Category: Companion Animal Breeding
|May 28, 2013||Posted by russmead under Companion Animal Breeding, Vermont|
The new law otherwise amends 20 V.S.A. Sec. 3541 to add a new definition of “pet dealer”: any person who sells or exchanges or who offers to sell or exchange cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids, or any combination of those, from 3 or more litters in any 12 month period. Pet shops, shelters and rescues are excluded.
The problem is that it can be very difficult for inspectors to determine the numbers of litters born each year. The threshold number is low enough, though, that it should be easier than under the old law to determine if someone should be called a “pet dealer” and so subject to regulation.
The new law also amends 20 V.S.A. Sec. 3681 to require municipal clerks to issue permits for all pet dealers, not just for wolf hybrids as provided previously. Pet dealers must allow inspections at any time. The law no longer limits inspections to any “reasonable time”; per dealers would use the reasonableness requirement to delay inspections. On the other hand, the inspections are to be scheduled in advance. The pet dealer’s agent must be present. No surprise visits that may reveal the actual practices at the pet dealer’s operations.
Curiously, no photos or video can be taken during an inspection without the pet dealer’s permission!
There is no penalty for failure to cooperate with an inspection except that the new law provides “[r]epeated failure to consent to an inspection may result in a revocation of the pet dealer permit”.
An inspector can, but is not obligated to, report animal cruelty or neglect for criminal investigation. The inspectors, employees of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets, can only issue citations which can be the bases for civil administrative penalties.
Copies of the inspection reports are available from the municipality that issued the pet dealer permit.
The new law also amends the state puppy lemon law. Consumers have certain remedies if within 7 days of the sale of a cat, dog or wolf-hybrid by a pet dealer or pet shop a veterinarian certifies the animal is “unfit for purchase due to illness” or has signs of a contagious or infections disease, or if within one year a veterinarian certifies the animal has a congenital malformation or hereditary disease. The consumer can return the animal for a full refund and the veterinary fee but only for obtaining the certification. Veterinary fees for treating the animal are not included. A finding of parasites is not sufficient.
If the pet dealer or pet shop agrees, the consumer can alternatively, return the animal for an exchange, an animal of equivalent value, and the cost of the veterinary certification. Again, the bills incurred in treating the animal are not recoverable, only the fee related to obtaining the certification.
A third alternative also only available if the pet dealer or pet shop owner agrees, would allow recovery for reasonable veterinary service for the purpose of curing or attempting to cure the animal. It is not clear if this would include bills incurred for diagnosis. Regardless, this amount is limited to the purchase price of the animal. The cost of the certification in this instance is not recoverable.
Consumers are to be provided with a copy of the form the Dept. will issue for the certification.
Pet dealers or pet shops may contest a consumer demand for reimbursement, refund or exchange by having a veterinarian of its choice examine the animal. If the parties cannot reach an agreement within 10 days of this examination, the consumer may initiate suit.
|April 26, 2013||Posted by russmead under Companion Animal Breeding, Connecticut|
If Connecticut Substitute House Bill 5027 becomes law, Connecticut will be the first U.S. state to prohibit retail pet shops from selling dogs or cats from puppy or cat mills. At least that is what proponents claim.
More than 90% of puppies or dogs sold in pet stores were born in puppy mills. The Connecticut bill calls puppy or cat mills “substandard domestic animal mills” defined as a place where (1) dogs or cats are housed in a cage without being allowed daily exercise, (2) dogs or cats are not maintained in a dry and reasonably clean condition, (3) there is not adequate protection for such dogs or cats from the elements, (4) there is not clean and potable water for such dogs and cats at all times, (5) there is not proper and nutritious food for such dogs or cats, (6) dogs or cats are kept in an enclosure with floors that are not constructed in a manner that protects the dogs’ or cats’ paws and legs from injury, (7) dogs or cats are kept in an enclosure that does not allow them to turn around freely or to sit, stand or lie down comfortably, or (8) dogs or cats are kept in an enclosure that is not at least six inches higher than the head height of the tallest dog or cat.
The bill, however, does not, for example, define “exercise”, “adequate protection from the elements”, “reasonably clean”, “turn around freely” or “lie down comfortably”. Dogs and cats could still be kept in cages virtually 24/7, cages with wire flooring. There are no requirements for veterinary care. There are no limits on breeding. There are no care or socialization requirements for puppies and kittens. There are no protocols for euthanasia, cleanliness, disease and parasite prevention, ventilation or grooming. There are no regulations regarding transportation. The Animal Welfare Act which regulates breeders that sell through brokers or to pet stores actually has higher, more specific standards! And the AWA has long been criticized for requiring minimal standards that fail to prevent puppy mills and that actually enable substandard breeders. The Connecticut bill would apply to those mills regulated by the AWA and enforced by the USDA through its agency, APHIS; the Connecticut bill would also apply to breeders that sell directly to the public through the internet or newspaper ads.
In essence, the bill will lull the public into thinking these standards, lower than the AWA regulations, mean puppy and cat mills have been eliminated. In fact, the bill will only enable breeders to continue holding dogs in cages virtually 24/7, breeding them over and over, with no required veterinary care, no socialization and no standards for care of their puppies or kittens. And pet stores could continue selling dogs and cats from these breeders.
Take a look at inspections by APHIS and also here. There are horrific violations that APHIS lacks the resources to correct. Even with its low standards. It is not clear how the state of Connecticut could do better with even lower standards or at least standards that are less defined and vague. With this bill Connecticut could actually lower the standards below the low bar set by AWA for many commercial breeders selling dogs and cats to pet stores and the public.
An amendment proposed by Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield), would save the bill. Amendment #6461 would prohibit Connecticut’s pet shops from selling commercially bred dogs and cats and instead require that they only sell or adopt out dogs or cats from animal control facilities and non-profit rescue organizations.
|December 12, 2012||Posted by Laura Allen under Companion Animal Breeding|
Update Dec. 12, 2012: Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed Sub. S.B. 130 into law on Deceomber 11, 2012.
Update November 30, 2012: The Ohio Senate Rules & Reference Committee and now the full Senate have approved Sub. S.B. 130. The bill has been sent to Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his signature.
|July 19, 2012||Posted by Laura Allen under Companion Animal Breeding|
Update July 19, 2012: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law the bill to raise standards of care for dogs and cats held by pet dealers or commercial dog and cat breeders in the state. For more on this, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.