Wednesday, September 11, 2013

APHIS Retail Pet Store Final Rule to be Published

The finalized USDA APHIS rule redefining retail pet stores has been released and will be officially published later this week, going into effect 60 days after publication. This is a federal rule that will affect the entire USA.

A few highlights:

Food, fiber and breeding stock sales, and the sale of certain types of working dogs, are exempt if the animals are not being sold/marketed/raised for the purpose of being pets.

The rule change will affect breeders, rescues and others who sell animals as pets in situations where the seller does not personally meet the buyer face to face when selling or delivering the animal, whether the internet is involved or not.

Other situations, such as selling to laboratories, at wholesale or for exhibition will still be covered as before under AWA/APHIS regulations.

The exemption on number of breeding females for cats, dogs, small exotics, and wild animals has been raised from 3 to 4, and APHIS has clarified that this is calculated as a per-household number of animals capable of breeding, not per species (in other words, one dog, one cat, and one hedgehog, and one spiny mouse female capable of breeding would meet the threshold, even if they were not all actually being used for breeding). This exemption only applies if all the cats, dogs, small exotics or wild animals being sold were born and raised by the seller on their premises.

The $500 threshold for other types of animals remains the same, but APHIS is removing the "limits on the source of gross income" to include retail sales under that umbrella. The under-$500 exemption applies to "any person who does not sell or negotiate the purchase or sale of any wild or exotic animal, dog, or cat and who derives no more than $500 gross income from the sale of the animals other than wild or exotic animals, dogs, or cats during any calendar year.”

APHIS clarified that shelters, rescues and other nonprofits are subject to the same standards as breeders in determining whether they need to be licensed; adoption fees and donations are considered the same as sales for their purposes.

The requirements for facilities, paperwork, etc. in order for a seller to be licensed remain the same. Nothing has been changed in that respect to make it possible for small breeders, foster homes, etc. to be USDA licensed and raise animals in a typical home/family type setting. The AWA rules still require that licensed facilities must keep animals only in a sterile commercial/laboratory-type setting with staff present at all times during business hours, and other elements discussed in our previous post about what USDA licensing entails:

Some relevant links:

USDA/APHIS News Release:

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has revised the definition of “retail pet store” under the Animal Welfare Act to restore an important check and balance that helps ensure the health and humane treatment of pet animals sold sight unseen."

FAQs on the Retail Pet Store Final Rule:

PDF of the Final Rule:

Recording of the APHIS-Retail Pet Rule Conference Call 9/10/13, courtesy of The Cavalry Group:


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