This was just posted on the Federation’s Facebook page by Alice Harrington. It is important so I’m reposting here.
2-8-18 – PLEASE SHARE
Well folks – here we are again. Another set of anti-tethering bills that are focused on only dogs who are neglected and happen to be tethered. Most instances are already in violation of EXISTING laws, but for whatever reason animal control cannot or will not enforce those laws and help those poor creatures. Unfortunately, more laws are not going to help enforcement.
There are currently 2 bills in the VA General Assembly being pushed by HSUS and some VA surrogates. While these people are well-meaning they have constructed bills that are “one-size-fits-all.” They totally ignore the fact that there are many LEGITIMATE reasons for tethering dogs. Their goal is just to ban tethering because they don’t like it.
The House bill – HB 646 – was defeated in the House AG subcommittee. The Senate bill – SB 872 cleared the Senate Ag Committee and the Full Senate. It is now back in the House. So far the farming interests and the hunters have managed to wrest exemptions for dogs performing farming and hunting activities. We have also managed to get some of the onerous parts of the original bill deleted as well.
What is left in the bill now is the requirement that no dog be tethered when the outdoor temperature (actual or effective, no idea how that will be enforced) is below 32 degrees or above 85 degrees. There is no recognition of the differences –in suitable temperatures – among the over 200 dog breeds, no recognition of attenuating circumstances like the existence of shade trees, a water pool, or the presence of appropriate and adequate shelter. So if a Siberian husky, in good weight and coat, is on a tether in 30 degree weather — it will be against the law. Conversely, if a whippet, with no coat at all, is outside in 35 degree weather it will NOT be against the law. This makes no sense at all. There have to be allowances for the dog’s breed and condition – one size does NOT fit all.
Furthermore existing law ALREADY covers weather extremes. Section 3.2-6500 Definitions says:
“Adequate shelter” means provision of and access to shelter that is suitable for the species, age, condition, size, and type of each animal; provides adequate space for each animal;
is safe and PROTECTS EACH ANIMAL FROM INJURY, RAIN, SLEET, SNOW, HAIL, DIRECT SUNLIGHT, THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF HEAT OR COLD,
PHYSICAL SUFFERING, AND IMPAIRMENT OF HEALTH; . . . . . . .
That pretty much covers all weather extremes. Additionally, in early January 2018 the Virginia Attorney General’s office, in response to phone calls that animal control was not responding to phone calls about animals at risk in the bad weather, issued a memo to all the jurisdictions citing CURRENT laws and procedures for animal control to use and to go do their jobs.
SB 872 will be heard again by the House AG Subcommittee. Please let them know that you believe the current law is more than adequate to protect dogs from weather extremes and to not pass SB 872 which does not take into account the variations among dog breeds and conditions.
Here is Subcommittee’s contact info:
Knight, Barry D. (Chair)
Poindexter, Charles D.
Orrock, Robert D., Sr.
Morefield, James W. (Will)
Bloxom, Robert S., Jr
Keam, Mark L
Rodman, Debra H.
Marshall, Daniel W., III (Ex-Officio)