PIJAC Tracks Recent Pet Legislation
Now more than ever, being in the know about local and state legislation is essential for pet specialty retailers and others in the pet industry. However, understanding what is going around the country can also be beneficial.
In an effort to keep the industry abreast of recent and upcoming changes in legislation and regulations, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council—an organization that represents and advocates for the responsible pet industry, including but not limited to pet specialty retailers, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors and pet hobbyists—offers Pet Product News readers an update on current affairs.
In a major victory for the responsible pet trade, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed Senate Bill 3041 on May 1. This bill would have shut down ethical cat and dog retailers, as it implemented a “three strikes” rule for paperwork errors unrelated to animal welfare. PIJAC is grateful to Governor Christie for vetoing the most harmful portions of the bill, such as the “three strikes” rule and a breeder disclosure requirement that may be illegal and could have opened up the state to lawsuits.
Most importantly, S3041 was completely unnecessary. The New Jersey Pet Purchase Protection Act is the most stringent set of pet and consumer protection laws in the country, and has been fully implemented and supported by New Jersey’s ethical partners in pet care.
See more about S3041 in this op-ed from the state’s retailer alliance, and this one from PIJAC president Mike Bober. PIJAC is continuing to take action on this bill, as sponsor Senator Raymond Lesniak has promised to push for a veto override vote on May 25.
The New York Assembly Insurance Committee passed Assembly Bill 4225 on April 26. The bill would prohibit breed-specific pet-related insurance policies. PIJAC is supporting this bill to protect pet choice and prevent discriminatory insurance policies from being implemented.
There’s been a lot of action in several states related to herps. The PIJAC Herp Subcommittee provided feedback to staff regarding their concerns on Maine LD 1451, which restricts the importation of a host of invertebrates, fish and plants. PIJAC also reached out to the Subcommittee and turtle farmers in Louisiana on Louisiana House Bill 593, which updates licensing and other regulations on turtle farming in the state.
The Borough Council of Waynesboro, Pa., considered a ban on snake ownership, and a limit of four pets for residents. The matter was discussed by the Council on April 19, and it appears that the Council dropped the pet limit measure. The ban is still under consideration.
What’s Coming Up
Hawaii Senate Bill 1240 is something we’ve discussed regularly in on our blog at Pet Product News—it effectively bans commercial aquarium fishing under the auspices of a “moratorium” on the issuance of fishing licenses. PIJAC has been working closely with Hawaii’s fishing industry against the bill. It recently passed both chambers, and was conferenced on April 27 because of differences between the state Senate and the state House. The final bill passed the legislature on May 2 and now goes to Governor David Ige.
The current bill implements the ban immediately upon the governor’s signature, and will only allow the grandfathered transfer of fishing permits for five years.
Hillsborough County, Fla., is expected to hold a public hearing on a proposed pet sale ban on May 3. There are an estimated four retailers selling dogs in the county, and six stores selling cats. The ban is similar to those passed in Palm Beach County, Delray Beach and other jurisdictions in Florida.
Robert Likins is the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) vice president of government affairs. Since 1970, PIJAC has protected pets, pet owners and the pet industry—promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, fostering environmental stewardship, and ensuring the availability of pets. PIJAC members include retailers, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, manufacturers’ representatives, pet hobbyists, and other trade organizations.