RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — A law was signed in Virginia on Monday banning the sale of dogs or cats for experimental purposes.
Governor Glenn Youngkin signed House Bill 1350, introduced by Delegate Rob Bell, and Senate Bills 87, 88, 90 and 604, all by Senator William Stanley.
“Today’s remarkable performance brought together every single Republican and Democrat to protect our four-legged constituents,” Youngkin said. “This historic legislative package I signed into law today makes it clear that dogs and cats bred and sold for experimental purposes are protected under Virginia’s cruelty to animals law, will help ensure animal welfare standards and save lives, and give Virginia the authority give to take action when welfare violations occur.”
HB1350 and SB87 prohibit the sale of dogs or cats for experimental purposes and amend the Comprehensive Animal Care Law.
In particular, the bills clarify that a dealer, commercial dog breeder or cat breeder is any person or entity that breeds these animals as laboratory animals.
“Virginia law had a special exception for people who breed dogs for research. We didn’t think that made sense, and so the bills would say, if you’re a commercial dog breeder and you breed dogs for research, you must follow the same rules if you breed dogs for a pet shop,” Bell said.
SB88 required breeders to keep records of each animal for two years from the date of sale and delivery.
SB90 adds breeders to the groups that are required to offer dogs and cats for adoption before the animals are euthanized when an animal research facility no longer needs an animal in their possession.
And SB604 amends the definition of pets, replacing the current wording that excludes all animals that are considered “research animals” under federal law with more specific wording.
The new language frees only those animals that are actively involved in genuine scientific or medical experiments.
Bell says thousands of beagles have been up for adoption since a commercial dog breeder in Cumberland called Envigo bred animals for experimental purposes. He adds that Envigo has not been shut down.