NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) applauds Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe for signing three bills to protect animals and pet owners during the 2014 legislative session. The new laws include Senate Bill 228, introduced by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax), which requires pet stores to disclose the origins and health histories of the dogs they sell and expands the ability of customers to seek financial remedies if the dog or cat they purchased becomes ill. Also signed into law was Senate Bill 42, introduced by Sen. Dave Marsden (D-Burke), which prevents new fox penning facilities from opening, and establishes a foundation for the phase-out of this cruel blood sport that relocates wild foxes to fenced enclosures where they become targets for packs of dogs.
“State lawmakers have taken critical steps to make Virginia safer for animals, as well as for consumers and citizens, and we thank them for their efforts,” said Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the ASPCA. “We applaud Governor McAuliffe for recognizing that citizens care about animal welfare and for signing these new laws to protect animals throughout the state. We especially want to thank Attorney General Mark Herring and Senator Marsden for speaking out against the inherent cruelty of fox penning.”
A third bill signed into law by Gov. McAuliffe is House Bill 972, introduced by Del. Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge), which allows judges to include pets in protective orders for victims of domestic violence. Research shows that more than 70 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser killed, harmed, or threatened their animal. With the passage of this law, Virginia becomes the 24th state to enact a law of this kind.
“Too often victims will stay in an abusive situation rather than leave their pet behind,” said Church. “This new law will alleviate that fear, giving victims of domestic violence the security they need to escape a dangerous environment.”
Animal advocates from across the state came out in support of this legislation at Virginia Humane Lobby Day in January. For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.