Animal care; enforcement procedures and standards related to animal cruelty. (HB2482)

Introduced By

Del. Lee Ware (R-Powhatan)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Animal care; enforcement procedures and standards related to animal cruelty.  Provides new procedures for the impoundment, seizure, return or forfeiture of animals when the owner or custodian is suspected of animal welfare violations. Animals in the custody or possession of dealers or pet shops that fail to adequately care for such animals shall be subject to impoundment by such dealer or pet shop pursuant to any directive or under any supervision as may be provided by the investigating official, animal control officer, or State Veterinarian's representative. Such animals are subject to seizure if (i) under a direct and immediate threat or (ii) the owner or custodian is unable to or does not provide adequate impoundment. Upon conviction of such person, impounded or seized animals may be forfeited or returned to the owner or custodian at the discretion of the court. The bill also repeals the prohibition on persons that have been convicted of animal cruelty from selling or trading companion animals. The welfare requirement that emergency veterinary treatment is provided for animals under certain conditions will no longer include treatment for disease progression. Amends § 3.2-6500, § 3.2-6511, § 3.2-6557, § 3.2-6569, § 3.2-6570, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 01/21/2011 Presented and ordered printed 11103854D
  • 01/21/2011 Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
  • 01/25/2011 Assigned ACNRsub: #1 Agriculture
  • 01/28/2011 Impact statement from DPB (HB2482)
  • 01/31/2011 Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
  • 02/08/2011 Left in Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources

Comments

Tom Mayfield writes:

Cannot believe that this is any way considered a serious check on animal cruelty. It appears to remove safeguards give control back to abusive owners, and take humane societies and rescues out of the loop. It is a charter for bad owners and bad pet suppliers to continue to treat animals inhumanely and would be a very sad reflection on Virginia's attitude to companion animals if passed.,

Sandi Patrick writes:

Thank you for sponsoring a bill to protect animals and responsible breeders. Laws should not be used to eliminate breeding and ownership of pets as quickly as possible by ruining reputations based on minor (and often fabricated) offenses. Go after the puppy mills and kitten mills and let the responsible breeder perform his much needed service.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

On the Richmond SPCA's blog, they argue that this bill would undo twenty years of progress for abused animals.

Walt Hutchens writes:

This bill would eliminate some of the worst abuses in Virginia animal laws.

Did you know that all your dogs can be taken even if they are all healthy? That you can be required to pay $900/dog to keep your ownership right for three months while waiting to go to trial on any charges? That if you can't pay, your dogs can be sold for maybe $300/each and that those that don't sell can be euthanized?

Did you know that your local Humane Investigator can seize your dogs and give them to the rescue she founded for sale?

Did you know that if your dogs have dental disease and you don't treat it as a veterinary emergency you can be convicted of animal cruelty? Up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2500.

Did you know that if you are ever convicted of ANY pet animal care offense you can never again sell a such animal again?

Did you know that if your raiders decide to euthanize one of your dogs then that makes your cruelty charge a FELONY? Good luck getting that next job or any government benefits ... And you have NO RIGHT to have your own vet examine that dog to be sure it actually had to be put down.

All true, all of it has happened to a fellow Virginian, and all of it -- and more -- would be fixed by HB 2482.

Naturally the Richmond SPCA opposes this bill. That twenty years of progress is progress FOR animal rightists like the RSPCA (does 'Robin Starr' ring any bells?) and AGAINST animal owners.

HB 2482 does not remove or get in the way of ANY enforcement or punishment needed to control real animal mistreatment. All it will do is curb abusive enforcement tactics.

More is needed, but this is a start. All true animal lovers should support it, because the dog or cat you save -- AND THE CRIMINAL RECORD YOU AVOID -- could be your own.

They're mostly going after dog breeders now, but most of the bad laws work for anyone.

Want to know who the animal rightists are in VA? Watch for the mud-slinging "NO" comments on this item.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

All true, all of it has happened to a fellow Virginian, and all of it -- and more -- would be fixed by HB 2482.

Walt, I think a link to a relevant story would be helpful here. You describe a lot of hypothetical scenarios, and then say that they all really happened, but without a name, date, place, or any supporting evidence. What's the background here?

Vickie Littleton writes:

This Bill will protect animals and their owners against abusive and wrongful raids and seizures and will protect owners against false accusations of animal cruelty. It clarifies the definition of animal cruelty and neglect which has been very vague and nebulous.

We must protect both our companion animals and their owners' property rights. HB 2482 is a step in the right direction. NO ONE in the state of Virginia should be ignorant of what felony animal cruelty really IS. Felony animal cruelty should NOT be "whatever the prosecution or an Animal Rights vigilante says it is". Everyone in our state should be innocent of a crime until proven guilty. HB 2482 helps to ensure that presumed innocence.

Vickie Littleton writes:

HB 2482 will also remove a scary conflict of interest which I did not realize was allowed under present law. Right now a Humane Investigator could seize all your animals and turn around and sell them through their rescue organization for a tidy profit. If you did not have the money to pay the seizure bond UP FRONT ( likely 10 dollars per day per animal until the court case came to trial) you would likely be signing them over to avoid prosecution even though completely innocent.

Vickie Littleton writes:

Peel back the lips on that old poodle or kitty on your couch and see if there is a Felony Animal Cruelty case lurking in your own house. You were "waiting for your next paycheck?" Not a defense. Your vet thought you needed to have the dog on antibiotics for 14 days first? Not a defense. He's really old and you are more afraid of the anesthesia risk than the risk of dental disease progression--NOT a defense.

Walt Hutchens writes:

Waldo Jaquith's point is well taken, although news accounts do not explain what tactics were used. Of course if the tactics WERE visible (to anyone but the accused person who has zero credibility, right?) they wouldn't still exist.

But here are news (and one firsthand) accounts for three cases in which all but one of the various tactics I mentioned were used. I cannot find a news account for the Katie Docken case.

Dave Winesett (Carroll Cty)

http://www2.wsls.com/news/2008/nov/14/63_dogs_seized_from_home_in_hillsville-ar-391466/
http://tinyurl.com/6aw6dhs

http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/188126
http://tinyurl.com/4r7rzc

The Winesett case is unique in that he got his animals back because the required hearing wasn't held quickly enough. However I believe he sold them to Angels of Assisi so he never actually took custody.

Oak Leaf Kennels/Kyle Brydges

http://www2.newsvirginian.com/news/2009/aug/26/breeder_barred_from_owning_dogs-ar-301003/
http://tinyurl.com/68xw5tw

Rainbow's End Kennels/Jean Cyhanic

http://www2.newsvirginian.com/news/2010/jul/20/dog_breeder_faces_69_charges-ar-412511/
http://tinyurl.com/5to29cv

Ms. Cyhanic was subsequently convicted; here's a news report.

http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=123451&catid=257
http://tinyurl.com/4jaeef4

The best account of her trial (and summary of the whole case) was written by my wife:

http://got50.blogspot.com/2010/12/trial-of-jean-payne-cyhanick.html
http://tinyurl.com/5udx8rt

AFAIK this case is almost unique in going to trial: The tactics mentioned earlier (and others not mentioned) are so effective that close to 100% of accused owners plead guilty.

For example, Ms. Cyhanick faced a potential almost 70 years imprisonment vs. a fine with no jail time if she took a plea. Sure, the worst probably wouldn't happen ... If you had been her would you have bet the next 70 years on 'probably wouldn't happen'?

We can't fix that with a change in the law -- it is a standard enforcement/prosecution tactic to run up the number of charges as far as possible so they can get a plea bargain rather than having to prove anything in court. But some of the other things that made it impossible for any targeted person with multiple animals to escape conviction -- yes, I mean ANY person -- CAN be fixed.

She is appealing her conviction.

elaine hanson writes:

Waldo asked for information verifying that someone had been subjected to abusive prosecution based on the irrational aspects of the present law that would be largely correted by HB2482. The December 10, 2010 post at this blog will describe the need for passage of this bill.
http://got50.blogspot.com/

With the passage of HB2482 Virginia will still have laws against animal cruelty; it will still have authority to enforce them and impose consequences on those who abuse or severely neglect pets; humane treatment of animals will still be the the legal standard and the expectation of the community. But the misuse of those laws to harass and extinguish the livelihood or hobby of someone that breeds dogs will be curbed.

Sherry Sweet writes:

Since when did our "animals" begin to have more rights than our children. Our children deal with more abuse than this on a daily basis and they are not taken away from their "owners". Parents are not required to take their children to the dentist (tartar-disease progression? EVC yes) nor are they required to go to the eye doctor (cateracts -disease progression? EVC yes). Parents decide when to take thier children to the doctor. Are the veterinarians to become "police" of our animals now. What about a Law suit if they don't comply? Or that veterinarians quit because they fear a law suit or want to help pet owners without fear. Or, Maybe this will just drive up veterinarian prices to cover law suits. Fear of the law is not a good reason for people not to be able to own or sell animals!! Not everyone should be a criminal but with the current bill as is all pet owners are. Everything is true with what happened the the VA breeder, I know this person personally. See www.got50.blogspot.com for the story. Please support this bill.

Jean Cyhanick writes:

Mr. Mayfield, There is no way animal rights can be protected if the owners of the animals rights are not protected. The laws in Va. are so vague and so easily manipulated that it is very easy for anyone with any agenda to persecute an individual simply because they don't like them or disagree with thier life style. [ they don't like animals, niegbors cat/dog defecated in your yard, your religious beliefs, color, race.] Any reason that you can think of] So they get back at you by turning you in. All anyone has to do is report you for not properly taking care of your animals. The next thing you know you are in court for animal cruelty because your pet, spilled thier food/water, rolled in the mud or something stinky , hasn't been to the groomers in 6 months, has runny eyes,has fleas,a skin problem or as in my case, tarter on thier teeth. Now think of the cost of defending yourself, your animals most likely are already gone, and because the laws can be defined in so many ways you are going to be convicted, fined, possibly jailed,you can no longer own a companion animal without court permission and in Va. you can no longer sell a companion amimal in your life time. Your name and reputation are ruined and there is really nothing you can do. You have know rights. Lawyers are very expensive and can't do much anyway except buffer. Think about it. What defence are you going to use. You were guilty befor you even got to court.

Jean Cyhanick writes:

Let me address the issue of what happens if your dogs are taken in a raid.This is befor you have even gone to court to prove quilt or innocents. To punish you by taking you animals is saying YOU ARE GUILTY! The animals are for all intent and purppose toally lost to you at that point. You have to be very rich and it takes a very long time going through the court system. And if you were [ not much chance ] declare innocent it doesn't matter your beloved pets are long gone. And who knows what horrible things happen to them after they are out of sight.There is no way to find out either. As for me in a way I was lucky. I got to keep my dogs till after court. Then I was given 90 days to GIVE them away I had to give away about $45,ooo.00 dollars worth of dogs and puppies. Now some one else is breeding and making money from dogs I had to give away.Do I think my dogs are better off? NO I don't. I took the best of care of my dogs, Heat in the winter Cool in the summer, plenty of good quality food, adaquate medical, no fleas, worm or mites. plenty of room to run and play. healthy happy well socialized. But I did not know that tarter and minor gum desease or healed eyes were major emergency care situations, course niether did my vets. I also did not know that a spayed female was a primary breeder, or that my daughters dog which I was watching while she was on vacation was my property and a primary breeder of mine. Don't believe that how I was convicted check it out for yourself on www.got50.blogspot.com .

Jean Cyhanick writes:

So these are the issues we are trying to fix in HB2482. We are suppose to have the right to be innocent till proven guilty in a court of law. We are supposed to be puninsh as suitable to the crime. Laws are suppose to be clear and concise. there should be only one way to interpret any law.Ordinary people should be able to understand exactly what a law says/mean. that is what we are trying to do with HB2482. So please vote yes for it.

betty writes:

Finally some common sense! This bill restores my faith in folks!

Laurella Desborough writes:

This bill would be a step forward to protect animal owners and their animals. From my observation of animals "confiscated" by officials under the use of "cruelty laws" in several state, the situation for the animals is far worse and sometimes fatal than the situation from which they were removed. IMO these confiscations are not about real animal abuse, they are part of the animal rights agenda to remove animals from their owners, and most especially to remove breeding animals. Let us hope this proposed law is put in place so that some protection is afforded to all those responsible animal breeders who are now being treated so outrageously under present state abuse laws.

Sandy Mesmer writes:

This law is a first step to a common sense approach to the problem of animal abuse. I have gotten so used to seeing scary bills that will end up making things worse that I am taken by very pleasant surprise. Bravo!! Kudos to everyone involved.

Jay Kitchener writes:

Folks in Maine are watching this bill very closely. We have similar laws. Congratulations to everyone involved for getting this important bill to this point. Good luck in your efforts. We are with you in spirit!

Marjorie Westman writes:

Stop the harassment of good people who truly care for, provide for, and love their animals with all their heart, by the Animal Mafia who only wants to destroy our way of living.

John B. Blake writes:

This bill is an attack on the right to have quality pure-bred dogs and the people that are that right's enablers.

Wiking41 writes:

A step in the right direction. As owners we need to get involved in the fight to keep our pets, our pets. They are not wards of the state. If we allow the PETA, HSUS types to control the agenda, we will have lost. If they win, it is only a matter of time before pure breed dogs and cats will be a thing of the past. Ultimately, there will be no pets. It past time for the true lovers of pets stand up and fight the animal rights groups.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Walt, I read over all of those news stories, and I've got to say—not a one of them contains a word about animal abuse laws being misapplied. In fact, these places getting shut down sound like your classic puppy mills to me. I'm no expert, but 180 dogs? Really? The very trial that you present as such a miscarriage of justice was decided on by a jury of the accused's peers. It's not like this was some wildly inappropriate charge that wasn't substantiated—Ms. Cyhanick was found guilty after a three-day trial. If she was found not guilty, I think you'd have a legitimate gripe here. But that's not the case.

I think there are a couple of red flags here. The first is the mish-mash of changes in this bill. Some of them serve to tie judges' hands, while others make the law less stringent to give judges more freedom. Bills frequently do one or the other, but doing both is uncommon. The second is this business of allowing the abuser to retain the animal. The existing law says that abused "animals shall be subject to seizure and impoundment." This bill changes it to say that abused "animals shall be subject to seizure and impoundment by such dealer or pet shop." How can a breeder impound their own dog? What does that even mean?

Why would this bill eliminate prevention of progression of a (serious) disease as a violation of the law? The existing law prohibits withholding treatment to a) stabilize a life-threatening condition b) alleviate suffering c) prevent further disease transmission or d) prevent further disease progression. This bill would eliminate D. That can't be deliberate, can it? Who would want that?

Walt, I'm puzzled by your criticism of the SPCA. What ulterior motive do you believe that the SPCA has to preserve the existing law?

The more I look at this, the more I suspect that this is a bill that's designed to create a larger gray area for the mistreatment of animals, allowing third-class breeders to increase their profit margin by reducing their medical expenses. I don't know that's the case, but it sure looks like it.

Ginger Johnston writes:

Virginia has been hit hard from the animal rights movement since Michael Vick and Virginia was shamed as the "Virginia is for animal fighters state". The laws were created so that dog owners were very vulnerable from those who are of the vegan animal rights movement camp and sometimes hold jobs in AC, humane officer jobs, or some operating private shelters or santuaries, with humane enforcement recognition and may have a different persuasion regarding animals and animal abuse. Often a warrant is obtained, dogs are taken,no questions asked, charges dropped. Dogs are gone. No questions asked. Owner has no day in court and can only sue at a cost of 30-100,000 dollars. Damage is done, no questions asked. It is probably impossible for most to pay an attorney 20 to 50 thousand dollars, then pay a large unmoderated bill for animals care if found not guilty as the bills submitted to owners are usually monumental, so that no one could afford to pay the caretakers. Dogs are still gone. I could be looked at as theft under law though it evidently is perfectly legal. HB2482 puts responsibility on the owner, allows them to defend themselves and if not guilty, allows the dogs not to be disrupted and removed from their home at additional insurmountable cost to the owner. If a minor problem needs to fixed can be negoiated after a trial and during the time animals are "detained on owners property" and can be done at owners expense. The potential shelters are not burdened, the owner is not burdened with unknown monetary charges that have no ceiling, and in cases all animals are seized when only one may be cited with any abuse charges. This tatic also burdens the shelters and counties, why include animals except the animal in eminent danger? This bill seems to be the answer all around. It in no way excuses any abuse to any animal. Thank you for sponsoring HB 2482. This is truly a bill about animal welfare and not removing an animal without just cause because of someone's non-medical based interpretation of what is a medical emergency.

