VIRGINIA FEDERATION OF HUMANE SOCIETIES POSITION STATEMENTS
The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies is committed to ending tethering of companion animals as the primary means of confinement. VFHS is committed to providing resources and support to offer alternatives to the tethering of companion animals.
RECOGNIZING ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANIZATIONAL ROLES and RESOURCES
The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies recognizes that the Commonwealth of Virginia is diverse, and that there is a great deal of variation in the level of resources that each locality and organization has at its disposal. VFHS recognizes the collaborative relationships between public shelters, private shelters, and rescues. VFHS is committed to supporting all releasing agencies (public shelters, private shelters, rescues), and in particular, those that are committed to lifesaving but lack resources and need the most assistance. Each organization should decide for itself what policies best fit the organization and its community and strive to implement ways that best serve the animals and caregivers of the community.
SUPPORTING LIFESAVING AND COLLABORATIVE LANGUAGE
VFHS rejects the use of divisive language, such as “kill” and “no-kill” shelter and supports collaboration, actions, and data to save every healthy and treatable animal.
SALE OF COMPANION ANIMALS IN PET SHOPS
The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies opposes the sale of companion animals (as defined in Virginia State Code 3.2-6500) in retail establishments. The sale of companion animals in pet shops has been shown to be:
a. Harmful to pets who are often supplied from out-of-state large-scale, inhumane puppy breeding operations,
b. Harmful to pets who may be exposed to various zoonotic diseases in transport or in the retail establishment,
c. Harmful to pets who may not receive adequate care, feeding or housing in the retail establishment,
d. Harmful to consumers who may purchase a pet who then becomes ill from inadequate care or sub-standard breeding practices, and are left with little recourse, and,
e. Damaging to shelters and rescues throughout the Commonwealth who work tirelessly to find homes for pets.
This opposition does not include adoption programs developed in partnership with humane organizations, designed to reduce companion animal homelessness.
BREED SPECIFIC LEGISLATION
The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies endorses breed neutrality and opposes breed specific legislation and policies. Evidence shows that breed-neutral laws and policies are a more effective path to enhancing community safety than initiatives that target particular types of dogs based on breed. Virginia State Code reflects these principles. VFHS is committed to reversing breed-discriminatory laws and policies wherever they exist. VFHS also supports the adoption and enforcement of breed-neutral laws and policies designed to promote the safety and well-being of people and pets.
SUPPORT OF SPAY NEUTER PROGRAMS AND MANDATES
While many areas of the Commonwealth of Virginia have made significant progress in the reduction of pet euthanasia and the increase of adoptions in the past 25 years, we still face significant challenges.
In Virginia, some shelters continue to make the difficult decision to euthanize healthy, adoptable animals due to lack of space. Rescues and other volunteer organizations spend countless hours, weeks, and months trapping, transporting, fostering and adopting out dogs, cats and other companion animals in need of homes.
Spaying or neutering companion animals has been shown to be one significant tool in the reduction of the overpopulation of companion animals.
Therefore, the VFHS strongly supports spaying and/or neutering programs, including government-funded programs for all companion animals, mandatory spay neuter requirements for the release of shelter and rescue animals and voluntary spay/neuter surgeries, by qualified veterinarians, for guardians/owners for each companion animal, whether adopted, bought or otherwise acquired.
STRICT PENALTIES FOR ANIMAL ABUSERS
The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies supports significant penalties for those who commit crimes against animals and endorses comprehensive enforcement of laws that protect animals. VFHS embraces the irrefutable scientific data that animal abusers ultimately go on to abuse humans. VFHS believes that penalizing animal abusers to the full extent of the law ultimately means fewer crimes against similarly helpless people.
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS
The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies applauds Animal Control Officers who embrace progressive animal sheltering and support saving the lives of all healthy and treatable animals. Animal Control Officers are often the first line of defense in protecting their communities and the homeless pets and other animals throughout the Commonwealth, and they serve as compassionate ambassadors in their local communities.
The Virginia Federation of Humane Societies endorses Trap/Neuter/Return as the best and most humane practice for managing community cats. Data demonstrates that the lethal method of trapping and killing community cats has been proven to be ineffective and costly to localities. Trapping and killing is profoundly inhumane, and the majority of citizens do not want the cats to be killed. VFHS actively promotes TNR and is committed to ensuring that Virginia law clearly facilitates TNR.