|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
This is regarding the proposed draft regulations for pet stores in VA. As written, these proposed regulations are not sufficient to protect puppies and kittens sold in pet stores, and require far less of them than what is required of nonprofit and government run animal rescue groups. To protect these animals and consumers, pet stores must be held to the same welfare standards as our state’s animal shelters, at a minimum.
Animal shelters in VA are required to engage a licensed veterinarian to develop protocols for the care of the animals in their custody, yet the proposed pet shop regulations include no such requirement despite housing dozens of vulnerable puppies for sale who often originate from notoriously disease-ridden puppy mills. I myself have encountered sick puppies in pet stores in VA numerous times.
Animal shelters found by a VDACS inspector to have violated state law are subject to civil fines of up to $1,000 per day until the issue is corrected. In the proposed pet store regulations, civil penalties or other meaningful enforcement actions are absent, removing any incentive to actually comply with the regulations. There must be meaningful consequences for failing to comply with basic standards of care.
Additionally, a pet store whose permit is revoked should not be permitted to reapply immediately, especially in cases of repeated or egregious violations. VDACS should be able to bring civil penalties for regulatory violations, and pet stores must be required to engage a licensed veterinarian to develop protocols for veterinary care.