|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
As a Norfolk resident, I am so grateful that Virginia may finally see regulations for pet shops. However, I was shocked and disappointed that these proposed regulations do not meet the same standards that animal shelters do. Shelters - whose sole purpose is to protect and improve the lives of our state's many homeless animals, and often do so at great financial cost - are held to strict regulatory standards. Why wouldn't for-profit businesses be held to the same standards?
Vulnerable young animals bred and sold for profit should, at the very least, have the same protections as the animals in Virginia's many animal shelters. Please consider strengthening the proposed regulations to include meaningful consequences for for failing to comply with basic standards of care. 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.
Please also require pet shops 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.