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 ( 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.

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

RICHMOND- Governor Bob McDonnell has amended a bill passed by the General Assembly to insert a prohibition banning breed-based killing of dogs in the Commonwealth.
In 2006, then Attorney General McDonnell issued a formal opinion that public animal shelters could not euthanize dogs based solely on breed. A bill introduced this session to codify McDonnell’s opinion into state law, HB 429 patroned by Delegate Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), was narrowly defeated in the House Agriculture Subcommittee. During the bill review period the Governor decided to take the language of Griffith’s bill and insert it as an amendment to HB 281, patroned by Delegate Dave Albo (R-Springfield), which was a successful bill increasing the penalties for animal cruelty in Virginia. The Governor’s amendment will add the following language:
“No pound may euthanize, or prohibit the adoption of, any dog based solely on breed…”Speaking about his amendment to prohibit breed based killing of dogs, Governor McDonnell noted, “No dog should be euthanized solely because of their breed. As Attorney General I issued an opinion that this practice was not legal under Virginia law. However, there have continued to be questions regarding this matter. Therefore it is important that legislation be passed making it the clear law of the Commonwealth that no dog can be euthanized solely because of their breed. This is a humane amendment, and I urge the members of the General Assembly to accept it when they return next Wednesday.”

Virginia Kilmer, President of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies noted, “The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports efforts to eliminate breed discrimination. If enacted into law the amendment to HB 281 will compel the few remaining public shelters that kill solely because of breed to end the euthanasia of otherwise healthy, happy and completely adoptable animals and truly change the future for all sheltered animals in Virginia.”

Other groups that have publicly supported this measure are The Virginia Animal Control Association, the Virginia Dog Breeders Association, the Richmond SPCA, the National Federation of Humane Societies, Henrico Humane Society, Ring Dog Rescue, Animal Rescue of Tidewater, Loudoun Shelter Watch, Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the Charlottesville SPCA, the Humane Society of Franklin County and the Floyd County Humane Society.

McDonnell’s 2006 opinion can be read here: