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The 2023 Session of the Virginia General Assembly officially ended on Saturday, February 25th, with several dog related bills left in the House Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources (ACNR) Committee.

The following bills were left in Committee after the House ACNR Agriculture Subcommittee failed to action on them:

House Bill 1984 – This bill sought to amend the definition of “adequate water” by requiring it mean that it be continuously available, unless restricted by a veterinarian, and define “in a suitable manner” and “normal method of hydration” to not include water delivery systems that do not allow insertion of the tongue into water for dogs.  AKC expressed questions with some of the provisions and how they would be enforced.  AKC also believes that the definition of “adequate water” in current law is appropriate.  We appreciate the club members and dog owners who took the time to contact the committee regarding this bill.

House Bill 1451 – This bill would have allowed for the assessment of a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation when a pet shop does not maintain a written record for each dog in its possession containing certain information or fails to post a notice stating that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service inspection reports are available prior to purchase.

House Bill 1985 – This bill sought to codify the regulations proposed by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services governing the keeping of dogs and cats by pet shops and would have impose additional requirements.  Much of the bill’s language currently exists or will soon become part of the Administrative Code upon final approval of the proposed regulations.

Two additional bills, House Bill 1406 (eliminating the requirement to pay a local license tax for owning a dog or cat) and House Bill 2000 (further regulating animals in research), were tabled earlier in the session by the House ACNR Agriculture Subcommittee.  See previous alert.

AKC Government Relations appreciates our partner the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders in monitoring these and other legislation Virginia impacting dog owners.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at