The Virginia Senate voted overwhelmingly for a bill that would restrict PETA's mass killing of dogs and cats at its Norfolk headquarters; but PETA has hired a crack lobbyist in an effort to push for the vote to fail tomorrow in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Senate Bill 1381 would redefine the purpose of a private shelter, requiring these to stress life-saving and adoption. The bill is an effort to thwart PETA's practice of killing almost every animal surrendered into its care. In 2014, for instance, PETA poisoned over 88% of the dogs and cats taken in.
While the bill stops short of the No Kill legislation that many people would like to see, it's nevertheless a meaningful local effort to prevent at least some of the slaughter in Norfolk.
The bill seemed certain to pass in the House, as the Senate approved it 33-5. That certainty has evaporated with the revelation that PETA has hired a famous lobbyist to urge Virginia Delegates to vote nay. VPAP (The Virginia Public Access Project) has reported that Stephen D. Haner has been retained by PETA to lobby politicians in the area of "all matters related to the operation of private animal shelters in the Commonwealth of Virginia." (VPAP is a non-partisan institution aimed at keeping Virginia voters informed.)
Mr. Haner is not to be taken lightly: his efforts on behalf of the Republican Party were credited with their landslide win in 1991, when Steve Haner was Executive Director of the Joint Republican Caucus. Democrats tried to put together a team of consultants to emulate his devastating work: the Times Dispatch "dubbed the proposed regional activists 'Mini-Haners.'"
The vote on this bill takes place tomorrow, Monday February 16. If passed, it will be the first successful effort to legislate against PETA's obscene shelter practices: it is backed by a populist movement incensed by PETA's alleged theft and killing of a young girl's pet dog in Accomack County. If Mr. Haner succeeds in quashing the bill tomorrow, further efforts may still rein in PETA's killing to some extent: the State Attorney General has created a new animal law unit in response to the outrage.