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The State of Minnesota does not license or regulate pet stores. Some cities have chosen to do so through local ordinances.
However, state animal cruelty and welfare statutes are applicable to commercial animal facilities in Minnesota, which would include pet stores. Two statutes include:
Some pet stores may also be licensed by the federal government under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). If the pet store chooses to sell certain exotic animals, such as hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and other specified animals, then they would be required to obtain a federal license and be inspected. As an example, a pet store in Roseville, MN, has had a USDA license on and off for many years. A recent USDA inspection report documented multiple violations of the AWA by this store, citing lack of veterinary care including hamsters with all eyes missing, a gerbil with bloody discharge, a Bichon who was hacking and coughing, and other items.
MINNESOTA PET LEMON LAW
Other laws applicable to pet stores deal with consumer protection issues. As dogs and cats are considered products by some within the pet industry, certain pet shops treat animals as merchandise that can be easily returned for a refund or exchange. The MN Department of Revenue also defines dogs and cats as products and sales tax must be collected and remitted for each animal sold as retail.
The Minnesota Pet Lemon Law (Chapter 325F.79 - 325F.792) outlines some rights that protects consumers and sellers when purchasing dogs and cats. Some of the law's language is copied below.
For complete language of the law, go to link below. Scroll to 325.F79-325F.792.
NOTE: Lemon laws are controversial.
Though these laws are controversial, other people believe lemon laws are necessary because they are seen as one part of the bigger solution — specifically, if the pet store/dealer does not follow the stated law, they are in violation and can be charged. In Minnesota, penalties for breaking this particular law are criminal (misdemeanor) and civil (up to $1,000 per violation); see language below.
MN 325F.79 DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of Minn. Stat. Sections 325.79 to 325.792, the following definitions apply:
325F.791 SALES OF DOGS AND CATS.
Subdivision 1. Disclosure. Every pet dealer shall deliver to each retail purchaser of an animal written disclosure as follows:
The disclosure shall be made part of the statement of consumer rights set forth in subd. 10. The disclosure required in paragraph (a) need not be made for mixed breed animals if the information is not available and cannot be determined by the pet dealer.
Subdivision 2. Records.
The pet dealer shall maintain for one year, a copy of the statement of consumer rights delivered to the purchaser.
Subdivision 3. Registration.
A pet dealer who represents an animal as eligible for registration with an animal pedigree organization shall provide the retail purchaser, within 90 days of final payment, the documents necessary for registration. If these documents are not received from the pet dealer, the purchaser may retain the animal and receive a refund of 50 percent of the purchase price, or return the animal, along with all documentation previously provided, and receive a full refund. The pet dealer shall not be responsible for delays in registration which are the result of persons other than the pet dealer.
Subdivision 4. Health.
No animal may be offered for sale by a broker or pet dealer to a retail purchaser until the animal has been examined by a veterinarian. The veterinarian used by the broker shall not be the same veterinarian used by the pet dealer. If the pet dealer is not the breeder of the animal, each animal shall be examined within two days after receipt of the animals by a pet dealer and within four days of delivery of the animal to the purchaser by the pet dealer. The cost of the examination shall be paid by the pet dealer.
Subdivision 5. Responsibilities of purchaser.
To obtain the remedies provided in subdivision 6, the purchaser shall with respect to an animal with a health problem:
With respect to a dead animal, the purchaser must provide the pet dealer a written statement from a veterinarian, indicating the animal died from a health problem which existed on or before the receipt of the animal by the purchaser.
Subdivision 6. Rights of the purchaser.
If, within ten days after receipt of the animal by the purchaser, a veterinarian states, in writing, that the animal has a health problem which existed in the animal at the time of delivery, or if within one year after receipt of the animal by the purchaser, a veterinarian states, in writing, that the animal has died or is ill due to a hereditary or congenital defect, or is not of the breed type represented, the animal shall be considered to have been unfit for sale at the time of sale.
In the event an animal dies due to a health problem which existed in the animal at the time of delivery to the purchaser, the pet dealer shall provide the purchaser with one of the following remedies selected by the purchaser: receive an animal, of equal value, if available, and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees, such reimbursements not to exceed the original purchase price of the animal; or receive a refund of the full purchase price.
In the event of a health problem, which existed at the time of delivery to the purchaser, the pet dealer shall provide the purchaser with one of the following remedies selected by the purchaser: return the animal to the pet dealer for a refund of the full purchase price; exchange the animal for an animal of the purchaser's choice of equivalent value, providing a replacement is available; or retain the animal, and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees, such reimbursements not to exceed the original purchase price of the animal.
The price of veterinary service shall be deemed reasonable if the service is appropriate for the diagnosis and treatment of the health problem and the price of the service is comparable to that of similar service rendered by other veterinarians in proximity to the treating veterinarian.
For Subdivisions 7 (Rights of pet dealer) and 8 (Contest) see link to law.
Subdivision 9. Posted notice.
Every pet dealer shall post in a prominent location of the facility, a notice, in 48-point boldface type, containing the following language: "Information on all dogs and cats is available. You are entitled to a statement of consumer rights. Make sure you receive this statement at the time of purchase."
Subdivision 10. Statement of consumer rights.
Every pet dealer shall provide the retail purchaser a written notice of rights, which shall be signed by the purchaser, acknowledging that the purchaser has reviewed the notice, and signed by the pet dealer certifying the accuracy of the information contained in it. A signed copy shall be retained by the pet dealer and one given to the purchaser. The following notice shall be in 16-point boldface type and shall state as follows:
The statement of consumer rights shall also contain or have attached the disclosures required under subdivision 1.
Subdivision 11. Limitation.
Nothing in this subdivision shall limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to a purchaser under any other law. Any agreement or contract by a purchaser to waive any rights under this chapter shall be null and void and shall be unenforceable.
325F.792. Additional penalties
Subdivision 1. Criminal penalty.
A violation of any United States Department of Agriculture statute or regulation covering animal breeders or groomers, pet dealers, or the transportation of dogs or cats is a misdemeanor.
Subdivision 2. Civil penalty.
(a) A pet dealer who:
(b) Civil fines collected under this subdivision shall be collected by the court and turned over to the prosecuting attorney.
OTHER PET SHOP LAWS
For a comprehensive overview of the pet shop laws in various states (compiled by BORN FREE USA), go to: