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legislation > MN Dog and Cat Breeder Law

 

STATUS: SIGNED INTO LAW (Law went into effect July 1, 2014)

The Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill is law in the State of Minnesota. On May 20, 2014, Governor Dayton signed the Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill (H.F. 3172) into law. This omnibus bill included the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill.

 

WHAT THE NEW LAW DOES

The Commercial Dog and Cat Breeder Law licenses and regulates commercial dog and cat breeding facilities in Minnesota that meet the definition of "commercial breeder." A commercial breeder is defined in the law as "a person who possesses or has an ownership interest in animals and is engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale or for exchange in return for consideration, and who possesses ten or more adult intact animals and whose animals produce more than five total litters of puppies or kittens per year."

The intent of the law is to provide protection for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens within these breeding facilities. The MN Board of Animal Health was granted the authority to administer and enforce the law. Whether the intent of the law is properly and effectively enforced will depend on the actions of the Board. 

The first step is getting a law passed so standards and requirements can be set for businesses to follow. Citizens must also act as a "watchdog" to monitor and measure the actions of any state agency so as to make sure they are following the intent of the law and, in this case, leading actions to protect animals from harm and prevent cruelty. (This is true of other breeder laws passed in other states; supporters of animal protection must remain vigilant.)

Key aspects of this law include:

• Licensing — Requires commercial dog and cat breeders in Minnesota to be licensed in order to operate and sell dogs and cats in the State of Minnesota.

• Inspections and Enforcement — Gives legal authority to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health to inspect commercial dog and cat breeding facilities and enforce existing State laws to ensure animal care standards are met; and

• Penalties — Imposes civil, administrative and criminal penalties for those who violate the law.

A few other provisions include:

• Must keep identifying and medical records on each animal

• Must develop and maintain a written veterinary protocol for disease control and prevention, veterinary care and euthanasia

• Animals must be provided daily enrichment and must be provided positive physical contact with human beings and compatible animals at least twice daily

• Must provide adequate staff to maintain the facility and observe each animal daily to monitor the animals' health and well-being and to properly care for the animals

• All animals sold must be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate completed by a veterinarian no more than 30 days prior to sale or distribution

• Puppies and kittens may not be sold, traded or given away prior to 8 weeks of age

NOTE: In order to move the bill forward, compromises in the language were made. Specifically, the MN Pet Breeder's Association, Rep. Rod Hamilton (as expressed in a House Agriculture Committee hearing) and others in support of commercial breeding facilities wanted data collected by the MN Board of Animal Health, such as inspection reports, to be kept secret. The MN Pet Breeder's Association and others introduced language to keep records and reports hidden from the public. However, this section of the law does allow for certain data access: "The Board of Animal Health may disclose data collected...if the board determines that the access will aid in the law enforcement process or the protection of public or animal health or safety."

News article: In Minnesota, pet breeders' records kept secret

Data "Privacy": Minn. Stat. Sec. 13.643 Subd. 6 Animal premises data

 

THE LAW 

The law is titled: Commercial Breeders Licensing And Enforcement. In statute, it can be found under Chapter 347: Dogs and Cats. The statute numbers are:

Minnesota Statute Sections 347.57 - 347.64

A copy can be found at: MN Revisor - Commercial Breeders Licensing and Enforcement

Click on link and scroll down to sections 347.57-347.64.

The law references other laws that must be followed for compliance, such as Chapter 343 and Chapter 346. As noted above, the breeder law also has a "data secrecy" clause which is located in another statute. These "supplemental laws" can be found at:

Supplemental laws

The law became effective July 1, 2014, when the MN Board of Animal Health (BAH) began registering commercial dog and cat breeders who fall under the bill's language. Breeders who meet the definition in the law were to have obtained a license by July 1, 2015. Once licensed, the BAH is required to annually inspect those breeders and any new breeders who set up facilities covered under the law. The BAH has posted information regarding the program: MN Board of Animal Health - Commercial Dog and Cat Breeders

The Board of Animal Health has started licensing some breeders. List is posted at:

Licensed Commercial Dog or Cat Breeders

NOTE:

Due to the data secrecy clause in the breeder law, it is difficult to gain access to information about licensing, inspections and other actions conducted by the Board. There is no public data to understand how many facilities have applied and how many have been denied a license. Based on the breeder list (noted above), a number of breeders have been given licenses which have raised questions regarding the actions of the Board.

 

HISTORY AND OTHER Q&A

For answers to some historical questions regarding the law, go to: Q & A

 

LED BY MINNESOTANS

Minnesotans worked hard for several years to pass legislation to regulate commercial dog and cat breeders and ensure dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are healthy and safe in breeding facilities. 

• Over 400 Minnesota veterinarians and vet techs signed the petition in support of breeder regulation

• Over 50 Minnesota animal organizations, including the Minnesota Animal Control Association, joined in support

• Over 20,000 petitions signed by Minnesotans in support of commercial dog and cat breeder regulation were delivered to State legislators

• Governor Dayton publicly supported the bill and helped get the bill through the process during the 2013-2014 legislative session

• Rep. John Lesch (author in the House) and Sen. John Marty (author in the Senate) worked to pass the bill into led. To find what legislators signed on as co-authors, go to: Q & A

The SPEAK UP for Dogs and Cats coalition led efforts. Coalition members included: A Rotta Love Plus, Animal Folks MN, Animal Humane Society, Minnesota Animal Control Association, Minnesota Humane Society, Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, Minnkota Persian Rescue, Pause 4 Paws, Pet Haven Inc. of Minnesota, Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota, Second Chance Animal Rescue and Tri-County Humane Society. 

The efforts were also supported by numerous other citizens and organizations, including humane societies, rescue groups, animal control, prosecutors, veterinarians, law enforcement, students, animal protection and advocacy organizations, businesses and community members representing the interests of Minnesota.

As with any law:

• step one is to get the law passed to begin to address the problem;

• step two is to ensure the law is properly enforced.

All eyes and efforts must now be on the MN Board of Animal Health to monitor their actions and see if they are protecting the welfare of the animals — and properly executing their duties to enforce the intent of the law.

 
 
         
         

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