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Vermont: Ask Governor to Support H. 50

(Thursday, May 02, 2013)

The AKC Government Relations Department has learned that Vermont House bill 50, a bill dealing with several aspects of animal ownership in the state, passed the Vermont Senate this morning. The bill will soon head to Governor Peter Shumlin’s desk for his approval. Vermont residents are encouraged to begin contacting Governor Shumlin and respectfully request that he sign H 50 into law.

Today’s passage of H 50 marks the culmination of a multi-year effort by the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs and other groups at making some needed improvements to Vermont’s animal laws. H 50 includes the following changes to improve current Vermont law:

  • New licensing laws for those designated as pet dealers. This increases the threshold for licensure. Current law requires anyone who keeps two or more domestic pets that are four months of age or older for sale or breeding purposes, except for their own use, to apply for a kennel permit. H 50 requires only those considered “pet dealers” under the new law to be licensed. This also changes the focus of licensing from possession of dogs to the sale of litters.
  • Definition of “pet dealer” to mean any person who sells or exchanges or who offers to sell or exchange cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids, or any combination therefore, from three or more litters of cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids in any 12-month period.
  • Clarification that a pet dealer’s premises may be inspected when a permit is issued or any time the permit is in effect. Inspections are required to be scheduled in advance with the pet dealer, and pet dealers shall accompany inspectors during inspections. If a pet dealer’s premises are also used as their home, inspections may only occur in those areas used for animal housing, animal care, birthing, and storage of food and bedding. No photos or videos of the premises may be taken without the written consent of the pet dealer permit holder.
  • Updated consumer protection provisions. Specifically, if a licensed veterinarian of the purchaser’s choosing certifies that a dog was unfit for purchase within seven days following the sale by a pet dealer due to illness or the presence of signs of contagious or infectious disease or within one year due to the existence of congenital malformation or hereditary disease, the purchaser is allowed one of several options. They may return the dog for a full refund, exchange the dog for one of equivalent value and receive a refund for reasonable veterinary costs for the veterinarian’s certification, or retain the dog and receive a refund of the reasonable veterinary expenses not to exceed the purchase price of the dog. Pet dealers are permitted to challenge the purchaser’s findings by requiring the consumer to produce the dog for exam by a licensed veterinarian of the pet dealer’s choosing. Purchasers are permitted to initiate court proceedings in cases where they are unable to reach an agreement with a pet dealer under these provisions.

The American Kennel Club commends the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs in its tireless efforts to ensure that Vermont’s animal laws remain fair for responsible dog breeders and pet owners alike.

ACT NOW! Vermont residents are encouraged to contact Governor Peter Shumlin by going to http://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/opinion and respectfully urging him to sign H 50 into law.

For more information, contact Deb Brown with the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs at (802) 372-4234 or email nllabs@together.net; or AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or email doglaw@akc.org.