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The Virginia House Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee’s Agriculture Subcommittee is scheduled to consider a bill at its 4:00pm meeting tomorrow, February 2, 2022 that will increase the level of proof required before a person can get a warrant for suspected animal cruelty.

Those wishing to express support may do so by noon tomorrow (February 2) at the links provided below.

Bill Summary:

Under current law, a search warrant can be issued resulting in the possible seizure of a companion animal when any animal control officer, humane investigator, law-enforcement officer, or State Veterinarian’s representative has reasonable cause to believe that the laws related to cruelty have been, are being, or are about to be violated in any particular building or place.

House Bill 53 raises the standard for obtaining a search warrant to a stricter probable cause standard.  AKC believes that no animals should be left in conditions where their health and safety is at risk.  However, being able to obtain a search warrant and possibly seizing a companion animal should be based on facts and a strict standard and not presumptions.

Additionally, the bill requires that humane investigators be residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It also adds provisions relative to animals at a zoo or petting zoo.

How to contact the committee:

Those wishing to voice their support for establishing the stricter probable cause standard for obtaining a search warrant are encouraged to do so by submitting comments to the ACNR Agriculture Subcommittee may do so by Noon tomorrow, February 2, 2022 here.

Residents may also directly contact the members of the Agriculture subcommittee.

AKC Government Relations continues to monitor legislation in Virginia impacting dog owners.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at