Michele writes:

If someone can be accused of abuse for dental disease i.e., accumulated tartar, then many owners of the breed I rescue will be accused of abuse. Their tartar accumulation can happen very quickly, and putting a dog under anesthesia too often is much more dangerous than tartar accumulation. To me, a dog with tartar makes a better pet than one who died from anesthesia.

John Doppler Schiff writes:

This bill is an obscenity that guts animal protections to defend puppy millers and hoarders.

If this law had been in effect when Katie Dokken's abused poodles were seized, she would have been permitted to keep the dogs in those foul conditions. The dogs would have been returned to her for further abuse. Middleburg Humane Foundation would have been unable to rescue the animals. The state would not be reimbursed for costs incurred in rescuing the dogs. She would be permitted to acquire more dogs and abuse them. And she would be permitted to sell sickly and abused dogs on the internet, even after her conviction.

Unsurprisingly, the pro-puppy mill, industry-funded smear campaign at HumaneWatch is urging its complement of puppy millers and backyard breeders to flood this board with comments favoring the bill.

No person who cares about the welfare of animals over profiting from their suffering could support a heinous bill like this.

I can only hope that delegates with more of a conscience than Mr. Ware predominate in Virginia.

Jean Cyhanick writes:

Mr. Waldo Jacqasth. You must be trained by the hsus. It seems you can not keep you facts strait either. I DID NOT have 180 dogs!!I had 56 dogs. A jury of my peers?? If you were a specialist with years of experiance would you consider ordinary people your peers?? That jury new nothing except the lies they were told. This was indeed some wildly inappropriate charge and it was not substantiated!! the only red flag here is the one you are inappriately waving with your twisting of the facts.You are doing exactly what the courts did twisting, redefining and falsifying the facts. See folks how easily it is done. It is a fact I was convicted of cruelty because my dogs had dirty teeth and some minor gum desease. five dogs out of 56 and two with healed eyes. 7 charges of cruelty all of which had been veted by local vets, four already done and 3 with appointments. So please every one get the truth befor you speak and check it out make sure it is the truth.DON"T TRUST THE MEDIA OR THE NEWSPAPERS.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

You must be trained by the hsus.

"Hsus"? You mean the Humane Society? Well, no, I'm not sure what they'd train me to do—I'm not a vet or anything. But is there something wrong with the Humane Society? I don't know much about them, but they're really not generally known as an objectionable group. A dog breeder who is opposed to the Humane Society seems like a disturbing prospect. Like a doctor who's opposed to the Red Cross. It's pretty fishy.

I DID NOT have 180 dogs!!

You said you had 180 dogs: "I had about 180 dogs when the commercial breeder law passed, so I had to cut back a lot." Were you misquoted by Sharyn Hutchens?

A jury of my peers?? If you were a specialist with years of experiance would you consider ordinary people your peers??

Yes. That's how the American judicial system works. "A jury of your peers" doesn't refer to your friends, nor your business associates, but to people from every walk of life who live in the same area as you. The sort of judicial system that you're looking for is not the United States judicial system. I'd be surprised if it existed anywhere in the world.

the only red flag here is the one you are inappriately waving with your twisting of the facts.You are doing exactly what the courts did twisting, redefining and falsifying the facts.

That's not true. What facts am I "twisting"? What I have I "falsified"?

DON"T TRUST THE MEDIA OR THE NEWSPAPERS.

Can I trust Sharyn Hutchens? She's my only source of information for this. If you don't like what I've written about you here, you should really take it up with her.

Maria K writes:

Of course all the breeders (breeders= generally people who contribute nothing to society but are happy to burden society) come out and claim they have been abused by a system that, if not for their greed and abuses, would not have to exist.

Whether 180 or 56 dogs, pull you heads out and look around....hundreds of thousands of animals are euthanized every year, and rampant, poor breeding operations are primarily to blame.

I think it us safe to say that if anyone with a clue would walk into one of the mills being defended here they would be appauled.

MeLoveless writes:

The animal laws in place now are WAY to vague and too open to interpretation.

The people crying that this new bill will allow people to continue abusing animals obviously dont understand the bill. If an animal is truly being mistreated or abused then the animals WILL still be seized and not kept at the owners property or pet store. DO you not understand that? Maybe you should seek someone trained in the law and unbiased to explain the bill to you better instead of jumping to conclusions or just listening to propaganda from the SPCA or HSUS or those who also have personal "gain" in seeing this bill not pass.

There are many cases like Jean's were there we no reason to remove the dogs and thankfully they didnt in Jean's case. All this law does is prevent over zealous, glory seeking, or those who stand to personally benefit from removing animals that DONT need to be removed. If they need to be removed they still WILL have the power to be under this bill.

ONCE AGAIN IN TRUE CASES OF ABUSE UNDER HB2482 THE ANIMALS WILL BE REMOVED STILL. THIS BILL DOES NOT STOP ANIMALS FROM BEING REMOVED IN REAL AND TRUE CASES OF NEGLECT, ABUSE, AND CRUELTY.

As far as preventing disease progression yes that NEEDS to be removed. Why? Because its unconstitutionally vague. Does that mean it doesnt need to be a law? Not necessarily. However if its going to be law then it needs to be better defined and more clear. It should not fall under emergency medical treatment.

As once again shown in Jean's case, where she had her dogs taken to 2 separate vets and they both declared that there was no medical emergency and set up later appointments for some of the dogs. Now what are you supposed to do? You take your dogs to 2 vets and they say no this isnt a medical emergency. So what you continue to take them to vets until you find one that says it is?

What is the time frame on you finding a vet who says it is before your committing cruelty? Disease progression itself isnt defined. Something that leads to further illness or death? I mosquito bite could lead to further illness, death, or disease progression, heck even life itself leads to illness and death.

So if I dont take my animal to the vet for a cure for life or every time it has an itch for "emergency medical treatment" Im committing abuse, well thats what the current law says.... So anyone owning an animal under the current bill is guilty of cruelty in some way!

This is exactly why bill hb2482 has been proposed and what it will change.

The current law offers no answers for these situations and leaves it open for any person to twist around to suit their needs.

To be honest I havent heard a valid argument on why this new bill is bad. All the arguments I have seen seem to just be from lack of understanding the bill.

This bill in NO way allows more abuse or mistreatment of animals. Nor does it lessen the punishment for those who are TRULY guilty of abuse. In my opinion it serves the animals and the people better.

Not forcing dogs into shelters that DONT need to be there, while still protecting the REAL cases of animals that do, clarifying the definition of emergency vet care and removing an unconstitutionally vague state of disease progression, all the while protecting the owners constitutional rights.

Virginia Johnson writes:

Please vote yes on this bill. It makes sense

Vickie Littleton writes:

All serious dog breeders are opposed to the anti-animal agenda of the Humane Society of the United States. I'm not talking about puppy millers but serious hobby breeders who never make a dime of profit. the Humane Society of the United States is NOT a Humane Society, it runs NO animal shelters--it is a lobbying organization.

MeLoveless writes:

@Maria K. I have been to 2 of the "mills" being defended here and I do have a "clue" as you put it and they are the furthest thing from mills as humanly possible. The kennels were in better condition then most SPCA's, and even private boarding establishments I have seen and the dogs were treated FAR better. By your statements you obviously HAVE NOT seen the locations yourself.

I personally do not breed any animals, I do have my own house pets and I can see the problem with the current laws. I will never agree with any law that says I "abuse" or am guilty of "cruelty" if I dont take one of my very spoiled and well loved pets to the vet for "emergency medical treatment" every time it has an itch or if Im a month late on getting their teeth cleaned. Which is exactly some over zealous, greedy, power driven, or any other reason you want to find humane officer, state vet, etc can charge me with for the exact scenarios I gave above under the current law.

You dont have to be a breeder for the the current laws to affect you or apply to you. THEY APPLY TO EVERYONE, if you own 1 dog or 180. If your 1 dog has tarter on its teeth, or an itch that you didnt take it for "emergency medical treatment", then YOU are GUILTY of Cruelty under the current law.. I dont see how any person "with a clue" could agree with that.

Noone here is trying to allow true puppy mills and cases of abuse to get a free pass, and that is NOT what HB2482 allows either. However it does force clarification of the current laws and removes aspects that are far too open-ended to be considered fair in any form or fashion.

Vickie Littleton writes:

Yes, it is important to understand that if HB 2842 passes, truly endangered or abused animals or animals that have a medical emergency WILL still be able to be seized and impounded away from the owner's property. That will not change.

Verjean Lunenschloss writes:

Well, I'm not a Virginian, I'm currently live in Texas. BUT...we have many of these same types of laws on the books...and you don't need specific cases to look at state statute.

The SPCA about five years ago, in conjuction with THLN, was able to pass a law that allows animals to be taken from you PERMANENTLY WITHOUT a finding of guilt in a court of law. They wished to "speed" the legal process along, so that animals didn't "languish" in shelters during trials. (Who needs due process, anyway...?)

Currently in Texas, if your animals are seized...a hearing MUST be held within ten days (usually it's between 48 and 72 hours...giving you virtually no time to find legal representation or prepare a defense. If you find an attorney, good luck with a continuance.)

This is a hearing, NOT a trial. This is to determine whether there is enough evidence, in this judge's opinion, to hold this over for trial, or for which charges should be sought. IT IS NOT A TRIAL. NO GUILT OR INNOCENCE IS DETERMINED HERE. JUST A PREPONDERANCE of evidence.

In Texas, these hearings are usually in a JP court. A JP does not have to be an attorney or have formal education in the law. It is an elected position, and requires a few hours of legal training. It is also NOT a court of record, so no transcript or record of the the proceedings is kept. In many cases, the JP is politically connected to the local politicians or leaders. We are also finding that the "same" JP courts are hearing these cases, whether they are occurring within their jurisdiction, or not. So a court that might not even be "your" court...is hearing a case, because the folks performing the seizure have a "friendly" judge. Technically, judges CAN hear cases outside their jurisdiction, but only if the other court has a conflict of interest, or is not otherwise able to hear it with the ten day requirement. Again, a technicality is being abused.

The JP has the power, without a finding of guilt, to determine the fate of the animals. And if he decides they should be taken from the owner, the owner, historically, has had NO option. Even if the owner went to court, and was found "not guilty", he cannot recover his animals. They have long since been placed or killed.

As Walt pointed out...at the hearing, so many different charges are threatened...with incredible fines and jail sentences...that owners simply "cave" and plea bargain. In most cases, charges are NEVER filed. In some cases, these have gone to trial, and the owners found not guilty. They still cannot recover their animals, which were placed or euthanized right after the hearing.

We have made some in-roads to alleviating some of this "pain", but it comes in the form of a "bond", to be paid by the owner. Without the bond, the JP can place the animals just like before. And if you go to court and are found not guilty, the bond is NOT recoverable. If you own more than three or four animals, the bond is so extremely expensive, it is beyond the scope of most folks to be able to afford it. By the way, in the District Courts where some of these laws have been challenged...an appeal bond is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. BUT, those courts have also ruled that taking the animals without a finding of GUILT in a court of record, is also UNCONSTITUTIONAL. But, those district courts are not here. And it's expensive appealing to that level...over $100,000 for the Louisville Kennel Club. Most folks, most owners, don't have that kind of money...so they give up their animals...whether they are guilty or not. Every day, there are more media reports of shelters operating nefariously. And if not all-out illegally, certainly unethically. Far too many of these seizures of animals never seen in such deplorable conditions, so starved, so ill, so unsocialized, that are up for adoption two days later, that one MUST wonder. Animals claimed to be in that kind of condition, are not healthy two days, or one week later.

This is such an abuse of the citizen that I can't believe we are even discussing it. In far too many of these cases, the owners are not guilty. In far too many of these cases, the owners have lost their animals. The problem was never that laws didn't exist to protect animals...the problem was they were not enforced. So, in the rush to make prosecuting "easy" and in the name of "protecting" animals...we have thrown due process out the window, and not protected the animals AT ALL! Most animals seized, will die by needle...few find homes. And if those animals truly were not in danger to begin with, then a real sin is being committed, and someone with an agenda other than their welfare, is lying to us.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I will never agree with any law that says I "abuse" or am guilty of "cruelty" if I dont take one of my very spoiled and well loved pets to the vet for "emergency medical treatment" every time it has an itch or if Im a month late on getting their teeth cleaned.

The law doesn't say that. You're attacking a straw man here. Y'all spend a lot of time claiming that this law says things that it doesn't say. If that's the effect of the law, can't you simply document that? A newspaper article? A radio story? Any legitimate source of information? Even your prime example here— Ms. Cyhanick—was convicted by a jury, so isn't this business of "a dog was seized because it had an itch" really specious?

All serious dog breeders are opposed to the anti-animal agenda of the Humane Society of the United States. I'm not talking about puppy millers but serious hobby breeders who never make a dime of profit. the Humane Society of the United States is NOT a Humane Society, it runs NO animal shelters--it is a lobbying organization.

Please explain, Vickie. I want to learn more. Why would breeders be opposed to the Humane Society? Why would you call them "anti-animal"—isn't protecting animals the entire reason that they exist? It never occurred to me that they'd run shelters (that's what the SPCAs do), and I don't see what's wrong with lobbying.

I just skimmed through the Humane Society Wikipedia entry, and from what I've read there, they seem like they're generally a fine group. And they've done a great deal of work to shut down puppy mills. That seems like it's not a coincidence.

Again, please, educate me. Educate all of us. Why makes the Humane Society so bad for animals?

Walt Hutchens writes:

Some of the views here are clearly from animal rightists; there's no point in debating that. I would ask those who consider breeders of pets to be the source of all evils exactly where they want future pets to come from. In dogs, 'accidents' are the source of maybe half the supply, do you want to see more of that? Hobby breeders are something
like 3-5% and there is NO chance of a substantial increase. (Too expensive and increasingly dangerous.) And commercial breeders are nearly all of the rest. Importing of puppies for resale is now illegal but the practice continues to grow, partly because USDA hasn't written regulations to enforce the new law and partly because puppies flow across our borders even more easily than illegal people.

Imported puppies, of course, come from commercial breeders in foreign countries. Some doubtless are excellent, but they operate out of reach of U.S. law.

Shelter dogs that aren't adopted (are euthanized) are something like 10-15% of the annual requirement for 'new dogs.' Even if they were all adoptable (and people WANTED the large 'teenager' types that are most common) they wouldn't make much of a dent in the demand. SO -- hate breeders as much as you like, but we supply over 90% of the dogs each year and the only possible change is who does the breeding. If you want it done mostly by Mexican and hidden 'moonshine' commercial breeders then go ahead and support laws like those VA already has that are rapidly making it really stupid to breed in the open.

MeLoveless writes:

@Waldo: The current law in fact says very little to clarify its meaning, that IS the problem with it. It has an open ended vagueness that could IMPLY just about anything anyone wanted to charge you with. Hence why I said the current law is unconstitutionally vague. The point of my examples is to show how unjust the current laws are and what they can be used for if one so desired.

