Let me introduce SB 610. This bill's patron is Senator Richard Black (R) of Virginia's District 13. This is what worries me.
Under the new legislation, hunting dogs, working dogs, and show dogs would be reclassified as livestock. By doing so, these animals would fall under the Department of Agriculture, and "The Department occupies the entire field of regulation of the care, control, and handling of agricultural animals. No political subdivision, locality, or humane society shall regulate the care and handling of agricultural animals. "
As innocent as this may seem, this bill opens up the entire animal rights debate, and particular to dogs exposes the constant struggle between animal rights groups and puppy mills, certain hunt clubs, on occasion the American Kennel Club, and others.
Let me begin by stating that supporters of this bill are already eyeing the potential ramifications of this legislation. They are also very well organized.
Dog overpopulation and the euthanasia of pets in shelters has become a nation wide epidemic. One of the principle architects of these problems are puppy mills. This bill would help to provide protections to a mass production of animal abuses.
Further, the inclusion of "Traditional Farm Practices" would potentially allow for dog mutilation for aesthetics and convenience.
Ultimately, this bill decidedly hampers the ability of any intervention, and puts dogs in danger. From the groundwork of this bill will come a break down of the current limited protection of pets.