The Legislators of the 10th District, Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin have introduced the “Healthy Puppies and Kittens Assurance Act” which establishes requirements and places strict regulations on pet stores who sell animals from puppy and kitten mill breeders.
“By requiring registration of breeders, providing purchasers with information about their future pet and imposing heavy penalties on violators, individuals and pet shops will be encouraged to purchase their cat or dog from a reputable breeder,” said Senator Holzapfel. “This would eliminate the market for selling cats or dogs from puppy mills with poor and unhealthy conditions.”
The bill S-1840/A-2746 establishes a state registry of breeders and pet dealers who will be required to provide information on the health and breeding history of the cat or dog being sold, including the creation of a health certificate to be updated annually and to remain with the animal through out its life. This pertains to both in-state and out-of-state breeders and pet dealers.
This bill also prohibits certain breeding practices and limits the selling of cats or dogs as pets to 25 animals per year per breeder. Breeders selling cats or dogs as pets in the State must annually register with the Department of Health which will be published as public record. During registration, breeders would be required to sign a document attesting to the breeder’s compliance with federal and State law concerning the proper breeding, care and treatment of animals.
When applying for registration and licensing, strict regulations will be imposed on breeders and dog dealers to ensure that pets will be properly bred and cared for. Licenses and registration will be revoked or denied to dog dealers and breeders who have been found guilty of animal cruelty or are in violation on any other laws concerning the breeding or treatment of animals.
A certificate of health prepared by a veterinarian will be required for all pets transported into this State for sale by a dog dealer, kennel or pet shop. This certificate will include the pet’s age, health, origin, and the date and information about the pet’s rabies vaccination.
“By limiting the number of dogs and cats the breeders sell to pet dealers we can stop these puppy mills and puppy stores from selling unhealthy animals,” added Assemblyman Wolfe. “All pet shops and kennels should have proper fire equipment, sufficient heating and cooling ventilation and establish an exercise plan for dogs. These regulations will ensure that all pet shops will meet the State requirements and will not be in violation of animal cruelty penalties.”
The bill also establishes The Canine and Cat Health Board which would be composed seven members all appointed by the Governor for four terms. These members are the State Veterinarian, the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, the Director of the Division of consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety, the President of the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association and three members of the public who are members of a recognized organization that advocates for and participates in the care and welfare of dogs and cats or are licensed as a kennel, dog, dealer, pet dealer or pet shop in this State.
“We have seen a recent increase in pet stores selling animals that were either in unsanitary living conditions or extremely ill and we have introduced this legislation to ensure that our constituents are informed. Pets become apart of a person’s family and it’s tragic to see a family loose an animal due to the breeder or the pet store owners negligence,” concluded Assemblyman McGuckin.