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.
- The City Commission of Delray Beach, Fla. passed an ordinance that will effectively shut down Waggs to Riches, the only store inside city limits that sells dogs. The ordinance follows, by approximately 11 months, another measure that mandated sourcing only from rescues and shelters, which lost Waggs to Riches 70 percent of its business. The 2017 ordinance made it all but impossible for Waggs to Riches to work with rescues and shelters.
- On Feb. 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture took the surprising and unannounced step of removing all reports concerning animal welfare from its website. The department cited ongoing lawsuits and a year-long review in a lengthy explanation about its decision. Information will still be available via Freedom of Information Act requests. The Humane Society is threatening a lawsuit against the agency. PIJAC has met with a senior USDA official about this, and is continuing to engage with government and industry leaders.
- New Jersey state Senator Raymond Lesniak is continuing to push for an expansion to the state’s Pet Purchase Protection Act. PIJAC president and CEO Mike Bober wrote in The New Jersey Observer that the new measures will undermine the Act and hurt both pets and pet lovers in New Jersey. Senator Lesniak, who is running for New Jersey Governor, has also said the USDA’s removal of breeder information will lead to another change to the Assembly version of his bill, which would ban the use of all breeders unless their inspections are available on the USDA website—which is an impossibility with the new agency policy. His bill is expected to receive a vote in the state Assembly soon.
What’s Coming Up:
- The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services is considering a regulation that would allow for the sale of turtles with carapaces at least four inches long. The regulation would grant the sales of turtles for the first time in years, and includes a number of regulations for the purposes of public safety and transparency. PIJAC is supporting the legislation because it expands consumer choice.
- New Hampshire legislators are considering creating an animal cruelty registry. The discussion on this measure is still in its early stages. While registries are frequently ineffective, as currently written, this one does not require retailers to check the registry. It does not, therefore, create a security risk for retail employees.
- Miami City Commission is considering a ban on the sales of cats and dogs unless the entity is a rescue, shelter, public agency or a hobby breeder. A hobby breeder is defined as having no more than one litter per year. PIJAC is opposing the bill, which the Commission indicated could eliminate the hobby breeder exemption. The bill is expected to be read and voted upon on March 9.
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.