What I wrote is what CAN happen under the current law. As to whether or not you believe Jean's case proves this is up to you. I think Jean's case DOES prove it. If you had been in the courtroom and saw what I did you might understand better as well. However I'm not sure it can ever be explained to someone who is not open-minded.

A better question is how many cases and INNOCENT people will it take to prove that the current law is bad and needs to be revised?

How many innocent people must suffer and lose their pets or their livelihoods because of an unclear definition of "emergency medical treatment" or under a general catch all submission of "prevent disease progression".

Do you want to wait till YOU are the one they are charging with cruelty because you didnt brush your dogs teeth enough before you decide its time to clarify the current laws?

Do you really think its fair to take someones dog away from them forever because there is tarter on the dogs teeth?

Even though the dog is in good health, has no health issues, receives fresh food and water daily. Has indoor and outdoor large spaces to live in with heat and cooling, Including toys, affection, regular attention etc?

Yet they can take your dog away FOREVER just for tarter on its teeth or an OLD HEALED eye wound or scar. Once again that is what happened in Jean's case and is what the current laws allow.

Do you really think there doesnt need to be some sort of clarification here or a better check and balance system? That is what HB2482 will provide.

Never once did I say there didnt need to be laws or that all of our current laws are bad. However there needs to be clarification and bad portions of the law removed and replaced with more fitting provisions.

Once again though I would like to iterate that anyone who is TRULY guilty of animal abuse will be sheltered by the HB2482 bill. Nor will it prevent animals from being taken and put in shelters if the owners/pet stores are REALLY committing abuse or cruelty, and if convicted of cruelty animal owners/pet shops still face punishments for their crimes and they will still lose their animals in cases of TRUE abuse or cruelty.

IMO this bill helps to alleviate the strain put on shelters, will reduce the amount of animals put to sleep each year, and still looks after the best interests of the animals since they can still be ceased in true cases of abuse, while protecting the human rights. It also clarifies the law and removes portions of the existing law that are unconstitutionally vague.

Im sorry but if you see a downside to this bill then please by all means let me know what your concern for the bill is. Instead of all this arguing maybe we can spend some time clarifying just what you are worried about with HB2482.

Sharyn Hutchens writes:

Waldo, the Wikipedia entry is written by HSUS staff. www.Humanewatch.org
www.activistcash.com
www.naiaonline.org
www.ncraoa.com/HSUS.html
www.pet-law.com
www.saova.org
There's a whole lot about this movement you need to learn.
And by the way, of course Jean was found guilty. That is the whole point of the change in the emergency vet treatment definition...saying it includes anything that could "progress" means it technically includes fleas (progresses to flea bite allergy), any minor limp (could get worse), upchucking dinner (hey, you never know), a bout of diarrhea, and on and on. There is really no vet care beyond vaccinations and spay/neuter that would not be considered an emergency under their definition. This is definitely a "gotcha" part of the law that can be used to get anyone who gets on the wrong side of animal control. In most places, animal control is honest -- in some places, it's staffed by wannabe cops who are looking for somewhere to flex muscle, and backed by the animal rights fanatics, breeders give them a great target.
You strike me as a very smart guy -- read up on the animal rights movement.

Walt Hutchens writes:

Most dogs survive a seizure, although special needs animals and young puppies often don't and they will be exposed to far more disease at the shelter or many rescues than would have been the case at home.

Cats, not so much. Cats frequently die in shelters, partly because they're not as hardy and partly because most shelters already have more cats than they can find homes for. As for reptiles, birds, and exotic animals, survival rates post-seizure are dreadful: These animals generally require a very specific environment and skilled, specialized handling and care.

In addition, the owner OWNS his animals: Society should have a good reason for taking away property. The replacement cost of a small dog
for breeding might be around $500; taking away 30 dogs is an instant fine of $15,000. Should this be possible on the say-so of a humane investigator? Shouldn't there be protections for the owner?

In Virginia today there are two legal justifications for pet animal seizure:

1. The animal is in imminent danger. Maybe it is sick enough to need vet care NOW, maybe it has been starved to the point of danger, maybe the owner is violently abusive (so who knows what he'll do next) ... and so on.

I doubt anyone has a problem with seizure in such cases. HB 2482 wouldn't change that.

2. The animal has been 'deprived of adequate care.' Now this is a lot harder to pin down. What exactly is 'adequate shelter, adequately cleaned'? Our law doesn't tell you much more except that the animal must be able to keep clean and dry.

While there are cases of deprivation of adequate care that should be acted on even though the animal is not in imminent danger, when a judgment call is required there will be ignorant or agenda-driven mistakes made leading to owners wrongly deprived of animals and animals unnecessarily taken from good homes.

Even twenty years ago this wasn't a significant problem: The animal rights movement had no real power and nearly all enforcement was by paid officers with a husbandry background. Now we have animal rightists in the offices of the VA State Veterinarian, and the Attorney General, at the top of several large local SPCAs and local animal shelters, and in the ranks of ACOs; we also have 'humane investigators' -- unpaid volunteer animal law enforcement, many of whose members are corrupt or incompetent.

We still have some appropriate seizures (those 'cat lady' cases where the house is torn down immediately afterward are examples) but we have far too many that are not. And once the animals are taken, the evidence about the conditions in which they lived is destroyed. All that is left is the testimony of the seizing officer and pictures that she took. The owner cannot bring in witnesses, have another veterinarian examine the animals or take her own pictures.

Seizures also cost money. There are always police involved, vehicles and carriers for the animals are needed and the animals will have to be cared for in the new location. If they were not in danger in the owner's care, why not leave them there, with animal control telling the owner what to do and checking up to see that it gets done? Of
course if the owner can't, won't, or doesn't provide the care then the animals must be seized anyway but that's rare.

After the raid, the owner can be charged with appropriate offenses. He can be given a plea bargain in which he surrenders his animals, OR if he believes he is innocent, go to trial. If he's convicted the court can impose forfeiture and payment of costs as part of his sentence. If
he's innocent then he hasn't lost his animals (and they haven't been endangered) and very little money has been wasted.

Seizure for profit is a growing problem. How? Well, our so-called seizure bond law allows the court to require you to pay $10/day/dog IN ADVANCE for the animal's care. That's much more than the actual cost for the shelter to provide care, so if you pay, the shelter comes out ahead.

However AFAIK no VA owner has ever been able to pay. Animals are always forfeited and can be sold. Since most 'all the animals' seizures now are nearly 100% healthy animals, they can be sold immediately. Typical price: $300/dog, and people literally line up to buy them.

The dirty little secret of the shelter/rescue business: As dog overpopulation ends, their business is vanishing. Cats and unwanted young adult larger dogs, often with 'issues' -- that's what they mostly have. Breeder 'busts' (which supply mainly puppies and popular small breed dogs) are an important source of income to some animal shelters and rescues.

(Some rural areas in VA and farther south still DO have dog overpopulation, but those shelters are hardly ever involved in abusive seizures.)

Is allowing for-profit law enforcement a good idea?

We need to shift the emphasis from taking all the animals to leaving them in place unless there is a specific per-animal reason for their removal. HB 2482 does that.

NATURALLY the for-profit raiders and I-HATE-BREEDERS shelters and human investigators dislike this bill. But it's the right thing to do for Virginians and for our animals.

K Peak writes:

I am writing to ask that you support HB 2482. This bill clarifies vaguenesses in the current Virginia Animal Cruelty laws and addressed what constitutes a medical emergency. People who are not trained veterinarians should not be making decisions on what is a medical emergency. Currently, VA state law allows for this to happen. I, as a registered Virginia voter and person who has devoted her life to trying to help and in many respects, save animals am more than happy to discuss why HD 2482 is an excellent and fair bill.

I would like to give you a "real world" scenario (following my signature) that pet owners face daily: medical treatment for a pet that does not have a medical emergency but because of the vagueness of Virginia laws, may be considered animal abuse/neglect, though in reality, is it?

Thank you so much and please, support HS 2482

Why we need HB 2482.

This is an excellent bill and is really about animal welfare and fair laws as opposed to just randomly hauling a pet away without just cause because of someone's non-medically based interpretation of what is a medical emergency.

Here is a very real scenario: you have a dog with a cyst. You bring the dog to the vet and an aspiration shows nothing really to worry about so you and the vet decide that since it is small and not bothering the dog, just let it be and monitor. Over time, the cyst begins to grow but is still not bothering the dog. It is winter and the dogs loves to be outside. The vet rechecks the cyst and you two determine that it should be OK to wait for a spring removal so the dog can enjoy being outside. If the cyst changes, then the surgery can be moved up. Well, just before the holidays, the cyst changes dramatically within a few days. You call the vet clinic to get another check. They fit you in, clean the cyst up, give you medication and give you an appointment for a week later. There really is nothing sooner as it is Christmastime. You have medication, care instructions and instructions to go to the local emergency clinic if it ruptures before the scheduled surgery.

During this time, your neighbor sees the cyst. He sees it for a few days and assumes you are not caring for the dog. How can a cyst that looks like this not be treated? He has no idea that you have medication, instructions and a surgery appointment. He calls in the authorities. Under the current vague laws regarding medical emergency and such, the person responding does not care that you have bills, have been in close contact with the vet and have a surgery scheduled in a couple days (the first day after New Year's). Though you can prove all this, the responding agent decides, without contacting a veterinarian, that you are negligent and confiscates all your animals because they may all be at risk. Under the current law, they can do this and you have basically no recourse because the laws are again, too vague here.

HB 2482 clarifies the vagueness. It gives more power to the responsible animal owners who are working closely with a vet, addressing issues, etc. Those animals truly in need and truly being abused and neglected will still be saved. They can still be confiscated. There is a big difference between a scenario as listed and someone who has been investigated a couple times, refused to comply and has shown no interest or attempt at complying to local laws.

Anyone who has put off a dental or addressing a non-emergency surgery, etc is at risk under current VA seizure laws. If you, as a legislator has ever waited to get a veterinarian issue addressed with a pet while you save money or just need one more pay check in, would be at risk too.

Please, if you care about animals and people, you will support this HB 2482.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

What I wrote is what CAN happen under the current law. As to whether or not you believe Jean's case proves this is up to you. I think Jean's case DOES prove it. If you had been in the courtroom and saw what I did you might understand better as well. However I'm not sure it can ever be explained to someone who is not open-minded.

I'm not sure how I could be any more open-minded here. I keep asking for y'all to explain, and you keep not doing it. Like what you're saying here: "you can only understand if you were sitting in this one courtroom this one time." That's another way of saying "nobody but a dozen people in the world could ever really understand, and you never could." That's just crazy.

Do you want to wait till YOU are the one they are charging with cruelty because you didnt brush your dogs teeth enough before you decide its time to clarify the current laws?

You people keep saying that, and I keep asking you to prove it. That's just nuts. Again, can you provide a single shred of evidence of a dog being taken away because its teeth were only brushed, say, once a month? And, no, some guy's blog entry doesn't count.

Waldo, the Wikipedia entry is written by HSUS staff. www.Humanewatch.org
www.activistcash.com
www.naiaonline.org
www.ncraoa.com/HSUS.html
www.pet-law.com
www.saova.org
There's a whole lot about this movement you need to learn.

Wait, so you're responding to an (ostensibly) biased source with a list of six biased sources? I call BS. Further, I just read through that Wikipedia entry's edit history and through the talk page—there is simply no evidence to support your claim. It's pure paranoia. After all, that Wikipedia entry has an entire section dedicated to criticism of the Humane Society. Anyhow, if biased sources are bad, fine—then show me an unbiased one about the Humane Society that supports your claims.

Y'all seem to trade in rumor and wild-eyed speculation, without any apparent ability to back it up with fact. I've been citing from the existing law and this bill, asking specific questions about their applicability, and y'all keep going on about how the animal police are going to break down our doors and steal our puppies. If this is such a widespread problem, if this is such a clear violation of the law, then prove it. There are ten thousand words here about how bad this law is, but I don't see a single legal explanation, court decision, newspaper article, nightly news report, or radio story that goes to that point. There's just a lot of paranoia and bizarre claims.

Babs writes:

Waldo,
The explanations have been abundant with calls for you to start opening your mind and start doing your own research. But, you may not care to because maybe you are in bed with HSUS. There is a wealth of information and answers to your questions both posted here and referenced elsewhere. Maybe you are looking for a particular answer that you are not getting or hearing things you don't want to hear?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

But, you may not care to because maybe you are in bed with HSUS.

WTF? I see we've gone to crazytown. I think I'm done here.

It's pretty clear to me now that this is just a bunch of sketchy dog breeders who want their sketchiness to be legal. Looks to me like there's a reason why regular pet owners aren't supporting this bill and a reason why the SPCA isn't supporting this bill. Y'all have this crazy conspiracy theory in which animal control officers are colluding with judges and animal shelters to seize breeders' dogs because...uh... Well, that's where the conspiracy theory ends. That's because there's no motive. Shelters are paid by the licensed animal in the area served—seizing animals unnecessarily is crazy. There's no motivation. On the other hand, there's plenty of motivation for puppy mill operators to want the law to be made more lax.

I can't trust any dog breeder who hates the SPCA. I'm not sure who could.

Dr. Barnes writes:

When anyone uses Wikipedia as your source you have to realize that HSUS controls the webpage on their entries and the entries on the term "puppy mill" which they made up to slander all dog breeders. Supposedly Wikipedia allows any expert to change something that is wrong, but is not entirely true as the original author has control and can choose to not allow the change. This is not your real expert peer reviewed information like old encyclopedia. This is why no student can use the internet or wikipedia for a source to support an argument as the information is primarily the propaganda of the person who controls the entry. University students can only use a vetted peer reviewed journal (meaning a variety of experts in the field check the validity of the statements and correct them). HSUS pays people to control the information printed about them. That is why the other websites are up to counteract the inhumane society's grab for money, power, and your pets. There is a 12 step agenda for animal rights groups. Step 10 is to shut down all breeding of pets. According to the animal rights agenda resent shelter populations will be sheltered by guardians until all domestic pets die off. Although Ingrid Newkirk and PeTA still adhere to the better off dead actions. No Pets is the goal of the animal rights movement. So it is clear animal rights groups do not care if the species dies out. Denying facts and many people in this comment section have given facts makes it clear that those who refuse all facts and call others biased has their own agenda. It isn't animal welfare because these bad laws cause more animals to die so the only other thing it does is to support organizations and people who want to end all pet ownership. If HSUS, PeTA or THLN were not abusive organizations then these other websites would not exist. I use to work for HSUS, but when they told us to leave the dogs behind in their crates after hurricane Katrina, I knew something was wrong. When our Director told the judge to kill 146 puppies we had just saved from a dog fighting operation, I was sure the HSUS was wrong. But, I kept going to the workshops because I thought they were just ignorant about animals but it became very clear that they were intentionally creating hate speech about all farmers, ranchers, dog breeders, and medical researchers. You were expected to hate these groups and you were expected to assume that everyone in these groups were evil. These people are zealots who do not care about animals as they no longer accept the fact that we need animals and or that the animals need us to survive as a species. Animal rights cult members are the new KKK. They believe it is right for them to make false charges and lie to the public in order to free all animals from human contact. They will never be satisfied until there are no more pets as for them it is their religion to believe that any use of an animal is wrong. It is a religion that they are trying through the improper use of law to impose their beliefs upon the rest of the world. Recently, Peter Singer the leader of the animal rights movement wrote an article for the New York Times in which he asked all of our young people to spay and neuter themselves and then party down until the last human being dies out. This is the sick mantra of the animal rights movement. The laws written by these groups do not protect animals their intent is to end animal ownership through harassment and hate speech just like the KKK tried to do by denigrating one race against another. Animal rights groups are all biased toward the elimination of all use of animals.

Sue W. writes:

Waldo says:
"It's pretty clear to me now that this is just a bunch of sketchy dog breeders who want their sketchiness to be legal."

