Animal Humane Society's primary policy priority is the Dog and Cat Data Transparency Bill — a bill that makes important information available to pet purchasers and adopters.
About the Dog and Cat Data Transparency Bill
The Dog and Cat Data Transparency Bill will be introduced in the 2024 regular state legislative session. This bill:
- Provides consumers important information on commercial dog and cat breeders currently classified by the state as secret information, including animal population size and inspection reports.
- Allows easy access to commercial breeder and nonprofit shelter inspection data by posting inspection records online.
- Applies only to state-licensed commercial dog and cat breeders (defined by state law as breeders with a minimum of ten or more intact adults that also produce more than five litters a year), state-licensed dog and cat dealers, and state-licensed nonprofit dog and cat shelters.
Why should the public have access to this information?
There are over 100 commercial dog and cat breeders in Minnesota yet consumers have access to virtually no information about these breeders due to current Minnesota law. A special exemption for dog and cat breeders added to the state’s data practices act makes almost all information about these businesses secret. This secrecy deprives consumers of critical information about the conditions in which their cat or dog was raised.
Summary data from the Board of Animal Health indicates that state inspectors issued 47 violations to commercial dog and cat breeders in the last 5 years. But Minnesota consumers have no access to data about which breeders were found to have violations, the nature of those violations, or how they were addressed.
What’s more, many large breeders advertise their business as “small and home based” yet the public’s ability to verify these claims is severely limited. Without access to verifiable information, consumers risk investing hundreds to thousands of dollars in an animal bred in unknown conditions.
In contrast, not-for-profit animal shelters are held to higher data transparency standards than for-profit commercial breeders. The state licenses and inspects both commercial cat and dog breeders and nonprofit shelters. Yet information on nonprofit shelters is public while the same information on commercial breeders is secret. This double standard needs to end. The public should also have easy access to inspection information on both breeders and shelters.
The Dog and Cat Data Transparency Bill will:
- Create the same level of transparency for commercial breeders that is currently required for non-profit shelters.
- Protect consumers by allowing easy access to information on breeder and shelter size, animal health, and facility conditions — information the state already collects.
- Increase trust in the Board of Animal Health’s oversight of commercial breeders and nonprofit shelters by providing public access to inspection information.
Become an animal advocate
You can support legislative efforts to make Minnesota a more humane state by signing up to receive advocacy alerts. You'll receive periodic updates that keep you informed about issues impacting dogs, cats, and critters and explain how you can help animals through advocacy.