legislation > Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill
The Dog and Cat Breeder Bill, also known as the Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill, was introduced in the Minnesota Senate by Senator Don Betzold and in the Minnesota House by Representative Tom Tillberry. (Co-authors are listed below.)
The bill number in the Senate is S.F. 7. The bill number in the House is H.F. 253.
S.F. 7/H.F. 253 did not pass during the 2009 MN legislature session (see follow the vote); however, with your help, it will pass in 2010.
To view S.F. 7 and H.F. 253 (S.F. = Senate File; H.F. = House File), please click on:
REGULATION OF DOG AND CAT BREEDERS
We are now in the 86th Minnesota Legislative Session, which is a two-year cycle (2009-2010). S.F. 7/H.F. 253 was introduced in 2009 and will be heard again in 2010 if both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees vote to "take it off the table" for discussion and a vote. The 2010 session begins February 4, 2010.
As described below, this legislation will regulate certain dog and cat breeders in Minnesota and protect animals and consumers. It covers the essential areas for animal protection: Licensing, Inspections, Enforcement, Standards, Funding and Penalties.
AUTHOR AND CO-AUTHORS OF S.F. 7 (Betzold)
AUTHOR AND CO-AUTHORS OF H.F. 253 (Tillberry)
HIGHLIGHTS OF LEGISLATION: S.F. 7/H.F. 253 MN Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill
The intent of the Minnesota Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill is to protect dogs, cats, puppies and kittens from inhumane breeding practices and conditions by giving the state of Minnesota the authority to license and regulate the dog and cat breeding industry in Minnesota.
Please note: Senate File 7 and House File 253 are companion bills. Both were introduced with the same language; however, language for each can (and did) change based on amendments offered by House or Senate committees.
Key highlights of this legislation include:
REASONING: There is no licensing of dog and cat breeders by the State of Minnesota. As a result, the State does not and cannot know if animals in breeding facilities are properly cared for.
ALSO: The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), per the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), does license some breeders — those with more than three intact females who sell wholesale. Note the word 'wholesale' — breeders who sell directly to consumers through websites, parking lots or classified ads are not required to be licensed by the USDA. This is a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act, considering the fact that many breeders are now using websites. It's also another reason for State licensing of dog and cat breeders.
NOTE: The majority of breeders in Minnesota are not licensed by the USDA and are completely unregulated. There are approximately 220 USDA-licensed facilities throughout Minnesota, of which approximately 62 breed and/or broker dogs and cats. This represents a small fraction of the total dog/cat breeder population in Minnesota. In addition to breeders, these USDA-licensed facilities include zoos, animal exhibitors (i.e. petting zoos), research laboratories, circuses and animals transported via commercial airlines. There are 2.5 USDA inspectors to inspect all 220 facilities. Due to limited staffing, the number of inspections are infrequent. Also, as stated above, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) only licenses and inspects breeders who sell to pet stores, not directly to the public through the Internet, classified ads, parking lots or other means. Commercial breeders are aware of this loophole. Since 2006, many breeders/brokers in Minnesota have chosen not to re-new or apply for a USDA license, so avoiding inspection altogether.
REASONING: This bill will close the AWA loophole. It will allow for state inspectors and state inspections of all USDA-licensed and non-USDA-licensed breeders (except "hobby breeders") by the State of Minnesota.
Requires breeders to comply with existing laws and regulations, and puts in place additional standards that are lacking in existing law.
REASONING: Points to existing law and regulations for use in inspections and enforcement. Also adds additional standards, such as adequate staff, daily socialization, identification and tracking of each animal, and not hiring anyone who has been convicted of animal cruelty, which are missing from current law.
NOTE: There is no State law that gives a Minnesota agency or board the authority to enforce breeding and care standards.
REASONING: This bill closes the enforcement gap. Upon receiving a complaint, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health will be given the authority to investigate the complaint, providing for state oversight of this industry. Correction orders can be issued, requiring a breeder to correct a violation of federal and state statutes, rules and regulations governing breeding facilities. An order may also be issued to cease a practice if its continuation would result in an immediate risk to animal welfare or public health. The State would have the authority to refuse to re-issue a license, suspend or revoke a license if the breeder fails to act on certain orders (i.e. doesn’t comply, doesn’t pay, commits felony cruelty), as defined in the law.
Provides funding to the Board of Animal Health through licensing and registration fees.
REASONING: Provides a revenue source for operation of the regulatory program, including registration fees, annual licensing and a specified amount of $50,000 in donations to start the program.
REASONING: This bill creates misdemeanors for specific violations committed by unscrupulous or negligent dog and cat breeders.