Join us on April 6 for a lively discussion and to connect with other advocates and animal lovers. Bring your questions!
With Virginia's 2019 General Assembly session beginning January 9, animal advocates must contact their legislators now to press for support. We recommend meeting with, calling, or emailing your senators, now, regarding Senate bills that have been pre-filed. (See the tool on our Home page to identify your legislators.)
We are pleased that our Coalition drafted language which has become SB 1043 Pet shops; procurement of dogs; penalty, sponsored by Senator Dave Marsden. We hope to close the loophole which has allowed large, for profit breeders in other States to sell dogs here without complying with Virginia's commercial breeder laws. We expect this law to decrease the number of puppy mills selling to VA pet shops and to improve the health of animals sold here since animals could come only from better regulated operations, under the bill.
In a related bill, Senator Marsden is sponsoring SB 1093 Virginia Consumer Protection Act; sale and boarding of animals. This bill will clarify that violations of certain posting, recording, and notice requirements are violations of the Act and can be pursued under that statute. The bill also increases the length of time records of each animal must be maintained; from one year to two years.
We also recommend passing, and your advocacy of the following bills:
SB 1025 Tethering animals, adequate shelter and space. Senator L. Spruill
SB 1011 Animal cruelty list; established. Senator W. Stanley
SB 1058 Companion animals; care; local ordinances. Senator B Favola
SB 1065 Rental or lease of dog or cat prohibited. Senator W. Stanley
Please feel free to comment here or enter discussions of the bills on our Facebook page, under Groups, NoVA Coalition for Animals.
Why Not Follow Virginia Beach’s Lead? [RE: ORDINANCE-3556 PET SHOPS; POSTING OF INFORMATION ABOUT DOGS.]
Animal advocacy victories are too few and far between… so why not celebrate the Virginia Beach (VB) city ordinance effective on July 1, 2018? Animal advocates have long sought greater restrictions on pet stores. Does the VB ordinance add anything of significance?
We would argue, no. Here’s why.
A comparison of the new ordinance elements to existing Virginia Code sections shows only one significant difference. That major add is a requirement for the pet store to obtain and post final Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspection reports obtained from a breeder and/or dealer.
This, at first, would seem a great change and boon for outing puppy mills, right? Unfortunately, unwary consumers are unlikely to know the limited number of inspections that are conducted on puppy mill breeders. Or that the “final” report is issued only after the puppy mill operator is given an opportunity to correct the violations found. Nor are most consumers knowledgeable about the level of USDA standards imposed. The average pet store buyer doesn’t know that USDA licensing is synonymous with standards at a basic survival level, not a humane treatment level. This creates a false sense of well-being for the consumer. No negative inspections — so the breeder must be good? Not so!
We are also left wondering about the practicality of enforcement. The USDA no longer makes its inspection reports available to the public, as a protection for breeder privacy. Therefore, no avenue exists for consumers, animal protection police, or animal control officers to check the veracity of pet store inspection postings, or lack thereof. So how can we be sure that negative inspections are made available?
Some might argue that any legislation could be of some help. However, adding ordinances that produce little impact on the inhumane conditions at puppy mills creates an impression with legislators, and the public, that the problem has already been addressed. In fact this ordinance has no impact on conditions at mills.
What was the stimulus for this ordinance? We can only speculate. It seems an outgrowth of House Bill 877: Pet shops; sale of dogs, maintenance and availability of records, which passed during the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session. The bill’s sponsor, Delegate Robert Orrock, Sr., sits on the House Agriculture Subcommittee, which hears animal welfare bills. Delegate Orrock infamously opposed bills related to pet store puppy mill sales bans and tethering in subcommittee in 2017 and 2018. His statements related to tethering are the subject of animal welfare advocates’ ire. We note that Orrock’s bill added a posting requirement for pet store’s when offering dogs from public and private shelters, which also appears in the VB ordinance. Perhaps another “nod” to the pet industry lobby?
For these reasons, NOVACA does not support laws similar to Ordinance-3556 in Northern Virginia.
Your comments are welcome.
These two sick Vizsla puppies from a puppy mill in Iowa were sold by Petland-Fairfax VA in July 2017 Both had giardiasis, digestive issues, lack of rear muscle development; were under weight; had recovered from "a little cold" in June which was actually Kennel Cough; and Faith had a luxated patella. Though they were rescued from by a caring group in the dog community with knowledge of pet store puppy illnesses, received immediate veterinary care, and are now in permanent homes, their story could have been very different. Their story speaks to the need for legislation to prevent puppy sales in pet stores. More of their story can be seen at http://wjla.com/features/7-on-your-side/7-on-your-side-vet-claims-national-pet-store-chain-knowingly-sells-sick-puppies