I’ve posted before about who is responsible for a boarded animal’s vet care, notice requirements for Virginia boarding establishments, and how bailment law impacts boarders and groomers.
I won’t repeat these posts, but it is vital that you understand Virginia’s veterinary care and liability notice requirements for boarding establishments. “Boarding establishments” are defined quite broadly, and would include kennels, doggy daycares, veterinarians and animal hospitals that board animals, and any other place where companion animals are “sheltered, fed and watered in exchange for a fee.”
The one point worth repeating is that Virginia boarding establishments are required to provide veterinary care to animals in their care. You may not get stuck with the bill, but you absolutely must get care for the animal in the event of an emergency.
All Virginia boarding establishments are required to give two types of notice regarding liability and veterinary care. I’ve created two downloads that will help you get in compliance with both of these notice requirements. These downloads comply with the law’s specific notice requirements, right down to the correct font size (at least ten-point) and type (boldfaced)!
The first download (PDF) must be in a written document and spell out exactly what the law requires for emergency veterinary care and liability. You must provide this written notice to your clients in writing before they drop off their animals. You can include this in your contract if you give your clients a copy of the contract. Best practices would be to include this in your contract and to have separate copies of this notice on brightly colored paper in case the client asks for a copy.
The second download (PDF) must be displayed on a sign placed in a conspicuous location and manner in your intake area. Make sure that this sign and the other notice are in bold print with at least ten-point font. It’s also best to have both notices in all caps.
If you are a Virginia company or nonprofit and you want to know more about other laws that may impact you, consider getting a copy of the Virginia Comprehensive Animal Law Handbook. It costs only $10, it’s updated annually, and you can order it from the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies.