2016 Legislative Priorities


Towing vehicles with companion animals inside: HB 37 –SUPPORT

Sponsors: Delegate Kaye Kory and Delegate Marcus Simon

Prohibits tow truck drivers and towing and recovery operators from knowingly towing a motor vehicle occupied by a companion animal.

Fairfax County Animal Protection Officers: HB 118 – SUPPORT

Sponsor: Delegate Dave Albo

Amends the form of government applicable to Fairfax County by providing that the division of police may include an animal protection police officer who shall have all of the powers of an animal control officer conferred by general law.

Elephants and Bull Hooks: HB 302 – SUPPORT

Sponsors: Delegate Sam Rasoul and Delegate Charniele Herring

Prohibits the use of devices such as a bullhook, axe handle, or block and tackle or the performance of certain practices in order to discipline, train, or control the behavior of an elephant.

Definition of a Private Animal Shelter: HB 340 – OPPOSE

Sponsor: Delegate Bobby Orrock

Clarifies that a private animal shelter is a facility that operates for the purpose of finding permanent adoptive homes for animals or for any other purpose authorized in the animal care section of the Code that provides for the various types of confinement and disposition alternatives for animals in private shelters.

Humane Dominion supported SB 1381 which clarified the definition of a private animal shelter and was passed in 2015. This bill attempts to undo that legislation.

Reporting of animal cruelty by Vet Techs: HB 802 – SUPPORT

Sponsor: Delegate Matthew James

The bill expands, from a veterinarian to any person regulated by the Board of Veterinary Medicine, the category of persons granted immunity from civil or criminal liability or administrative sanction for reporting suspected animal cruelty.

Drowning as an act of cruelty to animals: HB 958 – SUPPORT

Sponsors: Delegate Mark Keam and Delegate Kaye Kory

Includes the drowning of an animal as an act of cruelty subject to the criminal penalties of the cruelty statute in the animal care laws.

Training requirement for ACOs: HB 1211 and SB 651– SUPPORT

Sponsors: Delegate James Leftwich, Jr., Delegate Lionell Spruill, Sr. and Senator John Cosgrove, Jr.

Requires animal control officers hired on or after July 1, 2017, to complete a basic animal control course within one year after the date of hire. Current law requires completion of such training course within two years after the date of hire.

Dogs and livestock: HB 1231 – SUPPORT

Sponsor: Delegate Christopher Collins

Allows the district court to order the confinement indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked structure that prevents escape or direct contact with persons or other animals any dog that has been found to have injured or killed livestock or poultry. The bill requires a dog under such disposition to be leashed and muzzled when off the owner’s property. Under current law, the court is required to order that dogs found to be livestock or poultry killers be killed immediately or removed to another state and prohibited from returning to the Commonwealth.

Police animals: HB 1238 – SUPPORT

Sponsor: Delegate James William Morefield

Replaces the term “dog” with “animal” in recognition that law-enforcement officers use not just dogs in their work, and provides that law-enforcement officers may purchase such animals for $1. The bill also allows the immediate survivor of any full-time sworn law-enforcement officer who (i) is killed in the line of duty or (ii) dies in service and has at least 10 years of service to purchase the service animal at a price of $1.

Civil immunity to save unattended animal from motor vehicle: SB 9 – SUPPORT

Sponsor: Senator Kenny Alexander

Provides civil immunity to any person who forcibly enters a motor vehicle to remove an unattended companion animal that is at risk of serious bodily injury or death, provided that the person has attempted to contact a law-enforcement officer, animal control officer, or other emergency services personnel prior to such entry if feasible under the circumstances.

Black vultures: SB 37 – OPPOSE

Sponsor: Senator Charles Carrico, Sr.

Directs the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries to adopt regulations exempting the black vulture (Coragyps atratus) from the prohibition against taking or possessing a wildlife species that is not classified as game, furbearer, or nuisance.

Turtle reduction devices: SB 283 – SUPPORT

Sponsor: Senator Lynwood Lewis, Jr.

Directs the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to require that turtle reduction devices be attached to each crab pot covered by a recreational gear license.

Licensing of cats and dogs: HJ 160 – OPPOSE

Requires the Agriculture and Health Departments to study Virginia’s procedures for licensing cats and dogs.

Humane Dominion supports this related to dogs but not as it relates to cats since it would negatively affect feral cat colonies and TNR.