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State Pet Shop Laws: Massachusetts

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Definitions:

  • Animal [indirectly defined below].
  • Kennel: one pack or collection of dogs on a single premises, whether maintained for breeding, boarding, sale, training, hunting or other purposes and including any shop where dogs are on sale. Also includes those having 3 or more adult dogs regardless of reason for owning them. (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 140, § 136A)
  • Pet shop: every place or premise where birds, mammals or reptiles are kept for the purpose of sale at either wholesale or retail, import, export, barter, exchange or gift (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 129, § 1)

Vet Care:

  • Pet shops are prohibited from selling or giving away dogs or cats for which they do not have a health certificate issued within 7 days of transfer. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.05)
  • Cats and dogs purchased by pet shops must have a health certificate with them. Exception for licensed pet shops. (Penalty: $50-$100 fine and/or license revocation) (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 140, § 138A, MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 140, § 141B)
  • Ferrets must be inoculated before sale by pet shop. Prohibits possession of ferrets unless spayed or neutered. (Penalty: seizure of animal) (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 131, § 77, MASS. REG. CODE tit. 321, § 2.07)

Housing:

  • Cages must allow animals to make normal postural adjustments without obstruction. Birds must be able to move about and individually spread their wings simultaneously perch in a normal position. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.03)
  • Pet shops must maintain aquatic and semi-aquatic animals in a habitat that contains both aquatic and terrestrial features. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.04)

Lemon Laws:

  • Pet shops must provide a health record to purchasers of animals. Also must provide a signed notice of 14-day warranty. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.09)
  • Lemon law that offers recourse to those who purchase sick or diseased animals from pet shops. [See MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.05 for consumer remedies for the purchase of an ill or diseased animal.]

Food and Water:

  • Pet shops must provide sufficient fresh food daily consistent with diet requirements and age. Also must make fresh, clean water available to each animal at all times. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.04)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • Pet shops must clean and disinfect cages daily. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.03)

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits pet shops from selling, offering for sale, or acquiring any cat or dog less than 8 weeks old. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.05)
  • Prohibits pet shops from importing any kitten or puppy less than 8 weeks old. Exception for licensed pet shops. (Penalty: $50-$100 fine and/or license revocation) (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 140, § 138A, MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 140, § 141B)
  • Prohibits anyone from selling baby chickens, ducks or other fowl under 2 months of age. Exception for sales to commercial entities. (Penalty: max $100 fine) (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 272, § 80D)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License required for pet shops and kennels. (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 129, § 39A, MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 140, § 137A, MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 140, § 137D)
  • Pet shops must keep records of each sale of a dog, cat or psittacine bird for 1 year after transfer. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.09)
  • Pet shops must allow inspection “during reasonable hours” of records and premises by Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals agents, Agriculture Department, and Animal Rescue League of Boston. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.08)
  • Gives inspection and enforcement authority to MSPCA agents and Animal Rescue League of Boston agents for pet shops where animals, birds, fish or reptiles are sold. (Penalty for obstruction: max 2 months’ confinement and/or max $100 fine) (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 129, § 9)
  • Kennel premises and records can be inspected at any time by law enforcement or dog officer. (Penalty: license revocation) (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 140, § 137C)
  • Pet shops must supply artificial illumination to the animals but prevent “excessive or stressful illumination” of cages. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.03)
  • Temperature must be “appropriate” for the species, health and age of the animal. (MASS. REG. CODE tit. 330, § 12.03)
  • Prohibits anyone from killing animals in a decompression chamber. (Penalty: min. $100 fine) (MASS. GEN. LAWS ANN. ch. 272, § 80E)

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.

Also see:

Legislation
Legislation
Legislation