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Thread: VA residents--urgent--animal rights bills need immediate action

  1. #1
    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Default VA residents--urgent--animal rights bills need immediate action

    Review of pending VA animal bills from Bob Kane. PLEASE take time to email legislators/committee members as indicated. As Bob says, they are too busy to understand all of the ramifications of supposedly well-intentioned animal bills, unless we tell them.

    Richmond bill filing ends - Six anti-breeder measures and much more.
    Help requested.

    Dear Virginia Dog Owners,

    The last of this General Assembly's bills were filed on 1/18/2008.
    Included in the large anti-dog owner docket are six anti-breeding
    measures and numerous other ill-advised, restrictive bills. Unless
    you act in the next 36 hours, five of the worst of these bills are
    likely to pass the House Agriculture Committee and become law.

    While the heinous Michael Vick dogfighting crimes generated
    significant press coverage, understandable disgust and some bills
    this session, the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) "Virginia is for
    Puppy Mills" campaign has been a bigger factor in the record breaking
    animal bill volume. This deceitful and self-serving campaign has used
    the publicity surrounding a large commercial breeder in Carroll
    County that should have been registered and inspected under the
    Animal Welfare Act, but violated federal law, to condemn all the
    state's hobby breeders and call for their regulation, as it tried to
    do with the Santorum Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005 (PAWS) and
    the November 2007 Senate Farm Bill.

    Statements to the press that "the vast majority of puppies sold in
    Virginia come from puppy mills run by unlicensed breeders" and "only
    16 of Virginia's more than 900 commercial puppy dealers hold federal
    licenses" are patently false and purposefully designed to mislead the
    public and our legislators. Our General Assembly considers 70-80
    bills per day and hasn't time to study complicated, arcane pet
    issues. They will pass these terrible bills unless you object in person at this week's hearings or by email. Using VHDOA's
    preprogrammed contact page at
    http://vhdoa.uplandbirddog.com/VA.AG.Ctmes.html is very easy, but
    just saying Vote NO isn't an effective objection. Tell the
    legislators why you object Please be polite, personalize your message
    with a bit about yourself and be sure to include your name and
    mailing address.

    See VHDOA's updated and rearranged bill list at
    http://vhdoa.uplandbirddog.com/stater.html If necessary, put these
    bill comments in your own words using
    http://vhdoa.uplandbirddog.com/VA.AG.Ctmes.html Time is of the
    essence.

    Breeder Regulation
    *HB538 Commercial dog breeding operations; definition, penalty.
    Bobby Orrock
    Summary: Defines commercial breeders as persons who maintain 20 or
    more unsterilized adult females for commercial breeding purposes.
    Commercial breeders will be required to: (i) apply for a business
    license from their respective locality; (ii) cooperate with
    inspections by animal control officers to ensure compliance with
    state and federal animal care laws; (iii) create a fire emergency
    plan and install fire safety measures; (iv) maintain records of
    animal sales, purchases, breeding history, and veterinary care; (v)
    dispose of dead dogs and confined waste in accordance with law; and
    (vi) maintain no more than 50 adult dogs at one time. Commercial
    breeders that violate any of these provisions are guilty of a Class 1
    misdemeanor. Pet shops must ensure that their dogs are purchased from
    dealers that are properly registered and licensed with the U.S.
    Department of Agriculture. *(Humane Society of the U.S. [HSUS] #1
    priority bill.)

    VHDOA comment: HSUS failed three times in its attempt to impose
    federal licensing and 60 pages of regulations on hobby dog breeders.
    Each time the U.S. Congress refused to amend the federal Animal
    Welfare Act to include breeders that sell at retail. Its merger
    partner also lost a federal lawsuit challenging the same USDA provision. The American Veterinary Medical Association, U.S. canine
    and cat registries and tens of thousands of pet owners opposed these
    efforts. HSUS publicly announced in December 2007 that it was
    carrying its federal hobby breeder regulation fight to Virginia and
    hired high-priced Richmond lobbyists. HB538, HB690, HB691 and other
    bills are the result. Note carefully: HB538 breeches the dog breeder
    regulatory distinction that has prevailed nationwide since 1970. This
    bill far exceeds federal law in its scope. It defines "commercial
    breeder" to include anyone with a large kennel that sells a single
    dog at retail or wholesale. Every breeding must be veterinarian
    approved. All kennels, identified through state tax filings,
    classified ads or the "gotcha" rabies database dog licensing system,
    will be screened for size and subject to unannounced, no warrant
    inspections. No kennel may have more than 50 animals older than four
    months of age at any time. Violation penalties for any provision
    include possible Class 1 misdemeanor fines and jailing for up to
    twelve months. HB538 is a very close relative to HSUS's disastrous
    federal "PAWS" bill, which was defeated in 2006 and again in November
    2007. Only the cosmetics differ.
    OPPOSE
    Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural
    Resources
    Set for subcommittee hearing at 7:30 AM on 1/22/2008

