|Action||Promulgate regulation required by Chapter 1284 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly|
|Comment Period||Ends 12/23/2022|
To the VDACS Leaders and Board Members, Et Al
As a pet shop business owner, I love my pets and my job very much. This is truly a gift for me to do and there goes a lot into running a business right. There is a big commitment to running any business but even a greater commitment to running a pet business such as pet care and play, time, financial, contractual, people, breeder relations, landlords, guarantors, etc..
As noted in the proposed regulations, "...that for-profit pet shops already have incentives to make the dogs and cats offered for sale look their best to prospective owners. Therefore, most shops may already provide adequate care in terms of exercise, feed, shelter, space, treatment, water, proper cleaning, and lighting."
While I welcome any change to strengthen pet care standards, I do have concerns with changes given this overwhelming industry opposing views of pet stores and how deal with arising issues. Not to discredit their views and rationale but not all pet stores and owners are the same and viewing them with the same lens is unjust
With the proposed regulation, I believe there are a few important items to mention for consideration.
aside from the $250 registration fee, any temporary closure or halting of transactions can have enormous impact. closure for 1 day, 1 week or 1 month or any amount of time can cause business failures. the longer the closure time, the greater chance for failure.
a) competition is fierce in the pet space. Aside from competing VA pet stores, there are many vertical to buy pets; online, breeders, craigslist, etc.. A store has limited reach and these other verticals have many more reaches to customers. It is tough to compete in this market. Also to mention, these other verticals have virtually no oversight or pet standards as in the VA Pet Laws and most often result in scamming customers; selling underlying sick puppies with short life spans; or at times actually provide the puppy;
b) the bills keep piling when you close. all operational expenses are there. all expense and no cash flow equals disaster
c) loss of key relationships; if a business doesn't transact key relationships can be lost to competitors. so even if business resumes it may not be the same. ie, loss of key breeder, vendor, etc..
d) Landlord lease obligations; often in lease agreements, the landlords require business open for x amount of days; closure can result in breach of agreement and potential loss of lease holdings
Compliance to Regulations
Section B comment - for many reasons, business records may not on premise of the pet store therefore requested records by inspectors may take a few days to furnish. Also factoring in unannounced inspections and the owners availability, Is it possible to add language to allow at least 10 business days to provide requested records.
B. The animal care inspector shall be granted access to the entire pet shop facility and any requested records.
In the Adverse impact section, I mentioned the dire consequences if the business is closed even for a short time, so complying to new approved regulations are paramount and on the forefront. some the the language is not easily understood.
to put in Context
passage: "... and remedies for each finding in a given inspection including the cancellation of the registration, the institution of a conditional probationary period, the renewal of registration for a limited period, or other actions."
2VAC5-105-60. Compliance. section B
B. Upon gross, repeated violations or any noncompliance not corrected during a probationary period, the department may revoke a pet shop's registration following reasonable notice to the registration holder and an opportunity for an informal fact finding proceeding pursuant to § 2.2-4019 of the Code of Virginia. If the department revokes a pet shop's registration, the pet shop shall not sell dogs or cats in the Commonwealth of Virginia and must post publicly visible signage provided by the department. The revocation of registration shall remain in effect until the pet shop corrects the noncompliance to the satisfaction of the animal care inspector.
We have a few different words that can mean different things; Findings, Violations, Non Compliance. Then we have "Upon gross, repeated... I'm hoping we can have language to what that means. example - if an inspection occurs and there are non compliance items found, it gets corrected during probation. does that attribute toward the count of non compliance for "gross repeated violations" or is closed non compliant items have no impact for future reviews.
Also, what is a violation vs non compliance item or is findings either of those
Compliance Check List:
Given we all have a common interest, the love and welfare for our pets, it would be great if a comprehensive checklist can be provided to assure compliance of laws and regulations
I would like to thank you for opportunity in allowing me to provide you my views and looking forward to next steps in keeping our pets safe, happy, healthy.
Pet Store in Virginia