The 2020 session of the General Assembly brought some significant victories for animals. As your new Humane Dominion President, I started the session tracking 29 animal protection-related bills. I came to the session ready to focus on better protections for puppy mill dogs and finish the work we started last year to restrict tethering dogs, and to push further to help animals used in research. In addition, we wielded enough power to kill several initiatives that, either directly or indirectly, could have done significant harm to animals. One bill tried to give the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries no option except to kill any bear caught damaging crops. We helped kill it. Another bill would have required hunters to use lethal lead bullets. We’ve been fighting for over 30 years to outlaw the use of lead in ammunition as it’s a toxic metal that leaches into the soil or the food chain and is responsible for poisoning both people and wildlife. By being in Richmond and working with legislators and other animal protection lobbyists we were able to head off this legislation before it even reached a hearing.
Although we didn’t end up with the same bills we started with at the beginning of the 2020 legislative session, and we lost many along the way, we still made some significant progress for animals. Thanks to all of you who emailed, phoned, visited with your legislator, visited in Richmond or made a small donation to Humane Dominion. Each small action contributed to our success. These are the bills that will become Virginia law in 2020 thanks to you:
SB 114-Comprehensive Animal Care Act- (Senator Marsden) Requires that information be posted and provide certain consumer remedies for the sale of pets.
SB 272/HB 1552 (Senator Bell/Delegate Levine) Restricts further the tethering of dogs in Virginia, especially in extreme weather conditions.
SB 303 (Senator Stanley) Prohibits a dealer from importing dogs into Virginia if they have previously been cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
SB 742 (Senator McPike) Prohibits a company from leasing a pet to a family and then threatening to take the animal back for non-payment.
SB 786 (Senator Lewis) Requires shelters to provide animals with space for recreation once their hold period is over.
SB 891 (Senator Marsden) Establishes comprehensive regulations for pet shops
SB 1030 (Senator Spruill) Prohibits animal handlers from offering the public contact with dangerous wild animals.
SJ68 (Senator Lewis) Establishes December as Puppy Mill Awareness Month