Waldo, you as well as the current law, are pre judging all dog breeders and lumping them into one negative category. This, YOU do without knowledge or care of what the real story is behind each and everyone who is here in favor of this bill. Anyone in favor of this bill are ALL considered “Sketchy Dog Breeders” in your eyes!?!?

I’m no sketchy dog breeder, but I do own a few dogs, horses and cats and I don’t want a nasty neighbor to contact animal control making false accusations against me and as a result, the authorities find something (like tartar build up on a pet) and take away all my animals after threats of jail time and heavy fines.

What if there were vague laws about child endangerment issues. Laws that say if you don’t take your child in for emergency medical treatment for a cold, low grade fever or splinter (because it could progress into something life threatening), that your child would taken away due to your negligence and abuse and you’d possibly spend many thousands of dollars and jail time as a result? Should a law like that not be challenged and corrected?

There’s no conspiracy theory here, just people who see a vaguely written law that needs some tweaking, so it can not be twisted and manipulated. We want laws that will CLEARLY protect both the animals AND their owners.

Robin Starr writes:

I do not have the time to participate in all of this endless haranguing.It is simply not productive because there is no rational dialog possible with the proponents of this bill. I will simply make this observation: these innumerable and endlessly long posts document the insanity, irrationality and paranoia of the people who are promoting this irresponsible bill. I thank Waldo for his endurance, patience and good sense in admirably representing the cause of sanity. He says correctly that these people have gone to crazytown but they have actually gone on to the next station past crazytown when they start claiming that HSUS controls Wikipedia. The Richmond SPCA will do all it can to defeat this mean spirited bill and the insanity reflected in these comments has well demonstrated in a public forum why we must do so.

Amy writes:

This is a good bill. Owners - not just breeders - are in danger of having their pets removed for senseless reasons. How many people really brush their dogs teeth? And what if you have an aged dog and find out he has cancer? Do YOU want to be able to choose his treatment? What if he would be better off being put out of his suffering? Do YOU want someone else making that decision for you?

Karen writes:

Thank you, Dr. Barnes, for your well written insight into H$U$ and PETA. In NH, we shot down legislation like this in the "live free or die" state. We do a LOT of letter writing. We kicked out the representatives who voted for anti-breeder, and anti-pet legislation.

Robin Starr, you do not have a logical bone in your body and you use inflammitory rhetoric instead of logical arguements.

I do know from poodle owners, lists and inside knowledge, that the K. Dokken case was horrible. This should not give lisence to the state or animal officers to come and take your pets away for tarter. It is dangerous to put an older dog or cat under anesthesia for a dental. This loophole that VA is using to seize pets is disgusting. It would not fly in NH. Please vote yes on this bill...it is not something that is promoting poor breeders, it is promoting responsible pet ownership and responsible breeders.

Vickie Littleton writes:

Jean is right, NO animal will have rights unless their owners have rights. Animals are NOT better off going to the average pound or shelter before a court case unless the circumstances at home are pretty dire. If the situation is truly abusive, animals can still be seized, and removed from the owner's property. That will not change.

I'm noticing that to the Animal Rights fringe ALL dog breeders, no matter how responsible and caring, are "sketchy" and so are horse and cat breeders. "Breeding Is Murder" seems to be the slogan of the day.

It would be odd--not to mention terrifying to parents, if advocates for children took such an extreme anti-Parent stance.

D Mack writes:

@Robin Starr - you have to be able to be comprehend what you read. No one said that HSUS "controls Wikipedia". They DO control the Wikipedia page on HSUS. Why is that so "crazytown"? It makes perfect sense to me...most large businesses oversee their own Wikipedia pages. I used to (about 20 years ago when I was very young) be of the same mindset that you are. I thought breeder moratoriums sounded great, blah, blah, blah. Then a *rescue* person I was involved with showed me the other side of that thought and others. And I quickly realized that it's a slippery slope when we start limiting people's property rights. And often the only people these laws affect are the ones who aren't the problem in the first place. The fact of the matter is, Wayne & Co have an agenda...they want all animals for companionship and meat eliminated. They aren't concerned with welfare...they want elimination. Go research the things HSUS and Wayne Pacelle have said. These things are not hard to find. I'll check back with you down the road when no one is allowed to own dogs and cats and see if you think it's "crazytown" then. pfffftt.

Jean Cyhanick writes:

We are not asking for elimination of laws. We are ssking for clarification of laws.Do we as citerzens of the United States of America have the right to have laws we don't understand changed and made clear to even the least of us? Doesn't are constitution say ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUALY. Does that not mean all of us each and everyone should be able to understand exactly what the law says. And does it not also give us the right to ask for and get laws changed so that we can comprehend what they mean. We are not asking the laws be stuck down and done away with. We are asking they be made better/clearer. DO WE NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT.

Renee writes:

Excellent Bill-thank god they are finally doing something to protect the animal owners. The way these animals right groups are trying to terrorized the country and push their no animal, no meat agenda is unconstitutional. I am so glad to see a state standing up for their citizens rights!

I hope they continue to stand strong even thru the tirade of insults and threats from the animal right nut cases.

John Doppler Schiff writes:

Well said, Waldo! And yes, I'm afraid this discussion took the express route to Crazytown as soon as HumaneWatchers took it upon themselves to flood this board with misinformation.

They invariably rely on their "crazy vegans want to take away our rights" conspiracy theory, and that's when logic goes right out the window.

The battle lines are very clear here.

If you are concerned with protecting animals from abuse, you oppose this disgusting bill.

If you are more concerned with protecting your ability to hoard animals or breed dogs to death in filth and misery, you're in favor of it.

It's really that simple.

Ellen writes:

"It's pretty clear to me now that this is just a bunch of sketchy dog breeders who want their sketchiness to be legal. Looks to me like there's a reason why regular pet owners aren't supporting this bill and a reason why the SPCA isn't supporting this bill."

I fully agree with you. First of all there should be a law BANNING BREEDING. It's wrong, inhumane, and is just a way for people to make a quick buck without ANY regards to the animal. Why on earth would you EVER even think about protecting the owners? It's really pathetic and childish to see some of these comments on here. And "Renee", those animal rights "nut cases" are TRYING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE. You're just too ignorant to see that.

Also, it is TOO obvious that the majority of these people in favor of this ARE BREEDERS. So, since I actually have my head put on straight, I vote NO.

Judy G writes:

Thank you to Del Lee Ware for writing this sensible, reasonable bill. As an animal lover since birth, I am very much against the abuse/neglect of animals however, I am also against the abuse of my own species. I have seen to many crazed people given the power to needlessly abuse animal owners. They have in fact taken great pride in ruining peoples' lives for no valid reason. We are still in a country that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

Judy G writes:

Sorry, I hit submit before I was ready. I wanted to ad that this bill backs the constitutional right of a person being innocent until proven guilty.

Walt Hutchens writes:

Most dogs survive a seizure, although special needs animals and young puppies often don't and they will be exposed to far more disease at the shelter or many rescues than would have been the case at home.

Cats, not so much. Cats frequently die in shelters, partly because they're not as hardy and partly because most shelters already have more cats than they can find homes for. As for reptiles, birds, and exotic animals, survival rates post-seizure are dreadful: These animals generally require a very specific environment and skilled, specialized handling and care.

In addition, the owner OWNS his animals: Society should have a good reason for taking away property. The replacement cost of a small dog
for breeding might be around $500; taking away 30 dogs is an instant fine of $15,000. Should this be possible on the say-so of a humane investigator? Shouldn't there be protections for the owner?

In Virginia today there are two legal justifications for pet animal seizure:

1. The animal is in imminent danger. Maybe it is sick enough to need vet care NOW, maybe it has been starved to the point of danger, maybe the owner is violently abusive (so who knows what he'll do next) ... and so on.

I doubt anyone has a problem with seizure in such cases. HB 2482 wouldn't change that.

2. The animal has been 'deprived of adequate care.' Now this is a lot harder to pin down. What exactly is 'adequate shelter, adequately cleaned'? Our law doesn't tell you much more except that the animal must be able to keep clean and dry.

While there are cases of deprivation of adequate care that should be acted on even though the animal is not in imminent danger, when a judgment call is required there will be ignorant or agenda-driven mistakes made leading to owners wrongly deprived of animals and animals unnecessarily taken from good homes.

Even twenty years ago this wasn't a significant problem: The animal rights movement had no real power and nearly all enforcement was by paid officers with a husbandry background. Now we have animal rightists in the offices of the VA State Veterinarian, and the Attorney General, at the top of several large local SPCAs and local animal shelters, and in the ranks of ACOs; we also have 'humane investigators' -- unpaid volunteer animal law enforcement, many of whose members are corrupt or incompetent.

We still have some appropriate seizures (those 'cat lady' cases where the house is torn down immediately afterward are examples) but we have far too many that are not. And once the animals are taken, the evidence about the conditions in which they lived is destroyed. All that is left is the testimony of the seizing officer and pictures that she took. The owner cannot bring in witnesses, have another veterinarian examine the animals or take her own pictures.

Seizures also cost money. There are always police involved, vehicles and carriers for the animals are needed and the animals will have to be cared for in the new location. If they were not in danger in the owner's care, why not leave them there, with animal control telling the owner what to do and checking up to see that it gets done? Of
course if the owner can't, won't, or doesn't provide the care then the animals must be seized anyway but that's rare.

After the raid, the owner can be charged with appropriate offenses. He can be given a plea bargain in which he surrenders his animals, OR if he believes he is innocent, go to trial. If he's convicted the court can impose forfeiture and payment of costs as part of his sentence. If
he's innocent then he hasn't lost his animals (and they haven't been endangered) and very little money has been wasted.

Seizure for profit is a growing problem. How? Well, our so-called seizure bond law allows the court to require you to pay $10/day/dog IN ADVANCE for the animal's care. That's much more than the actual cost for the shelter to provide care, so if you pay, the shelter comes out ahead.

However AFAIK no VA owner has ever been able to pay. Animals are always forfeited and can be sold. Since most 'all the animals' seizures now are nearly 100% healthy animals, they can be sold immediately. Typical price: $300/dog, and people literally line up to buy them.

The dirty little secret of the shelter/rescue business: As dog overpopulation ends, their business is vanishing. Cats and unwanted young adult larger dogs, often with 'issues' -- that's what they mostly have. Breeder 'busts' (which supply mainly puppies and popular small breed dogs) are an important source of income to some animal shelters and rescues.

(Some rural areas in VA and farther south still DO have dog overpopulation, but those shelters are hardly ever involved in abusive seizures.)

Is allowing for-profit law enforcement a good idea?

We need to shift the emphasis from taking all the animals to leaving them in place unless there is a specific per-animal reason for their removal. HB 2482 does that.

NATURALLY the for-profit raiders and I-HATE-BREEDERS shelters and human investigators dislike this bill. But it's the right thing to do for Virginians and for our animals.

Robin Harrison writes:

Waldo Jaquith - the bottom of this page says this web site was "Created by" you "through a program of the Virginia Interfaith Center." If the true purpose of this site is to bring "sunlight" into our Virginia law making process, how can you attack this thread/topic in such a biased, closed-minded manner? How can you write off anything that was not written in newspaper articles (and what few naive people believe the news media to be entirely unbiased and impartial in this day and age?) about the breeders who have lost their dogs, but then herald Wikipedia as a reliable source of information about the HSUS? Finally, in a most disingenuous cheap shot, you paint anyone who defends this bill as "just a bunch of sketchy dog breeders who want their sketchiness to be legal."

Your behavior in this discussion leaves me to wonder how the slogan, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants", is representative of this web site?

It sounds to me as if your mind was made up before the discussion started and your waldo.jaquith.org web site with the advertisement for your rescue puppy litter rather points to conflict of interest. So it's ok and noble to "sell" dogs as long as they are rescues? But anyone who fancies a breed or breeds, purposely takes steps to breed and raise puppies, and then sells a few or more is a despicable "puppy mill"? How so? What makes a purposeful breeder better or worse than you? In the end, you both have pups for sale that hopefully, fill a demand within the dog purchasing market. How is one entity "wrong" for selling pups while another entity selling pups is perfectly ok?

Don't even try to slam me as a "sketchy dog breeder." I'm a Virginia tax payer, dog owner and breeder, but I don't sell dogs. I love my breed and the work that they do. I have devoted many volunteer hours to rescue and many unpaid hours learning and working with my chosen breed.

I am worried about how open the batch of laws that HB2482 addresses is to abuses of interpretation. No one would have believed that any owner could lose an entire kennel over dental plaque or because a few extra dogs came to visit, especially not with the owner having provided and scheduled treatment as testified to by her vet. Jean Payne-Cyhanick was LIVING by the axiom of "sunlight is.. the best of disinfectants", inviting anyone including animal control into her kennel regularly to give comments and suggestions. Yet Jean Payne-Cyhanick is now a convicted animal abuser under the existing law. Nebbermind she would have enthusiastically corrected or remedied any shortcoming in her kennel as perceived by legal authorities...

No, I don't want "sketchiness to be legal." I want clear, understandably written animal law that doesn't instantly turn HONEST people who seek to be good law abiding citizens, into criminals and former dog owners!

YES ON HB2482!!!

Tracy writes:

In our great state of Virginia, a woman can be convicted of animal cruelty because 1 dog in 10's dental cleaning was scheduled for a time too far into the future; another woman can leave one old dog in a hot car, killing it, and be held up as a hero of animals' "rights".

Virginia has indeed become "crazytown".

Please support HB2482

Sue W. writes:

Ellen writes:
“I fully agree with you. First of all there should be a law BANNING BREEDING. It's wrong, inhumane, and is just a way for people to make a quick buck without ANY regards to the animal. Why on earth would you EVER even think about protecting the owners? It's really pathetic and childish to see some of these comments on here. ”

So Ellen, 10-15 years from now, when there are no more purebred dogs or cats in the United States because breeding has been outlawed, where will the family dog and cat come from? How about animals such as horses, cows, pigs and chickens ... Do you feel that breeding them should also be outlawed?

I find it interesting how those who oppose this bill, see nothing wrong with poorly and vaguely written laws? These are same laws that are now being "manipulated" to suite the opposers views and agendas. Could it be that they were written vaguely for a reason???

Feel free to call everyone here who is in favor of correcting this poorly written bill, hoarders, puppy mills and sketchy breeders. Seems that's how the AR lies and propaganda has always worked in swaying impressionable minds - obviously not much has changed here today.

Vote YES on HB2482

J. Beeson writes:

Thank you!

Vickie Littleton writes:

Breeders have no abstract problem with "The Humane Society" if you mean our local well-run, truly Rescue organization or No-Kill shelter. They do have a problem with the way or HSUS has morphed into a radical Animal Rights organization that lobbies for anti breeder, anti-owner, anti-exhibitor, anti-hunter and anti-farm legislation, while conning the public that they are saving lives of with those millions of donation dollars . . . a perfect example of this bait-and-switch tactic would be the HSUS using Michael Vick's dogs as poster children for HSUS fund raising while advocating that his dogs be killed instead of rehabilitated and rehomed.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Waldo Jaquith - the bottom of this page says this web site was "Created by" you "through a program of the Virginia Interfaith Center." If the true purpose of this site is to bring "sunlight" into our Virginia law making process, how can you attack this thread/topic in such a biased, closed-minded manner?

Oh, man, this is rich.

So the fact that I've spent thousands of hours building this website over a half-decade of evenings and weekends, purely because I'm such a swell guy, means that I forfeit my rights to free expression? If somebody donates land to create a park, is he barred from it? If somebody gives money to a charity to help the homeless, must they turn a blind eye when she becomes homeless?

Did you want to thank me for providing this forum? Or did you just want to use this forum that I have given you to insult me, without the slightest understanding of how incredibly ironic that is?

