|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
As a resident of Norfolk I support many of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) proposed pet store regulations, including requiring unannounced inspections of all pet shops, but I believe 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 animal welfare requirements at least as stringent as those currently in place for Virginia’s animal shelters.
There must be meaningful consequences for failing to comply with basic standards of care. Otherwise, there’s no incentive for a pet shop to do so. A pet shop whose permit is 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.
Pet shops should be required to engage a licensed veterinarian to develop protocols for veterinary care, medications, presale 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.
I am a licensed veterinarian and have seen numerous cases of very sickly pets originating from local puppy stores. We need to do better for the animals and the people that care for them.
Tara Golden, DVM