Dog and cat breeding in Minnesota

Minnesota is among the top producers of puppies in the United States, with some of the largest puppy/kitten mills in the nation. Minnesota does not regulate this multi-million dollar industry, resulting in harm and suffering to animals. Sign our petition now.

Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection is one of scores of Minnesota humane societies, animal rescue, and animal welfare organizations pushing for passage of a comprehensive new law that will help alleviate the suffering of dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens in Minnesota’s breeding facilities.

Please read below to learn about the problem, the solution, and most importantly, how you can help get this much-needed legislation passed.

The Problem

What are puppy and kitten mills?

Large breeding operations that breed and house many, many dogs and cats (some upwards of a thousand) are commonly referred to as ‘puppy mills’ or ‘kitten mills’. The purpose of these mills is to mass produce puppies and kittens to sell- via pet stores, the Internet, through ads in the paper, and by selling directly to the public.

So what’s wrong with that?

Breeders who are focused on mass producing puppies and kittens often do not provide proper care for the animals. Dogs, puppies, cats and kittens may be housed in cages stacked one on top of the other, and the cages are frequently overcrowded and filthy.  To increase profit margins, breeders may cut corners by providing minimal veterinary care, poor quality or limited food and water, inadequate ventilation and lighting, and no bedding or protection from the elements.  Many animals become sick, thin, injured, diseased, and develop behavioral issues.  The breeders hire few employees which results in limited or no human contact, exercise or socialization for the animals.

The inhumanity is not just in the breeding conditions alone. It is also in the fact that excessive breeding contributes to the pet overpopulation problem. Millions of homeless dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the US.

Current ‘system’ is not working

The current “system” used in Minnesota to address animal neglect and cruelty is complaint-based – i.e., a person must see the inhumane conditions and report the cruelty or neglect to authorities; law enforcement may then decide to investigate and pursue a case; and a prosecutor may choose to take the case.

Animal anti-cruelty laws kick in after the cruelty occurs – if someone files a complaint and if action is taken.  Regulation is preventative – allowing authorities to legally enter the property and inspect breeding facilities so conditions can be assessed and cruelty can be prevented before it occurs.  Relying solely on reporting, cruelty investigations and prosecution is time-consuming and costly for local law enforcement, animal control, animal welfare organizations and the courts.  Regulation is a more efficient use of resources. Read letter from Minnesota Humane Agent about this problem and the need for regulation.

The problem in Minnesota

Minnesota is home to some of the largest kennels in the nation. Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that several Minnesota puppy/kitten mills house more than 1,000 dogs each. (For in-depth information on puppy and kitten mills in MN, please visit Animal Folks MN.) In the words of Second Chance Animal Rescue- a Minnesota nonprofit animal rescue organization, “Too often, Second Chance receives animals from irresponsible breeders either from law enforcement, breeders, or other nonprofits’ rescue efforts. The animals arrive in varying conditions – so matted they can’t walk, extremely underweight, shy/fearful, never having had human contact, and a variety of other issues…?

“There oughta be a law…?

We couldn’t agree more. Some breeders are regulated by the federal government. Breeding operations that have 4 or more intact breeding females and who sell wholesale (meaning they sell to dealers who sell to pet stores) are required to obtain a license from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and to comply with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). However, breeders who don’t sell to pet stores but who sell their puppies and kittens over the Internet, through ads in the newspaper, or who ‘set up shop’ in parking lots are completely unregulated. They are not required to have a USDA license nor are they required to adhere to the AWA. This is a huge loophole- operations which are not required to be licensed by the USDA can get away with whatever they want with the dogs, cats, puppies and kittens they own, because no one is watching. Minnesota has NO laws that regulate the dog and cat breeding industry.

The Solution

What can a state do?

Approximately 28 states have dealt with the problem of inhumane breeding practices and the loophole in the federal law by passing state laws to regulate breeders- and more states are introducing bills each year.

What is Minnesota doing?

In past few years there has been legislation introduced to regulate the dog and cat breeding industry in Minnesota. To date, none of the bills have been passed into law. Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection is part of a large coalition of humane societies, rescue groups, animal control, veterinarians, and individuals who been working hard for several years to pass legislation to regulate this industry. We will continue efforts until we achieve a new law to protect dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens in breeding facilities in Minnesota.

Will a Puppy and Kitten Mill law really pass in Minnesota?

With your help, yes it will! It is important your state senator and state representative hear from you. They need to hear that you care about the puppy and kitten mill problem in Minnesota, and that you’d like them to support dog and cat breeder regulation.

Sounds good- how can I help?

1. First go to MVAP’s petition page and sign the online petition. We hand-deliver all signed petitions to the State Capitol- you can be sure your petition will be seen by your State Senator and Representative.

2. Collect petition signatures from your friends and family, and we’ll do the rest:

Download the PDF of the puppy and kitten mill petition

  1. Print multiple copies
  2. Encourage your family, friends, and associates to fill out and sign petitions
  3. Mail completed forms to us:
Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection
P.O. Box 14492
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Thanks for your support! Working together we can make life better for thousands of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in Minnesota.


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