Va. House subcommittee kills dog tether bill for 2018 session

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - The Virginia House of Delegates agriculture sub-committee has killed a bill for this session that was designed to protect dogs who live their lives chained up.

State lawmakers got into a heated discussion Monday afternoon over SB 872 at a house agriculture subcommittee before ultimately deciding not to move it forward.

The sub-committee invoked rule 22 and continued the bill to 2019 by a voice vote.

Virginia Federation of Humane Societies President Debra Griggs traveled to Richmond for the meeting Monday afternoon.

She spoke with WDBJ7 via phone on her way to the meeting.

"I'm headed to Richmond today to hopefully get the tethering protections which were intended in Senate Bill 872 added back to the bill because at this point it has been gutted and it offers no protections for tethered animals."

According to Griggs, the bill as it was initially written bans chaining pets outdoors in extreme weather conditions. However, the bill then changed to instead requiring tethers be lengthened to 15 feet.

Griggs explained she was stunned over how the original bill had been amended.

"This bill has the support of the Attorney General's Office, the Governor's Office, my organization, the Humane Society of the United States, overwhelming support from citizens," she said.

"I am shocked that these legislators would not pass these protections that we thought was very reasonable."

She thinks it is absolutely necessary to offer protections to tethered animals because they are completely helpless.

"Their chain wraps around the tree, they can't get out of the sun. They can't get out of the cold. Their shelter may be inadequate."

The continued bill will not be brought up again until 2019.