AKC News

Press Center
More Headlines

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 companion animals (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 legislation!

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. It 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
Box 396
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone:804/698-7520
FAX:804/698-7651
Email: district20@sov.state.va.us

Residents should also contact their own Senator with their concerns.

For more information, contact:

The Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders
Luvwelsh@aol.com

AKC's Canine Legislation department
919-816-3720, doglaw@akc.org