Bailey's Law Passes General Assembly

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Animal advocates are celebrating after a bill, aimed at eliminating puppy mills, passed the General Assembly.

The bill, currently on its way to Governor McAuliffe's desk, could make adopting a pet a clearer choice.

Matt Chan, the adoption coordinator at Cat's Cradle, a local rescue group, said Bailey's Law could stop abusive practices.

"Any law that helps dissuade pet shops from purchasing dogs and cats from abusive puppy mill type situations is going to be good for animal welfare," said Chan.

The bill requires Virginia pet dealers to reimburse pet owners for certain vet fees within 14 days.

It also requires that the pet shop reveal the identity of the breeder.

Joni Anderson, who owns Sylvia's Pets, has a return policy of 13 days with a veterinarian's certificate.

"I don't have a problem with doing that," said Anderson.

Anderson said to avoid puppy mills, she buys from a lot of local breeders.

Anderson also said she won't be impacted as much by this bill because she already reimburses for some medical expenses.

"I paid the lady the amount of money she needed to have the surgery and she went ahead with the surgery. I mean I have to do that. It's not her fault and it wasn't the breeder's fault. There were five other puppies that were fine," said Anderson.

With this bill, the hope is that it will stop a bad cycle.

"If they happen to know that it might be more of an abusive situation where the situation is more dire where cats and dogs do get sick there, then it's less likely that they will purchase," said Chan.

Anne Anderson, the executive director of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham SPCA said she has asked Sylvia's Pets to stop selling dogs, as some have been dropped off at the SPCA.

The Mosby Foundation, a local dog care group, also said the law is a way to ensure that customers see paperwork for pets.

They question whether all the paperwork will be legitimate.

"It gives consumers a tool at least by which they are backed with a law so that they can demand to see the paperwork. Now what they're going to see, is that going to be bonified paperwork? Not necessarily," Karin Magno, the office manager for The Mosby Foundation.