Tell me, Robin: Do you hate America, or just our freedoms?

How can you write off anything that was not written in newspaper articles (and what few naive people believe the news media to be entirely unbiased and impartial in this day and age?) about the breeders who have lost their dogs, but then herald Wikipedia as a reliable source of information about the HSUS?

I didn't write off anything not written in newspaper articles. I wrote: "[C]an you provide a single shred of evidence of a dog being taken away because its teeth were only brushed, say, once a month? And, no, some guy's blog entry doesn't count." I didn't "herald Wikipedia as a reliable source of information about the HSUS," I wrote: "I just skimmed through the Humane Society Wikipedia entry, and from what I've read there, they seem like they're generally a fine group."

Your reading comprehension is extraordinarily low, Robin.

Finally, in a most disingenuous cheap shot, you paint anyone who defends this bill as "just a bunch of sketchy dog breeders who want their sketchiness to be legal."

Jeez, if I'd done that, that'd be really damning. But, in fact, I said that you lot are "just a bunch of sketchy dog breeders who want their sketchiness to be legal." In fact, there's been hardly any effort expended to defend this bill. I don't think a one of you bunch have quoted a word from the law or the bill, and my efforts to get you to explain the changes have been met almost uniformly with silence. If anybody actually defended the bill, that would be really impressive!

It sounds to me as if your mind was made up before the discussion started and your waldo.jaquith.org web site with the advertisement for your rescue puppy litter rather points to conflict of interest.

Conflict of interest? It's a conflict of interest for me to take in some rescues a couple of times a year? If you really believe that, then I DARE you to say that it's a conflict of interest for dog breeders to do the same. C'mon, Robin. Say it.

Furthermore, if you think that it's a "conflict of interest" for somebody to take care of puppies and kittens and also express an opinion about this bill, then that is the most stunningly naked statement about this bill yet! All of this talk about how everybody with an animal is vulnerable, that anybody with pets should care, anybody who raises puppies should be really concerned. And yet here I am, doing just that every so often...and that means I should oppose this bill? Really, Robin, I don't think you realize how seriously that you just put your foot in your mouth.

So it's ok and noble to "sell" dogs as long as they are rescues? But anyone who fancies a breed or breeds, purposely takes steps to breed and raise puppies, and then sells a few or more is a despicable "puppy mill"? How so? What makes a purposeful breeder better or worse than you? In the end, you both have pups for sale that hopefully, fill a demand within the dog purchasing market. How is one entity "wrong" for selling pups while another entity selling pups is perfectly ok?

Robin, I don't have the faintest idea of what you're talking about. You have just invented a series of things that I have never stated or implied (nor that I believe), and then demanded that I defend them. Hey, I can play this game, too!

So it's ok and noble to "eat" people so long as they are elderly? But anyone who fancies a bit of baby steak, purposely takes steps to breed and raise children, and then sells a few or more is a despicable "child killer"? How so? What makes a purposeful person-meat breeder better or worse than you? In the end, you both have meat for sale that, hopefully, fill a demand within the meat purchasing market.

Cannibalism? For shame, Robin. For shame.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Oh, Robin.

Robin, Robin, Robin.

You're the same Robin Harrison who worked to legalize cockfighting! And you took the same tack you're taking here:

From the outset, let me be perfectly clear that I strongly object to criminal or illegal forms of animal fighting. However, Virginia MUST have CLEAN and OBJECTIVE definitions of ILLEGAL animal fighting in order to elevate existing misdemeanor level charges for animal fighting to FELONY charges.

Ha! So this is your thing, Robin. You're an astroturfer. You go from state to state (Kentucky, anyone?) fighting laws that would protect animals, all the while claiming to support the laws conceptually, but claiming to be "concerned" about the phrasing of it. Sure, you think it's wrong to tether dogs outside all the time...but you don't want to see a law passed, because that would be "the death knell for EVERY DOG east of the Mississippi."

The jig is up, Robin. You've been outed as a concern troll, and your buddies here no doubt of the same ilk. Take your cockfighting, dog-abusing self and get lost. We've got a word for people like you in Virginia: criminals.

MeLoveless writes:

@Waldo Maybe you missed my last statement while getting on and off your soapbox, but I would like to bring your attention back to the end of my last post and I quote:

"Im sorry but if you see a downside to this bill then please by all means let me know what your concern for the bill is. Instead of all this arguing maybe we can spend some time clarifying just what you are worried about with HB2482."

I am still awaiting your answer. It seems to me instead of all this mud-slinging, you could at least give everyone, who is waiting anxiously to know, the enlightenment of what worries or upsets you about this bill and the exact reasons with examples/evidence of why you think it shouldnt pass.

Maybe we could then have an actual discussion about those concerns instead of just flaming pointlessly.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

And, hey, we've seen all of you yahoos here before! Every year, there's some kind of an animal welfare bill introduced, and every year all show up to claim that it's the end of the world. Walt Hutchens, you joined in with Robin Harrison to oppose HB1232, which would have made it illegal to overbreed dogs. Oh, and we saw many of you in response to HB528, which would have cracked down on unlicensed breeders—y'all argued that dogs would become so expensive that nobody could afford one, and that "there will be no dogs" if the law passed. The law passed. We still seem to have dogs.

Same tactics, every time—all y'all on your mailing list flood the comments, try (unsuccessfully) to game the poll, you refuse to answer questions, you ignore the facts, and generally behave like a bunch of trolls. It's tiresome.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Maybe you missed my last statement while getting on and off your soapbox, but I would like to bring your attention back to the end of my last post and I quote:
"Im sorry but if you see a downside to this bill then please by all means let me know what your concern for the bill is. Instead of all this arguing maybe we can spend some time clarifying just what you are worried about with HB2482."
I am still awaiting your answer. It seems to me instead of all this mud-slinging, you could at least give everyone, who is waiting anxiously to know, the enlightenment of what worries or upsets you about this bill and the exact reasons with examples/evidence of why you think it shouldnt pass.

I have already listed some of the most obvious concerns. Reading is fundamental!

Vickie Littleton writes:

Just because a Bill is concerned with the subject of Animal Welfare does not make it a good Bill that will increase the welfare of individual animals. Many Animal Welfare Bills are well-intentioned but would have very bad consequences for rescue organizations, pet owners, and/or pet breeders. HB 2482 is a good Animal Welfare bill, clarifying the definition of animal abuse and cruelty, and helping protect animals and their owners against abusive seizures and impoundments. It also removes an important and clear conflict of interest whereby a Humane Investigator could sell animals seized in their own organization's raid.

Lilly M. writes:

Waldo,
what kind of game are you playing? Reading is fundimental? Are you illiterate? I recieved this sight by email from a friend and decided to read it just to see what all the fuss is about. I am not saying I agree or disagree with either side. But it does seem to me that HB2482 has been extremely well explained to you. These people have repeatedly explain to you what thier bill is about and how it will work. You, on the other hand have been insulting, degrading,and obnoxious.You have answer none of the question that loveless ask nor have you explained your objection to the bill. If you are not the complete imbecile you are making yourself out to be, I would be interested in your reasons for objecting to or against HB2482. I want to hear facts not opinions.

MeLoveless writes:

@Waldo Im sorry but I had thought those concerns where already addressed. So lets try again :)

*Some of them serve to tie judges' hands, while others make the law less stringent to give judges more freedom.

-Please explain how you feel this bill will serve to tie the judges hands anymore than the current law does? I just want full clarification on what you mean by this.

*The second is this business of allowing the abuser to retain the animal.

-I believe its already been explained numerous times however to quote you "Reading is fundamental!" This bill DOES NOT allow the abuser to retain the animal. In cases of TRUE abuse, neglect, cruelty, etc they proper officials still have the right to REMOVE any animals that are not being treated for properly and have them placed in shelters etc.

Animals that are NOT being abused, neglected, or being treated cruelly have no reason to have their animals removed if their animals are healthy, and receiving adequate care and shelter.

This in fact helps to alleviate the strain on local shelters and declines the amount of animals needlessly put to sleep each year. However once again I dont know how it can be said any clearer but this bill DOES NOT prevent officials from removing the animals and impounding them where they please(off the owners property/away from the pet store) IF true abuse exists.

If your still confused on what it means let me see if I can simplify it even more for you. It means that in cases like Jean's where the dogs were ALL healthy, loved, groomed, well maintained, with more than adequate shelter, more than adequate food, where receiving veterinary care etc until a verdict is rendered by a court then the animals will remain on the property of the owner since there is no reason to remove them.

They did actually already do this in Jean's case as well, as ALL of her dogs and puppies were allowed to remain on her property until after her hearing, because at least those local officials had the sense to know that the dogs where better off at Jean's property since the only issues with them were tarter on their teeth.

Even AFTER the verdict they did not Seize Jean's dogs. Infact she was allowed to decide when and where her dogs went. Simple reason there was no case of TRUE abuse here. Just bad laws that made Jean a victim of them.

Now if an official walks onto someones property and the animals are emaciated, covered in dirt, they dont have shelter, food, water, etc then the officials CAN seize the animals and have them impounded at a shelter or where ever they decide to keep them until after the owners hearing and decisions are made from there.

If you are still confused on this let me know which exact parts and we can try to discuss it further from there.

*Why would this bill eliminate prevention of progression of a (serious) disease as a violation of the law? The existing law prohibits withholding treatment to a) stabilize a life-threatening condition b) alleviate suffering c) prevent further disease transmission or d) prevent further disease progression. This bill would eliminate D. That can't be deliberate, can it? Who would want that?

- this question has already been answered for you as well. It is important to remove "prevent further disease progression" because that is unconstitutionally vague. Noone here is asking for its permanent removal in a sense. We just want things clarified. I saw you added the word serious in there but the fact is that is NOT how the current law is worded. the current law covers ANY disease progression, not just "serious"

As I already gave you examples just about anything can progress into a disease. If my cat gets a mosquito bit and I dont take her to the vet for emergency medical treatment then under the current law I am guilty of animal cruelty. Why? because I am not preventing further disease progression. Once again it has nothing to do with how "serious" it is, how "serious" it is, is NOT a part of the current law

Life itself can progress into a disease. So if I dont take my cat to the vet for emergency medical treatment just because its alive then under the current law I am committing animal cruelty.

There needs to be clarification in there. Kinda just how you put in the word "serious". Even that would be a start towards some clarification that at least it needs to be a "serious" case of disease progression, however that is NOT the current law.

There needs to be a check and balance system in place. Once again Jean's case shows how the vagueness of the current can be used for unjust purposes. Where tarter on a dogs teeth is considered animal cruelty, despite the fact that she had vet appointments made to get their teeth cleaned and it was NOT a serious case.

None of us here want to see animals abused or treated cruelly that I can tell. In fact its because I LOVE my pets so much and I know I treat them very well that I am here. The current laws need to be fixed.

I am not condemning anyone who chooses to breed animals or not breed animals. I support animal rights just as much as you do.

I see these laws beyond breeding and how they can effect every single pet owner regardless of if you own 1 pet or 1000. These laws effect ALL of us. Not just breeders or animal right activists.

Every time I think that my cat can be taken away from me and put to sleep in a shelter because of a flea bite or mosquito bite scares me to my core.

Im not a breeder. In fact the few pets I do have were all strays/unwanted and now are completely inside animals and are fixed. I am a pet lover, an animal lover, and I see the flaws in our current laws and I see the desperate need there is to fix them, to better protect the animals we love and ourselves.

You yourself raise and sell dogs. Regardless of whether or not you breed them or they are rescues, Have you no fear at all under the current laws?

Do you realize that under the current law all of your dogs can be taken from you at any time for just about any reason they make up if they want to? Are you yourself absolutely sure there is no tarter on any of your dogs teeth? Are you absolutely sure none of them have any bug bites or scratches?

Are you absolutely sure that they could never touch you or take your dogs away and your right to have your shelter and provide homes for the creatures you care for?

All it takes is 1 complaint and you could be sitting right where Jean was, thinking how could this happen to me, I know I was doing everything right, and the next moment your animals are all gone. Everything you work for is gone.

You can honestly tell me under the current laws that doesnt worry you even the slightest? If not all I can think to tell you is pride cometh before the fall.

I hope you never have to experience any of the horrors I just described as Im sure you do take good care of your animals, just as I take good care of my house pets. The sad truth is that under the current laws no matter how good of an owner you know you are, they can make up just about anything to charge you with animal cruelty.

And once again using you as an example, if by some chance YOU were charged with cruelty tomorrow. Do you think your animals would be better off seized and put somewhere then they would be at your house until you got to go to court at least?

I think what you all need to do is take the moment to stop thinking everyone is an icky dog breeder. Think of yourselfs, your friends, your neighbors anyone you actually like who owns an animal that you have no complaints over.

Now imagine that you or whoever you are thinking of was charged with cruelty because of tarter on their dogs teeth. Do you think their animals or your own would be better in a shelter or where ever they put them instead of your house until you went to court?

STOP thinking that everyone is an animal abuser or a dog breeder and that those are the only people the current laws affect, because that just simple isnt true. They APPLY to and AFFECT ALL OF US.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

*Some of them serve to tie judges' hands, while others make the law less stringent to give judges more freedom.

-Please explain how you feel this bill will serve to tie the judges hands anymore than the current law does? I just want full clarification on what you mean by this.

Here's one simple example: In reference to barring abusive breeders from owning dogs, § 3.2-6569-I changes "the court may, at its discretion" to "the court shall." That is taking the decision out of the judge's hands, rather than letting the judge judge. That's what they're there for.

Seriously, just read the bill.

*The second is this business of allowing the abuser to retain the animal.
-I believe its already been explained numerous times however to quote you "Reading is fundamental!" This bill DOES NOT allow the abuser to retain the animal. In cases of TRUE abuse, neglect, cruelty, etc they proper officials still have the right to REMOVE any animals that are not being treated for properly and have them placed in shelters etc.

That's the opposite of the truth. The existing law says that "[a]ny dealer or pet shop that fails to adequately house, feed, water, exercise or care for animals in his or its possession" will have those animals "subject to seizure and impoundment." This bill would change "seizure and impoundment" to "impoundment by such dealer or pet shop." So an animal who is being abused...is left with the abuser. What you've done is draw a pretend line and called it "true abuse," pretending that an animal that is not adequately housed, fed, watered, exercised, and cared for might not be truly abused. Yet even in your Exhibit A, your primary case of a supposed miscarriage of justice, the woman was convicted, although only after a drawn-out legal process. Sick and dying dogs can't wait that long.

You yourself raise and sell dogs.

No, I don't. I've never done any such thing.

I think what you all need to do is take the moment to stop thinking everyone is an icky dog breeder.

"Icky"? What's wrong with dog breeders? I never said there was anything wrong with dog breeders.

You people really want to believe that I've said things that I've never said, that I think things that I do not think, and that I'm part of some conspiracy that exists only in your minds. You've whipped yourself into a frenzy on your mailing lists, concocting a whole narrative in which I'm some really important guy. It's bizarre.

MeLoveless writes:

@Waldo- I have read the bill, several times in fact. I may suggest you try reading it again as well.

Now lets go over this...

You state it says: "This bill would change "seizure and impoundment" to "impoundment by such dealer or pet shop." So an animal who is being abused...is left with the abuser. What you've done is draw a pretend line and called it "true abuse," pretending that an animal that is not adequately housed, fed, watered, exercised, and cared for might not be truly abuse"

However what the bill clearly states(Im not sure how you are missed this):

"Animals are subject to seizure if (i) under a direct and immediate threat or (ii) the owner or custodian is unable to or does not provide adequate impoundment."

Which means that there is no pretend line. If there is abuse and cases of immediate threat or danger AND if the owner cannot provide adequate housing, food, water, exercise, and care then the animals ARE subject to seizure.

