Support House Bill 221 to Empower Localities to Manage Free-Roaming Cat Populations

Research indicates that there are approximately 2 million free-ranging cats in the state of Virginia, approximately 1.2 million of them are unowned. Many of these gather in colonies which represent serious health risks to the community, nuisance to neighborhoods, and have a devastating effect on wildlife—not to mention the serious risks to the health and well-being of the cats themselves.

After years of effort to arrive at sensible strategies and regulatory guidelines to help address the problem, there is now a bill in the General Assembly to empower localities to effectively address and manage outdoor cat populations in their area. The bill, HB 221:

  • Authorizes localities, if they so choose, to adopt free-roaming cat management plans by ordinance
  • Directs the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) to create a model Free-Roaming Cat Management Plan to reduce and control the population of free-roaming cats and the abandonment of cats to reduce negative impacts on public health, wildlife, and the welfare of the cats
  • Directs VDACS to establish minimum standards for a Free-roaming Cat Management Plan
  • Requires VDACS to consult with relevant stakeholders in fulfilling these duties

Unfortunately, an active lobby of outdoor cat supporters is working to mischaracterize and defeat this bill. We’re asking supporters of wildlife to make their voices heard on this issue.

Resources and Background

What You Can Do

The bill is currently in committee in the House of Delegates. If your Delegate is on the House Agriculture Subcommittee, PLEASE WRITE AND CALL to let them know that HB 221 is important to you and to the health of wildlife across the Commonwealth.

Agriculture Subcommittee Members

Please ONLY COMMUNICATE WITH A DELEGATE IF YOU ARE A RESIDENT OF THEIR DISTRICT.

District

Delegate

Phone

Email

District 3

Delegate Alfonso H. Lopez

(804) 698-1003

DelALopez@house.virginia.gov

District 10

Delegate Dan I. Helmer

(804) 698-1010

DelDHelmer@house.virginia.gov

District 34

Delegate Tony O. Wilt

(804) 698-1034

DelTWilt@house.virginia.gov

District 35

Delegate Chris S. Runion

(804) 698-1035

DelCRunion@house.virginia.gov

District 55

Delegate Amy J. Laufer

(804) 698-1055

DelALaufer@house.virginia.gov

District 58

Delegate Rodney T. Willett

(804) 698-1058

DelRWillett@house.virginia.gov

District 59

Delegate H. "Buddy" Fowler, Jr.

(804) 698-1059

DelBFowler@house.virginia.gov

District 61

Delegate Michael J. Webert

(804) 698-1061

DelMWebert@house.virginia.gov

District 84

Delegate Nadarius E. Clark

(804) 698-1084

DelNClark@house.virginia.gov

District 93

Delegate Jackie H. Glass

(804) 698-1093

deljglass@house.virginia.gov

District 94

Delegate Phil M. Hernandez

(804) 698-1094

DelPHernandez@house.virginia.gov

Use Who’s My Legislator to find your district and representatives.

If your Virginia Delegate is on the main House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee, please write to let them know that you support HB 221.

Main Committee Members

District

Delegate

Phone

Email

District 4

Delegate Charniele L. Herring

(804) 698-1004

DelCHerring@house.virginia.gov

District 11

Delegate David L. Bulova

(804) 698-1011

DelDBulova@house.virginia.gov

District 16

Delegate Paul E. Krizek

(804) 698-1016

DelPKrizek@house.virginia.gov

District 18

Delegate Kathy K.L. Tran

(804) 698-1018

DelKTran@house.virginia.gov

District 49

Delegate Daniel W. Marshall, III

(804) 698-1049

DelDMarshall@house.virginia.gov

District 50

Delegate Thomas C. Wright, Jr.

(804) 698-1050

DelTWright@house.virginia.gov

District 66

Delegate Robert D. Orrock, Sr.

(804) 698-1066

DelBOrrock@house.virginia.gov

District 67

Delegate Hillary Pugh Kent

(804) 698-1067

DelHKent@house.virginia.gov

District 70

Delegate Shelly A. Simonds

(804) 698-1070

DelSSimonds@house.virginia.gov

District 72

Delegate R. Lee Ware

(804) 698-1072

DelLWare@house.virginia.gov

District 100

Delegate Robert S. Bloxom, Jr.

(804) 698-1000

DelRBloxom@house.virginia.gov

Sample Email Text You Can Send

Dear Delegate ________

As one of your constituents, residing at ___________, ________, I’m writing to ask for your support of House Bill 221 on Free-Roaming Cat Management Plan Regulations.

It is important to me that this legislation will support the development of sensible model regulations for:

1) reducing the devastating impact of outdoor cats on native wildlife

2) reducing the threat of feline-borne diseases, and

3) supporting the health and well-being of cats themselves.

This bill is supported by:

American Bird Conservancy

Association of Avian Veterinarians

Audubon Society of Northern Virginia

Bat Conservation & Rescue of VA

Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

Bristol Humane Society

Cape Henry Audubon Society

Capital Naturalist, Alonso Abugattas

Center for Conservation Biology

Danville Area Humane Society

Ernesto Dominguez, DVM,

DACVPM, CWR

Margaret B. Mitchell Spay Neuter Clinic

Nature Forward

Northern Virginia Bird Club

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Piedmont Virginia Bird Club

Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center

Wildlife Center of Virginia

Virginia Alliance for Animal Shelters (VAAS)

Virginia Animal Control Association (VACA)

Virginia Chapter of the Wildlife Society

Virginia Conservation Network

Virginia Ornithological Society

Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA)

Virginia Zoo

Thank you for your support of this matter.

Sincerely, __________________________