Pet Haven’s mission includes advocating on behalf of companion animals. It is important to fully understand the issues surrounding existing and proposed laws that affect our four-legged friends! Dog and cats don’t have a voice, so please be a voice for them! For any Minnesota state legislation, click here to find your Senator and Representive to make your voice heard!
Dog and Cat Breeder Bill
Currently, there is no Minnesota state law specifically regulating the conduct at dog and cat breeding facilities. The Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill was introduced in the Minnesota House and Senate in 2011. The bill number in the Minnesota Senate is S.F. 462, introduced by Senator Barb Goodwin. The bill number in the House of Representatives is H.F. 702, introduced by Representative John Lesch. These bills did not advance during the 2011 session, but will be back in 2012! For more detailed information, visit Animal Folks MN.
Pet Lemon Law
Minnesota’s Pet Lemon Law is a consumer protection law governing the purchase of dogs and cats from for-profit businesses. When the law was written in the early 1990’s, the decision was made to exclude non-profit organizations, acknowledging that non-profit organizations (e.g. humane societies and animal rescue groups) serve a different purpose and mission than for-profit organizations (e.g. breeders or pet stores). A bill was introduced in the house in 2011 (H.F. 1635) that would amend the Pet Lemon law to include animal rescues and shelters in the definition of “pet dealer” thus subjecting Pet Haven and other nonprofit animal rescue groups to the requirements of the Pet Lemon Law. While we certainly agree that any organization, for-profit or non-profit, with cats and dogs in its care should follow reasonable guidelines for caring for the animal, the Pet Lemon Law puts an undue burden on non-profit organizations. Rescue groups like Pet Haven are not in the business of breeding animals, rather they take in unwanted, abandoned, and sometimes abused animals. They do not control the breed, age, condition, etc. of the animals coming into their programs. This makes it near impossible to comply with Pet Lemon law requirements of an additional veterinary visit AFTER the adoption, as well as the law’s requirement of guaranteeing the breed of animal, or the nonexistence of hereditary or congenital defects.
Breed Specific Legislation
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is a statute or regulation that is directed toward one or more specific breeds of dogs, mostly so-called “bully breeds.” In 2007, BSL was discussed as a possiblity in Minnesota, with a proposed ban on akitas, chows, rottweilers, pitbulls and wolf-hybrids. Nothing came of this bill, but it is important to be educated on the issue as there is always a possibility of resurfacing later! Problems with BSL:
- BSL targets specific breeds and fails to adequately address the dog-bite epidemic. It disregards both past behavior and conduct of the dog, and owner
- BSL ignores 3 basic facts:
- All dogs can and do inflict injury, regardless of breed
- Breed alone is not a dispositive of human aggression, even in historically dog-aggressive breeds
- Any dog can be trained and any breed can be bred to be aggressive
- BSL creates a false sense of public security through oversimplification of the problem and under-inclusiveness in the solution
- BSL, though designed to decrease the threat to public safety, may have the perverse effect of increasing the risk of serious attack
- BSL is an inefficient allocation of limited financial and human resources
- BSL does not differentiate between vicious and docile members of the target breed
Source: “Attacking the Dog-Bite Epidemic: What Breed Specific Legislation won’t solve the dangerous dog dilemma”, Fordham Law Review, April 2006