ASPCA Welcomes West Virginia Laws to Protect Pets

Governor signs bills to regulate breeders, establish statewide spay/neuter program
May 3, 2013

NEW YORK–The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) applauds West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for signing two important measures to protect dogs in the state's commercial breeding facilities and establish a spay/neuter program to reduce animal overpopulation and homelessness.

Senate Bill 437, sponsored by Del. Ron Fragale (D-Harrison), establishes minimum standards of care for the thousands of breeding dogs housed in West Virginia's puppy mills. The measure will also help authorities identify puppy mills by creating regulations for commercial dog breeding operations. A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization.

"We thank Governor Tomblin for signing Senate Bill 437, a critical measure to increase protections for the state’s breeding dogs and the puppies they produce," said Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the ASPCA. "This measure is a powerful first step, as it sets basic humane standards and will shine a spotlight on inhumane facilities in West Virginia."

Senate Bill 202, sponsored by Sen. Jeffrey Kessler (D-Marshall), will address West Virginia’s pet overpopulation problem by creating a statewide spay/neuter assistance program. The measure will provide low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to the many pets whose owners cannot afford it and often cite cost as an obstacle to spaying/neutering their animals. SB 202 will reduce shelter overpopulation and euthanasia rates, saving tens of thousands of West Virginia’s animals each year.

"Several other states have already implemented spay/neuter programs, which have been met with great success," added Church. "We welcome the new program in West Virginia and commend Governor Tomblin for taking such a strong, life-saving step forward for the state's animals."

For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit