday the Senate Agriculture Committee reported out two bills that will clarify Virginia law for the benefit of companion animals in our commonwealth and the people who care for them – SB693 and SB1381. The next step for these bills is a vote before the full Senate. Please contact your own Senator and urge him or her to vote “yes” on both pieces of legislation.
We have written before about SB693’s intent to remove any doubt that people and organizations may trap, spay and neuter, vaccinate and return feral cats without fear or threat of prosecution for abandonment. We are equally supportive of SB1381 to amend the definition of “private animal shelter” in state code to include the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes and facilitating other lifesaving outcomes for animals. The opposition to this bill has falsely stated that it would prevent private shelters from performing euthanasia, which is untrue; it also has no impact on public animal shelters.
The current wording of the definition has been interpreted to create a loophole under which the PETA facility in Norfolk operates as a private animal shelter but without the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals (view report from 2010 site visit by Dr. Dan Kovich for VDACS). Over the past decade, as save rates at private shelters across Virginia have risen and euthanasia rates have fallen, the PETA facility euthanizes the animals it takes in at a rate of about 90 percent. It is out of step with the progress being made for our state's homeless animals for a private shelter to operate not with the purpose of finding animals adoptive homes but almost entirely to take their lives.
To find contact information for your district's Senator, please visit whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov
Tabitha Frizzell Hanes is the director of advancement for the Richmond SPCA. To read the biographies of our other regular bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.