New state regulations to protect the health and safety of dogs and cats will take effect Tuesday, July 1, 2014. During the 2014 Legislative Session, Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature enacted the new law, creating licensing and inspection requirements for commercial dog and cat breeders. The purpose of the law is to protect and enhance the well-being of dogs and cats that are raised by commercial breeders in Minnesota.
"The humane and decent treatment of these innocent creatures is no longer an unwritten expectation -- it is the law," said Governor Dayton, who owns two German Shepherds (Itasca and Wanamingo) and advocated strongly for the bill's passage. "I am pleased that the Board of Animal Health is leading this program. I am confident the Board will implement this new law effectively, working with breeders to protect the health of these animals and the public."
For seven years, similar bills regulating dog and cat breeders have been debated in the Legislature. After years of debate, the Legislature and Governor Dayton successfully enacted these new protections during the 2014 Legislative Session.
"We have worked with livestock producers in Minnesota for over a century to control and eradicate disease -- protecting the health of animals across our state," said Dr. Bill Hartmann, executive director of the Board of Animal Health. "We will apply those same principles to this new effort, working with Minnesota's commercial breeders to maintain safe, healthy and humane living environments for dogs and cats in commercial breeding facilities."
How the New Law Works
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 law includes requirements on record keeping and facility maintenance, standards of care and an annual licensing fee.
Between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, commercial dog or cat breeders must register with the Board of Animal Health each facility they own or operate in Minnesota. During this time, licensing is optional. Beginning July 1, 2015, licensure becomes mandatory and a commercial dog or cat breeder must obtain an annual license for each facility in Minnesota.
The commercial dog and cat breeder initiative will help to showcase facilities that are already doing an excellent job of caring for their animals. Additionally, it will allow the Board of Animal Health to work with breeders to help them meet the requirements detailed in the new law.
The Board offers several tools to guide commercial breeders through the new requirements and become licensed. Visit the Board's website to read more about the program and to download a registration form.
The Board of Animal Health was established in 1903 and exists to safeguard domestic animal health in Minnesota.