|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
I live in Lorton, Virginia and am writing to commend VDACS for the proposed regulations applying to pet stores. However, I urge VDACS to strengthen the regulations so they are more comparable to the regulations that apply to public and private animal shelters.
I have been a volunteer at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria for more than 30 years, serving in various capacities. I also previously volunteered at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. I have taken extensive training on care of animals, and have owned numerous dogs over the years.
Animal shelters in Virginia are held to high welfare standards for their animals. They also are required to engage a licensed veterinarian to develop protocols for sick animals in their care, including veterinary care, medications, examinations, age-appropriate tests, and vaccinations. In addition, animal shelters found to have violated the law are subject to a civil penalty of up to $1000 per day until the violation is corrected. These requirements are absent in the proposed VDACS regulations for pet stores, and they should be included.
Moreover, a pet shop whose permit is revoked should not be permitted to reapply just a short time after the revocation. Importantly, if a pet store owner is found to have violated standards related to animal cruelty, the pet store owner should be prohibited from obtaining another permit.
Investigations of pet stores in Virginia have found that the pet stores often failed to meet state standards and in a number of cases, have engaged in animal cruelty and neglect. There is no reason to exempt them for the reasonable standards to which our animal shelters are subject. The animals and the consumers who purchase these animals deserve the same protections.