|Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly
|Ended on 12/23/2022
As a resident of Palmyra, I support many of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) proposed pet store regulations, including requiring unannounced inspections of all pet shops, but I believe more must be included in these regulations to protect the welfare of puppies and kittens. At the very least, for-profit pet shops should be subject to animal welfare requirements at least as stringent as those currently in place for Virginia’s animal shelters.
There must be meaningful consequences for failing to comply with basic standards of care. Otherwise, there’s no incentive for a pet shop to do so. 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. Enforcement of these fines help ensure that any lapse in animal care will be quickly addressed and incentivizes pet stores to comply with regulations. Often without posing a real threat to an organization's bottom line, regulations are simply disregarded. 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.
Pet shops should be required 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.
With the shared value of compassion in mind, I ask that you adjust the language of the proposed regulations so as to protect and serve all animals in the state of Virginia, not just those currently in animal shelters. I appreciate your time and consideration.