There have been a lot changes to the the USDA dog breeder regulations in the last 15 days. I wanted to take a few moments to go over the core changes that many smaller breeders may not be aware of.
The Animal Welfare Act was originally written in 1966, long before the advent of the internet. And like so many other industries, the internet has changed the landscape of how puppies and dogs are sold to consumers.
To exempt themselves for licensing and inspection requirements, many breeders have been claiming “retail pet store” status based on the outdated definition in the Animal Welfare Act. The September 10, 2013 amendment to the law redefines a retail pet store as a place of business or residence in “which the seller, buyer and the animal available for sale are physically present so that the buyer may personally observe the animal and help ensure its health prior to purchasing or taking custody of it. “
If you are a breeder that sells puppies to consumers over the internet and the puppy buyer does NOT (or some one the buyer designates excluding a commercial handler or transporter) physically pick up the puppy, you may now have to be licensed and inspected by APHIS, a part of the US Department of Agriculture, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/.
There are some other determining factors:
1) You must have more than 4 breeding females (which does include co-owned dogs). Breeding females are defined as any female with the capacity to have a litter. But at the disgression of an inspector, an unaltered female could be excluded due to health conditions or age.
2) Your puppies are sold primarily as companion animals. (Breeders that produce working dogs are excluded)
I am encouraging each and breeder to visit the website, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2013/09/retail_pet_final_rule.shtml , and read about the new dog breeder regulations. I have also included a a PDF of commonly asked questions produced by APHIS, faq_retail_pets_final_rule
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