|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
Unless the punishment for failing to adhere to regulations involves a real threat to pet stores’ bottom line, they will simply disregard them. A PETA investigation found that multiple pet stores across Virginia had failed to comply with a sensible, easy-to-follow law requiring them to display a sign stating that U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports for the breeders whose puppies they sell are available to customers prior to purchase. Some pet stores refused or needed to be pressed to show customers the puppies’ paperwork, which they are required by law to provide.
But as drafted, these regulations don’t afford animals meaningful protection. If a VDACS inspector finds that an animal shelter has violated state law, the shelter faces civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day until the issue is corrected. These fines help ensure that any lapse in animal care standards will be quickly addressed. But civil penalties like these—and any other meaningful enforcement action—are notably absent from the proposed pet store regulations, meaning that pet stores have little incentive to comply.