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  legislation > minnesota laws


Minnesota has State laws, cited below, which deal with animal cruelty and welfare, consumer protection, sales tax and other issues pertaining to the treatment of animals — and the impact on animals, consumers and communities.

Below lists just a few Minnesota laws with links and brief explanations. 



Every state and the District of Columbia have animal anti-cruelty laws. In Minnesota, Chapter 343 is the "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals" law. 

Thid law defines an animal as "every living creature except members of the human race." The law provides definitions for active and passive cruelty as well as authority for enforcement, procedures for seizure of animals, and penalties, including substantial bodily harm and great bodily harm. Provisions are provided for nourishment, shelter, exercise, and change of air (ventilation). This law also addresses specific issues such as animals with infectious disease, animal fights, decompression chambers, docking horses, and other matters of concern.

The specific definition of "Torture; cruelty” is in Subdivision 3 of Chapter 343.20. It reads: “Torture” or “cruelty” means every act, omission, or neglect which causes or permits unnecessary or unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death.” 

LAW:  Minnesota Chapter 343 - Prevention of Cruelty to Animals



346.35-44: Pet and Companion Animal Welfare Act

Minn. Stat. sections 346.35-44 is known as the Pet and Companion Welfare Act. This law (the scope) "shall only apply to veterinarians, animal boarding facilities, and commercial animal facilities."

Multiple definition are providing, including definitions for pet or companion animal as well as abuse, cruelty and neglect. Sections include equines, dogs and cats, pet birds, rodents and other animals (farmed animals are excluded).

For dogs and cats, some care standards are listed under 346.39, such as for food, water, transportation, shelter size, temperature, ventilation, sanitation, lighting, etc.

Sections within this law are sometimes used by prosecutors when charging people for animal neglect, cruelty or abuse (in addition to sections with MN Chapter 343).

NOTE: A few unique subdivisions in this law:

Subd. 2: Good Samaritans. A person is not liable for rendering humane assistance to an injured pet or companion animal.

Subd. 4: Health care. Adequate health care, including parasite and pest control, must be provided to each pet or companion animal.

Subd. 6. Reports of abuse, cruelty, or neglect. A veterinarian must report known or suspected cases of abuse, cruelty, or neglect to peace officers and humane agents as provided in 343.12 and 343. 29

LAW: Minnesota Statutes 2007, Chapter 346




The Commercial Breeders Licensing and Enforcement Law (Breeder Law, for short) was signed into law on May 20, 2014 and went into effect July 1, 2014.

The Commercial Dog and Cat Breeder Law licenses and regulates commercial dog and cat breeding facilities in Minnesota that meet the definition of "commercial breeder." 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 intent of the law is to provide protection for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens within these breeding facilities. The MN Board of Animal Health (BAH) was granted the authority to administer and enforce the law.

Whether the law is properly enforced depends on the actions of the BAH. Citizens must act as a "watchdog" to monitor the actions of the BAH so as to make sure they are following the intent of the law to protect animals from harm and prevent cruelty.

For Q&As on this law, go to: Breeder Law Q & A

 mercial Breeders Licensing and Enforcement

Copy of LAW:  Commercial Breeders Licensing and Enforcement Law

This law is located under Chapter 347 Dogs and Cats. NOTE: Click on link and scroll down to sections 347.57-347.64.




Minnesota has a Statute that is applicable to dogs and cats and, specifically, kennels and dealers. This law, however, can be confusing in its definition of "kennel" and how it applies to breeders and dealers.

Under 347.31, certain animal facilities are required to obtain a license and be inspected by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (BAH). As with all statutes, it's important to read the definition so as to know who it applies to:

Subd. 2. Kennel. "Kennel" means any place, building, tract of land, abode, or vehicle wherein or whereupon dogs or cats are kept, congregated, or confined, if the dogs or cats were obtained from municipalities, pounds, auctions, or by advertising for unwanted dogs or cats, or dogs or cats strayed, abandoned, or stolen. "Kennel" does not include a pound owned and operated by any political subdivision of the state or a person's home where dogs and cats are kept as pets.

