|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
Please strengthen the enforcement tools for the proposed regulations so that pet stores violating health regulations face meaningful punishment, including higher fines. Dogs and cats sold in pet stores often come from mills and breeders who treat animals poorly. Puppies and kittens are forced to live in terrible and unsanitary conditions, often cramped in tiny cages, with no health care or meaningful human interaction. Pet stores seem exempt from the inspections from VDACS that apply to municipal and non-profit shelters. If new regulations include inspections, then the consequences for violating the rules should be meaningful enough to ensure compliance. Pet stores sell animals who are sick due to poor breeding conditions, unsanitary cages, lack of care, and overall lack of oversight from regulatory agencies. They are not subject to rules requiring vet protocols. Without enforcement and costly penalties, pet stores will not be compelled to abide by the standards of care. In fact, they will have little incentive to comply with the regulations at all and will continue to profit from the terrible breeding and living conditions dogs and cats are subject to. Pet stores should be held to at least the same standards as municipal shelters when it comes to the health and safety of the animals in their care.