The Minnesota Legislature convened on January 24, 2012, and adjourned on May 10, 2012, ending the 2011-2012 legislative session. The Legislature did not take action on dog and cat breeder regulation during this session.
The Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill, S.F. 462/H.F. 702, was introduced in 2011. The Minnesota Legislature adjourned for the 2011-2012 legislative session without taking action on dog and cat breeder regulation.
Minnesota has no state laws, rules, licensing or regulations to address the care of cats and dogs in commercial breeding facilities. S.F. 462/H.F. 702 would have provided basic licensing and regulation for this industry. If you haven’t yet, please sign our online petition in support of regulating commercial dog and cat breeders. Sign petition.
This session more state Senators and Representatives were educated on the problem, more support was gathered from veterinarians, and more awareness was generated with the public. Thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators and spread the word throughout Minnesota.
Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection is part of a large coalition of humane societies, rescue groups, animal control, veterinarians, and individuals who been working hard for several years to pass legislation to regulate this industry. Numerous other supporters, including other humane societies, rescue groups, veterinarians, law enforcement, students, legislators, businesses and community members representing the interests of Minnesota who understand the need for breeder regulation have been working with the coalition to help pass these bills.
We will continue to work on this issue until we pass a bill into law regulating commercial dog and cat breeders in MN.
In 2012 the entire Minnesota Senate and House is up for election and many legislators are retiring. This is a great opportunity to get to know the candidates and find out what their beliefs are. And, this is an opportunity for animal advocates to help work on the campaigns of those we want elected. Talk to the candidates about the problem at inhumane breeding facilities in MN. Educate them now. Want to reach out to the candidates in your district? Let us know here.
We need YOUR help in raising awareness and educating legislators. Your voice can make a difference in the lives of dogs and cats in Minnesota.
Recent cruelty case
Many of you may have either read the disturbing stories in the paper or heard on the news that a Northfield dog breeder, Dayna Bell of Bell Kennels, was charged on April 17, 2012, in Dakota County Court with 16 counts of felony animal cruelty. The court documents state that a witness reported that Bell had drowned puppies and other dogs in late September of 2011. The same witness told police she had also observed Bell tie a rope which was attached to a cinderblock around the neck of a small dog and throw the dog and block into a pool. This witness also reported observing Bell take a small dog which had bit her on the arm outside and return claiming that she had broken the dog’s neck. Another witness told police that Bell had put a puppy in a bucket of water and then placed another bucket on top of that to hold the puppy down. This is another example of why MN needs to pass a law to regulate and inspect commercial dog and cat breeders.
Did you know that:
- over 40 Minnesota shelters and rescues, Minnesota Animal Control Association, and the Animal Law Section of the MN State Bar Association supported the 2011-2012 bills (S.F. 462/ H.F. 702)
- over 220 Minnesota veterinarians and vet techs signed letters supporting S.F. 462/H.F. 702 with more signing on regularly
- over 18,000 petitions signed by Minnesotans were delivered to State legislators in support of the dog and cat breeder regulation bills
Opposition is strong from agribusiness and their associations, some sportsmen/women groups, the National Rifle Association, breeder registries, and some breeders. (Reputable breeders already comply with existing Minnesota anti-cruelty laws and understand the need for regulation; they expect that of all breeders.)
Coalition members supporting this legislation include 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, Pet Haven Inc. of Minnesota, Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota, Second Chance Animal Rescue, Tri-County Humane Society, and individuals.
There is no State oversight and there are no State laws, inspections or regulations covering dog and cat breeding facilities in Minnesota; as a result, dogs and cats are harmed by inhumane breeding practices.
Minnesota is also among the top producers of 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, too, are mass-produced in Minnesota.
The conditions can be horrific:
- Many dogs and cats living out their lives in small, overcrowded wire cages and bred repeatedly.
- Cages are often stacked, allowing feces and urine to fall onto the animals below.
- Animals may be malnourished from inadequate food and water.
- Animals receive little or no veterinary care, are stressed from constant confinement and neglect, have 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.
While many breeders in Minnesota act responsibly, there are increasing reports of those who keep dogs and cats in deplorable conditions and who are willing to make a profit at the expense of the animals’ health and well being. The puppies and kittens are then sold to the public and many are sick, diseased, and have genetic problems.
USDA only licenses breeders who sell wholesale
Only breeders who breed and deal puppies and kittens wholesale (e.g., pet shops, etc.) are licensed and inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); and USDA inspection reports show multiple ongoing violations and enforcement is lacking. The majority of breeders in Minnesota do not sell to pet stores, but sell directly to the public, such as through websites, parking lots or newspaper ads. None of these activities are regulated.
Current “system” is not working
Animal anti-cruelty laws exist in Minnesota. But these laws kick in after the cruelty occurs – if someone files a complaint and if action is taken. Regulation is preventative – allowing authorities to legally inspect breeding facilities so cruelty can be prevented before it occurs. Relying solely on citizen complaints, cruelty investigations and prosecution is time-consuming and costly for local law enforcement, animal control, nonprofit animal shelters and rescue organizations, and the courts. Regulation is a more efficient use of resources.
Sales tax not being paid
Many commercial dog and cat 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.
Other states are already regulated
Because our neighboring states (Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska) all have breeder regulation laws on the books, Minnesota will soon become a “safe haven” for inhumane breeders to move.
Legislation to address the problem (inhumane breeding conditions and practices) by giving the State of Minnesota the authority to regulate dog and cat breeders.
- License - Require commercial dog and cat breeders in Minnesota to be licensed;
- Inspect and Enforce – Give legal authority to the 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 - Impose civil, administrative and criminal penalties for those who violate the law.
Legislation is needed to address the core problem and must work hand-in-hand with existing Minnesota anti-cruelty laws. There has been strong support by a large coalition of humane societies, rescue groups, animal control, humane agents, veterinarians, and individuals from across the State. This issue is about human responsibility – requiring breeders to act responsibly and humanely.
For in-depth information about dog and cat breeding in Minnesota, please visit Animal Folks.