Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- Starting July 1, 2014, commercial dog and cat breeders in Minnesota will need to get a license.
The law applies to breeders who breed more than 10 animals a year and have five litters.
Requiring dog and cat breeders to obtain a license is not a new concept but, it is new for the state of Minnesota and some say a much needed one.
"Minnesota doesn't have a lot of puppy mills but they actually have some of the largest commercial breeders in the country," said Dr. Mary Wictor, a veterinarian at the Airport Animal Hospital.
Often times when dogs or cats are bread in large quantities the level of care is reduced.
Dr. Wictor says she has seen the result of animals that came from commercial breeders who didn't take proper care of them.
"You see them come in horribly matted where you can't find feet or face, they may not have access to fresh water on a regular basis, their kennels may not be clean," said Wictor.
The law requires breeders to keep records of their animals, keep their facilities maintained and ensure cats and dogs get proper veterinary care.
The Board of Animal Health is leading the program and will work with breeders to help them meet these new requirements.
"We'll be going out, talking to the people who raise these animals, making sure they know what they will be expected to do as far as meeting standards of care and veterinary care and all those issues," said Dr. Paul Anderson from the Board of Animal Health. He is also in charge of the new license program.
Many other states, such as Wisconsin, already have laws similar to this one to ensure cats and dogs are healthy.
The first year of the project will allow the Board of Animal Health to learn more about commercial breeders in the state.
"We have estimated there may be between 400 and 500 people that will qualify for this commercial dog and cat breeder classification, but no one has done this kind of a study in the state before so we really don't know," said Dr. Anderson.
Breeders have from July 1, 2014 to June 30,2015 to get a license. After July 1, 2015 breeders will be required to have a license.
To learn more about the program click here
Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.