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Dog bill defeated by one vote

Members of the Virginia House of Delegates killed a bill Monday which specifically targeted dog hunters.

The legislation, House Bill (HB) 1900, proposed by House Speaker William J. “Bill” Howell, R-Stafford, would have made it illegal for gaming dogs to trespass on properties where permission has been denied to the animals’ owners. 

William J. “Bill” Howell

William J. “Bill” Howell

The House defeated the bill, with 48 delegates voting “no” and the remaining 47 voting members choosing “yes.”

The initial draft of the bill was written to include not only game dogs, but all dogs, including pets.

The bill defeated by the house was a substitute, approved by the House Committee on Rules and first printed on Jan. 31.

The substitute specifically stated the legislation applied to hunting or dogs chasing game.

It listed a fine up to $100 for first occurrence and a fine up to $250 for consecutive occurrences.

“We’ve got laws on the books already that they’re not enforcing,” Jon Berkley, a member of the United Eastern Virginia Dog Association, who lives in Charlotte and works in Buckingham, said in a previous interview.

In some instances, Berkley said, there’s only one conservation officer overseeing two or three counties, noting he didn’t see how the legislation could be enforced.

Berkley said people were upset with the bill because there are other things they wanted to see the General Assembly focus on.

“I think it would be detrimental to Southside Virginia,” President of the United Eastern Virginia Dog Association Derrick Toombs said in a previous interview. He said it wouldn’t have ended hound hunting, but it would have so many stipulations on it that they couldn’t conduct hound hunting.