Virginia Considers Mandatory Spay/Neuter Bill!
[Wednesday, January 18, 2006]
Under a new bill proposed in Virginia, all dogs and cats
acquired from dealers, hobby breeders, pet shops and adoption agencies would
be have to be sterilized and microchipped. Sponsored by Sen. W. Roscoe
Reynolds, S55 defines a "dealer" as any person who sells or transfers
(with the exception of rescue groups). The bill further
defines "hobby breeder" as one who breeds and places one litter per year.
Responsible dog breeders will most certainly be impacted by this
S55 does permit the sale of intact animals to anyone who
agrees to sterilize the pet within 30 days, and to any "hobby breeder" who
agrees to alter the animal after one breeding. There are no exceptions for
serious "fancier breeders" or "breed improvers," defined elsewhere in the
bill, who maintain responsible breeding programs, take care to place their
animals in responsible homes, or who may keep intact animals for the purpose
of participating in conformation or performance events.
S55 also goes on to require that dealers obtain a $150
annual business license. Dealers could not advertise their services without
a valid business license, and the license number would have to be included
in any newspaper advertisements. Violations of any portion of the licensing
requirement would be fined $1,000.
Because no objective studies have ever been done to look
at pet population concerns in Virginia, it is difficult to ascertain what,
if any, problems the state may be facing, yet bills like S55 continue to be
introduced. If pet population issues are indeed a concern in Virginia, then
AKC believes a task force should be formed to address this issue, with input
from members of various animal organizations, including purebred dog
breeders. Such a study group should explore the expansion of public
education campaigns to teach communities about responsible pet ownership
should also review the many reasons why animals are relinquished to
shelters, including animal behavior problems, an owner moving or having a
child, or a poor breed match for an owner's lifestyle.
S55 is confusing, ineffective legislation that will be
impossible for animal control departments to track and enforce. Please
oppose this bill today!
What You Can Do:
S55 has not yet been assigned to committee. Dog owners are
therefore urged to contact the bill sponsor and express your opposition.
Sen. W. Roscoe Reynolds
General Assembly Bldg #319
Richmond, VA 23218
Residents should also contact their own Senator with their
concerns. Find out who represents you in Virginia.
For more information, contact:
The Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders
AKC's Canine Legislation department