Dog and Cat Breeder Bill Gaining Speed at Minn. State Capitol

Updated: 03/10/2014 6:27 PM By: Naomi Pescovitz

A bill regulating dog and cat breeders is gaining speed at the Minnesota State Capitol.

A Senate version of the bill passed the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee Monday afternoon. A House version of the bill passed the House Agriculture Committee last week.

The bill requires breeders with 10 or more adult animals to be licensed. Breeders would also be subject to inspections and violators could face penalties.

"We see the problems with inhumane breeding practices on a daily basis," said Janelle Dixon, President and CEO of the Animal Humane Society.

The Animal Humane Society supports legislation that would regulate Minnesota breeders. Leadership has also testified in favor of the bill at the Minnesota Capitol.

"There are a lot of breeders out there that are doing the right thing, providing great care, and this isn't about ending breeding. It is about ending the breeding of animals specifically and purely for profit without proper care," Dixon said.

Many breeders say the fees and regulations would cause some of them to close. They say the bill would also force up the price of adopting a pet. Others feel the bill is excessive and unnecessary.

"There are already a lot of inspections and laws that are going on, so it's actually redundant," said Valorie LaBeau, a Golden Retriever breeder near Clearwater.

Conversations about the new rules have been going on since a breeding bill was first introduced in 2007.

"Just because folks on both sides of the aisle are sick and tired of seeing it come up, doesn't mean we should pass a bad bill," LaBeau said.

Breeding regulations differ from state to state. South Dakota and North Dakota do not regulate breeders in any way. Breeders in Wisconsin and Iowa require breeder permits.

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, ranked state laws protecting dogs at commercial dog breeding facilities. It gave Virginia the highest marks. The state requires unannounced inspections of commercial dog breeding facilities twice a year. Virginia also prohibits anyone from owning more than 50 breeding dogs.

The Dakotas were among states earning the lowest scores.