Once again there is nothing protecting people who are abusing animals or not providing adequate care. Nothing in the new bill prevents TRUE cases of abuse and inadequate care from having their animals TAKEN away from them.

The woman in my exhibit A as you call her was ONLY convicted BECAUSE of how badly the current laws are, NOT because she had committed any abuse or cruelty. WE ARE ALL GUILTY OF CRUELTY UNDER THE CURRENT LAW, we just haven't been drug to court and publicly ostracized as the woman in exhibit A has been YET. And YET is the keyword there if these current laws do not change, its only a matter of time before we ALL are.

Your whole we are taking the power away from the Judges and allowing them the right to judge is NOT accurate as well. There is nothing taking power away from the Judges or not allowing them to judge in HB2482 especially in the examples you gave.

In the 2 instances where this change was made:

*the court shall take into consideration the owner's past record of convictions

- Why should the court NOT take into consideration the owners past record of convictions? I think this is VERY crucial and should be ordered.. What if someone has an extensive history of animal abuse? Should the court NOT take that into consideration? You claim this is taking away from the Judge's ability to judge? How in the world can forcing the court to look at someone's past convictions be taking away their ability to Judge? How in the world is this taking power away from judges or not allowing them to Judge? Seems to me like its giving them MORE power to judge and STILL LEAVING THE DECISION IN THE JUDGES HANDS.

The second usage of it is:

*The court shall repeal the prohibition if the person can prove to the satisfaction of the court that or restriction unless there is reason to believe the cause for the prohibition has ceased or restriction continues to exist.

-Once again this statement clearly says the person HAS to prove to the SATISFACTION OF THE COURT FIRST and the court shall repeal ONLY if they can prove to the courts satisfaction that it should be repealed. How in the world is this taking power away from judges or not allowing them to Judge? Seems to me like its giving them MORE power to judge and STILL LEAVING THE DECISION IN THE JUDGES HANDS.

I have been trying to have a civil conversation with you this entire time, to clearly address the new bill, and to try to clarify the issues you may have with it. I will continue to do this regardless of your insults, mudslinging, attacks, misjudgments, and other general poor conduct.

Dannielle writes:

HSUS and it's supporters would love to kill this bill- the same way they love to kill pets.
And they do. HSUS's motto may as well be Better Dead Than Fed.
Read up about the mass killings HSUS has orchestrated, not just for dogs but for all kinds of animals. One of the latest tragedies, completely avoiadbale, is the shame of the Alabama 44 (see YESBISCUIT! blog for details). I'm sure someone will bring up the Vicks dogs. you know, the ones who didn't get a chance to become big professional ball team stars? the ones who died horrible deaths at the man's owns hands? the ones who HSUS claimed to have in their possession to deceptively fund raise untold amounts of money- then never did, and told the courts the animals shoudl all be destroyed. recently their CEO/president says he spends "a lot of time" with Michael Vick and he'd make "a great pet owner". THIS is a group you want drafting statewide animal protection legislation???

"no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." the US Constitution is the highest law of our land, yet some groups believe they are above it. our pets are our property and to have them seized and destroyed before even being able to defend ourselves against fraudulent charges is an outrage.

Robin Harrison writes:

I'm more than a little taken aback as I truly believed the premise of Richmond Sunlight was nonpartisanship, the treatment of different views or opinions equally and fairly. When the site creator refuses to treat or consider different views about animal law equally or fairly, then that makes Richmond Sunlight worthless, IMO.

I haven't created, don't run or take funding for any web site devoted to presenting issues in a nonpartisan manner. I am a devoted animal owner who is very concerned about vaguely worded and mean spirited interpretation of animal laws that criminalize HONEST people who seek to be law abiding citizens. I have never claimed otherwise.

The links Waldo posted to several years worth of my messages and forwarded emails indicate that I have been very consistent and forthright about my concerns in this regard. In some of the linked 'history' that Waldo has provided, people forwarding my messages have done a poor job of separating what I said from things they said. In at least one instance, Waldo has attacked me someone else's opionion. Since so little of it has anything to do with the discussion at hand, I am not going to spend any time debating it.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Jeez, Robin, that's terrible! What a sad story you've just told us. You know what I'd do if I were you? I'd totally boycott the website. Just stay away! That'll show 'em!

This bill has gone down in flames. It's dead. Now go find some baby seals to club, cats to vivisect, dogs to fight, or whatever it is you do for fun when you're not fighting chickens to the death.

Robin Harrison writes:

Why would I go away? I thank you for shedding so much "sunlight" on the true intent and spirit of your creation here, Waldo!

ISawyer writes:

It appears that many of our laws have been an attempt to elevate the status of animals to humans as equal in value. While never meeting farmer or animal owner did not put their animals first but do realize that aniaml abuse exists. Farmers in producing a safe and quality product and the same essentially for our pets. Owning of a purebred dog or cat will surely become a thing of the past and one day we may see some on endangered species list. If breeders of purebred dogs seem to be on the top of the listed as targets in producing so many unwanted dogs, why are there only 25 percent of purebred dogs in shelters? Having to be given up for a host of reasons, death of the owner, moving, dogs not allowed as apartment or not accepting a certain breed, and a host of reasons, what is an owner to do. Would it be that we need to instill in owners to make every effort to find a new home where they can before relinquishing them to an unknown future?

Due Process Should be Provided to Dog Owners Before the Government can Remove or Euthanize Their Dogs.

Despite the fact that animals are still considered property in all legal jurisdictions today, due process, whether rooted in the federal or state constitutions, extends to life, liberty, or property. The more complicated issue, however, is how much process is due?

The Supreme Court has promulgated a four prong test to determine this. In each situation, a court must weigh

-the private interest affected by the official action

-the risk of an erroneous deprivation of that interest through the procedures used,
-the probable value of additional procedural safeguards, and
-the government interest involved.

Due process requires the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.

HB 2482 would end owners having to file a Preliminary Injunction in additional cost to state and the owners.

Rabon v. City of Seattle (Rabon II), 107 Wash.App. 734, 743 (2001) (citing Mathews, 424 U.S. at 333). Thus, when individuals can show they will suffer irreparable harm from a post-deprivation hearing, courts have recognized that a pre-deprivation hearing is necessary. In the case of orders to euthanize pets, many courts have considered the loss to the pet owner as irreparable.
Animal Legal and Historical Center

Dog or any animal owners should file a petition for an injunction to delay the killing of the dog until they have had the chance to be heard in court.

In fact, many city ordinances are flawed in that they fail to specify that owners are entitled to hearings before their pets are euthanized. These municipal codes can be challenged as unconstitutional and, even if the city already granted hearings that met minimum due process standards, the decision to euthanize the pet would still have to be overturned. Otherwise, whether dog owners generally would receive due process would be at the whim of the animal control agency (or other charging agency). In a landmark case, the court of appeals in Mansour v. King County, 128 P.3d 1241 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2006) held that due process required even more than offering owners a hearing, ordering that an agency seeking to enforce a removal order must prove both the violation and the remedy it has imposed by a preponderance of the evidence. This is the same standard of proof imposed on the government when it attempts to temporarily remove a child from the custody of his parents. By instituting a burden of proof on the city, the court was essentially finding that the dog must be presumed innocent until the city can prove otherwise. Previously, there had been no standard of proof, and reviewing courts would only look to see if Animal Control had acted arbitrarily or capriciously. Thus, even the most minimal evidence that a dog should be removed would suffice, and owners would bear the burden of proving their pets innocent. Moreover, the court found that due process attached not only for orders to euthanize an animal, but also for orders of removal outside the county (Peter Mansour had been ordered to remove his dog from the county or turn his dog over to the city to be euthanized after his dog was accused of killing a cat).

HB 2482 does not dismiss animal abuse but does give animal owners a valid constitutional right to be treated fairly in court under due process, and money saved for all concerned while the investigation moves through court and without putting due hardship on shelters already burdened, nor owners or courts.
If truth were told any animal owner who has been cited for abuse will tell you they have had unwarranted threatening e mails or phone threats without yet, a day in court. This is thanks to the animal rights social movement which believes in termination for animal use for anything including meat, dairy and eggs, and representing 10 percent of the population.
Please vote yes on HB 2482.
There is no excuse for true animal abuse.

Walt Hutchens writes:

Waltdo, Richmond Sunlight had an absolutely untarnished reputation. I've used it for years and actually thought it was the work of a group devoted to openness in government, it was that smooth and unbiased.

That's no longer what I think. What a shame. We need what we thought your forum was.

Tom writes:

We have to take back our lives from these god-awful thieves. I feel that the Legislature of the State of Virginia has given in to phoned-in death threats when they should have been incensed.

What was done to Jean Cyhanick was the violation of the rights of a good person who is innocent of any crime. They did this to her on purpose knowing that it was wrong. The criminal intent was in the minds of the prosecutor and the animal control officers and other miscreants involved. None of them belong outside of a jail cell anymore. They committed an actual crime using animal abuse as an excuse.

Things like this take the measure of our people who pretend to want to protect animals. They obviously want to keep stealing and keep harming humans.

Walt Hutchens writes:

A Parable -- Perhaps this will help some to understand ...

(Flashing blue lights in your rear view mirror. You pull to the curb and stop. A cop stops behind you and approaches. He goes to the front of your car, breaks a headlight with lug wrench and comes back to the window.)

"Lady, didn't you see the speed limit sign back there?"

(You struggle to control your anger.)

"Ah, no, officer. But I was only going about 25."

"The sign says 'DON'T DRIVE TOO FAST OR TOO SLOW.' That's how we do the speed limits in this town."

"OH ... I didn't know that. But I was only going about 25."

"You were, ahhh ... (looks around) going too slow. And you're driving an unsafe vehicle with a broken headlight."

"I'm sorry. I didn't hurt anything. I'll be more careful next time."

"Good idea, lady, now get out of your car."

"What?"

"I said, get out of your car. You can take your purse and cell phone but leave the keys in the ignition."

"WHAT?"

"You heard me. DO IT, or I'll arrest you."

(Cop gets in car. You start to lose it.)

"WHAT THE HELL?"

"Better call a cab; my partner has to get the cruiser home in time for his dinner."

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I'M CALLING A LAWYER."

(Cop laughs)

"Yeah, lady, you do that. Hey, nice wheels. See you!"

(Drives off in your car, followed by cruiser.)

Less than an hour after you get home you get a call: "I'd like to scratch your eyes out and leave you tied in the highway waiting for some driver with no headlights to come along. Have a great life, scumbag!" People call your mom and dad with threats, your children are harassed at school and the Brownie Scout troop where you've been a leader for years says "We can't have such a dangerous driver around little girls." Every day you get some new harassement.

Less than two weeks later having been trashed as an 'abusive driver' -- "Her car was in deplorable condition" -- in three newspaper articles you go to a hearing in front of a judge. You are required to forfeit your car and pay all costs. Several days later the Prosecutor charges you with ten counts of driving a vehicle in unsafe condition and nine counts of driving too fast.

Your attorney explains that the loss of your car was a 'civil forfeiture' -- you were using the car to violate the law, so the state had the right to take it away. NOW you are being given criminal charges for your actions. Since each 0.1 mile is a separate violation and the cop followed you for a mile, you're up for 19 Class 1 misdemeanors. Bad -- if convicted you could spend up to 19 years in jail. The good news is that you're being offered a plea bargain: If you plead guilty to two counts of driving too fast they'll let you off with just a fine -- no jail time.

"I thought the charge was driving too slow."

"I donno -- the cop says you were going way too fast. You're lucky he didn't check his speedometer until he'd been following you for a bit, or it would have been an even 20 Class 1's."

"Can't I fight the charges?"

"Sure -- but can you prove you weren't going too fast? Can you prove that your headlight wasn't broken? When juries aren't sure, they often split the verdict. They might find you guilty on 10 counts for the headlight but not for the speeding."

So you take the plea bargain. You agree to two years supervised probation, you are barred from ever driving again, and given a ten year jail sentence, suspended on good behavior. Your fine is $2000 plus $3231.37 in court costs. You lose your job because you can't get to where you work by public transportation. Your attorney -- retainer
$5000 -- says "Well, that's the law." He explains that the cop had the required two weeks of training but like a few others on that town's
force, he had lost a loved one to a reckless driver, so "He really doesn't like people who don't obey speed limits."

You see an ad in the paper where a garage owned by the cop is selling your car for the blue book value.

===============

Impossible and stupid, right? Couldn't happen, right? RIDICULOUS, right?

Absolutely right on all. However that IS the way Virginia's laws work for dogs and cats. And the fact that not one Virginian in 100,000 has been on the short end of those laws is why the need for HB 2482 wasn't understood.

Of course the targets are nearly all dog breeders and it's not likely that more than one Virginian in 1000 has done that. You are all perfectly safe, for now. And for now, you'll be able to get your next pet from someone -- either in state and not yet driven out of breeding or in another state whose laws aren't yet as bad as Virginia's.

However the HSUS campaign is nationwide; in ten years or so those laws will be nationwide (look for a federal law within five years) and we'll be making do with dogs that are bred or imported illegally at much higher prices.

You think HSUS will stick to dog breeders with these campaigns and not move on to farmers? Researchers who use animals?

I think we should also consider that a nation that allows laws of this kind for animal owners might one day allow them for other people. "First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist."

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Waltdo, Richmond Sunlight had an absolutely untarnished reputation. I've used it for years and actually thought it was the work of a group devoted to openness in government, it was that smooth and unbiased.

Yeah, gosh, it must be crushing for you to find that the guy who made it has the same right to free expression that you do. It has to be very upsetting to find that other people can respond to you. (Also upsetting, too, to find that after you told everybody to vote as many times as possible—hundreds of times, as several people bragged—that those votes were deleted by our anti-cheating code.) Yes, it's a sad day for all of us.

Tell you what, Walt—let's make a deal. You let me subscribe to your pet law mailing list, and let me post anything I want, and you don't get to say a word in response. Just like what you think I should do here. I mean, you are "a group devoted to openness in government, that's smooth and unbiased"...right?

We've a deal, right, Walt?

Tom writes:

Waldo wrote:

"Waldo Jaquith writes:

Jeez, Robin, that's terrible! What a sad story you've just told us. You know what I'd do if I were you? I'd totally boycott the website. Just stay away! That'll show 'em!

This bill has gone down in flames. It's dead. Now go find some baby seals to club, cats to vivisect, dogs to fight, or whatever it is you do for fun when you're not fighting chickens to the death."

This speaks for itself.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

"Ending animal cruelty is a bad idea."

This speaks for itself.

Walt Hutchens writes:

Waldo, you're welcome on pet-law, under the same rules as anyone else: That group is for people who want to work together to preserve animal owners' rights and who are willing to treat each other as allies. Which means that although there's plenty of disagreement, we don't get personal about it.

We do have animal rightists there -- even a .hsus address or two, last time I looked -- and an occasional post from our token ARs is okay. But it's not an AR debate list.

Other groups (forums ...) have other rules, of course. But when discussion of substantive issues is replaced by attacks on the individual, things get a lot less interesting. One statement that a person clubs baby seals for fun is about like any other.

Andrea writes:

Dog people are crazy. Actually all animal people are crazy. I know, I am one. I've worked in the animal field all my life, as a horse groom, warmblood breeding farm manager, kennel worker, vet tech and for more than 25 years as a dog trainer. My family were dog breeders and groomers. I also used to breed dogs too, for competition in conformation and obedience. I kept no more than 4 dogs of my own and housed to others for someone else. I believe STRONGLY in animal WELFARE not animal rights. One thing I learned in my years of animal care and breeding, breeding is a hobby and no way to make money. I have yet to see a "breeder" with more than 30 dogs (even then its questionable) able to properly care for them. Personally I'd never purchase a dog from someone that bred and had that big of a kennel. I've been in facilities like that and always question health and quality. If you have ACO or the ASPCA knocking on your door for "dental disease" you might want to step back and take an objective look at what you are doing. If you can't afford or haven't gotten around to addressing something as simple as having your dogs' teeth cleaned (anesthesia isn't always necessary for simple mild tarter, hand scaling occasionally is an option) then I worry what other ailments haven't been addressed, and maybe you need to re-evaluate your situation. This bill, that I am so glad failed, does nothing to help legitimate, responsible breeders and pet owners. It only serves to tie the hands of law enforcement. I can see fighting dog breeders taking full advantage of it.
And please, tell me exactly, not using propaganda, but fact, from the HSUS own "mouth" if necessary, their position against breeders. I've read their agenda, and as an dog breeder/owner and trainer nothing in it made me worry. I think you have them confused with PETA.

