AN ACT RELATING TO THE WELFARE OF ANIMALS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. STUDY COMMITTEE OF THE PET MERCHANT INDUSTRY
(a) A committee is established to study the sale, exchange, and donation of animals by merchants in the state of Vermont under chapters 194 and 199 of Title 20. The committee shall determine the best approach to long-term regulation of the sale, exchange, and donation of animals by pet merchants in the state of Vermont. The committee shall study:
(1) Administration of the licensing or registration of pet merchants, including whether Vermont should follow the regulatory framework utilized in New Hampshire or other states;
(2) Enforcement of any licensing or registration of pet merchants and any prohibition on the unlicensed sale, exchange, or donation of animals, including whether to require proof of licensing prior to advertising the sale, exchange, or donation of animals;
(3) Funding available for the enforcement of pet merchant licensing or registration requirements; and
(4) Delegation of some or all enforcement duties to humane societies, sheriff’s departments, or other local or municipal entities.
(b) The committee shall consist of the following members:
(1) The secretary of agriculture, food and markets or his or her designee;
(2) A member of the senate to be appointed by the committee on committees;
(3) A member of the house of representatives to be appointed by the speaker of the house;
(4) The commissioner of taxes or his or her designee;
(5) A member of the Vermont humane federation appointed by the federation;
(6) A member of the Vermont sheriffs’ association appointed by the association;
(7) A veterinarian from the Vermont veterinary medical association appointed by the association;
(8) A member of the Vermont cruelty task force appointed by the task force;
(9) A member of the Vermont animal control association to be appointed by the association;
(10) A representative of the Vermont federation of dog clubs to be appointed by the federation; and
(11) A registered pet merchant appointed by the secretary of agriculture, food and markets.
(c) The committee shall be co-chaired by the member of the senate and the member of the house of representatives appointed to the committee. The legislative council shall provide professional and administrative support for the committee. The committee may hold public hearings and shall solicit comment or testimony from interested parties, including:
(1) The commissioner of fish and wildlife or his or her designee;
(2) The secretary of state or his or her designee;
(3) The Vermont League of Cities and Towns;
(4) The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs;
(5) The American Kennel Club;
(6) Rabbit breeder associations;
(7) Animal rescue organizations in Vermont; and
(8) Pet breeders working from their homes.
(d) All members of the committee shall serve for the duration of the study unless circumstances dictate a permanent replacement. Vacancies shall be appointed in the same manner as original appointments.
(e) The committee shall report its recommendations in the form of proposed legislation by January 15, 2006 to the house committees on agriculture, judiciary, and government operations; and the senate committees on agriculture, economic development, housing and general affairs, judiciary, and government operations. The report shall include recommendations by the committee for the regulation of the pet merchant industry in Vermont.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street