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Virginia governor signs bills prohibiting sale of dogs or cats for experimental purposes

The legislation comes after reports of animal welfare violations at a breeding and research facility in Central Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia's governor signed legislation Monday that will now prohibit dogs or cats from being sold for the purpose of research. 

HB 1350 and SB 87 were signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin Monday to ban the sale of dogs and cats for experimental purposes. They amend the Comprehensive Animal Care Law to include cats and breeders of cats.

"Today’s remarkable achievement brought every single Republican and Democrat together to protect our four-legged constituents,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said Monday. “This historic package of bills I signed today clarifies that dogs and cats bred and sold for experimental purposes are protected by Virginia's cruelty-to-animals law, will help ensure welfare standards and save lives, and will give Virginia the authority to take action when welfare violations occur.”

Youngkin aslo signed SB 88, SB 90 and SB 604 into law.

SB 88 requires breeders of dogs and cats for experimental purposes to keep records on each animal for two years from the transfer. 

SB 90 adds breeders to those included in the Comprehensive Animal Care section of the code that are required to offer dogs and cats for sale or transfer to an animal testing facility that no longer has a need for a dog or cat in its possession to offer the animal for adoption prior to euthanizing it. Previously, only animal testing facilities were subject to this requirement. 

SB 604 amends the definition of "campion animal" in the Comprehensive Animal Care Law section of the code to replace the current language that exempts all animals regulated under federal law as a “research animal” with more specific language that exempts only those animals that are actively involved in bona fide scientific or medical experimentation.  

The legislation comes days after U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) expressed horror over alleged animal welfare violations at a Cumberland breeding and research facility

The senators say medical records indicated that nearly 200 dogs were euthanized by Envigo and many were not provided any anesthetic, which goes against the recommendation of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  

A spokesperson told WUSA9 Envigo is making progress on improving the conditions at the Cumberland facility, working toward a goal of one caretaker for every one hundred dogs, and has adopted out nearly 500 of the 5,000 dogs PETA says are housed here.

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