By Jessi Gower
Capital News Service
RICHMOND — Anyone erecting or maintaining an enclosure for the purpose of pursuing, hunting or killing fox or coyote with dogs will face Class 1 misdemeanor charges if Senate Bill 42 is signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
The Humane Society of the United States’ Virginia State Director Laura Donahue released a press statement praising Virginia’s General Assembly for passing such an important bill to Virginia’s wildlife.
“We applaud the House of Delegates for the passage of this critical bill to crack down on this cruel and inexcusable practice,” Donahue stated. “In these pens, packs of dogs are released to chase down wild-caught foxes, often killing them. SB42 creates a prohibition on any new pens from opening and will phase out current existing facilities.”
Christiansburg resident Kimberly Campbell says a bill such as this has been needed in Virginia, especially in places where fox hunting in inhumane pens is popular.
“I’ve known people to specifically catch foxes just to put them in these pens,” Campbell said. “It’s absolutely awful that the foxes are caught once by hunters then literally thrown to the dogs. I’m glad this bill is trying to make that stop.”
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS, also released a statement congratulating the bill’s chief patron, Sen. David Marsden, D-Burke, and Attorney General Mark Herring for all their work on the bill.
“Senator David Marsden, the bill’s sponsor, and Attorney General Mark Herring’s office have been true champions of this legislation and this fight,” Pacelle stated. “Without their support and testimony each step of the way, this bill would have never made it through the legislature.”
Capital News Service is a student news-gathering program sponsored by the School of Mass Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University.