More Animal Bills 

The General Assembly decides whether you can keep an endangered parrot on your lap while driving. Sort of.

click to enlarge macaw.jpg

Flickr / shankaronline

We already told you about the chicken fight a Richmond lawmaker is picking with rural legislators. But there’s so much more happening in the General Assembly this session. This guide won’t help you get up to speed on any of it. It does, however, cover the other esoteric animal legislation that has been proposed this session.

Here, have an endangered parrot.

Sen. Stephen Martin, R-Chesterfield, wonders out loud: Why shouldn't people be allowed to own endangered species unencumbered?

His colleagues in the Senate don't seem to see any problem -- the measure passed unanimously. The summary says the bill “allows a person to possess and transport any animal included on any federal list of endangered or threatened species when the federal government, under the Federal Endangered Species Act, authorizes the possession of such species as a personal pet.”

Martin says he brought the bill forward after a constituent found out his parrot, a blue throated macaw, had been added to the endangered species list and was thus technically illegal under state law.

Dog may be your co-pilot, but get him off your lap.

A short and sweet proposal from Delegate Daniel Marshall, R-Danville: “Prohibits driving a motor vehicle while holding a pet.”

This isn’t the first time this has come up. A Virginia Beach lawmaker, Delegate Bobby Mathieson, made a similar proposal in 2008 but it never made it out of committee.

A better warranty on sick puppies.

From Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, in an effort to cut down on interstate trafficking of sick puppies: “Requires a pet dealer to reimburse certain veterinary fees when a consumer returns or retains a diseased dog or cat, live or dead, that has been certified by a veterinarian as being unfit for purchase. Current law requires the pet dealer to refund the purchase price or exchange the unfit pet for a pet of equivalent value. The bill extends the return or reimbursement period from 10 to 20 days and eliminates the condition that the animal be pedigreed.”

An aide in Petersen's office says the bill is designed to cut down on the importation of animals from states that don’t regulate puppy mills as tightly as Virginia.

An early version of this blog post suggested the inspiration for Sen. Martin's proposal to legalize the keeping of endangered species might have been a 2012 dispute between Hanover County officials and a chimpanzee owner. Martin clarifies that the impetus for the bill was the addition of the blue throated macaw, a parrot, to the federal endangered species list. Style regrets any confusion.

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