Registered agents can now register their dogs, but they will have to register them in the state of Virginia.
The move is a major blow to a handful of pet owners who have long fought for the right to register their pets.
The Virginia state code says that an agent must be licensed and registered with the state, and it’s the responsibility of the agency to keep a record of all the names and addresses of the registered agents.
The new law also requires agents to keep records of their registration status for five years, but only for agents who have been active for five consecutive years.
There are currently some 16,000 registered agents in Virginia, and only about 8,000 agents are currently licensed.
The Associated Press reported that Virginia is the only state in the country that requires an agent to register with the Department of Agriculture.
But the new law does not require an agent who is licensed to be registered with a non-profit organization, or the state legislature.
The AP noted that the new legislation could create a loophole for those who have lost their license to register as a registered agent.
“This legislation is really designed to create an open, robust, free market in which registered agents can choose to register for the first time with an agency that has not been required to do so by law,” state Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia’s 9th congressional district, told the AP.
“If you want to register to register your dog, you can do that now.”
In 2015, the Associated Press obtained an email sent by the Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine to veterinarians, warning them that they may not be able to register agents in the new state law.
“You will not be required to register and be licensed by this law, but you will be required by the regulations to complete an additional registration form,” the email said.
The Veterinary Board has been working to craft a new state statute to require registered agents to register, and to create a licensing process to help them comply with the new requirements.
The agency also released a statement in November stating that it would not change its policy on registering agents because it is “committed to the health and safety of the public and animals,” but that it is reviewing its licensing requirements.
A representative for the Virginia Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.