Department Of Agriculture

Significant Regulation

Animal Welfare; Retail Pet Stores and Licensing Exemptions

May 16, 2012 - 77 FR 28799 - RIN: 0579-AD57 - Download Full Notice: Text | PDF

We are proposing to revise the definition of retail pet store and related regulations to bring more pet animals sold at retail under the protection of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Specifically, we would narrow the definition of retail pet store so that it means a place of business or residence that each buyer physically enters in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase, and where only certain animals are sold or offered for sale, at retail, for use as pets. Retail pet stores are not required to be licensed and inspected under the AWA. We are also proposing to increase from three to four the number of breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals that a person may maintain on his or her premises and be exempt from the licensing and inspection requirements if he or she sells only the offspring of those animals born and raised on his or her premises, for pets or exhibition. This exemption would apply regardless of whether those animals are sold at retail or wholesale. This proposed rule is necessary to ensure that animals sold at retail are monitored for their health and humane treatment and to concentrate our regulatory efforts on those facilities that present the greatest risk of noncompliance with the regulations.

Agency Contact: Dr. Gerald Rushin, Veterinary Medical Officer, Animal Care, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 84, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-3740.

This is a proposed regulation. Comments were due on July 16, 2012.


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