Dear SAOVA Friends,
This afternoon USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) held a stakeholders conference call to announce a forthcoming proposal to revise its definition of “retail pet store”. APHIS states this proposal restores the definition to its original intent so that it limits the retail pet store exemption to only those places where buyers physically enter to observe the animals available for sale prior to purchasing them and where certain animals are sold or offered for sale at retail for use as pets. The definition of pet includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, and coldblooded species.
To meet the exemption requirements for the newly defined retail pet store, buyers must be allowed to physically enter the retail seller’s place of business or residence in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase. In addition, breeders must have four or less breeding females and can only sell the offspring of the breeding females that were born and raised on their premises, and sold for pets or exhibition.
USDA/APHIS issued a press release this afternoon: USDA Proposes to Close Loophole on Retail Pet Sales to Ensure Health and Humane Treatment which can be found at this link: http://tinyurl.com/7b9kbpj
The notice is scheduled for publication within a week in the Federal Register. The proposed rule and an FAQ are currently available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ . Proposed Rule is Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003, Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD, 20737-1238.
Once the rule is published there will be a 60 day comment period. The APHIS Factsheet states: under the proposed rule, no dog or other pet animal will be sold at retail without either public or APHIS oversight.
Obviously this rulemaking proposal will have far reaching impacts on sportsmen, dog, cat, and small animal breeders. SAOVA will distribute further analysis and updates as the rule making process continues.