If you are a breeder and have ever met or plan to meet a buyer at a rest stop, parking lot, or any other place to deliver a puppy, this bill affects you directly. If you ever drop off a dog for training or handling with a person meeting you in a public place, it might affect you, depending on the interpretation. If you are a rescuer or shelter employee, not to worry. You are exempt.
Senate Bill 1001 has been promoted as a bill to stop the selling of puppies and kittens at flea markets and out of the back of pickups. Because of the wording, it will also make it illegal to meet at a rest stop or restaurant to deliver a puppy or kitten to a pre-screened home or even to someone you know. We have contacted the sponsor, Senator Stanley, by email and phone to ask him to at least amend the bill, but have received no response. It’s time to let the legislature know how we feel about it.
SB1001 is a heavily promoted HSUS bill, strongly supported by the shelter and rescue community (who are exempt) It has passed the Senate and will next be heard in the House Agriculture subcommittee. It will most likely be scheduled for discussion on Monday, February 16, though it could be sooner. Please contact members of the House Agriculture subcommittee and ask that SB1001 be tabled or amended. We have contacted the sponsor by phone and email to ask for a meeting about this bill and have received no response.
Sale and procurement of certain pets. Prohibits the sale or display of a dog or cat on or in a roadside, parking lot, flea market, or similar place and limits the sources of pet shop dogs to humane societies, public animal shelters, and breeders who meet certain qualifications. The bill also establishes a record-keeping requirement for pet shops selling dogs and applies the existing misdemeanor penalty for a violation of the section to each dog sold or offered for sale.
This link is to the section of the Comprehensive Animal Law that will be amended by SB1001. The highlighted part is being added and the words struck through are being deleted, The rest of the copy is already part of Virginia law. This is the section we are concerned with:
“It is unlawful for any person to sell, exchange, trade, barter, lease, or display for a commercial purpose any dog or cat on or in any roadside, public right-of-way, parkway, median, park, or recreation area; flea market or other outdoor market; or commercial parking lot, regardless of whether such act is authorized by the landowner. This section shall not apply to the display of dogs or cats by or the adoption of dogs or cats from a humane society or private or public animal shelter as those terms are defined in § 3.2-6500 or to the display of dogs or cats as part of a state or county fair exhibition, 4-H program, or similar exhibition or educational program.”
The second section of the bill involves where pet stores can buy puppies. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and several pet store owners have agreed to the current version and are now supporting the bill.
(If one of these committee members is YOUR delegate, please let him know you are a constituent.)
Chairman Danny Marshall — DelDMarshall@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Barry Knight — DelBKnight@house.virginia.gov
Delegate James Morefield — DelJMorefield@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Bobby Orrock — DelBOrrock@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Charles Poindexter — DelCPoindexter@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Matthew James — DelMJames@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Mark Keam — DelMKeam@house.virginia.gov
In the subject line, write PLEASE OPPOSE SB1001. Introduce yourself in one or two sentences. Tell why you oppose this bill. Use any of the talking points below if you wish, but put them in your own words. Tell how the bill will affect you personally. If one of these committee members is YOUR delegate, please let him know you are a constituent. End by asking him to oppose SB1001.
1) Responsible breeders often ‘meet buyers halfway’ when selling a puppy at a distance. This is because due to APHIS regulations, most of them are no longer allowed to ship puppies. These sales are not to/for the public, but are prearranged by phone calls and emails before the meeting.
2) Many breeders are single and live alone, Many are older women. They may not feel secure inviting prospective buyers Into their homes.
3) In the case of responsible breeders, the sale of a puppy is usually handled well before the actual delivery date, though payment may not be made until the buyer sees the puppy.
4) Dog owners frequently meet trainers, handlers, etc at rest stops to exchange dogs for various activities. Money may or may not change hands at these meetings but there is usually payment of some kind. Is this considered an ‘exchange’ or a “commercial purpose” since one of the parties may be charging the other for a service?
5) Continual stronger restrictions on where and how Virginians can buy puppies are quickly reducing the number of choices people have when choosing the family pet. Education, not legislation, will help people make decisions about dog acquisition and ownership.
6) If public venues are bad places to sell puppies, why are rescuers and shelters exempted from this legislation? Aren’t shelter puppies just as entitled as breeders’ puppies to protection from being sold at flea markets and on sidewalks? If this bill passes, the exemption for rescuers and shelters should be removed. Regardless of what you call it, the exchange of money for a pet is a sale.