Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ten Questions with Bob Tubbs of the Virginia Animal Protection Group

Bob Tubbs

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Bob Tubbs; an animal activist and volunteer.

What is your job title and description?

Volunteer Founder/Advocate — Virginia Animal Protection Group (VA-APG); the voice of Virginia’s animal shelters, humane societies, rescues, Animal Control, and animal welfare organizations.

(VA-APG was established to safeguard the well-being of all animals through legislative and policy initiatives. The group works to create a humane community where animals, and those who care for them, benefit from progressive, life-saving programs and policies. It also serves as a trade/educational resource for its member organizations striving to maintain the highest standards in animal welfare and care.)

I also volunteer with Heritage Humane Society and Auxiliary, Homes Fur Hounds, and various rescues and shelters around Virginia with fostering, transporting, lobbying, fundraising, special projects, advocating, and arranging donations.

Who do you interact/work with regularly?

The Virginia Animal Protection Group’s (VA-APG) goals are to provide capital improvement and education funding earmarked for shelters and rescues from the Virginia State operating budget while pursuing an aggressive legislative agenda. When completed, an easy-to-use grant process will distribute managed funds statewide on a case-by-case basis to the industry. A separate animal welfare professional’s fund for training and accreditation standards.

VA-APG’s diverse and comprehensive approach to animal welfare offers a unique blend of public safety/legal initiatives and social programs, improving and enhancing animal welfare statewide.

As a volunteer, I work with regional shelters and rescues within a 200-mile radius of
Williamsburg, driving an average of 15,000 miles transporting about 150 animals, personally fostering about 10-15 animals, arranging pet food donations, and teaching a comprehensive guide to adopting pets course at William and Mary; while using social media to bring attention and information about these pets.

Every year, I also work with members of the United Way network to distribute over 2,000
donated stuffed animals via PetSmart’s holiday program. Over 10,000 stuffed animals in the last five years and counting.

How do you/your organization interact with the local community?

Many of the committed individuals who put animals’ safety before their own have no representation at the state level. Working with the State Legislature and animal welfare partners, VA-APG monitors legislation and works to pass or defeat bills based on their impact on the state’s network of animal shelters and rescues. VA-APG plans to establish a Division of Animal Cruelty Law Enforcement to represent the needs of Animal Control Officers, Dog Control Officers, and Humane Law Enforcement Officers across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In addition, I work with many civil, religious, business and professional organizations throughout the area that support animal causes.

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

Animal welfare and law enforcement are good politics! A November 2022 survey shows that
74% of Americans own dogs, 47% cats. New York, Maryland, and Virginia animal initiatives
garner almost unanimous bipartisan support with many bills passing without objection.

There are so many incredible rescue organizations and shelters that I have been involved with over the past ten years. A larger number of people love animals and work for their betterment. These people, groups and their staff have so much heart and so few resources. Their job never ends — so it is my joy to offer my help where and when I can while giving me purpose.

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

Last January, I was honored to receive the 2023 Compassion in Action award from the Animal Legal Defense Fund — an organization that I have admired for three years.
Mid-year, their state ranking report indicated my adopted state of Virginia moved from 17th to 14th in animal protection laws in the U.S. (Not bad, but there is room for improvement.)

Today, the Virginia Animal Protection Group is slowly gaining traction.

What I’ve learned from my many years of volunteering is that lawmakers listen to their
constituents and there is a unified voice for animals … strength through collaboration!

Bob Tubbs

Is there a day you felt proud of your accomplishments?

Via the Virginia Animal Protection Group, Virginia celebrated Animal Welfare Day at Busch
Gardens on 11 May 2023. Over four hundred local and state law enforcement and animal
welfare leaders met with 400 second graders and their teachers in a celebration at Busch

That day, the second graders were deputized in person by Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares. Animal welfare leaders and law enforcement members received plaques and recognition for their contributions.

Busch Gardens hosted the event, free of charge. PetSmart provided stuffed animals for the kids. A great time had by all.

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle?

After passing each other in airports for over 20 years working for large corporations my wife, Grace, and I purchased the Cedars of Williamsburg Bed and Breakfast in 2002 as an investment. We had no plans to relocate to the area and hired a manager to run our inn. Our corporate jobs were impacted by a reduction in force, so we decided to relocate from Rochester, New York to run the B&B moving here in 2003.

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle?

The variety of civic, social, and special interests coupled with an engaged business community makes this region just right for us in our newly adopted state of Virginia.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

Upon my retirement, I opened an Ancestry account. We are now approaching 26,000 relatives dating back to Scotland’s Robert the Bruce. In the process, discovered a “new nephew” via DNA matching. We organized a family reunion two years ago and got to meet many cousins for the first time.

Every day I have the joy of caring for our small pack of senior rescued puppies and one cat, who is bigger than most of the dogs!

I’ve been playing racquetball for nearly 40 years now, so every now and again, you will find me on the courts at the JCC Recreation Center.

What is the next step in your journey?

My next steps are to continue to advance the Virginia Animal Protection Group, lobby our
legislators for funding and animal protection laws, transport, and foster animals statewide and research and develop new ways to find homes for shelter pets with projects like the second graders, the Michelle Welch Annual Awards, develop animal welfare professional standards and more. The legislative lobbying process starts in earnest beginning 15 January for the next seven weeks.

Learn more about VA-AGP here. To help Bob reach his financial goals visit his Facebook page for more information.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people who live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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