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Yesterday, the West Virginia House passed House Bill 2095 – comprehensive legislation that seeks to enhance West Virginia’s animal welfare laws covering everything from the care of animals in shelters to the care of animals by private individuals.

This legislation will bring West Virginia law into alignment with reasonable, accepted animal husbandry and care laws and provide comprehensive laws regarding the care of animals by public shelters.

As mentioned in a previous alert, AKC requested a few clarifications and amendments related to keeping dogs outdoors, consumer protection, and hoarding.

Delegate Dianna Graves, sponsor of HB 2095, agreed to make the following amendments on behalf of AKC:

  • Protection for dogs outdoors – The language in bold has been added, making it unlawful to:

    Leave [animals] outside during extreme weather conditions, including, but not limited to, extreme heat, freezing or near-freezing temperatures, thunderstorms, tornadoes, or floods, unless adequate food, potable water, shade, shelter, and protection is provided, based on the breed, age, general health of the dog and its ability to handle the environment.

    AKC appreciates this important amendment to ensure proper protection of dogs, without punishing responsible owners and sportsmen.

  • Consumer protection – Previously, one section would have required reimbursement of veterinary costs up to 150 percent of the purchase price while other sections limited reimbursement up to the purchase price of the dog. As passed by the House, all reimbursement remedies are now consistent and limited to an amount up to the purchase price.

Given the complexities of the issue of animal hoarding, Delegate Graves has offered to work with AKC over the interim and next year to come up with a comprehensive solution to this problem instead of hurriedly adding an extensive amendment at this time.  AKC greatly appreciates and looks forward to working with Delegate Graves on a solution that is best for the animals and those who suffer from this disorder.

The bill now goes to the Senate where it will likely be acted on in the upcoming days before Session ends on April 10.

What You Can Do:

  • Contact Delegate Dianna Graves and thank her for the inclusion of AKC’s requested amendments and her willingness to work with AKC on the animal hoarding issue. If you are a constituent in Kanawha or Putnam Counties, or participate in events in her district, be sure to mention that when contacting her.
  • Contact your Senator today and express your support of the bill as amended. Click here to find the name and contact information for your Senator.

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will continue to monitor this legislation.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.

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