Humane Pet Sales Bill Clears Both Houses in General Assembly

Feb 25, 2015

Sales of dogs and cats in Virginia would be governed by tougher restrictions under legislation that has passed both houses of the General Assembly.  The bill limits pet shops to selling dogs that were obtained from humane societies, public or private animal shelters, and qualified breeders. One goal is to close the loopholes in state law that have allowed puppy mills some latitude to sell in the Commonwealth.

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The bill requires pet shops to retain records to verify compliance and imposes a penalty for EACH dog in violation.  Delegate Charles Poindexter said it will ensure that out-of-state breeders cannot sell to pet stores unless they meet the same qualifications as Virginia breeders.

“The second part of the bill will stop the puppy mills and others from selling dogs and cats at flea markets, parking lots, recreation centers, whatever.  This is becoming a common practice for the puppy mill operators.”

That rule would not apply to shelters or humane societies.  He also noted some exemptions:

“Dogs and cats that are sold primarily for use in commonly accepted hunting, livestock activities, and for hobby breeders for pre-arranged sales between the breeder and the purchaser.”

The House made a few changes, so the bill now heads back to the Senate.