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MINNESOTA LAWS

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:

Chapter 343  Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Minn. Stat. sec. 346.35 - 346.44  Pet and Companion Animal Welfare Act

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.

Link to USDA inspection reports: April 2016 USDA Inspection

Link to Warning by the USDA to the pet store: USDA Warning

 

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.

Regulating Sale of Dogs and Cats

NOTE: Lemon laws are controversial.

• Some consumers choose not to use the protections because they don't want to exchange their pet for another, even if the animal is sick. They fear the sickly animal may be killed by the breeder or pet store. Therefore, it's believed these laws are not effective.

• Some laws do not reimburse the full costs of veterinary care to treat the newly purchased animal, which can amount to thousands of dollars in veterinary expenses for the consumer. So rather than pursuing a lemon law, some consumers use general consumer protection laws and conciliation court.

• Courts throughout the nation are evolving and starting to recognize that animals are distinct from other forms of property, allowing for damages for veterinary expenses: Ohio Appeal Court Rules Dogs are Worth More than "Fair Market Value"

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:

(a) "Animal" means a dog, wholly or in part of the species Canis familiaris, or a cat, wholly or in part of the species Felis domesticus.

(b) "Pet dealer" means any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or association, including breeders, that is required to collect sales tax for the sale of animals to the public. Pet dealer does not include humane societies, nonprofit organizations performing the functions of humane societies, or animal control agencies.

(c) "Breeder" means any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or association that breeds animals for direct or indirect sale to the public.

(d) "Broker" means a person, firm, partnership, corporation, or association that purchases animals for resale to other brokers or pet dealers.

(f) "Veterinarian" means a licensed veterinarian in the state of Minnesota.

 

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:

(a) The name, address, and USDA license number of the breeder and any broker who has had possession of the animal; the date of the animal's birth; the date the pet dealer received the animal; the breed, sex, color, and identifying marks of the animal; the individual identifying tag, tattoo, or collar number; the name and registration number of the sire and dam and the litter number; and a record of inoculations, worming treatments, and medication received by the animal while in the possession of the pet dealer.

(b) A statement signed by the pet dealer that the animals has no known health problem, or a statement signed by the pet dealer disclosing any known health problem and a statement signed by a veterinarian that recommends necessary treatment.

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:

(a) Notify the pet dealer, within two business days, of the diagnosis by a veterinarian of a health problem and provide the pet dealer with the name and telephone number of the veterinarian and a copy of the veterinarian's report on the animals.

(b) If the purchaser wishes to receive a full refund for the animal, return the animal no later than two business days after receipt of a written statement from a veterinarian indicating the animal is unfit due to 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:

"A STATEMENT OF MINNESOTA LAW GOVERNING THE SALE OF DOGS AND CATS"  The sale of dogs and cats is subject to consumer protection regulations. Minnesota law also provides safeguards to protect pet dealers and animal purchasers. Attached is a copy of Minnesota Statutes, section 325.79. Contained within this law is a statement of your consumer rights."

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:

(1) sells an animal without delivery of the disclosure required in section 325F.791, subdivision 1;

(2) fails to maintain the records required by section 325F.791, subdivision 2;

(3) fails to provide registration papers as provided in section 325.791, subdivision 3;

(4) fails to make or provide payment for the examinations required by section 325F.791, subdivision 4;

(5) fails to post the notice required by section 325F.791, subdivision 9; or

(6) fails to provide the statement of consumer rights required by section 325F.791, subdivision 10,

is subject to a civil fine of up to $1,000 per violation.

(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:

 

 
 

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