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Introduced by Senator Campbell of Windsor District    

Referred to Committee on


Subject:  Professions and occupations; pet merchants; dog breeders

Statement of purpose:  This bill clarifies that a pet dealer is anyone who sells an animal and sets out compliance criteria for dog breeders.


It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 20 V.S.A. § 3681 is amended to read:

§ 3681.  PERMIT

(a)  The owner or keeper of two or more domestic pets or wolf-hybrids four months of age or older kept for sale or for breeding purposes, except for his or her the owner’s own use, shall apply to the municipal clerk of the town or city municipality in which the domestic pets or wolf-hybrids are kept for a kennel permit to be issued on forms prescribed by the commissioner and pay the clerk a fee of $10.00 for the same.  The provisions of subchapters 1, 2, and 4 of this chapter not inconsistent with this subchapter, shall apply to the permit which shall be in addition to other permits required.  A kennel permit shall expire on March 31 next after following issuance, and shall be displayed prominently on the premises on which the domestic pets or wolf-hybrids are kept. If the permit fee is not paid by April 1, the owner or keeper may thereafter procure a permit for that license year by paying a fee of fifty 50 percent in excess of that otherwise required.  Municipal clerks shall maintain a record of the type of animals being kept by the permit holder.

(b)  Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, no kennel permit may be issued or renewed to any person who sells 20 or more litters of domestic dogs or wolf-hybrids in any 12-month period or sells 100 or more domestic dogs or wolf-hybrids in any 12-month period.  This provision shall not apply to

nonprofit animal welfare activities performed by an animal shelter as defined in subdivision 3901(5) of this title.

Sec. 2.  20 V.S.A. § 3901 is amended to read:


As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

(1)  "Adequate feed" means the provision at suitable intervals, not exceeding 24 hours, of a quantity of during each 24-hour period providing, in a clean and sanitary manner, wholesome foodstuff at intervals and in quantities suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal.  All foodstuff shall be served in a clean and sanitary manner.

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(4)  "Animal" means any dog or, cat, rabbit, rodent, nonhuman primate, bird, or other warm-blooded vertebrate but shall does not include horses, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and domestic fowl.

(5)  "Animal shelter" means a facility which that is used to house or contain animals and is owned, operated, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals.

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(7)  "Dealer" means any person who sells, exchanges, or donates, or offers to sell, exchange, or donate animals, but shall not include a person who disposes only of offspring from animals maintained by him only as household pets.

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(10)  "Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity.

“Dog breeder” means any person who breeds one litter of puppies or more per year for sale to consumers for monetary consideration. 

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(15)  "Pet merchant" means a dealer, dog breeder, or any person who operates a pet shop or who acts as a dealer sells an animal.

Sec. 3.  20 V.S.A. § 3904 is added to read:

A dog breeder shall comply with all the following:

(1)  Inoculate each puppy with DHPPC (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and coronavirus) vaccine between seven weeks and eight weeks of age.

(2)  Before eight weeks of age, have each puppy certified by a veterinarian to be fit and healthy, and to have received appropriate inoculations.  The certification shall be made on a form prescribed by the secretary and shall be provided to the recipient at the time of donation or to the consumer at the time of sale.

(3)  Not donate, sell, or separate a puppy from the litter until the puppy is at least eight weeks of age.

(4)  Not sell or donate more than 19 litters or more than 100 dogs in any calendar year.  This subdivision shall not apply to a publicly operated animal shelter facility or a private charitable nonprofit humane society or any animal adoption activity that an animal shelter facility or humane society conducts

off-site at any pet store or other commercial enterprise.

Sec. 4.  20 V.S.A. § 3906 is amended to read:


(a)  No person may transact business as a pet merchant, as defined in this chapter subdivision 3901(15) of this title, unless a license for that purpose has been granted by the secretary to that person.  Application for the license shall be made in the manner provided by the secretary.  The license period shall be April 1 to March 31 and the license fee shall be $150.00 for each license period or part thereof.

Sec. 5.  20 V.S.A. § 3911 is amended to read:
§ 3911.  PENALTIES

(a)  Any person licensed or registered under this chapter, who fails to provide animals under the person's care or custody with adequate food or adequate water, as defined in section 3901 of this title, or who fails to house animals in the person's care or custody in a manner which that is adequate for their welfare, or a dog breeder who fails to comply with section 3904 of this title shall be fined not more than $500.00 for each animal affected.

(b)  Any person who operates a fair, public auction, or who transacts business as a pet merchant, without being duly licensed or without possessing a proper certificate of registration, as the case may be, as required under this chapter, or who violates any provision of this chapter or of any rule lawfully adopted under its authority for which no other penalty is provided, shall be fined not more than $300.00 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

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Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont