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State Pet Shop Laws: California

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Definitions:

  • Animal: any nonhuman vertebrate species housed, offered for sale or adoption in a pet store. Also includes invertebrates housed, sold or adopted as pets. (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122350)
  • Bird: any order of Psittaciformes bird. (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122320)
  • Bird mart: event at which 2 or more persons offer birds for sale or exchange and where a fee is charged for displaying or offering or the birds. (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122320)
  • Pet animals: dogs, cats, monkeys and other primates, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, snakes, iguanas, turtles, and any other species of animal sold or retained for the purpose of being kept as a household pet. (CAL. PENAL CODE § 597l)
  • Pet dealer: person engaging in the business of selling dogs or cats, or both, at retail, and who is required to possess a permit per Cal. Rev. & Tax. Code § 6066. Excludes breeders who transferred fewer than 50 dogs the prior year. (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122125)
  • Pet shop: every place or premises where pet animals are kept for the purpose of either wholesale or retail sale. Excludes any place where pet animals are occasionally sold. (CAL. PENAL CODE § 597l)
  • Pet store: a retail establishment open to the public and selling or offering for sale animals. Excludes those who sell, exchange or otherwise transfer only animals bred and/or raised by them. Excludes those who sell “only animals kept primarily for reproduction.” (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122350)
  • Unweaned bird: any bird that requires hand-feeding or animal assistance to sustain at least 90% of its weight for 2 weeks (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122320)
  • Vendor: any person or entity (including a broker or breeder) who sells birds directly to the retail purchaser at a bird mart or at a swap meet (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122320)

Vet Care:

  • Pet dealers must provide vet care “without delay.” (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122155, 122150)
  • Pet store operators must observe each animal at least once a day for “sickness, injury or abnormal behavior” and ensure that each diseased, ill or injured animal is treated “without delay.” (Penalty: misdemeanor, maximum $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122354, 122357)
  • Pet store operators must have written veterinary treatment and routine care procedures in consultation with a vet and comply with those procedures. (Penalty: fix it citation graduating to misdemeanor for subsequent violations; if unreasonable risk of harm or actual injury, misdemeanor) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122354, 122356)
  • Pet dealers must have a vet examine each dog prior to offering the dog for sale. Each dog must be examined within 5 days after the dealer receives the dog and every 15 days afterwards. Dealers must provide proper vet care to a sick dog without delay. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122210, 122150)
  • If vet determines the dog is unfit to be sold, the dog must be:

    • euthanized by the vet, or
    • treated by the vet, or
    • surrendered to an animal shelter. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122210, 122150)
  • If a dog is returned to the pet dealer for illness or disease, the dealer must provide proper vet care. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122210, 122150)
  • Prohibits dealers from knowingly selling a dog that is diseased, ill, or has a condition which requires hospitalization or surgery. Exception if the illness is included in the signed disclosure statement given to purchaser. (Penalty: max $1,000 fine with increased fine for subsequent) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122205)
  • Pet stores must have and document an on-site visit to the store by a vet at least once a year. (Penalty: misdemeanor, $1,000) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122354, 122357)

Housing:

  • Pet dealers must provide “adequate space appropriate to the age, size, weight, and breed of dog.” Adequate space: “sufficient space for the dog to stand up, sit down, and turn about freely using normal body movements, without the head touching the top of the cage, and to lie in a natural position.”
    (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122155, 122150)
  • Pet shop operators must provide “adequate space appropriate to the size, weight, and species of pet animals.” (Penalty: misdemeanor) (CAL. PENAL CODE § 597l)
  • Pet store operators must provide to all animals “adequate space” and at least one enrichment per cage. A shelf must be supplied if the cage has grid flooring. Cages for cats must also include an “elevated platform.” Bird cages must include perches and allow birds to fully extend wings in all directions while birds are simultaneously perched. (Penalty: misdemeanor, maximum $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122352, 122357)

Lemon Laws:

  • Pet dealers must give purchasers of cats or dogs a written paper recommending early-age spay/neuter of dogs and cats, and vet wellness visits, and emphasizing compliance with cat and dog registration laws. The paper must be given at the time the dog or cat is sold by the dealer.
    (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122137, 122150)
  • Pet dealers must give purchasers of cats or dogs a written paper that states the health history, vaccination history and ownership history of the animal.
    For dogs, additional data are required. The paper must be signed by both the parties. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122140, 122150)
  • Pet dealers must give purchasers of dogs a written paper describing consumer protection statutes. Must be signed by both the parties. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122190, 122150)
  • Pet dealers must post a consumers’ notice sign regarding the source of the dogs and vet treatment administered near the cages of dogs offered for sale. [See the statute for specific language on the sign.] (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122220, 122150)
  • Sellers of pet animals must provide written recommendations to buyers for the animal’s housing, equipment, cleaning, feeding and environment. (CAL. PENAL CODE § 597l)
  • Retail dealers must state on each dog’s cage where the dog was bred/brokered. (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122215)
  • Lemon law that offers recourse to those who purchase sick or diseased animals from pet shops. [See CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122160, 122170, 122175, 122180, 122185 for consumer remedies for the purchase of an ill or diseased animal.]
  • Retail sellers of turtles must post a warning of salmonella and give to each consumer purchasing a turtle a receipt warning of salmonella. (17 CCR § 2612.1)

