WASHINGTON (May 20, 2021)—Today the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the nation’s leading political advocacy organization for animal welfare, announced its endorsement of Mark Herring for reelection as Attorney General of Virginia.
Herring launched the nation’s first Animal Law Unit within an attorney general’s office. Due to the complexity of animal criminal enterprises, which often involve thousands of animals and millions of dollars, local prosecutors often rely on the expertise of the unit’s attorneys to bring criminals to justice and to save animals’ lives.
“Attorney General Herring’s Animal Law Unit is a model for other attorneys general around the nation to emulate,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “This work has made communities safer for people and animals.”
As Attorney General, Herring’s Animal Law Unit has prosecuted cases of cruelty and abuse, including:
- Indicting the owner of a roadside zoo for wildlife trafficking, violations of the Endangered Species Act, and animal cruelty.
- Securing guilty pleas from nine individuals as part of a sweep targeting fox pens stocked with illegal wildlife. Fox penning can become unlawful when operators put illegal foxes and coyotes into a fenced in area and allow dogs to chase – and sometimes kill – the wild animals.
- Securing guilty pleas from two men for running a cockfighting operation in Powhatan County involving more than 300 birds.
- Securing a guilty plea from a Richmond man to five counts of animal fighting and seven counts of animal cruelty in relation to his participation in a dogfighting operation.
- Convicting several individuals for animal cruelty across three different jurisdictions for abuses at a Tyson Chicken breeder farm.
The Humane Society of the United States has awarded the Humane Law Enforcement award to the Virginia Attorney General twice—first in 2015 and again in 2020. The Humane Law Enforcement Awards are presented annually to officers, prosecutors, and attorneys general who have taken an exemplary stand against animal cruelty.
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HSLF is a nonpartisan organization that evaluates candidates based only on a single criterion: where they stand on animal welfare. HSLF does not judge candidates based on party affiliation or any other issue.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at hslf.org/blog, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.
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