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State Pet Shop Laws: Index

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It may seem obvious that companion animals require the regular provision of basic care, including food, water, exercise, social interaction and a safe, comfortable place to rest. However, animals in a variety of commercial settings do not enjoy even these modest "creature comforts." The motive for retailers to drive up profits by cutting costs can be strong. These cost-cutting measures can result in lessened — or a total lack of — care for animals used in commercial settings, and it therefore is unrealistic to rely solely on the good will of the pet shops and their employees to provide humane and adequate care to animals in their custody. This means that the law should step in to mandate that commercial custodians provide essential care to the animals in their custody.

The following states (and the District of Columbia) have laws which regulate the sale of animals in pet shops and/or which protect animals housed and sold in pet shops. The states highlighted in bold are those 27 (and the District of Columbia) which actually mandate standards of care and treatment for the animals in pet shop custody. Click on each state to see a summary of its pet shop laws.

The following states have no laws which regulate the sale of animals in pet shops and do not protect animals housed and sold in pet shops.

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

If your state has not yet passed laws protecting animals in pet shops, or if your existing state laws could use some strengthening,, it's time for you to act. Please contact Born Free USA to see how you can help to get legislation passed in your state.

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