The Virginia Department of Agriculture Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has amended its Rules and Regulations Pertaining to a Pound or Enclosure to Be Maintained by Each County or City. The amendments are in the final adoption period which will end on August 24 2016 when the new regulations will be effective.

As reported on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall website , the goals of the regulation are threefold:

  1. The protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare with the least possible cost and intrusiveness to the citizens and businesses of the Commonwealth.
  2. The reduction of the incidence of animal diseases in pounds, so as to reduce the risk of spreading those diseases to animals outside of the shelters and to humans.
  3. The minimization of the cost of maintaining and operating shelters by providing, when the locality requests it, guidance on their design.

The previous regulation pertained only to public animal shelters. The amendments require both public and private animal shelters to provide the same standards of care.

As described in the summary of the regulatory changes:

“This action repeals the existing regulation that governs public animal shelters and replaces it with a regulation that governs both public and private animal shelters. The substantive changes in the replacement regulation (i) require animal shelters to provide each animal with an appropriate resting platform, bedding, or perch; (ii) require each shelter to have protocols that have been approved by a veterinarian for the medical treatment of animals, the control of infectious disease, and the management and care of neonatal and medically compromised animals; and (iii) require private animal shelters to have special housing for strays that are subject to a holding period.”

The importance of this regulatory change is far-reaching.

No matter the status of an animal shelter, animal rescue organization, or foster home, the standard of care provided to the animals therein should be equivalent.