Dog Licensing in Virginia sign now

To: Elected Officials in the Commonwealth of Virginia
As citizens of Virginia, we are opposed to the licensing fee proposed by HB339 for the following reasons: (A.) Responsible pet owners see a veterinarian routinely and have their pets vaccinated for rabies and other required immunizations. The Virginia Department of Health reports 406,613 rabies vaccinations were administered to dogs in 2006. This requirement for vaccinations for rabies is seen to be effective. (B.) For low- income families an additional expense such as HB339 proposes could prevent compliance with the expense already in place for rabies vaccinations or cause the families to have to choose between vaccinations or tax. (C.) HB339 attempts to attack irresponsible pet ownership which cannot be totally attacked successfully by licensing and fees. (D.) HB339 proposes an electronic database for securing information on vaccinations. There is no provision for providing for permission of owners for securing it or for how it would be used, or for determining other ways for reporting on issues that could be said to have caused such unfortunate incidents as the attacks and mauling of recent victims. Consideration should be given to past failures to encourage responsible ownership or to punish the opposite. As responsible pet owners we propose eradicating completely the need for dog licensing and in its place strengthen existing laws, thus providing local animal control officers the tools to more effectively enforce their job.

History of HB339: Del. Robert D. Orrock, Sr., R-Caroline sponsored HB339 following the 2005 mauling death of Dorothy Sullivan and her dog, Buttons by a neighbors dogs. The Free Lance Star reported on 12/22/06 that Sullivan and her dog were killed March 8, 2005 after being mauled by three roaming dogs. According to the familys attorney, Thomas Albro, complaints about these roaming dogs were received as early as June, 2004, but Animal Control employees failed to respond or did not respond appropriately. Other incidents had been reported to Animal Control by residents after their pets had been killed by roaming dogs. It is unclear whether these roaming dogs had received their rabies vaccine. Sullivans family is suing Spotsylvania County for $5 million.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Del. Orrock indicated the intent of HB339 was to provide the treasurers with records of who owns the animals, so they can make it easier for owners to comply with the existing law, and that it is about promoting public safety and responsible pet ownership. HB339 requires veterinarians within 45 days of vaccination of the animal to report to the appropriate locality the signature of the veterinarian, the animal owners name and address, the species of the animal, the sex, the age, the color, the primary breed, the secondary breed, whether or not the animal is spayed or neutered, the vaccination number, and expiration date. Fees for licensing vary from locality to locality and the locality may establish different rates of taxation for ownership of female dogs, male dogs, spayed or neutered dogs, female cats, male cats and spayed or neutered cats. The tax for each dog or cat shall not be less than one dollar and not more than ten dollars for each year. Veterinarians that do not report may be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10 per certificate.

History of Dog Licensing: According to William J. Bone, D.V.M. Dog licensing in the U.S. was addressed in the 1700s with several states passing laws to control dogs and collect taxes to reimburse livestock owners for acts of dog depredation.
These funds so collected were used to indemnify farmers for the loss of sheep, pigs and fowl killed by dogs.
In 1752 the colony of Virginia enacted "An Act for preserving the breed of Sheep" and it contained the following provision:
"And whereas dogs frequently ramble from home and destroy great numbers of sheep, and some persons are so un-neighborly as to refuse their being killed; Be it enacted, by the Lieutenant Governor, Council and Burgesses of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That it shall and may be lawful for any justice of the peace, upon due proof made to him, of any dog killing sheep, to order such dog destroyed forthwith".
These early laws spoke to the problem of the dog as a nuisance and made provisions to reimburse the owners for damage so inflicted. However, no mention was made of a dog license tag.

In 1979, the issue of dog licensing in Virginia was addressed and was outlined as a dog licensing tax. This law specifically targeted dogs only. There was no enforcement measure with this law and no criminal offense if not followed. Almost thirty years later and no change had been made with regard to dog licensing until HB339.

