Dog/Cat Breeder Law

breeder law: q & a

mn legislators


how bill becomes law


    mn. legislature
    mn. governor
    mn. B.A.H.
    mn. Dept. Ag.
    mn. judicial
    mn. local
    mn. nonprofits

animal law

minnesota laws

animal welfare act

local government

other states


  legislation > governance

Minnesota is a strong agricultural state (animal and crop production). As such, the governing ‘system’ for overseeing animals was originally structured to respond to agricultural needs. Many animals were and are viewed as livestock, and the mission of many State agencies focus on public health concerns, disease eradication (i.e., rabies, e coli) and the need for a wholesome food source.

Minnesota is also a strong steward of wildlife, as well as being a hunting and fishing State. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) governs wildlife issues, which has been controversial with various animal concerns (i.e., wolf hunt).

The governance for companion animals, such as dogs and cats, however, is still in its infancy. The governing bodies, processes, laws and enforcement of laws at federal, state and local levels for companion animals are minimal or non-existent.


Who is responsible for the protection of Minnesota animals?

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (B.A.H.) is responsible for safeguarding the health of domestic animals in Minnesota; and the State Veterinarian is the executive director of this agency. However, the BAH's focus has been primarily with disease and livestock issues as it relates to food consumption. The BAH is also responsible for the import and export of animals to/from Minnesota.

The MN Board of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) licenses and oversees veterinarians in Minnesota. The BVM also takes action if a person conducts a veterinary act on an animal without a license.

Other state agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and others may get involved in animal cases depending on the species and the incident.

Oversight for animal cruelty issues in Minnesota primarily falls to local governments (i.e., sheriff, police, prosecutor, the courts).

For the most part, local nonprofit animal organizations (all privately financed) and volunteers have been the main advocates for the protection and care of animals.


The decision-makers

Whether elected, appointed or hired, different people play critical roles in how animals are viewed and treated in Minnesota. 

Minnesota House and Senate
Legislators determine what issues are heard in committees, debated on the floor and, ultimately, voted on to become law. 

Minnesota Governor
The Governor can lead how Minnesota chooses to view and treat animals.

Minnesota Board of Animal Health (B.A.H.)
The B.A.H.'s mission allows it to lead and administer companion animal issues.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (M.D.A.)
The M.D.A. works primarily with farmers and the food supply, safeguarding the health of humans.

Judicial: The Courts and Attorney General
Any legal questions or disputes involving animals or breeders are handled by the courts.

Local: Counties and municipalities
Individual local government and law enforcement are the direct contact with breeders.

Nonprofit animal organizations
Most, if not all, humane societies and nonprofit groups receive zero government financing, yet they, with local law enforcement and/or animal control, coordinate rescue and care for unwanted animals.


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