We have great news! Governor Dayton signed the Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill (H.F. 3172) into law (Chapter 312) on May 20, 2014, which included the dog and cat breeder regulation bill! This means the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation bill is now officially law in the State of Minnesota!
THANK YOU for all of your calls, letters, emails, contacts with legislators, and support over the past several years! We finally did it.
As we previously mentioned, after H.F. 84 passed all of the necessary policy and finance committees by the required deadlines, it was incorporated into the House Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Bill which passed the House floor. Then that bill went to Conference Committee with the Senate’s version of their Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Bill. Over a few week period, the Senate and House Conference Committee members worked out differences between the bills (using H.F. 3172 as the bill number). The Conference Committee members for the Senate and House were: Senators Cohen, Tomassoni, Lourey, Wiger, & Bonoff and Representatives Carlson, Huntley, Mahoney, Marquart, & Wagenius.
The breeder bill was included in the 577 page Conference Committee Report of H.F. 3172 which was sent to both the House and Senate floors for votes. It passed both bodies and was sent to the Governor for his signature (Chapter 312).
It has been a long journey trying to pass a reasonable licensing and inspection law to better protect the dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens in MN commercial breeding facilities. But patience and diligence paid off.
The law becomes effective July 1, 2014, when the Board of Animal Health (BAH) will begin registering commercial dog and cat breeders who fall under the bill’s language. Within one year, the BAH will be required to annually inspect those breeders and any new breeders that set up facilities covered under the law (they can also begin inspections starting July 1, 2014, if they choose). The BAH will then license those breeders who are in compliance with existing animal welfare laws and additional provisions just passed into law.
What the New Law Does
Licensing – requires commercial dog and cat breeders in MN 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 MN Board of Animal Health to inspect commercial dog and cat breeding facilities annually and enforce existing State laws and new laws to ensure animal care standards are met; and
Penalties – imposes civil, administrative and criminal penalties for those who violate
Just a few of the other provisions in the bill 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 its 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 vet 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
Too often, Second Chance receives abused and neglected breeding dogs and cats from law enforcement, animal control, breeders themselves, or other nonprofits’ rescue efforts. The animals arrive in varying conditions – so matted they can’t walk, extremely under weight, shy/fearful, fleas, eye and ear infections, never having had human contact, and a variety of other physical and psychological issues that we need to work with in order to help transition them into healthy animals ready for loving adoptive homes.
Minnesota is among the top states for mass-produced puppies in the United States with some of the largest breeding kennels in the nation - housing 300, 600 or over 1,000 dogs and puppies. Kittens are also mass-produced in Minnesota. Many dogs and cats live out their lives in small, overcrowded wire cages and are bred repeatedly. Their cages are often stacked one on top of the other, allowing feces and urine to fall onto the animals below. Animals may be sick from inadequate food, water and veterinary care, stress, fleas, worms, etc. Many have deformed paws, are severely matted, or are burned from sitting and standing in urine and feces. And, they are rarely, if at all, provided human socialization.
Current System is Not Working - The current system used in Minnesota to address animal neglect and cruelty is complaint-based. Animal anti-cruelty laws kick in after the cruelty occurs - if someone files a complaint and if action is taken. Regulation is preventative - allowing authorities to legally enter the property and inspect breeding facilities so conditions can be assessed and cruelty can be prevented before it occurs. Relying solely on reporting, cruelty investigations, and prosecution are time-consuming and costly for local law enforcement, animal control, nonprofit animal shelters, rescue organizations, and the courts. Regulation is a more efficient use of resources.
Sales Tax - Many breeders are not paying the required State sales tax on the puppies and kittens sold, resulting in millions of dollars of lost revenue to the State.
Irresponsible and negligent breeders are those who keep dogs and cats in deplorable conditions and who are willing to make a profit at the expense of the animal’s health and wellbeing. The puppies and kittens are sold to the public and many are sick, diseased, and have genetic problems. Until now, there was no oversight and no state laws regulating breeders in Minnesota.
In 2013, S.F. 36 was introduced in the Minnesota Senate by Senator John Marty (D-66) and H.F. 84 was introduced in the House by Representative John Lesch (D-66B) to address inhumane dog and cat breeding (also known as puppy/kitten mills) in Minnesota.
Thank you again for being involved and having a voice for the animals.
Speak Up for Dogs and Cats coalition members: 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. And, there are numerous other supporters, including humane societies, rescue groups, veterinarians, law enforcement, Animal Law Section of the MSBA, and community members.
NHL Player Supports the Bill
David and Kelly Backes were both born and raised in Blaine, Minnesota, and are well-known advocates for animal protection and welfare. David is a professional NHL player, Captain of the St. Louis Blues and also a member of the 2010 USA Men's Olympic Silver Medal Hockey team. David and Kelly served on the Board of Directors at Five Acres Animal Shelter, a nonprofit animal shelter in St. Charles, Missouri where Kelly also served as the Board Vice President for two years. They consider Minnesota home - a place where they spend their off season and deeply care about the well-being of dogs and cats confined and bred in Minnesota breeding facilities. Both David and Kelly have seen firsthand the deplorable conditions within some breeding facilities and have witnessed the physical and mental damage to animals who live in these kennels. All of their animals (four dogs and two cats) are rescued. One of their dogs, a beagle named BB, spent 8 years caged at a puppy mill and was bred repeatedly, suffering both physically and mentally. David and Kelly Backes support the Minnesota Dog and Cat Breeder Bill (S.F. 36/H.F. 84) and the need for regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders, and encourage others to also speak up for Minnesota dogs and cats.
Animal Folks MN and all of us who support S.F. 36/H.F. 84 thank David and Kelly Backes for their willingness to speak up and make a difference in the lives of animals. Also, thanks to Video Producers Mike Rivard and Dan Polsfuss for donating their time and talents in producing the video; and Mike Tincher of T Design for his donation of time with design.
What a great turnout at the rally to Speak Up for Dogs and Cats on February 19 at the State Capitol. A few hundred people came to show their support for the dog and cat breeder regulation bill. Even Governor Mark Dayton made an appearance and was introduced by Second Chance President, Nancy Minion. The authors, Senator John Marty and Representative John Lesch, also spoke to the crowd with some very inspiring words. Many of the Speak Up for Dogs and Cats coalition members also spoke along with citizens telling their stories. Please help educate the public about the need to pass S.F. 36/H.F. 84 into law.
Rally to Speak Up for Dogs and Cats