Most of the states of the Midwest Region regulate breeders. Eight of the ten states currently have breeder laws, five of which were covered in Parts 2 and 4 of this series. Another state has repealed its breeder law. The legislative approach implemented varies from state to state. Several of the states choose to govern more than just breeding. They also oversee shelters, rescues, pet stores, dealers, kennel operators, auctions, and research facilities. However, not all of these states regulate all of these entities. All the states with in-effect state-level breeder licensing also have state-level enforcement. This article discusses Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin state-level breeder laws. 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.
The Show-Me state enacted the Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) in 1992 to regulate more than just cat and dog breeders. Shelters, dealers, and pet shops are also included in the ACFA though we focus on breeders' provisions. The law distinguishes between commercial breeders and hobby or show breeders. Commercial breeder means any person, other than a hobby or show breeder, engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale or for exchange in return for a consideration, and who harbors more than three intact females for the primary purpose of breeding animals for sale. In contrast, a hobby or show breeder is a non-commercial breeder who breeds dogs or cats with the primary purpose of exhibiting or showing dogs or cats, improving the breed or selling the dogs or cats, and having no more than ten intact females. Such breeder shall be classified as a hobby or show breeder if such person only sells animals to other breeders or to individuals. An intact female cat is a female cat between the ages of six months and eight years which is capable of being bred. For an intact female dog, the age range is six months to ten years.
Hobby or show breeders are exempt from licensing but must register annually with the state at no charge. Although not required to be licensed, such breeders may choose to apply for an annual commercial breeder license. The yearly facilities license fee ranges from $100 to $2500 per year. There is an annual $25 used to administer the Operation Bark Alert program in addition to the license fee. Established in 2009, Operation Bark Alert provides the public with an online reporting system to tip the state off about facilities possibly operating without a license. According to the state website, each tip from the public results in a visit from an animal care inspector to validate (or invalidate) the report.
The Director of the Department of Agriculture is responsible for enforcing the ACFA and promulgating rules for health and veterinary care required of licensees. It is also responsible for having the state veterinarian or his designee conduct inspections of licensed facilities or applicants. Inspections will be held annually or upon complaint. Under the ACFA, state licensees who are also USDA licensees must meet or exceed the USDA standards and requirements. Otherwise, state licensees are subject to state law and regulations that set forth care and facility standards. Cat breeders who are also dog breeders should be aware that the ACFA also contains the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act's additional requirements.
The ACFA also establishes an advisory committee to assist the director in establishing rules and provide an ongoing review of the law's administration. This 13 member committee includes one hobby or show breeder, one person representing professional cat breeders, and a commercial breeder who breeds both dogs and cats.
More information can be found at https:// agriculture.mo.gov/animals/ACFA/
The Nebraska Commercial Dog and Cat Operator Inspection Act, like Missouri and Illinois, covers a range of operators, including animal control facilities, animal rescues, animal shelters, boarding kennels, dealers, pet shops, and commercial cat and dog breeders. Although there are separate definitions for commercial cat and dog breeders, they read the same but for the animal covered. Substitute dog for cat in the commercial cat breeder definition for the commercial dog breeder definition. A commercial cat breeder is defined in §54626 as:
a person engaged in the business of breeding cats:
(a) Who sells, exchanges, leases, or in any way transfers or offers to sell, exchange, lease, or transfer thirty-one or more cats in a twelve-month period beginning on April 1 of each year;
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