Food and Water:

  • Pet dealers provide dogs with “adequate nutrition” and “potable water.” (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122155, 122150)
  • Requires pet shop operators to provide “adequate nutrition for all pet animals” in their custody. (Penalty: waiver of penalty for 1st offense on compliance; 2nd & subsequent are infractions with maximum $250 fine) (CAL. PENAL CODE § 597l)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • Pet dealers must provide sanitary housing to dogs. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122155, 122150)
  • Pet shop operators must provide sanitary housing to pet animals. (Penalty: misdemeanor) (CAL. PENAL CODE § 597l)
  • Pet store operators must remove animals when cages are being cleaned in a manner or with a substance that could harm the animals. (Penalty: misdemeanor, maximum $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122353, 122357)
  • Pet store operators must inspect cages for all animals daily and remove animal and food waste. (Penalty: fix it citation graduating to misdemeanor for subsequent violations; if unreasonable risk of harm or actual injury, misdemeanor) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122353, 122356)

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits pet stores from selling or offering for sale dogs or cats under 8 weeks of age. Prohibits pet stores from selling or offering for sale any unweaned animal. Exception: animals intended as food for other animals. (Penalty: misdemeanor, maximum $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122360, 122357)
  • Prohibits pet dealers from possessing a dog less than 8 weeks old. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122155, 122150)
  • Pet shops may not possess unweaned birds unless the pet shop employee is certified in avian care. [See the statute for certification details.] (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122321, 122150)
  • Prohibits the sale of unweaned birds by pet shops or by vendors at bird marts and swap meets. Pet shops and vendors must write the weight of hand-fed birds on the sales receipt. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122321, 122150)
  • Note: For the unweaned bird law, “pet shop” is defined as a retail location primarily engaged in retailing pets, pet foods, and pet supplies. (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE § 122320)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • Retail pet shop license not required.
  • Pet dealer must keep a written record on the health, status, and disposition of each dog and cat for 1 year. Humane officers, animal control officers, and law enforcement can inspect these records. (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122145)
  • Pet dealers must provide dogs with “adequate socialization and exercise.” Socialization: “physical contact with other dogs or with human beings.” (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122155, 122150)
  • Pet dealer must maintain a fire alarm or sprinkler system meeting certain requirements. (Penalty: maximum $1,000 civil penalty) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122155, 122150)
  • Pet shop operators must provide proper heating and ventilation for pet animal facilities. (Penalty: misdemeanor) (CAL. PENAL CODE § 597l)
  • Pet store operators must uniformly distribute light to permit routine inspection, cleaning and proper care of the animals. (Penalty: fix it citation graduating to misdemeanor for subsequent violations; if unreasonable risk of harm or actual injury, misdemeanor) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122351, 122356)
  • Pet shop operators must provide “humane care and treatment” for all pet animals in their care. (Penalty: misdemeanor) (CAL. PENAL CODE § 597l)
  • Pet store operators must be present at least once each day to care for the animals. (Penalty: misdemeanor, $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122354, 122357)
  • Prohibits pet store operators from offering any live animal as a prize or giving away any animal as part of a contest. (Penalty: misdemeanor, $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122359, 122357)
  • Prohibits the sale or import of a turtle less than 4 inches. Retail sellers of turtles must keep records of purchasers of turtles and disposition of all turtles for 1 year. (17 CCR § 2612.1)
  • Pet store operators must ensure that veterinary treatment by or at the direction of a licensed vet is provided to any animal to be euthanized. Exception: animals intended as food for other animals may be destroyed using Appendix 2 AVMA methods if “humane, involve painless loss of consciousness and immediate death.” (Penalty: misdemeanor, $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122354, 122357)
  • Prohibits anyone from using carbon monoxide gas to kill an animal. (Penalty: Misdemeanor) (CAL. PENAL CODE §§ 597u, 597y)
  • Requires anyone killing a newborn dog or cat to use only chloroform vapor or injected barbiturates. (Penalty: misdemeanor) (CAL. PENAL CODE §§ 597v, 597y)
  • Pet store operators must supply adequate training to each employee who performs euthanasia and retain training records for 2 years. (Penalty: misdemeanor, $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122354, 122357)
  • Pet store operators must ensure that each animal is provided for in the event of a disaster or emergency. (Penalty: misdemeanor, $1,000 fine) (CAL. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE §§ 122354, 122357)

Notes:

  1. Where “adequate space” is not defined the state has not established a definition for the term.
  2. The definition of “animal” may actually be broadly written while the types of animals covered by the law (e.g., veterinary care, sanitation, food and water) may be more narrowly drafted.

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