We, the citizens of Virginia, are opposed to the outrageous and unjust fee (TAX) imposed under the auspices as "promoting public safety and responsible pet ownership" in House Bill 339 for the following reasons:

1. The fee/tax inflicts a punishment on pet owners for caring for a dog/cat. A pet is a living, breathing creature, not property or goods which would justify a tax.
2. The fee will not promote public safety and responsible pet ownership. Responsible pet owners see a veterinarian routinely and have their pets vaccinated not only for rabies, but other required immunizations (DHLPP, Corona and Heartworm check).
3. For low-income families, this fee/tax could prevent the pet from receiving the rabies vaccine. Failure to purchase a dog license in Virginia is a Class IV misdemeanor and carries up to a $250 fine. A Class IV misdemeanor is equivalent to fornication and adultery in Virginia.
4. The bill's sponsor, Del. Robert D. Orrock, Sr. (R- Caroline) sponsored HB339 as a result of the 2005 mauling of Dorothy Sullivan and her dog, Buttons. He also sponsored legislation to allow a felony charge against a dog owner if a person is seriously injured by a dog the owner allowed to run free. In fact, the bill was called, the Dorothy Sullivan Memorial Bill. While this legislation attempts to address the problem of irresponsible pet ownership, it does so after the fact.
5. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reports that 406,613 rabies vaccines were administered to dogs in 2006. Likewise, VDH reports the top offender of rabies in 2006 belongs to raccoons (311 incidents), fox (80), bats (17) and sheep (6). There were 6 reported cases of rabies for dogs and 39 reported cases of rabies for cats. These statistics certainly do not suggest a compliance issue with obtaining rabies vaccinations for dogs. The information also suggests rabies in dogs is not a threat to public safety. It would seem if the rabies vaccine is really the issue, this vaccine would be required for cows, horses, and sheep. Currently, farm animals are not required to receive a rabies vaccine.
6. HB339 provides a detailed pet owner electronic database for manipulation and scrutiny by anyone and everyone. Our privacy is comprised enough. We are not willing to have it compromised with our pets. There are no guarantees that this information will not be utilized or shared at some future date, especially if there are opportunities for the State to sell this information. Veterinarians face a $10 fine for failing to provide the information to the local treasurer.
7. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, an estimated 1.5 million dogs lived in Virginia in 2001 in about one-third of the states households. If all those dogs were licensed, that could generate $15 million across the state. Funds are supposed to be used by the city/county for animal control purposes, such as spay/neuter programs. Localities have historically not done well in this arena. The local humane groups have stellar spay/neuter programs and offer other low cost services to pet owners. This was reported by the Times-Dispatch (7/12/06). Clearly, dog licensing is at present not about ensuring rabies vaccinations, but rather generating REVENUE.
8. In 2006, 1,164 dogs were euthanized in Richmond City alone. Virginia has many unwanted pets that are euthanized yearly. HB339 could decrease the likelihood of an adoption for these animals since there is yet another expense to pet ownership and dog licensing certainly is not a solution to pet overpopulation. According to the Lehigh Valley Animal Rights Coalition 8 to 12 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters annually and only 4\% of lost cats and 14\% of lost dogs are reunited with their owners each year.
9. According to the Virginia Department of Health, 406,613 dogs and 90,560 cats received rabies vaccinations in 2006. This data suggests that Virginias are compliant in obtaining rabies vaccine for their pets. The Virginia Department of Health also reports that 421,789 dogs and 13,537 cats were licensed in Virginia in 2006. Since a tag with identifying information about the vaccine is given at the time of the rabies vaccine, information is already available regarding the pet and the owner from the tag. Clearly, HB339 will only serve as a mechanism to generate revenue. The purpose and intent is not about protecting the public or ensuring that pet owners act responsibly and have their pets vaccinated. It is about money an estimated $15 million.
10. HB339 states it shall be the responsibility of the owner of each vaccinated animal that is not already licensed to apply for a license for the vaccinated dog. If the treasurer determines, from review of the rabies vaccination information provided by veterinarians, that the owner of an unlicensed dog has failed to apply for license within 90 days of the date of vaccination, the treasurer shall transmit an application to the owner and request the owner to submit a completed application and pay the appropriate fee. What is the appropriate fee? Will the fee be effective from this date forward or retroactive? The language is not clear and could impose back penalties.

