Wednesday, July 6, 2022

This Hampton City ordinance is cracking down on pet stores, puppy mills

(WYDaily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(WYDaily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

A recent amendment to a Hampton City Code could soon require the Pet World location there resign from the puppy selling business in 2020.

In accordance with an amendment to chapter five of the City Code, Pet World, or any other pet stores who sell dogs in the future, must pay a $50 an annual permit fee by Dec. 31 and undergo a records inspection conducted by Hampton Animal Control before they’re permitted to “buy, sell, or exchange” dogs.

Unlike Petsmart or Petco that allow shelters or other agencies into their stores to adopt out dogs, Angela Taylor, Hampton Animal Control deputy manager, said Pet World is the only retail store in Hampton that sells puppies and will be affected by the new ordinance.

“[Pet World] has dogs that are being sold and those dogs are just required by law to have a USDA inspection just to make sure the breeders they’re getting the dogs from are licensed,” she said.

Taylor said the ordinance is consistent with state law that requires puppy distributors to make breeder licensing information open to the public but was considered in Hampton after members of an advocacy group with a mission to end puppy mills, presented to an Animal Advisory Committee meeting with concerns about “some commercial breeders who actually may be avoiding getting a license.”

“The Virginia Pawsitivity Initiative had specific examples and paperwork indicating where issues were…we just want to prevent anything like that from occurring in our city,” she said.

As of Friday, Taylor said Hampton Animal Control has not received Pet World’s permit fee although it does have to first go through the treasurer’s office.

For more information or to read the full ordinance, click here. 

Clarification: Hampton Animal Control, in coordination with the Hampton City Attorney’s Office, is in the process of drafting a letter explaining the new pet shop ordinance and a pet shop permit application. Once finalized, the letter and application will be sent out to all potentially affected businesses for their review and application submission. Importantly, the new ordinance applies not just to PetWorld, but also to any and all pet shops, as defined by Hampton City Code Section 5-83, which buy, sell, and/or exchange companion animals of any kind, not just dogs.

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