A bill co-sponsored by Del. Ken Plum (D-36) that would make fox and coyote penning a misdemeanor was tabled in committee last week, but the Virginia Senate will vote on a similar bill on Thursday.
Plum was a co-sponsor of HB695. He said the issue was brought to his attention by several Reston-based members of The Humane Society.
Fox pens are fenced enclosures where dogs are released in competitions to chase down and torment captive foxes, often killing them. In just three years, nearly 4,000 foxes were subjected to these events, says the Humane Society of the United States.
Plum says the Senate version (SB202), sponsored by Sen. David Marsden (D-37), has a good chance of passing. The Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources committee votes on it on Thursday.
“Fox pens are the last legal blood sport in Virginia,” said Marsden said in a statement last month. “They represent a fundamental departure from the wildlife policies in the commonwealth, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to deal with this serious problem.”
Said Plum: “It is clear that as Virginians learn about the practice of fox penning, most decide, as I have, that it is a repulsive practice that should be outlawed,” said Del. Plum.
Plum added while fox penning isn't a huge problem in his Northern Virginia district, he wants to see penalties statewide.
"This reflects the values of the state, no matter where you live," said Plum. "I talk to people who are sportsmen, hunters here in Northern Virginia. They find fox penning disgusting."
Talking parental notification - a group of Fairfax County education advocates went to Richmond on Monday to testify in support of House Bill 1080 . The bill, sponsored by Tim Hugo (R-40), and requires the school principal to take certain procedures, including parental notification and the issuance of due process warnings, prior to questioning a student in the case of a serious violation.
Speaking on the issue: Reston lawyer John Farrell; Elizabeth Schultz, new FCPS School Board member from the Springfield District; and South Lakes High School parent Caroline Hemenway, director of Fairfax Zero Tolerance Reform.
The bill passed subcommittee with a 5-1 vote and now goes to the full House Education Committee for a vote.