State Breeder Laws Every Resident Fancier Should Know!
Cat Talk|October 2020
CFA State Breeder Law Series, Part 4 – U.S. States of Region 6: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota
Kelly Crouch, Legislative Information Liaison Sharon A. Coleman, Legislative Legal Analyst

The Midwest Region has ten U.S. states, eight of which currently have state breeder laws and one that has repealed its law relating to “commercial breeders”. Due to the large number of states with such laws, the Region will be divided into two parts with four states each. The ninth state, Kansas, was included in Part 2 of this series with the Gulf Shore Region. This article discusses Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Indiana. Part 5 will discuss Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin state-level breeder laws. The thresholds for licensing vary widely among the states included in this article, but all four follow the state licensing with state administration format seen previously. Except for Indiana, all require licensing of cat breeders meeting the thresholds.

Readers should note that this article is not a legal review; instead, it provides a starting place for breeders to begin their analysis and determine if and how the law applies to them.

Illinois

The Illinois Animal Welfare Act (225 ILCS 605) was enacted in 1965 and amended numerous times since. Cat and dog breeders are among the groups subject to state licensing under the Act. So are pet shops, dog dealers, kennel operators, animal control facilities, and animal shelters. In the Act, a cat breeder is defined as “a person who sells, offers to sell, exchanges, or offers for adoption with or without charge cats that he or she has produced and raised. A person who owns has possession of, or harbors 5 or less females capable of reproduction shall not be considered a cat breeder.” Substitute dog for cat in the quoted section to get the definition of a dog breeder. Occasionally, a cat breeder will also breed dogs or be involved with another licensed activity. The Act requires anyone running multiple types of licensed operations to have a separate license for each operation. As of this writing, the initial annual license fee is $350, and yearly renewals, costing $100, are due by June 30 of each year. Late renewals are $400.

The Department of Agriculture (“Department”) is responsible for enforcing state law. The Department Director is authorized by statute to develop regulations for the Act. Licensed breeders are responsible for several items under the Act and accompanying regulations. Here are a few of them. Licensed breeders must maintain sanitary conditions and provide proper ventilation. They must take reasonable care that animals placed are free of disease, injuries, and abnormalities. They are mandated to provide humane care and treatment of all animals in their jurisdiction and comply with the Humane Care of Animals Act. Licensees must prominently display their licenses at each place of business. All licensees shall also maintain records of the origin and sale of dogs, but not cats. However, every cat and dog breeder must maintain information for every cat and dog available for sale, as specified by 225 ILCS 605/3.1.

Although licensees are subject to inspection, such inspections may only be conducted by the Department. In addition to inspections and otherwise enforcing the Act, the Department is required to “prepare and publicly announce” a report of summary information relating to license applications of the previous year.

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