Note the words above: "if the dogs or cats.....were strayed, abandoned or stolen." Some animal shelters, humane socieities, rescue groups or other entities might meet this definition and, therefore, require a kennel license.

Subd. 4. Dealer. "Dealer" means a public or private agency, person, society, or corporation that is licensed or is required to be licensed as a "Class B dealer" under United States Code, title 7, sections 2131 to 2155, as amended through December 31, 1986, who sells or transfers dogs or cats to institutions or to other dealers who sell or transfer to institutions.

Note the words above: If the dealer sells or transfer dogs or cats to sell to institutions, such as for medical research, that dealer would be subject to this law. Only one USDA licensed dealer was licensed and inspected by the BAH under this definition (breeding and selling to medical institutions). His name was Ken Schroeder; he was also USDA licensed. In 2014, his USDA license was revoked and he voluntarily gave up his MN kennel license.

Minnesota Statute 347.31: Kennels and Dealers



As animals are legally defined as property and, when bought and sold, are considered transactions or merchandise, this law also applies to the selling of dogs and cats. For instance, if a consumer is led to believe an animal is healthy, makes the purchase and then discovers the animal is sick due to breeding or care conditions, this may be deception — and a violation of this law.

If you find you have been a victim of consumer fraud, file a complaint with the Minnesota Office of Attorney General and also tell your story to Animal Folks.

• Minnesota Stat. Sec. 325F.69 Unlawful Practices

"The act, use, or employment by any person of any fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, misleading statement or deceptive practice, with the intent that others rely thereon in connection with the sale of any merchandise, whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived, or damaged thereby, is enjoinable as provided in section 325F.70."



Chapter 325F.79-325F.792 specifically regulates the sale of dogs and cats. It defines the retail purchaser’s rights (i.e., consumer who buys the dog or cat) and the rights of the pet dealer (i.e., the pet store or breeder who sells the animal to the consumer).

While this law focuses on sales and consumer protection, it can also be used for animal protection purposes as it contains provisions that deal with the health of the animal. For instance, per the law, no animal may be offered for sale by a broker or pet dealer (such as a breeder) to a retail purchaser until the animal has been examined by a veterinarian. Also, the pet dealer must provide a statement about the animal’s health to the purchaser indicating if the animal has any health problems.

Even with this law in place, there are numerous examples where people, unknowingly, have purchased unhealthy pets. Once a person has bonded with their new companion, many people have no desire to return "it" for a refund. Click on link below for details of the law.

Further information: Pet Stores

Pet Lemon Law - MN Statute 325F.79 to 325F.792

Click link above and scroll to 325F.79 - 325F.792



Per MN Statute 35.92, the Board of Animal Health has been given the authority to enforce MN Statute 35 Animal Health. Per MN Statute 35.05, a person who "knows or reasonably suspects that a contagious or infectious disease exists in a domestic animal shall immediately notify the board." Per MN Statute 35.93, the Board may take administrative action, such as "investigate and issue a written cease and desist, stop-sale, stop-use, or removal order or other remedial action to the owner, custodian, or other responsible party."

As with other laws, the above law is complaint-based. A person must know or suspect the animal has a disease and then report it for the BAH to take action.

Further, this law focuses on "contagious or infectious disease." The BAH's mission focuses primarily on controlling and eradicating animal disease — rather than animal welfare, as defined as the animal's total well-being inclusive of both physical and mental health. This law focuses on physical disease. 

• Minnesota Statute 35



On January 1, 2005, an ‘Exotic Animal Ownership’ law went into effect in Minnesota. With some exceptions, it prohibits individuals from purchasing, obtaining, or owning certain exotic animals in Minnesota. 

• Exotic Animals — Possessing Regulated Animals



There are other laws relating to animals in Minnesota. The Michigan State University College of Law has profiled these laws for each state. For details:


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