We, the undersigned, demand the immediate repeal of HB339." We will not vote for any state Delegate or State Senator who voted for this bill or for any Delegate or Senator who does not take action to repeal House Bill 339 that inflicts this unjust pet tax. As responsible pet owners of the Commonwealth of Virginia, we ensure that our pets have all of the appropriate vaccinations they are required to have, seek medical attention as problems arise, provide basic needs such as food, shelter and companionship for and to our pets. We do not allow our pets to run loose as we want to protect them, nor do we chain or tie our pets. Clearly, dog licensing is no longer about reimbursing owners for damage so inflicted by our dogs and it is not even about ensuring rabies vaccinations. It is about revenue. As responsible pet owners, we feel dog licensing has exhausted its need of existence. We would propose eradicating completely the need for dog licensing and in its place require (a) animal control officers receive at least 12 hours of training per year (to include information about changes in the law as it relates to them) (b) identified irresponsible pet owners are required to attend responsible pet owner classes taught by a qualified instructor (i.e. humane organization member/veterinarian) and animal control officers are given the ability to enforce such a requirement (c) for State lawmakers to examine existing policies to tighten and toughen and prevent before the fact, irresponsible pet ownership. Examples include: dog fighting laws in Virginia - According to the Humane Society of the United States, Virginia ranks 37th in the nation with regards to the length of jail sentence and fines imposed for dog fighting and as early as November, 2007, The Humane Society of the Untied States (HSUS) assisted Carroll County authorities to remove nearly 1,000 dogs from a puppy mill. According to the HSUS, Virginia has no kennel inspection program to ensure that dog breeders meet basic standards of animal care. Further they report that Virginias puppy mills significantly contribute to the states overpopulation crisis: last year, shelters in Virginia had to euthanize more than 42,000 dogs for lack of homes. The Commonwealth of Virginia issued a license for this breeder to have 500 dogs. The citizenry of Virginia does not want to be known as a puppy mill state or dog fighting state. Finally, Virginia removed abandonment of an animal from cruelty to animals and re-classified this crime as highway littering (VA Code Ann 3, 1-796.122) which characterizes what this state thinks of pets. This is not what the citizens of Virginia think or want. Virginia can do better Virginia must do better for our pets.

Sign The Petition

Sign with Facebook
OR

If you already have an account please sign in, otherwise register an account for free then sign the petition filling the fields below.
Email and the password will be your account data, you will be able to sign other petitions after logging in.

Privacy in the search engines? You can use a nickname:

Attention, the email address you supply must be valid in order to validate the signature, otherwise it will be deleted.

I confirm registration and I agree to Usage and Limitations of Services

I confirm that I have read the Privacy Policy

I agree to the Personal Data Processing

Shoutbox

Who signed this petition saw these petitions too:

Sign The Petition

Sign with Facebook
OR

If you already have an account please sign in

Comment

I confirm registration and I agree to Usage and Limitations of Services

I confirm that I have read the Privacy Policy

I agree to the Personal Data Processing

Goal reached !
50 / 50

Latest Signatures

  • 17 August 201550. Charles Kh
    I support this petition
  • 05 January 201549. Darlene T
    I support this petition
  • 29 December 201448. Derek J
    I support this petition
  • 02 November 201447. Jenny Riley
    I support this petition
  • 31 October 201446. Edmond Emillerj
    I support this petition
  • 04 October 201445. Jeff G
    This is discouraging, agian government is penalizing responsible citizens who represent the majority for the actions of the few minority. I am consistent in the care of my animals and provide adequate care and treatment and because of that I am assessed a
  • 07 August 201444. Sandi W
    I support this petition
  • 31 May 201443. Amy Ct
    I support this petition
  • 26 May 201442. Richard Lawrencej
    I support this petition
  • 29 March 201441. Karen H
    I support this petition
  • 26 November 201340. A C
    I support this petition
  • 07 November 201339. Jeannette H
    I support this petition
  • 06 October 201338. Erin K
    I support this petition
  • 18 September 201337. Linda Lp
    I support this petition
  • 26 August 201336. Joann A
    I support this petition
  • 23 August 201335. Joan Pr
    I support this petition
  • 08 February 201334. Billy A
    I support this petition
  • 14 January 201333. Susan Cw
    I support this petition
  • 08 September 201232. Jacqueline P
    I support this petition
  • 02 September 201231. Courtney Y
    I support this petition
  • 28 August 201230. Rose B
    I support this petition
  • 11 August 201229. Stacy Y
    I support this petition
  • 15 July 201228. Lori A
    I support this petition
  • 01 September 201127. Alan W
    Its a stupid tax to begin with. Just gives deadbeat animal control officers a job in Shenandoah County
  • 26 August 201126. Dawn M
    I support this petition
  • 13 August 201125. June W
    I support this petition
  • 04 July 201124. Barbara S
    I support this petition

browse all the signatures

Information

Jeanine HurleyBy:
SportIn:
Petition target:
Virginia Legislators Members of Virginia General Assembly

Tags

No tags

Share

Invite friends from your address book

Embed Codes

direct link

link for html

link for forum without title

link for forum with title

Widgets