Tom writes:

Waldo, I did indeed write that ending animal abuse is a bad idea. The reason that this is so is because the only logical endpoint is the elimination of all living species to end their suffering. It is also the only practical way.

I prefer the chance that an animal will suffer to the certainty of extinction caused by fanatics who want to end all suffering.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Waldo, you're welcome on pet-law, under the same rules as anyone else: That group is for people who want to work together to preserve animal owners' rights and who are willing to treat each other as allies.

Oh, I see—so you don't welcome dissenting views. You're telling me that you run a mailing list...where people can't disagree with you? And you're criticizing me for having founded a website that allows open debate from all participants?

Gosh, Walt, I'm confused. You're holding me to a standard that you can't reach to yourself. What's going on here? Why, it's almost like you're apply the same basic standard everywhere: if somebody disagrees with you, you just don't know what to do. And God help you if somebody hurts your feelings!

Tom writes:

Andrea, I would far rather be your kind of crazy. It is better to live some kind of life in almost any kind of misery than to commit suicide, in person or by proxy. The animals I know are far from miserable. Their quality of life far exceeds the minimum level of comfort and joy that I consider necessary for wanting to continue to live. Ending animal abuse would end the ability of billions of animals to have some kind of life.

Andrea writes:

Tom
Paranoid and extreme... you might want to seek help.

Tom writes:

That's what I get for not reading the message all the way through before replying, Andrea. No, I don't want to be your kind of crazy after the first paragraph.

One person could easily take good care of 30 dogs. It's easier if they are smaller breeds.

Andrea writes:

Tom,
Rodents maybe. To properly breed and care for animals such as dogs and cats, even small dogs, requires a lot of work. Just a few things that need to be done if you breed animals: Genetic screening for illness and heritable disease. Thorough nicking of pedigrees to ensure health and mental stability. Prebreeding screens for contagious disease, proper food that changes with the animals condition, clean water, constant cleaning of the environment to prevent young from learning dirty habits and ease housetraining for future owners, proper vaccines, veterinary health exams and paperwork prior to sale. Advertising when necessary. Screen prospective owners. Compiling good and useful information to give to buyers. Follow ups, keeping yourself available to answer questions from buyers, and offering to buy back an adult dog sold as a pup that the buyer can't keep due to change of life. One person can do all that with 30 or more dogs or cats? These are all things responsible dog breeders do. Responsible breeders only have a few litters a year and boycott petstores and brokers. If you know of a responsible dog breeder that does everything I listed above that has more than 30 animals let me know who. I'd love to finally walk into a big breeding facility that doesn't fail at being responsible.

Tom writes:

There are always ways to nitpick, Andrea. That is different from failure to be a responsible breeder.

Tim2011 writes:

Waldo: I just wanted to thank you for your tireless efforts "arguing" with these people. Really impressive and appreciated! It's amazing how these breeders delude themselves into thinking that they're animal lovers -- typical doublespeak from those with a vested economic interest in the outcome.

Great news that this bill has been withdrawn! Let's take advantage of the momentum, go on the offensive, and introduce a bill that will put even greater restrictions on puppy mills.

ALM writes:

Waldo - your assessment is so accurate. There is a crazy paranoia and defense going on here. I've tried before to have breeders explain to me what a "breeder" is. Is this a profession? Are their any standards or guidelines? Or is anyone whose dog has puppies considered a breeder? I was kicked off of a breeder's blog for asking this simple question and was berated for asking if breeders followed any sort of professional guidelines.

I provide assistance for low-income pet owners in a rural VA county. Our clients are receiving food assistance from the food bank because they cannot afford to feed themselves and yet many of them have numerous dogs and cats, many of them breeding dogs - and coming to me to help them feed their animals because they "have no money." They certainly can't afford vet care.

Our county is overrun with stray dogs and our euthanasia rates are among the highest in VA. Our AC officer believes the only way to make headway in resolving this problem is to place restraints on backyard breeding. Yes Tim - what we really need is greater restrictions and some sort of meaningful regulation of dog breeding.

ALM writes:

I think it was the pet-law blog that I was quietly removed from. My questions were only the those that I mentioned above - I sought information but apparently this was construed as confrontational? No reason was given for expelling me. As far as I could tell in the couple of days I was allowed participation in this list, it was a ranting page for disgruntled "breeders" - whatever a breeder is.

Lilly M. writes:

Alms, What ever a breeder is? And if your IQ is so low you can't look the definition of breeder up in the dictionary which I found made it pretty clear.I don't think anyone could help you understand.
HOW CAN YOU OBJECT TO SOMETHING IF YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT IS??

Lilly M. writes:

Andrea, who made you God and gave you the right to judge what we are capable of doing? I saw a blind man play golf, a legless man run a marathon,an armless woman who drove a car, Beethoven was deaf,And a congess woman shot throught the brain is rcovering at miraculus rate. And I personally saw a four month fetus 1 Lb. 3 oz. live and become a normal 5 year old. My grandson. I saw a mother spend 21 hours a day for one year laboring intensly to keep him alive. I saw my first husband work 2o hours a day 7 days a week hard labor for 3 years to feed his young family. So I don't believe you have the right to say what anyone is capable of or if they can do a good job. Beethoven wrote great music,the legless man finished the marathon, the armless woman drove her and her niegbors kids to school and my daughter kept my grandson alive and healthy. And almost all breeders with 30 or more dogs have help. Most of the time it is a family operation. And it is one of the few that keeps familys together from generation to generation kind of like the FARMERS that are next in line to be hurt by these same foul laws.

ALM writes:

Lilly m, so I guess a breeder is as I suggested - anyone whose dog has puppies. hmmm...so why would this question, plain and simple, get me expelled from the pet-law listserve? Apparently it was offensive to someone. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/breeder

ALM writes:

Tom if you "did indeed write that ending animal abuse is a bad idea. The reason that this is so is because the only logical endpoint is the elimination of all living species to end their suffering." (http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2011/hb2482/#comment-86) does this mean that you also believe we should end human abuse for the same reason?

ALM writes:

..to clarify do you believe we should end protection against human abuse in order to preserve the species, as you suggested.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

And I personally saw a four month fetus 1 Lb. 3 oz. live and become a normal 5 year old. My grandson.

No, no you did not. A sixteen-week fetus weighs 3.5 ounces and is five inches long. The earliest premature birth ever was at 21 weeks and five days—quite extraordinarily early—or almost six weeks later than when you claim your grandson was born.

Tom writes:

I am against killing off any species, including human, using the alleged goal of ending abuse.

Lilly M. writes:

Yes you are right He was 24 weeks. Sorry I did make a big MISTAKE.The weight and all else is correct. He is still a wonderful little miricle. SEE, I am only human. We all make mistakes and so do breeders bu.t just like my mistake wasn't intentional neither are most of thiers.Like looking for tarter on a healthy dogs teeth.Sorry but it probly just didn't cross thier mind that a slighty overweight dog would have teeth problems. Especially if they fed dry food.And thank you for catching that mistake I do and would want to be corrected on it,but not crusified. If dogs are healthy in every way but bad teeth, why is that cruel? Look at all the children and adults running around with horrible teeth or a couple of teeth here and there in thier mouth or no teeth. I am sure you have seen them. Why isn't something done about that? and when did animals become more important then people/humans/children? And I do not beleive in abuse of any kind. But I do believe in priorities.

clint payne writes:

it realy bothers me that people are so blind .can you realy beleive jeans dogs were in that much distress . thats see so the state says she is guilty of crulety to animals .then allows her to keep her dogs through the whole court process pluss 90 days after . yea the state was realy worried about those dogs .thats why they wernt removed imedietly. they wanted her out of bussiness and they used poorly written to do just that.hb2482 will sstop the abuse the laws written for the state to get its way .jeans dogs were not abused in any way nor was there any cruelty involved. this is fact waldo . how do i know you may ask .well ive known jean for 42 years becauls shes my mother. this women has dedicated her whole life to nurturing her animals .so who nows jean better. and oh yea im voting yes to hb2482

hmmm... writes:

Not for nothing, Clint, but perhaps mommy dearest should have spent more time helping you with your education and less time exploiting dogs.

suzyelectracuted writes:

Thank you Waldo Jaquith, John Doppler Schiff and the other caring individuals who responded to the breeder industry. I read the responses from the breeders and their paranoia and their self-serving lies and misdirections are so evident. These aren't level-headed, responsible individuals that one would hope would be caring for animals.
@Humanewatchers Go back to your page and tell Dave Martosko/CCF that no one except the breeders, factory farm apologists, cockfighters and abusers that populate his page believe his insane attacks on the HSUS.

Tom writes:

Abuse of humans will not prevent abuse of animals. Such abuse has already gotten a lot of animals killed by the Richmond SPCA and other SPCAs and so-called humane societies.

People who once worked for the HSUS have attested that the HSUS left dogs in crates to rot when they packed up and left in the aftermath of Katrina. Support of the HSUS is support of the worst kind of animal abuser.

I am convinced that the felony laws, the yellow dog plea deals, and the methods that the SPCAs and humane societies use to gain convictions are a way to further their own kind of animal abuse. They've been doing it too long. Too many people have seen it. Calling me names won't cover it up.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

For those who are reading about this bill in the future, the (conservative) editorial board at The Charlottesville Daily Progress explained precisely what this bill would do:

Allow animals to remain with a suspected abusive owner until the case comes to court.

Allow animals to remain with a convicted abusive owner for at least 90 days after being ordered by a court to give the animals up.

?Eliminate existing options that can prevent convicted abusers from owning companion animals in the future.

Eliminate a prohibition that convicted abusers cannot sell or trade companion animals.

Eliminate the requirement that suspects be bonded to pay, if convicted, for the care of animals taken into custody.

So that settles any question that might have remained about what the effect of this bill would be. They concluded that "this bill needs to be euthanized, now," as indeed it was.

And, also, Governor Bob McDonnell came out against the bill:

The bill also stirred concerns with Gov. Bob McDonnell.

"The governor is a strong proponent of the strict enforcement of strong animal-welfare laws," said McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin. "He opposed this legislation as introduced and appreciates the delegate tabling the measure so it can be studied further."

Let there be no question that this bill was opposed by people across the political spectrum, from activists to the governor to its own patron.

Tom writes:

If anything the bill did not propose enough protection for owners of animals and animal-based businesses. Virginia is becoming famous for the abusiveness of some of its animal control officers and the abusiveness of its laws. It is as if the constitution of the United States has been repealed by the animal rights community in Virginia. Governor McDonnell should be ashamed of himself.

Tom writes:

Waldo, what you are approving of here and are pushing so hard to support is not one bit better than a terror campaign against animal owners and breeders.

Were there any legitimacy at all to this campaign, the people conducting it would make sure that due process of the law was provided. What is going on isn't even good enough to be a mockery. It is a free-for-all where every humane society that wants to make its bones and a few dollars for a bonus simply points the finger at someone and has their life destroyed.

These activists are not animal lovers at all. They hate life and want to control and wreck it.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Waldo, what you are approving of here and are pushing so hard to support is not one bit better than a terror campaign against animal owners and breeders.

That's right, Tom—I'm a terrorist. I'm just like any member of al-Qaeda. My posting several questions on a discussion board is every bit as bad as people who kidnap jetliners and crash them into buildings in order to kill thousands of people and launch a nation into a decade-long war. Thank you for that astute and insightful observation.

MeLoveless writes:

@ Waldo ty for showing everyone how much the NEWs gets stuff WRONG. That article from Charlottesville you posted has so many inaccuracies and wrong information its laughable.

Any idea who wrote it? They obviously need some education on that bill. By the article it sounds like they havent even read the bill.

Though btw I see even when I CLEARLY explained the bill to you and showed you where you were wrong as well, you still insist on NOT seeing the truth or admitting it to yourself. Whichever it is.

Tim2011 writes:

Tom, ALM, et al -- Thanks for showing us all of us the true colors of the dog breeding community: the incoherent ranting, the grammar and spelling of a 9-year old, the doublespeak, the outrageous lies, and my personal favorite, calling people who have spent their lives caring for abandoned and abused animals "terrorists."

Wow! I couldn't have come up with a more damning caricature. Face it, you lost this one: time to go back to starving your caged dogs while you count your precious money, which is all you really care about anyway.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I CLEARLY explained the bill to you and showed you where you were wrong as well, you still insist on NOT seeing the truth or admitting it to yourself. Whichever it is.

It's over. The bill is dead. Everybody knows you're wrong, from the governor to editorial boards. You might as well be supporting a bill that proposes to sell orphans for meat in school lunches.

Tom writes:

In other words, Tim, everything that I said is true.

Tom writes:

And, yes, what the humane societies try to fob off as protection of animals I see as legalizing criminal activities against humans. Most of the animals weren't in trouble before the humane society tore them away from the loving arms of their families.

clint payne writes:

in responce to to hmmm .im very well edgucated. the problem with my writing is i am dyslexic . and that makes writing hard for me .if you were smart enough to understand dyslexia you would not be trying to make jokes at my exspence. besides the american constitution dose not say you have to be smart to have an openion or vote .so ill be voting for what i believe in right with you lol. now that i cleared that up for you . why dont you stick to the subject. hb2482 remember and im voting yes because i know the truth . and by the way smarty .hmmm isnt a name . be a man or woman and put your name on here. or are you a caward . hay look i can spell my name lmao. as far as the media dont believe every thing you read.jean got rail roaded thats all it is to it .

Tom writes:

Clint, I don't know how to thank you enough for coming here and telling your story.

MeLoveless writes:

@Waldo The bill is only over when people stop fighting for justice(for animals and owners) and against the bad laws that are now in place. If not this session then there is always next. If not this bill then there will be others in the future as we all continue to work for the best interests of the animals and their owners and to create better laws.

In the meantime all we can do is continue to educate people like yourself who clearly didnt understand this bill, speak out against inaccurate stories like the article you posted, and hope in the meantime no one else faces loss and tragedy from the current horrible laws.

Aubrey Lewis writes:

so ill be voting for what i believe in right with you lol. now that i cleared that up for you . why dont you stick to the subject. hb2482 remember and im voting yes because i know the truth .

Enlighten me Clint, are you a delegate to the Virginia General Assembly? I only ask because if HB 2482 was still alive, only house delegates would have had an opportunity to vote on the bill. It was not a public referendum that would be on a ballot for voters because that is not how the Commonwealth of Virginia's legislative process works. However, if you were keeping up with the news or even the bill's status at the top of this very page, where it says Bill has failed, you would know that there will be no vote on this bill in the General Assembly either. It has been withdrawn by its patron.
I am familiar with dyslexia, and it should not impair you from keeping up with the process.

Tom writes:

The bill was intended to restore due process as guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States. All of these claims of abuse, even if true, do not take precedence over Constitutional rights. Those who intentionally violate due process intentionally commit a crime. Several crimes were committed against Jean Cyhanick. These include extortion by the ACO to gain valuable property from Cyhanick. That valuable property, three puppies, is still stolen property and the ACO who took them committed theft by extortion.

