|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
Hello, I was recently informed that the standards for pet shops were what I would call the bare minimum. A few examples of this would include that pet stores in Virginia—for-profit businesses known to sell puppies from “high-volume breeders” (puppy mills)—are currently not subject to state inspections or oversight. That is preposterous to hear. It is good to hear that while an legislation passed by Virginia’s general assembly, a regulatory process is underway, it still doesn't help that it is not currently in service. I know that the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), which regularly inspects the Commonwealth’s animal shelters, is taking public comments on proposed draft regulations for pet stores that sell dogs and cats. But as drafted, these regulations don’t afford the animals any kind of meaningful protection. Animals deserve to be protected as well as humans do. They are capable of being more than just pets but best friends who are loyal and can provide emotional comfort as a friend or family member would.
Unfortunately, pet stores that sell puppies obtain them from puppy mills, horrible and hellish mass-breeding facilities in which dogs are treated like puppy-producing machines. Not to mention more times than none these dogs that are used for breeding can be neglected, abused, and even in severe cases killed when they get too old to breed. Also, the puppies can get taken away from their mothers too young and grow up with behavioral and developmental issues that will cause the puppies so many problems in the long run. These animals are typically forced to live in cramped, squalid conditions with minimal veterinary care and human interaction. It is a problem for future owners and their pets as well.It’s not uncommon for puppies bought from pet shops to suffer from congenital conditions due to inbreeding or to be sick as a result of the substandard conditions they were born into, transported in, and subjected to at pet shops.It is good to note that animal shelters in Virginia are legally required to engage a licensed veterinarian to develop protocols for sick animals in their care, but the proposed regulations include no such requirement.
If a VDACS inspector finds that an animal shelter has violated state law, the shelter faces civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day until the issue is corrected.That is pretty good but it could be better. These fines help ensure that any lapse in animal care standards will be quickly addressed. But with civil penalties like these—and any other meaningful enforcement action—are notably absent from the proposed pet store regulations, meaning that pet stores have little incentive to comply. They should get a bigger and better incentive like raising the cost of the penalties, having to close the business until the issues are resolved, and or another option.
Unless the punishment for failing to adhere to regulations involves a real threat to pet stores’ bottom line, they will simply disregard them. It is horrible but a true fact, people dont respond to something unless it will truly hurt their profit in a business. A PETA investigation found that multiple pet stores across Virginia had failed to comply with a sensible, easy-to-follow law requiring them to display a sign stating that U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports for the breeders whose puppies they sell are available to customers prior to purchase. Some pet stores refused or needed to be pressed to show customers the puppies’ paperwork, which they are required by law to provide. This shouldn't be an issue yet it is.We as a nation need to do better to provide a better world for future generations to grow up in and future generations of animals as well.