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February 25, 2010

W.Va. Advocates Lobby for Stronger Animal Welfare Laws

Citizens from across West Virginia participating in Humane Lobby Day 2010 are assembling Thursday at the state capital to rally in support of animal protection legislation and to meet with lawmakers to urge them to pass animal protection bills to make cockfighting a felony and establish standards for commercial dog breeders. The Humane Society of the United States is sponsoring Humane Lobby Day.

"Lobby Day gives West Virginia animal advocates an opportunity to speak with their legislators and let them know how important animal welfare is in our state," said Summer Wyatt, West Virginia state director for The HSUS. "This year we hope to spur the passage of legislation designed to cut down on animal fighting and improve regulation of puppy mills."

Lobby day participants are urging passage of S.B. 380, a bill that would make cockfighting a felony, make it a felony to provide a premises for animal fighting, possess animals for fighting or animal fighting paraphernalia, require forfeiture of animals for people convicted of animal fighting and prohibit wagering on animal fights.

Attendees will also focus on H.B. 4333, which would require commercial dog breeders to have a county permit; prohibit breeding female dogs younger than 18 months and older than 8 years, and only after certification by a vet; establish basic animal welfare standards for commercial dog breeders; authorize inspections for commercial dog breeders; and prohibit commercial dog breeders from possessing more than 50 breeding dogs.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. 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.

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