Senator offers bills to address pet breeding

PuppiesBy Bob Eschliman


State Sen. Dennis Guth (R-Klemme) – as Bob Barker used to say – is doing his part to control the pet population. Last week, he offered four bills that address the breeding, sale, adoption, and transfer of cats and dogs in Iowa.

The bills appear to target the sale of “puppy mill” pets, either by commercial establishments, or licensed breeders

The first, Senate File 339, provides that a licensed commercial breeder of dogs or cats may opt for an inspection by a licensed veterinarian, instead of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. This option would only be available to those who have not had an inspection violation in the past four years.

Under the bill, the veterinarian must file an inspection report with the department, and the breeder bears the cost of the inspection. IDALS must still conduct an inspection every alternating year.

Guth’s second bill, Senate File 340, provides that any commercial establishment that sells a dog or cat as a pet must furnish the customer with an express 21-day warranty the covers damages caused by the condition of the dog or cat. The warranty provision still applies, even if a written form is not provided, and it may not be waived by either party.

Under the bill, the warranty covers illness, disease, or a congenital or hereditary condition. The express warranty must allow the customer to choose one from several forms of compensation, which must include:

  • refund,
  • exchange, and
  • reimbursement of veterinarian fees.

SF 340 would require the commercial establishment to post a notice briefly explaining the express warranty in a conspicuous place. The bill would not limit the rights or remedies provided to consumers under other law, and it would allow uncompensated customers a right to bring a court action.

The third bill, Senate File 341, would require entities regulated by IDALS, such as animal rescues, animal foster care providers, animal shelters, pet stores, dealers, and pounds, must comply with regulations related to moving out-of-state dogs and cats into Iowa. It also prohibits any of those regulated entities from moving a dog our cat less than 4 months old into Iowa to be sold.

The proposed legislation also requires:

  • a dog or cat be kept in a secure location to determine if it is afflicted with an infectious or contagious disease or parasites prior to moving in this state;
  • a dog has reacted negatively to a brucellosis test;
  • a dog at least four months of age be administered a current rabies vaccination; and
  • a dog or cat be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection.

SF 341’s restrictions do not apply to people who owned or had custody and control of a dog or cat in Iowa prior to its movement out of state, as long as they maintained custody and control during its movement.

Guth’s final pet bill, Senate File 342, requires animal rescues, animal shelters, and pounds to file a monthly receipt and disposition report with IDALS regarding the dogs or cats under their care or oversight. The report must include detailed information regarding the number of dogs and cats that were received, subject to disposition, and found to be suffering from a disease or parasite.

Under the bill, the report must also be posted in a conspicuous location at the rescue/shelter/pound’s primary location of operation, as well as on its website. It would also require the rescue/shelter/pound to produce the same information for any animal foster care it oversees.

SF 342 would require IDALS, at the beginning of each year, to prepare a compilation report for the governor and General Assembly.