UPDATE 04/26/10: Today a reader helped DogsBite.org better understand the process of Virginia lawmaking. The Governor can propose amendments, but he is not allowed to amend or rewrite bills already approved by the Virginia State Assembly, nor can he overturn court verdicts by decree. The Assembly (House of Delegates and State Senate) considers amendments proposed by the Governor, which must both accept them before the bill is amended.
On April 21, the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, William J. Howell, R-Stafford, ruled that the Governor's proposed amendment was not "germane" to the bill and dropped it.1 Please see the full history of HB 281, the bill as passed by the House and Senate and the Governor's proposed amendment. It is notable that HB 429, a bill trying to accomplish the same goal of prohibiting "No Adopt Out" pit bull policies, died in subcommittee in February.
"After spending almost 4½ hours debating the 96 budget amendments proposed by McDonnell, the House quickly disposed of a McDonnell amendment that would prohibit animal shelters from euthanizing dogs based solely on their breed.
Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, ruled that the amendment was not germane to the bill."
04/22/10: Virginia Group Opposes Amendment
Richmond, VA - On the heels of a questionable "omission of truth" that caused outrage amongst media members, advocacy groups and members of the public,2 Governor Robert McDonnell continues to allow his leadership to be steered by special interest groups. Just prior to the passage of Virginia's new animal cruelty law, McDonnell proposed an amendment to HB 281: "No pound may euthanize, or prohibit the adoption of, any dog based solely on breed."3
McDonnell's action likely refers to the lengthy court battle amongst breeders, animal groups and Loudoun County Animal Care and Control. Last May, Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Burke F. McCahill put an end to the battle by siding with Loudon County's "No Adopt Out" pit bull policy and declaring, "A citizen's right to own a pit bull is entirely different than a citizen's right to adopt." He arrived at this decision despite Virginia prohibiting breed-specific laws.
It is unknown which special interest groups4 fueled McDonnell's most recent action, but it is safe to surmise they were pro-pit bull. Last year, nearly one million pit bulls were euthanized in U.S. shelters. This was not due to "No Adopt Out" pit bull policies -- such policies are uncommon. The enormous number was due to the continued irresponsible breeding of pit bulls, owners surrendering their pit bulls and the average adopter not wanting to adopt a pit bull.
Earlier in April, McDonnell issued a proclamation declaring April "Confederate History Month" at the urging of a group called Sons of Confederate Veterans. The proclamation omitted the word "slavery" and that slavery played a role in the American Civil War. The omission caused a firestorm across the U.S. and forced the governor to issue an apology and to add new language to his proclamation that admitted that the institution of slavery led to the Civil War.
DogsBite.org is familiar with history "revisionists." The 612 mega bites of data freely available to the American public on our website about victims of serious and fatal pit bull attacks is designed to shine the light of truth on pro-pit bull groups who attempt to revise history by claiming that the pit bull problem is "new" (or just another trend in dangerous dogs) and that when a pit bull attacks it must have been "trained to" by its owner (a denial of pit bull genetics).
The point of history "revisionists" is to cover up past atrocities involving the suffering and deaths of innocent human beings in order to advance a radical political or societal agenda and to diminish the power of victim advocacy groups that have arisen from these events. The fact that pro-pit bull and animal groups actively engage in "pit bull revisionism" speaks volumes of their need to blur and erase past atrocities by pit bulls to make their message swallowable.
2President Obama weighed in on the matter as well.
3McDonnell claimed there were still questions about the issue, despite Judge McCahill's clear ruling in 2009.
4Undoubtedly the tentacles of Best Friends played a role.
04/06/10: Jere Alexander's Lynched Ku Klux Klan Pit Bull Embroidery Image
08/24/09: 2009 U.S. Shelter Data: Pit Bulls Account for 58% of Dogs Euthanized
08/12/09: 2009 Fatality: Leesburg Man, 20, Killed by His Two Pit Bulls...
05/24/09: Loudoun County Animal Care and Control Awaits Court Ruling05/05/08: Loudoun County "No Adopt Out" Pit Bull Policy Being Challenged
12/11/07: Online Pit Bull Forum Blamed for Skewing Survey Results