|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
My name is Joanne Filion and I am a resident of Virginia Beach, VA. I support many of the proposed changes, including requiring unannounced inspections of all pet shops, but more has to be included in these regulations to make a real difference in the health and care of puppies and kittens in pet shops. I don’t know how we became a society that puts greed before companion animal welfare, so it has to be done legislatively.
We need real consequences for failing to comply with the standards of care. A pet shop whose permit is revoked should not be permitted to immediately reapply, especially for repeated and egregious violations. VDACS should also be able to bring civil penalties for regulatory violations, just like it can when enforcing animal shelter standards. And most importantly, if a pet shop operator is found to have committed an act of cruelty, the regulations should explicitly prohibit them from obtaining another permit. These things only make sense.
Also, pet shops should be required to have a licensed veterinarian to develop protocols around veterinary care, medications, pre-sale exams, age-appropriate tests and vaccinations. Not only is this something our private and public animal shelters are required to do, but it will also prevent needless suffering due to a lack of veterinary care and protect public health from potential zoonotic diseases.
Lastly, and most simplistic, the requirement is only that puppies and kittens must always have water. Regulations should clarify that water must be provided in a manner suitable to the animal’s species. Puppies and kittens drink by immersing their tongues in water. However, most pet shops provide water via a drip tube, which is inappropriate for puppies and kittens. An animal shelter would never be allowed to provide water in this way, and neither should pet shops!