2015 Legislative Agenda

Overall, 2015 was a good year for Virginia’s animals! Year after year, we see more legislation that will help make Virginia a safer, more humane place for the animals, pass and signed into law. Below you will find an update on the bills that we were tracking this year.

ENDING PUPPY MILLS FOR GOOD: SB 1001 – PASSED Chief Patron, Senator Bill Stanley.  This exciting legislation will be the final blow to puppy mills in Virginia and would close a cruel loophole in Virginia law that allows pet stores to skirt Virginia’s animal protection laws by buying puppies from inhumane puppy mills – including those with shocking Animal Welfare Act violations. It would also prevent the unregulated sales of puppies where puppy mill dealers regularly sell such as flea markets and parking lots.

PROTECTING EXOTIC ANIMALS: SB 1315 – FAILED Chief Patron, Senator Lynwood Lewis. This bill would protect exotic animals from unthinkably cruel treatment at Virginia’s roadside zoos.  You might have seen the recent news coverage about what goes on at these places – little baby tiger cubs deprived of food, infants ripped away from their mothers and sold indiscriminately to the highest bidder – it’s abuse pure and simple.

STOP CRUEL HORSE TRIPPING: SB 1081 – PASSED Chief Patron, Senator Jill Vogel. This landmark legislation would ban the  i heinous practice in in which cowardly, sick individuals are actually awarded points for using a lasso to bring horses to the ground on their knees, often breaking their legs and necks and causing serious spinal injuries.

ANIMAL ABUSER REGISTRY:  SB 700 and HB 1354 – FAILED Chief Patrons, Senator Bill Stanley and Delegate David Ramadan.  Because knowledge is one of the most important tools we have for stopping animal abuse, we need to bring these awful crimes out of the shadows and into the sunlight. these bill would establish and maintain an Animal Cruelty Conviction List available to the public on the website of the Department of State Police that would prevent rescues and shelters  from putting animals back in the hands of abusers.  Keeping defenseless animals out of the hands of convicted abusers is an important way to address animal cruelty at its source!

REPORT EQUINE CRUELTY: HB 1464 – FAILED Chief Patron, Delegate Sam Rasoul   Would require localities to report cruelty to horses to the state veterinarian so that we can better track these offenses.  Under current Virginia law horses do not receive the same common sense protections that animals like dogs do, but we have a chance to change this. This bill requires reporting to the state veterinarian which will bring to light the need for stronger protections for these majestic creatures.