Neat: a whole website dedicated to preventing community standards from being applied to animal rescue organisations! Just think: right now any marginal person with limited ability to function with other humans can – and does – collect hundreds of animals, usually stray cats, warehouse them in their basement or an unheated barn, call themselves an Animal Rescue Organisation and collect money for their cause! Under this new law they would be required to make themselves available to inspection by vets and provide adequate care for the animals. But we all know how unreasonable it is to expect this standard of behaviour from the mentally impaired: caring for hundreds of animals is extremely difficult even for those with the most impeccable mental hygeine.
Stop the harassment and oppression of the marginal human! Go to the website below and show your opposition to this *very bad law!*
Help us rescind a bad law – long text and link msg
Posted by Mcat on September 02, 2002 at 09:27:16:
What the Law Requires
The new animal law that took effect in Virginia on July 1, 2002, requires these things:
1. If you take in more than six companion animals per year, or three and three unweaned litters then after January 1, 2003, you must register with the State Veterinarian (SV) as a ‘Companion Animal Rescue Agency’ (CARA). If a CARA uses foster homes, those foster homes must also be registered with the SV unless they take only two or fewer dogs per year.
2. A pound or shelter may turn an animal over to a CARA just as it could adopt it out, transfer it to another shelter, etc. This does not mean that it has to or will — in fact some shelters are now saying they will only transfer to CARAs, even though registration is not possible until January 1, 2003 and rescues taking six or fewer animals per year do not have to register at all.
3. No member of a CARA or resident of a foster home or adopter may be a person who has been convicted of an animal welfare law violation such as neglect, cruelty, abandonment etc. This is a ‘feel good’ provision that leaves out the possibility that someone could learn from a neglect citation and the law does not say what you have to do. Is it enough to ask an adopter? Should you make him sign a statement that he has no conviction? Should you run some kind of background check?
4. The State Veterinarian will have the addresses and other information for all CARAs and foster homes; it will be possible to get the list by Freedom Of Information Act request.
5. The name, address, and telephone number of a CARA must be posted in pounds that are in its service area. ‘Service area’ is not defined and could mean different things. Is it the county where the CARA is located? All areas from which a CARA gets animals? All areas to which a CARA adopts animals? Since the area could be thousands of square miles, how will you find all the pounds?
6. Because of the availability of information about CARA’s required in 4 and 5 (above), nutcase activist groups as well as individuals with a grudge or dog to dump will be able to find CARAs … meaning in nearly all cases our private homes.
6. CARAs must be open to the public during ‘reasonable hours.’ Since this is similar to the wording used for pounds, (’reasonable hours during the week’) this looks like a requirement for a schedule of hours when the private home is open to walk-in visitors. Does this mean that private home owners are expected to open their homes to unscreened strangers during business hours? Only by appointment? Does it mean you can’t say ‘No’ if someone nasty wants to come?
7. A CARA must have its name, telephone number and address
listed in the telephone book. It looks like an incorporated rescue will have to have a business line at a cost in the range of $75/month to get this listing; unincorporated rescuers may be able to get an additional listing on their home phone number for a smaller fee. The rules may vary from one service provider to another.
8. A CARA is subject to unannounced inspection by the State Veterinarian or his representative ‘during reasonable hours’ for the purpose of determining if a violation of law has occurred, in other words a completely open-ended fishing expedition. A foster home may be inspected with ‘proper cause’ or a specific complaint from any authority with animal law enforcement powers.
The police have to get a warrant to enter your house if they believe you are dealing drugs or planning a terrorist attack but the State Vet or his representative can enter the home of someone operating a CARA or foster home without a warrant.
9. A CARA must file several annual reports in a format prescribed by the State Vet and must retain records of all dogs it receives for a period of five years. All records must be made available to both authorities and the general public at reasonable times during business hours or at other mutually agreeable times. Identifying information of prior owner, finder, and adopter may be deleted when sharing records with the public.
10. A CARA that violates any animal law or maybe even just makes a mistake in record keeping is subject to loss of registration and a class 4 misdemeanor — fine up to $250. There is no indication in the law of how serious a violation would cause this penalty.
11. CARAs must inspect their foster homes and file a report with the SV before placing an animal in them.
12. The State Vet’s Office has stated that it may take them up to three years to write regulations spelling out the details. Until then, the law will mean whatever they say it means.
[originally transmitted by e-mail September 2, 2002. Link sent to me by Suzanne]