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Urge Virginia’s Governor to sign legislation protecting beagles

Posted on Monday, March 14, 2022
triptych of beagles: two outside images show legislators Sen. Jennifer Boysko and Sen. Bill Stanley each cradling a beagle; they frame a center photo of an inquisitive beagle whose nose comes close to touching the camera

Anyone who has heard a baying pack of beagles will understand how fitting it is that in protecting these small, affable dogs, the Virginia General Assembly has spoken as a united chorus. Both the House of Delegates and Senate unanimously voted to pass five bills that strengthen protections for dogs and cats bred for research.

This bipartisan legislation sends a strong message about the Commonwealth’s values in protecting animals from cruelty. It now needs the governor’s signature to become law and offer real protection to animals inside a factory farm for beagles in Cumberland, Virginia.

[Find related coverage about the Cumberland facility from Science, Virginia Mercury, and the Washington Post.]

Legislation awaits Governor Glenn Youngkin’s signature

HB 1350*, Patron: Del. Bell
State law already prohibits the sale of dogs bred by an entity that has received certain citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. That law applies to sale as companion animals, e.g. pet shops. Del. Bell’s legislation will add cats and clarify that selling includes the sale of a dog or cat for experimental purposes. Applies to violations occurring on or after July 1, 2023.
*companion to SB 87

SB 87*, Patron: Sen. Stanley
Current law prohibits pet stores from selling dogs or cats acquired from breeders who have received direct or critical citations of the AWA within two years. This bill expands the law to apply to any dog or cat being sold for experimental purposes. Applies to violations occurring on or after July 1, 2023.
*companion to HB 1350

SB 88, Patron: Sen. Stanley
Requires breeders selling animals for experimentation to maintain records for individual animals and submit an annual summary to the state veterinarian. This bill has some similarities to reporting required of shelter and rescue groups in Virginia.

SB 90, Patron: Sen. Stanley
Current law requires animal testing facilities to offer dogs and cats for adoption when the animals are no longer needed for research purposes. This bill would expand the code to include those who breed dogs and cats for sale to animal testing facilities.

SB 604, Patron: Sen. Stanley
Amends the definition of “companion animal” in state code to include dogs and cats who are bred for experimentation. This would allow existing protections under the cruelty statute to be applied to animals bred for research.

Ask the governor to sign these bills

Please respectfully let Gov. Youngkin know the importance of these matters with a polite email sent through the Governor’s Office website. Your message will be most effective when conveyed in your own words, but we are providing a suggestion to get you started.

Dear Gov. Youngkin,

The revelations contained in the USDA’s inspection reports of the massive commercial dog breeding facility that Envigo operates in Virginia are appalling and the Commonwealth must take action to better protect these dogs that live out their lives in squalor while producing litters of offspring destined for research laboratories.

After 26 violations were reported at this company’s facility in Cumberland last summer, the USDA’s follow up inspection in October documented another 13 violations. While federal inspectors can write citations and levy fines, these dogs need help now. The General Assembly passed Senate Bills 87, 88, 90 and 604, and House Bill 1350 with unanimous bipartisan votes to give them that help.

I respectfully ask that you sign each of these bills without delay and enact this commonsense legislation.

Thank you for your service to the Commonwealth.



The Richmond SPCA has united with animal welfare organizations across the state as part of the Virginia Coalition for Beagle Protection. Follow the coalition on Facebook for further updates about these bills.

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