Twentieth District Sen. Bill Stanley will introduce three bills in the upcoming General Assembly session that he says will protect animals and prevent cruelty. Senate Bill 698, which would amend the Code of Virginia to establish a fund to reimburse participating veterinarians for the surgical sterilizations they perform on eligible dogs and cats, would be funded by including a surcharge on producers of petfood.

An animal would be eligible for sterilization if it is a feral or free-roaming cat or is owned by a low-income individual or a releasing agency, such as an animal shelter. To pay for the fund, the bill would provide that a surcharge of US$50 per ton on producers of petfood distributed in the commonwealth be deposited in the fund, and that such petfood be exempted from the existing litter tax in order to offset the surcharge to producers so that they do not pass along any additional costs to the consumer.

SB 698 was pre-filed for the 2015 legislative session on Nov. 26, 2014.  The bill will be considered by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation & Natural Resources after the Virginia General Assembly convenes on January 14, 2015.