|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
As an Oakton resident], I support many of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) proposed pet store regulations, including the requirement of unannounced inspections at all pet shops. However, I also believe that much more must be included in these regulations to protect the welfare of puppies and kittens. At the very least, for-profit pet shops should be subject to the animal welfare requirements that are currently in place for Virginia’s animal shelters.
Furthermore, there must be very meaningful consequences for stores that fail to comply with these basic standards of care. Otherwise, there’s no incentive for a pet shop to do so. Pet shops whose permits are revoked should not be permitted to reapply immediately, especially in cases of repeated or egregious violations. VDACS should also be able to bring civil penalties for regulatory violations, just as it can when enforcing animal shelter regulations. And, most importantly, if a pet shop operator is found to have committed cruelty to animals, the regulations should explicitly prohibit them from obtaining another permit.
Virginia pet shops should also be required to engage a licensed veterinarian to develop protocols for veterinary care, medications, pre-sale exams, age-appropriate tests, and vaccinations. This is already required of our private and public animal shelters -- and it would prevent needless suffering due to lack of veterinary care, in addition to protecting public health.
Thank you for your serious consideration of and immediate attention to this matter.