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State Pet Shop Laws: New Jersey

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  • Animal or creature: includes the whole brute creation. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:22-15)
  • Pet dealer: any person engaged in the ordinary course of business in the sale of cats or dogs to the public for profit or any person who sells or offers for sale more than 5 cats or dogs in 1 year. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-93)
  • Pet shop: any place of business which is not part of a kennel, wherein animals, including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, rabbits, hamsters or gerbils, are kept or displayed chiefly for the purpose of sale to individuals for personal appreciation and companionship rather than for business or research purposes. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:19-15.1)

Vet Care:

  • Pet shops must have cats and dogs examined by vet prior to offering the animals for sale. The vet must issue a health certificate. Vet exams must occur every 14 days after initial exam. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-95)


  • N/A

Lemon Laws:

  • Pet shops must post a notice informing consumers of state laws governing exotic animals and potentially dangerous native animals. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 23:4-63.3)
  • Pet shops must post a sign on the cage of each cat or dog. The sign must state basic health and breed data. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-95)
  • Pet shops must provide an info sheet to buyers of cats and dogs. The sheet must state consumer remedies and be signed by both parties. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-95)
  • Pet shops must post a sign stating consumers’ rights. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-96)
  • Lemon law that offers recourse to those who purchase sick or diseased animals from pet shops. [See N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-95, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 56:8-96 for consumer remedies for the purchase of an ill or diseased animal.]

Food and Water:

  • Pet shops must supply confined animals with “sufficient” good and wholesome food and water. (Penalty: max $1,000 civil fine) (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:22-19, N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:22-26)
  • Prohibits custodians from unnecessarily failing to provide animals with “proper” food and drink. (Penalty: max $1,000 civil fine) (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:22-26)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • N/A

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits anyone from selling rabbits, turtles, chicks, ducklings and other fowl under 2 months old (as pets). (Penalty: max $500 civil fine) (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:22-26)
  • Prohibits anyone from selling rabbits, turtles, chicks, ducklings, other fowl, or chameleons under 2 months old if they fail to provide “proper” care for the animals. (Penalty: max $500 civil fine) (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:22-26)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License from municipality required for pet shops. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:19-15.8)
  • Pet shops must submit the number of cats and dogs sold (annually submitted to municipality). (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:19-15.8)
  • State department of health maintains a list of all licensed pet shops and kennels. (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:19-15.13)
  • Prohibits pet shops from destroying animals by: hypoxia through decompression; lethal gas other than inhalant anesthetic; or in a manner not accepted by vet profession as reliable, appropriate to species, and causing death rapidly and painlessly. (Penalty: disorderly persons offense) (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:22-19)
  • Prohibits anyone from destroying any domestic animal using: curare; succinylcholine chloride; or any neuromuscular blocking agent. (Penalty: $25-50 fine per animal) (N.J. STAT. ANN. § 4:22-19.3)


  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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