That is what you vote for when you vote down HB2482. You vote for the continued and progressive abuse and corruption of the courts by animal rights activists and lowlife thieves.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The very conservative Richmond Times Dispatch editorial board weighed in today:

You can make a case for that on presumption-of-innocence grounds. But there is no such justification for letting those convicted of animal abuse keep the very animals they abused in order to sell them. Yet that is precisely what the bill would do. [...] Pet shops of the more disreputable sort might find the legislation to their liking. But even they probably have enough sense of shame not to say so in public.

They go on to describe the bill as "bizarre," and hope that "it won't ever see the light of day again."

Tom writes:

Might make a case for it on presumption of innocence? Did you actually just say that where people can read it?

Walt Hutchens writes:

Waldo quoted the RTD Editorial Board:

"You can make a case for that on presumption-of-innocence grounds. But there is no such justification for letting those convicted of animal abuse keep the very animals they abused in order to sell them. Yet that is precisely what the bill would do. [...] Pet shops of the more disreputable sort might find the legislation to their liking. But even they probably have enough sense of shame not to say so in public."

Actually, I wouldn't characterize that board as 'conservative': More like "a combination of clueless, too lazy to have an opinion of their own, and in Robin Starr's pocket."

However there is a statement there that's worth exploring, namely the "No ... justification for letting those convicted of abuse keep the very animals they were abusing ..."

It seems that neither Waldo nor the RTD board knows the definition of 'abuse' in Virginia law. (Clock ticking, waiting for a contestant to guess the answer ...)

Ooops -- WRONG. The correct answer is "There IS NO definition of 'abuse' (abuser, etc.) in the Comprehensive Animal Laws, Chapter 65 of the Code of Virginia. The term is used in a number of places in discussing punishments but it is UNDEFINED.

So, people who don't have to worry about details (like "is this sentence just" or "exactly what did the accused person do?" are free to call anyone who is convicted of ANYTHING 'an abuser.' And they do.

In the long run, that problem should be fixed by rewriting the whole chapter, defining these and other terms that aren't defined or are defined circularly.
In the short run, however, we need to realize that when someone is called 'a convicted abuser' we know essentially NOTHING about what he did. Maybe he had a dog house with a leaky roof? Maybe he beat his dog so badly it had to be euthanized? Maybe he didn't give it water on a hot day although it was none the worse for wear when it got water that evening? Maybe there was three days worth of cr*p in the corner of the pen?

No way to know. All of these would be called 'abuse' by the people who like our laws the way they are. But should they all lead to the same punishment? In particular, is every one of the above a reason to take away all of the owner's animals? I suspect I know Waldo's answer, perhaps the RTD Board would agree. But we need to remember that experienced dog breeders aren't a dime a dozen: The breeders who have 30 years of experience today started in 1980 and it will take until 2040 to create a whole new batch. It should not be the goal of our laws to eliminate skilled practitioners as rapidly as possible, but rather to fit the punishment to the crime. When 'abuse' means 'poor housekeeping, no animal was harmed' that's one situation. The violent abuser is quite another.

The changes in HB 2482 would allow a judge discretion. Sure, some people convicted of what can be called abuse should never have an animal again. But others, did no harm. Those individuals should take their conviction and their fine and go on their way, chastened.

Of course if your goal really is to eliminate pet breeding as rapidly as possible you're not going to agree with any of that.

Tom writes:

The laws that are on the books now were designed with a criminal intent. Seizure bonds force a defendant to pay a lot of money or lose their animals before a trial. Seizure of the animals closes the business and damages the owner financially before any kind of due process has been observed. With the case examples that we have and with Jean's case that has been explained here, you can see that no kind of due diligence was done either. This affair started with an ACO choosing to extort valuable property under color of law.

I can see even in this small sample that owners need more protection than HB2482 asked for. It is simply incredible that someone can be convicted on what amounts to the slightest excuse and the fact that this happened points to big problems with the judicial system.

MeLoveless writes:

Im still surprised by the sheer amount of ignorance? If thats even the right word of how many people do not understand, cannot read, fail to realize, I dont even know it is at this point. Maybe just sheer stubborn to pull their heads out of the ground, that this bill DOES NOT allow anyone guilty of abuse to keep their animals..

I mean really can someone show me exactly in the bill, do not quote Robin Starr or some news paper saying, but actually show me in the bill where it says someone convicted of animal abuse gets to automatically keep their animals. Just like that, here you go you are found guilty, here's your animals now go home.. PLEASE show me where that is in the bill.

Because I only see where it says that after a couple of years they can be reviewed by a court and IF they MEET THE COURTS SATISFACTION then THE COURT MAY decide to let them own animals/ sell animals again, but I never saw anything in that bill that said if your found guilty of abuse you just get to keep your animals..

Tom writes:

MeLoveless, when we are dealing with criminal intent we do not have to give anything up to them. Where in all this do we see that they have any right to take anyone's animals?

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I mean really can someone show me exactly in the bill, do not quote Robin Starr or some news paper saying, but actually show me in the bill where it says someone convicted of animal abuse gets to automatically keep their animals.

§ 3.2-6569 G: "Any owner required by the court to dispose of animals in his care shall be permitted no less than 90 days to transfer the ownership and possession of such animals."

Tom writes:

Current practice is to have the animals sold even before a trial can take place. If the humane societies can't immediately sell the animals, and in fact if they have to bear the cost of a persecution, they will lose interest in trumping up charges. The requirement in section G helps take the profit out of stealing and bearing false witness.

MeLoveless writes:

@Waldo Nope, Try again. The text you quoted clearly says Any owner required to DISPOSE of the animals. Unless the definition of DISPOSE has changed, then what you quoted still clearly shows that they DO NOT get to keep their animals.

Also to clarify it also says any owner required by the court to dispose of the animals in his care.. Which means that is only the case IF the court allows the owner to dispose of them, it DOES NOT stop the court nor put a time limit on animals that the court doesn't allow the owner to dispose of. i.e. animals that are seized due to true cases of cruelty.

So now we are back to my question, please show me in the bill where it says a person found guilty of cruelty automatically gets to keep their animals. Being granted by the court the right to dispose of your own animals is NOT the court allowing you to keep your animals. As you still have to get rid of them within the time frame set by court. And the court may not allow everyone the right to dispose of their own animals, that's at the courts discretion.

Which I also think is logical. There needs to be different levels of punishment to fit the crime. You wouldn't send a 15 year old kid who stole a music CD to death row even though he committed a crime. Not all crimes are the same.

If there is a person who has fallen on hard times and has 3 dogs, and they haven't been able to afford to take those 3 dogs to the vet to get their teeth cleaned, or pay for their flea medicine w/e and the ACOs, and state vets come and say well that's abuse I'm charging you with animal cruelty. Then that person is found guilty of cruelty because they didn't have their dogs teeth cleaned. Then why shouldn't the courts grant them 90 days to dispose of their own dogs? Those dogs aren't really abused nor are they in any threat or danger.

Once again its about the punishment fitting the crime. All this bill would have done is granted the court more power to accurately give out suitable punishments for based on their charges..

I mean come on, do you think a judge or a courtroom anywhere in Virginia would leave an animal with someone who starved it, beat it, left it outside with no shelter and then give them 90 days to find a home for the animals? The bill DOESN'T say the court has to leave them with that person either.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The text you quoted clearly says Any owner required to DISPOSE of the animals. Unless the definition of DISPOSE has changed, then what you quoted still clearly shows that they DO NOT get to keep their animals.

Tear up that straw man! One more time, that RTD quote:

"But there is no such justification for letting those convicted of animal abuse keep the very animals they abused in order to sell them."

And § 3.2-6569 G:

"Any owner required by the court to dispose of animals in his care shall be permitted no less than 90 days to transfer the ownership and possession of such animals."

I can't say it enough: reading is fundamental.

MeLoveless writes:

@Waldo If you cant say it, enough then you think you would follow your own advice. As I also clearly stated, that that is IF the court allows the owner to dispose of the animals. The court DOES NOT have to allow the owner to dispose of them.

However either way true abusers are NOT allowed to keep their animals period.

Also once again:

There needs to be different levels of punishment to fit the crime. You wouldn't send a 15 year old kid who stole a music CD to death row even though he committed a crime. Not all crimes are the same.

If there is a person who has fallen on hard times and has 3 dogs, and they haven't been able to afford to take those 3 dogs to the vet to get their teeth cleaned, or pay for their flea medicine w/e and the ACOs, and state vets come and say well that's abuse I'm charging you with animal cruelty. Then that person is found guilty of cruelty because they didn't have their dogs teeth cleaned. Then why shouldn't the courts grant them 90 days to dispose of their own dogs? Those dogs aren't really abused nor are they in any threat or danger.

Once again its about the punishment fitting the crime. All this bill would have done is granted the court more power to accurately give out suitable punishments for based on their charges..

If a person is truly guilty of abuse then the animals would remain at where ever they were taken to when they were seized and Im sure the judge would order that facility to place the animals, they would not allow the owner to. If the animals arent being abused then there is no reason for the owner not to be able to dispose of them.

However I cant say it enough, the court DOES NOT have to allow the owner to dispose their own animals. The COURT MAKES the decision on who disposes of them. However if they chose the owner then the owner MUST still DISPOSE of the animals. So there is NOTHING in the new bill that says that animal abusers are allowed to keep their animals.

Also as in Jean's case she was allowed by the court to dispose of her own animals but she WAS NOT allowed to sell them. The local ACO also supervised the disposal and kept track of where all the animals went in Jeans case as well. There is NOTHING in HB2482 that says the same stipulations wouldnt apply in other cases as well.

Tom writes:

People could be charged with abuse if their dogs die under anesthesia. That's another thing that can be exploited for profit.

Obviously the law says that the judge can set a time limit for a raid victim to get rid of her animals. It says that the time limit must be at least ninety days.

As I said, it is becoming more and more evident that the current crop of humane enforcement should not be allowed to enforce any law at all or to be around animals. It's like allowing child rapists to be social workers.

Tom writes:

If they're not playing games, not stealing, not corrupt, and not profiteering, they won't mind measures that prevent animal control and humane societies from abusing citizens.

Lilly M. writes:

Well well look at Waldo hanging in there for all he is worth. Which isn't much.I came into this pretty open minded but Waldo gives me the creeps. To think that people with this IQ actually vote in our elections is scary.
I do want to thank all of you who took/wasted your time tryiny to educate this idiot. And Clint I want to thank you for your statements. The fact that this man puts down a person who used his considerable smart to overcome a handicapp that a lot of people have is remarkable. The fact that you put yourself in a position where this lowlife could ridicule you shows ahigh level of inteligents and bravery. It also shows that you at least are inteligent enough to read,learn and vote for what you know is true and believe in. Bless You.

Waldo you could learn something from this person or you could if you weren't so stupid. Over and over these people have explained hb2482 to you and yet you still fail to understand simple facts and definitions. And the fact that you would make fun of someone with a handicapp shows exactly what kind of person you are. SHAME ON YOU!

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Waldo you could learn something from this person or you could if you weren't so stupid. Over and over these people have explained hb2482 to you and yet you still fail to understand simple facts and definitions.

That's right, I don't understand. Neither does the governor, the editorial boards of any newspaper in the state, or the bill's own patron. Thank goodness that you kind-hearted people make such strong efforts to education us morons! I don't know how you find the patience, I really don't.

It's sad that I'm so stupid! But, Lilly, my stupidity is, of course, a mental handicap—you really shouldn't make fun of me for it. The fact that you would make fun of someone with a handicap shows exactly what kind of person you are. The fact that you put down a person who used my considerable smarts to overcome a handicap that a lot of people have is remarkable.

And the fact that you would make fun of someone with a handicapp shows exactly what kind of person you are. SHAME ON YOU!

Yes, if I had done such a thing, that would be awful! SHAME ON ME FOR THAT THING I DIDN'T DO! For shame!

Tom writes:

The actual reason for felony charges against animal owners is to make it far more difficult to organize resistance against animal rights fascism. It's been made obvious that they now have the power to trump up felony charges against whoever they want and make them stick in court.

They have corrupted the legal system and editorial boards of newspapers.

Tom writes:

Another thing that you should know is that breeders don't have to lie about what we are doing. We know that what we do is good and right and we can tell the truth about it.

Lilly M. writes:

Sorry Waldo but maybe if you didn't play the part so well I would not have made that mistake. Doesn't change my opinion though. You still don't seem to get what has been shown and proved to you over and over.Hsus and AR says That someone can come on your property, take your property, sell your property,kill your property, put you in jail because someone says they think you abused your animals. All of this takes place befor any kind of legal steps are taken.They say ALL breeding/breeders are bad and should be put out of business.Then laws are made so they can define them to suit any circumstance they want.Tell me again how that is fair and just.

Bubberella writes:

MUTTS RULE, PUREBREEDS DROOL!

Bubberella writes:

Sorry, I just had to say that.

Gerbera writes:

Another thing that you should know is that breeders don't have to lie about what we are doing. We know that what we do is good and right and we can tell the truth about it.

If this is the case, how come none of the breeders linked directly to their websites in the comments on this page? Most reputable breeders have websites.

MeLoveless writes:

@Gerbera Not everyone here is a breeder. I am NOT a breeder, I own a few indoor pets which are all spayed and neutered and they were all strays. Not a single one of my pets came from a breeder, they are all "mutts".

For some reason the general masses seem to think these laws and bills ONLY apply to breeders. This isnt true. They APPLY to EVERYONE who owns ANY companion animal. Regardless of if you only own 1 dog or 1000, they APPLY to EVERYONE.

Everyone who owns even a single animal can be affected by these bills and hurt by the current laws. If you think just because you arent a breeder you cant be found guilty of cruelty for plaque on your dogs teeth, or for a flea bite or anything else they want to come up with. Then you better think again. Because you can.

This shouldnt be an argument against breeders or if you like breeders or if you hate breeders or if you think dog breeding should be illegal. The amount of people who breed and sell companion animals in Virginia compared to the amount of people who actually just own a pet is very very small.

Take off your blinders and stop thinking these bills only apply to breeders and realize they apply to you, me, and every other average joe who has a pet. Then look inside your pets mouth if you can and see if your 100% sure your pets teeth are clean enough.

Tom writes:

You simply can't trust humane organizations or law enforcement personnel who make a habit of lying about what they see at a breeding facility or anywhere else. You also can't trust people who want to paint every breeder as bad because of the very few who have done wrong.

Gerbera writes:

I did not share a personal opinion about breeders. I did not state that this bill applied to breeders, either.

The chances are that many of those who have commented here are breeders. In past years, bills related to animal care often brought breeders out in force. I simply asked why they didn't link to their websites. My statement that most reputable breeders have websites is true.

There is a lack of reading comprehension here.

MeLoveless writes:

@Gerbera I dont believe past my first paragraph did I address you personally. In my first paragraph I did not state your opinion of breeders nor your opinion on the bill. All I said in reply to you was that NOT everyone here was a breeder.

After the first paragraph I believe it says: "For some reason the general masses" Now unless you changed your name to General Masses then I wouldn't think that comment was addressed to you specifically nor anything that followed it, unless you consider yourself in that general mass who thinks like that. Then yes, the following comments would have applied to you.

Though to be honest I do still fail to see your connection between reputable breeders, their websites and how anyone NOT posting their website here makes any difference in reference to HB 2482.

Even if I did have a website(for anything) I wouldnt post any of personal information here with the attitudes of most people who have been posting here. Im sure most others, even the reputable ones feel the same. Im not even a breeder and the way some people act and think on here scare me.

The insults, mudslinging, childish behavior, allegations without proof, and lack of actually talking about the topic at hand instead of just trying to pick a fight, or tear someone else down on this topic is appalling and I wouldnt want any of those people near any personal information of mine.

Even you to which I never insulted in my post, nor was I even remotely rude to you or anyone else here for that matter, yet you replied back to my post with an insult. And you really have to wonder why noone is posting their personal websites?