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The Virginia Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Committee’s (ACNR) Companion Animal Subcommittee is scheduled to consider a bill at its 9:00am meeting tomorrow (Thursday, January 27, 2022) that would prohibit a pet shop from selling a dog or cat unless it has first been spayed or neutered.

Senate Bill 89 would amend existing Code of Virginia section 3.2-6510 by adding language stating that No pet shop shall sell a dog or cat unless such dog or cat has been spayed or neutered.  This section 3.2-6510, among other things, already prohibits a person from offering any dog or cat under the age of seven weeks without its dam or queen.

The legislation seems to be a thinly veiled attempt to limit consumer choice by limiting an option by which some Virginians may choose to purchase an intact purebred dog for their family.

It is also important to note that recent scientific studies demonstrate that sterilization at an early age can lead to serious health issues including cancer, ligament damage, incontinence,  and even a shorter life span.  The decision to sterilize an animal is an important decision that should be discussed by an owner in conjunction with their veterinarian.

Visit the Pet Choice/Pet Store Restrictions and Mandatory Spay/Neuter key issue pages on the AKC Legislative Action Center for more information and talking points.

The subcommittee will also be considering Senate Bill 279 which would address when a law-enforcement officer or animal control officer may to apply to a magistrate for a summons for a vicious dog based on jurisdiction.  SB 279 would require any evidentiary hearing or appeal to be held not less than 30 days from the date of the summons or appeal, unless good cause is found by the court.

Those wishing to submit comments to the ACNR Companion Animal Subcommittee on these bills may contact the individual members:

Senator David Marsden, Chair

Senator Barbara A. Favola

Senator T. Travis Hackworth


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