Legislative Update

VFDCB Legislative Liaisons Alice Harrington and Sharyn Hutchens have been busy putting out fires in Richmond this year. We’ve made four or five trips there already and there are probably more in the future. I’ll give a detailed report later this week, but the big news today is that the boarding kennel bill HB79 was “passed by indefinitely” in the Courts of Justice subcommittee today. That means it’s dead.

The other bill we have been fighting is SB872, an anti-tethering bill that has passed the Senate and will be coming to the House in the next week or two. Here’s the press release from AKC on it:

The Virginia Senate is expected to vote very soon on a bill that would prohibit the humane tethering of dogs unless the temperature is above 32 degrees or below 85 degrees. [VFDCB Update: The bill passed the Senate. It will now go to the House of Delegates.]

The AKC strongly believes that no dog should ever be kept in a situation where its health or safety are at risk. However, Senate Bill 872 is so broad that it could prohibit certain instances of humane and safe tethering outdoors. As written, the bill could restrict outdoor training, events, or even grooming a dog outdoors or keeping a dog temporarily tethered in a person’s yard. The only exemptions are for an animal “actively engaged in an agricultural or hunting activity,” but it is unclear what this would entail.

AKC believes that specific temperature requirements are arbitrary and do not consider the needs of specific breeds that may thrive in temperatures outside these ranges, or those dogs that may not be able to tolerate even these temperatures. AKC instead believes that dogs should never be tethered outside in a situation or manner that could jeopardize their health and safety.

What You Can Do: [VFDCB Update: Communication should now be sent to the Agriculture Committee of the House of Delegates instead of the Senate.]

Those who own or participate in outdoor activities with dogs in Virginia are strongly encouraged to contact their Senator today and ask them to NOT support Senate Bill 872 as currently written. If you have a specific example of a situation where you would humanely tether a dog when the temperature is outside these temperature ranges, please be sure to include that in your communication.

To find the name and contact information for your State Senator, visit the AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box. A full contact list of Virginia Senators may be found here.

AKC Government Relations and the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders are continuing to monitor this bill and communicate concerns to the General Assembly. For more information on this bill, contact VFDCB on FB or AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.

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