|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
As a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, I support the proposed pet store regulations; however, they simply don't go far enough.
Our excellent animal shelters in Virginia are subject to stringent regulations (as they should be) to protect the welfare of the animals they serve. Pet stores drive the companion animal overpopulation crisis that continually fills our shelters. They are also notorious for sourcing dogs from high-volume, filthy puppy mills. It's only fair and logical that they should be subject to regulations at least as strict as those that protect animals in our state's shelters.
For starters, pet stores should be required to engage the services of a licensed veterinarian to develop protocols for veterinary care. Puppy mills are known for churning out sick puppies, and pet stores must have the expertise of a veterinarian to deal with such illnesses in a responsible way, just like shelters already do.
I also recently learned that Virginia shelters are subject to fines of up to $1,000 a day if they violate state regulations regarding animal welfare. Why don't the proposed regulations include the same civil penalties for pet stores? The only way to truly ensure that these stores comply with the regulations is to enforce meaningful penalties that affect their bottom line.
Virginia's animal shelters are held to a high standard. We should be holding our pet stores to the same.