Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance

Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance Displeased with Legislation

Hunters and members of the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance are displeased with house bill legislation.

An estimated 150 hunters and members of the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance gathered at the state capitol to voice there displeasure in a bill that would fine dog owners that trespass on others property when hunting.

A bill, HB 1900, sponsored by House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, would impose a $100 fine for dogs that cross boundaries where the property owners have specified either verbally, in writing, with signage or blue paint on trees.

H. Kirby Burch, CEO of the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance, addressed the hunters garbed in blaze orange.

"Your participation sends a message that you care, that you are watching, and you do pay attention," said Burch.

Burch said the bill would penalize accidental trespassing by hunting dogs.

Sen. Mark Peake, R-Lynchburg, said he would vote against the bill if it passed the house and stand up to protect hunting rights.

Hunters just want "people to understand we're God-fearing, law abiding citizens," Burch said. "We're not rednecks, we're not trouble makers and we care about our animals."

The current law states that it is a misdemeanor to intentionally release dogs on another person's land to hunt without the consent of the landowner. However, simply finding another person's dog a your property doesn't provide enough evidence that it was intentionally released.

If and when a dog crosses boundary lines the owner of the dog "has a right" to retrieve the animal. This is allowed even if the owner was told not to trespass. Many landowners have pushed to repeal the "right to retrieve" law as it's known.

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