Minnesota has long been one of the few states that do not regulate large-scale pet breeders, but thankfully, state lawmakers have voted to change that. HF 84/SF 36, which will help the vulnerable animals in puppy and kitten mills, successfully passed both chambers during the 2014 legislative session, and was just signed into law this week by Gov. Mark Dayton. The Governor was a key supporter of this legislation and helped ensure it got through the legislature during the final days of the legislative session.
“As one of the few states not regulating large-scale commercial breeding facilities, Minnesota was a target for unscrupulous breeders looking to set up shop,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA’s Puppy Mills campaign. “With the passage of this bill, Minnesota will no longer be a haven for these types of facilities. The ASPCA thanks lawmakers and the many local advocates who fought for years to gain this protection on behalf of animals.”
The new law 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; gives legal authority to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH) to inspect commercial dog and cat breeding facilities annually to enforce existing state laws and new laws to ensure animal care standards are met; and imposes civil, administrative and criminal penalties for those who violate the law. The law becomes effective July 1, 2014.
Puppy mills are large-scale commercial breeding facilities where profit is given priority over the well-being of the animals. Breeding dogs and cats typically live in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, without adequate food, water, veterinary care or socialization, and are bred at every heat cycle. To combat these horrific conditions, the new law creates a licensing program, and will require commercial breeding facilities to be inspected annually, and to comply with minimum standards of care for dogs as well as cats.
“Passage of this new law shows what happens when dedicated advocates don’t give up but keep pressing the legislature to do what is needed,” said Menkin. “For several years this issue has been debated, discussed, and dissected. The final product is the result of good people working together to end bad practices and prevent animal suffering.”
Puppy mills exist in part to supply puppies to pet stores. The ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies campaign urges consumers not to buy any items – including food, supplies, or toys – at pet stores that sell puppies. In 2013, the national campaign launched a database containing more than 10,000 photos taken during routine USDA inspections, linking many of them to specific pet stores throughout the country that have sold puppies from the breeder within the last year. Consumers are able to see first-hand where pet store puppies really come from.
For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to eradicate puppy mills, please visit www.nopetstorepuppies.com.