The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), Pet Food Institute (PFI) and a coalition of other interested parties submitted testimony and requested that Senate Bill 622 be passed over for consideration in the current session by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation & Natural Resources. By a 15-0 vote, the committee postponed consideration of the bill until 2015. The bill's sponsor has said that he will work with the industry to find alternate sources of funding for Virginia's spay/neuter fund.
SB 622 would amend Section 3.2-6500 of the Code of Virginia to create the "Companion Animal Surgical Sterilization Fund." The fund would reimburse participating veterinarians for the surgical sterilizations they perform on "eligible" cats or dogs. A companion animal shall be eligible for surgical sterilization at no or reduced cost to its owner if it is:
- The companion animal of a low-income owner
- A feral or free-roaming cat
- In the possession of an animal shelter, pound, other releasing agency or nonprofit organization and has not been transferred from a jurisdiction outside Virginia into the Commonwealth.
The program would be funded by imposing upon every person in the Commonwealth engaged in business as a manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor of petfood products an annual Companion Animal Surgical Sterilization Fund surcharge of $50 for each ton of petfood distributed. The bill does provide that such petfood be exempted from the state's existing litter tax.