It is a David and Goliath scenario if there ever was one. We and other folks in Virginia who are sick and tired of PETA's massive slaughter of innocent animals in Norfolk are trying to get the General Assembly to pass a very simple bill, Senate Bill 1381. It would simply say that private animals shelters in our state should have a purpose of trying to get the homeless animals in their care adopted. This would seem to be self evident to most people and certainly to most donors. In fact it would seem to be the ethical thing for shelters to be doing. But to PETA it is anathema. And PETA is a huge, rich, mean bully.
So wild in fact that, once they got the hint that we might be succeeding a bit with our little bill, they hired a very expensive and very influential lobbyist. His name is Steve Haner and he is a very well connected Republican. In fact, he is the kind of Republican who would dislike and disparage PETA if it were not for the fact that they are now paying him a lot of money. Money, I might mention that comes from the donations that people make to them.
Mr. Haner has been convincing his friends in state agencies and with local governments to write and call Delegates asking them to oppose SB 1381. These government officials, both state and local, are, at his behest, spreading utter falsehoods by claiming that this bill, which only relates to private shelters, will put great burdens on public shelters because it will cause the private shelters to start turning away more animals. This claim has absolutely no basis in reality. Nothing about this bill would push private shelters to take in fewer animals. In fact, nothing about this bill would even make private shelters other than PETA do anything differently than they are doing right now. That is because all of them, except for PETA, actually try to get animals adopted. They actually want to save animals' lives and make a sincere effort to get animals adopted. PETA does not. And to insure that they never have to try to get animals adopted, they are fighting this bill with everything, and very dollar, they possibly can. And Haner is getting lots of government officials to do their bidding because they are rich and powerful.
We on the other hand are small. We cannot hire lobbyists. We cannot get our paid shill to pressure his buddies in state and local governments to pressure Delegates. The question is who will succeed. Many of these Delegates in the General Assembly are conservatives. They are elected by conservative voters. Their constituents to a very large extent do not like PETA and are appalled by PETA's behaviors in many ways Are these Delegates going to stand by the feelings and wishes of their constituents? Or are they going to knuckle under to PETA's and Mr. Haner's pressure tactics. Are they going to believe the lies being spread at PETA's behest or are they going to listen to the very people who actually run private shelters. We shall see if David has a chance these days before our House of Delegates. Please help us by contacting your Delegate and asking that he or she not knuckle under to PETA, the Goliath, but rather vote to save the lives of our precious and defenseless animals by supporting SB 1381.
Find your representative in the Virginia House of Delegates at whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov.
Robin Robertson Starr is the chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires both your first and last name to be used as your screen name.