Laws

Bill to Ban Animal Crush Videos Clears First Hurdle

The Supreme Court’s decision threw out the conviction of a Virginia man sentenced to three years in prison under the 1999 law for selling dog fighting videos. Robert Stevens of Pittsville, Virginia, appealed his conviction, saying it violated his right of free speech. The U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit inPhiladelphia tossed out Stevens’ conviction and ruled the statute was unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.
The High Court ruled the 1999 law was too broad and could be interpreted to include such activities as hunting. Justices also noted that dog fighting and animal cruelty are illegal nationwide. read more

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Governor McDonnell Amends Bill to Prohibit Breed Based Euthanization of Dogs in Public Animal Shelters–As Attorney General, McDonnell Issued Official

The House is supposed to vote on the amended bill TODAY. The session starts at noon but we don’t know when the vote on this bill will come up. There should be a calendar posted soon (http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?101+cal+CAL) to at least see the order in which the bills will be presented. You can also watch the session online – there’s a live stream posted at .

It is also important that you contact your Delegate and Senator and ask him or her to vote for this amendment. To find out who they are, go to and fill out the form. When you click SUBMIT, you’ll get a page with both your state legislators’ information. Beneath their names is a button that says “Send a message to your delegate and senator.” Click that to open an email which will go to both of them. In the subject line, write “Please support Governor’s amendment to HB281” and send your personal message encouraging their support. Simply urge your representative to support the amendment and offer whatever personal message you feel is appropriate. Please be sure to articulate why discrimination based upon breed is unacceptable to you as a citizen and animal advocate. read more

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Justices Void Law Banning Videos of Animal Cruelty

Yesterday was a sad day for those of us who care about the life and well-being of animals. The Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a federal law that made it a crime to create or sell dogfight videos and other depictions of animal cruelty.

You can read the full article here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/us/21scotus.html but the long and short of it is this…The Supreme Court of the United States said that the law had created “a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth” and that the government’s aggressive defense of the law was “startling and dangerous. The existing law, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, covered too much speech protected by the First Amendment. read more

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Dog Owners need to know their rights!

We at RDR have been saying for years how important it is to know your rights as a dog owner. Even though we’d like to think that all local animal control divisions would never bully or scare you into thinking that something was the truth when it clearly is not, it does happen. Please educate yourself. Start by understanding the dangerous and vicious dog ordinances. Here are a few of the highlights you need to know:

  • Dangerous dog” means a canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal that is a dog or cat, or killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat.
  • “Vicious dog” means a canine or canine crossbreed that has: (i) killed a person; (ii) inflicted serious injury to a person, including multiple bites, serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of a bodily function; or (iii) continued to exhibit the behavior that resulted in a previous finding by a court or, on or before July 1, 2006, by an animal control officer as authorized by ordinance, that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.
  • When a dog attacks or bites a companion animal that is a dog or cat, the attacking or biting dog shall not be deemed dangerous: (i) if no serious physical injury as determined by a licensed veterinarian has occurred to the dog or cat as a result of the attack or bite; (ii) if both animals are owned by the same person; (iii) if such attack occurs on the property of the attacking or biting dog’s owner or custodian; or (iv) for other good cause as determined by the court. No dog shall be found to be a dangerous dog as a result of biting, attacking, or inflicting injury on a dog or cat while engaged with an owner or custodian as part of lawful hunting or participating in an organized, lawful dog handling event. No dog that has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person shall be found to be a dangerous dog if the court determines, based on the totality of the evidence before it, that the dog is not dangerous or a threat to the community.
  • Any law-enforcement officer or animal control officer who has reason to believe that a canine or canine crossbreed within his jurisdiction is a dangerous dog or vicious dog shall apply to a magistrate serving the jurisdiction for the issuance of a summons requiring the owner or custodian, if known, to appear before a general district court at a specified time.

This means DO NOT mean you have to sign your dog over to animal control immediately after an incident!! read more

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State Code and Companion Animal Care

Sometimes rescue work is so frustrating…especially when you feel like you don’t get any support from your local animal control. Someone wrote a nice letter about a penned dog that was a victim of cruelty and neglect. The local animal control was contacted and the dog owner was found not to be in violation. We sent a volunteer over right after Animal Control left and the dog had no water (it is 82° here today), so please tell me how no violation was found?!!

Never mind that the State Code of Virginia states this:
§ 3.2-6503. Care of companion animals by owner; penalty. read more

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Adoptables: Mo

Mo is a handsome, lovable, and hefty hunk. He is crate trained and housebroken. While Mo can get a little hyped up in the house,... more

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