(November 1, 2007)—Citing their leadership and support of animal welfare policy, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) announced its endorsement of 29 Virginia Senate and House of Delegates candidates in the Nov. 6 election.
"In order to have humane laws, we need to elect humane lawmakers," said Michael Markarian, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund. "We urge voters in the Commonwealth to elect candidates who will crack down on cruelty and promote the humane treatment of animals."
Virginia lawmakers have recently taken positive steps to protect the welfare of animals, passing bills to protect pets in disasters and strengthening the state’s animal cruelty law. Other animal welfare issues are being considered in the Commonwealth, such as combating abusive puppy mills where dogs are treated like production machines, and ending the use of gas chambers to euthanize dogs and cats at animal shelters.
One critical area of focus for Virginia lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session will be toughening the law to combat illegal cockfighting. Virginia’s anti-cockfighting law is the second weakest in the country. Of all 50 states, only Alabama has a weaker statute. In Virginia, it is currently a class 3 misdemeanor, but only if associated with illegal gambling—meaning the maximum fine is $500 and there’s no jail time. These weak penalties have not deterred cockfighters from engaging in this lucrative, underground activity. When animal fighters can earn tens of thousands of dollars wagering on a single fight, this slap on the wrist is considered just a cost of doing business. With neighboring states like North Carolina and Maryland punishing cockfighting as a felony, Virginia has become a magnet for illegal cockfighters and the crimes associated with them.
ENDORSEMENTS IN SENATE RACES:
DISTRICT 5 Yvonne Miller (D)
DISTRICT 6 Ralph Northam (D)
DISTRICT 16 Henry Marsh III (D)
DISTRICT 17 Edward Houck (D)
DISTRICT 18 Louise Lucas (D)
DISTRICT 20 Wm. Roscoe Reynolds (D)
DISTRICT 21 John Edwards (D)
DISTRICT 25 Creigh Deeds (D)
DISTRICT 29 Charles Colgan (D)
DISTRICT 30 Patricia Ticer (D)
DISTRICT 31 Mary Margaret Whipple (D)
DISTRICT 32 Janet D. Howell (D)
DISTRICT 33 Mark Herring (D)
DISTRICT 35 Richard Saslaw (D)
DISTRICT 36 Toddy Puller (D)
DISTRICT 37 Janet Oleszek (D)
ENDORSEMENTS IN HOUSE RACES
DISTRICT 12 James Shuler (D)
DISTRICT 18 Clifford Athey (R)
DISTRICT 21 John Welch III (R)
DISTRICT 36 Kenneth Plum (D)
DISTRICT 38 Robert Hull (D)
DISTRICT 42 David Albo (R)
DISTRICT 44 Kristen Amundson (D)
DISTRICT 53 James Scott (D)
DISTRICT 67 Charles Caputo (D)
DISTRICT 71 Jennifer McClellan (D)
DISTRICT 89 Kenneth Alexander (D)
DISTRICT 95 Mamye BaCote (D)
DISTRICT 99 Robert Wittman (R)
In addition to making endorsements in the Senate and House races above, HSLF has also endorsed Sheriff Danny Fox (I) for reelection in Mecklenburg County, citing his leadership in a multi-jurisdictional raid that closed down one of the largest cockfighting rings in the country. HSLF is also running an independent expenditure campaign in Fairfax County opposing Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R), who was one of only two senators who voted against a bill to strengthen the anti-cockfighting law this past February. HSLF has launched a paid ad campaign and volunteers are canvassing door-to-door in Cuccinelli's district to educate voters about his extreme position in favor of animal fighting.
HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.
Media contact: Heather Sullivan: 301-548-7778, email@example.com
The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. On the web at www.hslf.org.
Paid for by Humane Society Legislative Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. HSLF, 519 C Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002.