February 26, 2009
Va. General Assembly Passes Bill to Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning of Pets
H.B. 2629 Awaits Governor's Signature
RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia General Assembly approved H.B. 2629 yesterday, legislation that will save countless animal lives and prevent childhood emergencies. It passed the Senate on a unanimous 40-0 vote. The bill had passed the House of Delegates overwhelmingly by 96-2 on Feb. 9, and after concurrence by the House, goes to Gov. Tim Kaine's desk for signature into law.
The bill requires that an aversive agent be added to antifreeze products sold in the Commonwealth, and was championed by Delegate Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights.
Two dogs, Lenny, a toy fox terrier, and Lindsay, a miniature pinscher, were inadvertently poisoned in Chesterfield County last year when a neighbor placed antifreeze-laced dog biscuits outside in an ill-advised attempt to reduce the squirrel population. The dogs ate the biscuits and became very ill, lingering for several days before succumbing to the poison.
The letter carrier for the neighborhood, Yvonne Royster, is an animal lover and wanted to make sure this didn't happen to any dogs or children in the future. She contacted Delegate Cox and urged him to take action. The bill he sponsored to require the addition of bittering agents to antifreeze is now on the verge of becoming law, making Virginia the first East coast state to adopt such legislation.
The bill was supported by The Humane Society Legislative Fund, The Humane Society of the United States, Consumer Safety Products Association, Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and animal advocates from across Virginia.
"Tragic cases of poisoning occur when antifreeze is inadvertently spilled in driveways or left in open containers in garages," said Sara Amundson, executive director of the HSLF. "Seven other states have passed similar antifreeze legislation to promote animal protection and public safety. We applaud the General Assembly for taking this critical step to protect Virginia's children and pets and we encourage Governor Kaine to sign HB 2629 into law."
The bill would require that engine coolant/antifreeze that is more that 10 percent ethylene glycol must also contain denatonium benzoate, the world's bitterest known substance, to render it unpalatable. Hundreds of children and thousands of animals, including companion animals and endangered species, are accidentally poisoned each year from ingesting antifreeze. Its sweet taste attracts them, but less than a teaspoon can be fatal. One survey found that two out of three veterinarians see at least one accidental ethylene glycol poisoning each year.
"We're very grateful to Delegate Cox for his leadership on this important piece of legislation," said Ann Church, The HSUS' Virginia state director. "We thank Yvonne Royster for her willful determination to see this bill through to the end. It will help prevent many unnecessary deaths every year."
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 hslf.org.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.