    *HB690 Commercial breeding of companion animals; penalty.
    Ward Armstrong
    Summary: Requires state licensure of any person who breeds companion
    animals and is also required to be licensed by the U.S. Department of
    Agriculture. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer
    Services will issue licenses and collect an annual fee of $150, which
    will be remitted to the localities where animal breeding facilities
    are located. Animal control officers are granted the authority to
    investigate any commercial breeding operation to ensure compliance
    with animal care laws.*(HSUS bill)

    VHDOA comment: See HB691 inspection conflict comments below.
    OPPOSE
    Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural
    Resources
    Set for subcommittee hearing at 7:30 AM on 1/22/2008

    *HB691 Animal control officers; inspection of breeding facilities.
    Ward Armstrong
    Summary: Requires an animal control officer to make quarterly
    inspections of any premises in his jurisdiction where dealers breed
    companion animals. The animal control officer will ensure that
    dealers comply with state and federal standards for sanitation,
    licensure, and adequate care. *(HSUS bill)
    VHDOA comment: This bill language makes *every* dog and cat seller in
    Virginia subject to quarterly inspections, without requiring due
    cause or a warrant.

    VA Code: "Dealer" means any person who in the regular course of
    business for compensation or profit buys, sells, transfers,
    exchanges, or barters companion animals. The following shall not be
    considered dealers: (i) any person who transports companion animals
    in the regular course of business as a common carrier, or (ii) any
    person or organization whose primary purpose is to find permanent
    adoptive homes for companion animals.

    Further, while USDA has 60 pages of regulations detailing precise
    animal care requirements, Virginia has none. How can ACOs do federal
    inspections when they can't do their normal jobs and aren't
    sufficiently trained for those? Whose inspection result governs, if
    federal inspectors and VA ACOs disagree? This is extraordinarily bad,
    poorly crafted, ill considered legislation. The bill's legal
    conflicts and negative policy and fiscal impacts are staggering.

    OPPOSE
    Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
    Set for full ACNR Committee hearing on 1/16/2008 at 8:30 AM
    Reset for subcommittee hearing at 7:30 AM on 1/22/2008

    HB217 Tethering of animals; makes certain acts associated therewith
    Class 3 misdemeanor
    Ken Alexander Summary: Makes certain acts associated with the tethering of animals
    a Class 3 misdemeanor. The bill prohibits such actions as (i)
    tethering an animal that is less than six months old, except in an
    emergency, (ii) tethering an animal that has not been spayed or
    neutered, except in an emergency, and (iii) using a tether weighing
    more than the animal can reasonably bear. Local governments are
    authorized to adopt an animal tethering ordinance that can be more
    restrictive than the proposed statute.(VVAW-PETA-HSUS Bill)
    VHDOA comment: Identical to Mr. Alexander's 2007 failed HB2098. Only
    sterilized animals may be tethered and tethers must be at least 10
    feet long. (HSUS, VACA, VVAW supported)

    OPPOSE Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural
    Resources Set for subcommittee hearing at 7:30 AM on 1/22/2008

    Continued in next post....

  2. #2
    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    HB673 Animal welfare standards.
    Ken Alexander
    Summary: Clarifies several standards of animal welfare. The amount of
    time an animal must be deserted to be considered "abandoned" is
    shortened from five consecutive days to 24 consecutive
    hours. "Adequate shelter" for tethered animals will require an
    enclosure large enough to provide separate eating and sleeping areas,
    both of which shall be at least 10 feet from a toilet area. "Adequate
    space" for tether animals will require that the tether is no more
    than 1/8th the weight of the animal and at least 20 times the length
    of the animal. "Adequate water" will require refreshment at least
    once every 12 hours and a container that cannot be overturned. The
    definition of "adoption" is broadened to include transfers of
    ownership from dealers (anyone).Emphasis added. (HSUS, VACA, VVAW
    supported)

    VHDOA comment: Any animal "not cared for," e.g. without daily freshen
    water or droppings removed, for a period of 24 hours is "abandoned"
    and the owner is subject to prosecution. A dog tether must be 60+
    feet long and a horse tether must be 140-150 feet long. Virginia dogs
    and cats are no longer bought and sold, they're adopted and
    unadopted? Norfolk politician Alexander has introduced similar ill-
    considered bills each of the last three sessions.
    OPPOSE
    Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural
    Resources
    Set for subcommittee hearing at 7:30 AM on 1/22/2008

    Freely forward and cross post. This is an "all hands on deck"
    situation.

    The world is governed by those that show up.

    Sincerely,

    Bob Kane, President
    Virginia Hunting Dog Owners' Association
    Chairman Emeritus, Sportsmen and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
    http://vhdoa.uplandbirddog.com http://saova.org

  3. #3
    Junior Member 3labtxi's Avatar
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    Bump, This one needs to stay close to the top!

  4. #4
    Senior Member FOM's Avatar
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    Can the public attend the subcommitte meetings? And if so anyone in VA going? It is tomorrow.

    FOM
    "You can't eat a pig whole, but you can eat a whole pig." - Joe S.

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