RICHMOND, Va. – A Virginia state senator proposed a bill to extend the period before a dog is euthanized if people express interest in adopting the animal.
The bill was inspired by Molly, a dog who escaped her yard in rural Carroll County last summer and killed a chicken.
Molly, who had never harmed another animal or person, had committed an offense that under a Va. livestock law sentenced her to death. But a provision of the law also allowed for Molly to be legally rehomed to a state non-adjacent to Virginia.
Molly’s owner surrendered her, and the dog was later euthanized in Galax City, despite organizations like the Richmond SPCA and others offering to take her.
“While none of us like that behavior, we have to understand that is not uncommon for dogs and it certainly doesn’t mean that they can’t be a perfectly good loving pet,” said SPCA CEO Robin Starr. “I think it’s such a tragedy for shelters to take the lives of animals that they don’t have to take.”
State Senator Bill Stanley has proposed S.B. 801 that would require a shelter to hold a dog or cat for three days instead of putting them down, if an organization or person requests to see them. The shelter is not required to provide such notice if it has reason to believe that the dog has injured a human or the dog meets certain other specified conditions for euthanasia.
“That way we’re giving dogs and cats a chance at life,” said Sen. Stanley.
CBS 6 spoke with Keith Barker, the Galax City Manager about the incident over the phone Thursday.
Barker said it is their shelter’s specific policy that if an animal kills livestock, it’s not adoptable and will be put down.
He said it would cause a potential liability if they transferred the animal.
Starr views the situation differently.
“Why would you voluntarily decide to use the resources to take a dog’s life when you could have simply transferred the dog to an organization who was willing to take the dog; it’s mystifying,” said Starr.
In an email, Barker wrote, ”Senator’s Stanley bill adds additional days to how long an animal can be kept and notification to each individual that called regarding adoption of the animal, however, the concern is that there is some ambiguity as to how that can apply. We have asked for clarification from Senator Stanley, however to date he has not returned any calls from our office or answered any emails in regards to the bill.”
The bill cleared the Senate, and heads to the House.