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State Pet Shop Laws: Iowa

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  • Vertebrate animal: those vertebrate animals other than livestock. (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.2)
  • Commercial breeder: a person, engaged in the business of breeding dogs or cats, who sells, exchanges, or leases dogs or cats in return for consideration, or who offers to do so, whether or not the animals are raised, trained, groomed, or boarded by the person. Excludes those having fewer than 3 breeding males/females. (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.2)
  • Dealer: any person who is engaged in the business of buying for resale or selling or exchanging dogs or cats, or both, as a principal agent, or who claims to be so engaged. (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.2)
  • Pet shop: an establishment where a dog, cat, rabbit, rodent, nonhuman primate, fish other than live bait, bird, or other vertebrate animal (except livestock) is bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale. Excludes shops that sell animals totaling less than $500 annually or that sell fewer than 6 animals annually. (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.2)

Vet Care:

  • N/A


  • Pet shops, commercial breeders and dealers must “adequately” house vertebrate animals (excludes livestock) in their custody. (Penalty: simple misdemeanor, seizure of animals and license revocation) (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.13)

Lemon Laws:

  • Dealers are prohibited from knowingly shipping “diseased” animals. (Penalty: max $100 fine per animal) (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.13)

Food and Water:

  • Pet shops, commercial breeders and dealers must “adequately” feed and water vertebrate animals (excludes livestock). “Adequate feed” is the provision at suitable intervals of no more than 24 hours of a quantity of wholesome food suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal. The food must be served in a clean receptacle, dish or container. “Adequate water” is reasonable access to a supply of clean, fresh, potable water provided in a sanitary manner or provided at intervals not to exceed 24 hours. (Penalty: simple misdemeanor, seizure of animals and license revocation) (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.13, IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.2)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • N/A

Unweaned Animals:

  • N/A

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License required for dealers, commercial breeders and pet shops. (Penalty: simple misdemeanor) (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.5, IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.7, IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.8, IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.13)
  • Pet shop, commercial breeder and dealer premises can be inspected during normal business hours. (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.12)
  • Pet shops may destroy dogs, cats and other vertebrates using a “humane method.” Method must comply with chapter 162, chapter 169, or with agriculture dept rules. (IOWA CODE ANN. § 162.13)


  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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