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Searching 2017-2018 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 20: Internal Security and Public Safety

Chapter 194: WELFARE OF ANIMALS; SALE OF ANIMALS

  • Subchapter 001: GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • § 3901. Definitions

    As used in this chapter:

    (1) "Adequate feed" means the provision at suitable intervals, not exceeding 24 hours, of a quantity of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the species and age, sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal. All foodstuff shall be served in a clean and sanitary manner.

    (2) "Adequate water" means a constant access to a supply of clean, fresh, potable water provided in a sanitary manner or provided at suitable intervals for the species and not to exceed 24 hours at any interval.

    (3) "Ambient temperature" means the temperature surrounding the animal.

    (4) [Repealed.]

    (5) "Animal shelter" means a facility which is used to house or contain animals and is owned, operated, or maintained by a duly incorporated humane society, animal welfare society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or other nonprofit organization devoted to the welfare, protection, and humane treatment of animals.

    (6) "Secretary" means the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

    (7) "Pet dealer" means any person who sells or exchanges or who offers to sell or exchange cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids, or any combination thereof, from three or more litters of cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids in any 12-month period. This definition shall not apply to pet shops, animal shelters, or rescue organizations as those terms are defined in this section.

    (8) "Euthanize" means to humanely destroy an animal by a method producing instantaneous unconsciousness and immediate death or by anesthesia produced by an agent which causes painless loss of consciousness and death during the loss of consciousness. "Euthanasia" means the humane destruction of animals in accordance with this subdivision.

    (9) "Housing facility" means any room, building, or area used to contain a primary enclosure or enclosures.

    (10) "Person" means any individual, partnership, firm, joint stock company, corporation, association, trust, estate, or other legal entity.

    (11) "Pet shop" means a place of retail or wholesale business, including a flea market, that is not part of a private dwelling, where cats, dogs, wolf-hybrids, rabbits, rodents, birds, fish, reptiles, or other vertebrates are maintained or displayed for the purpose of sale or exchange to the general public.

    (12) "Primary enclosure" means any structure used to immediately restrict an animal or animals, excluding household pets, to a limited amount of space, such as a room, pen, cage, compartment, or hutch.

    (13) "Public auction" means any place or establishment where dogs or cats are sold at auction to the highest bidder whether individually, as a group, or by weight.

    (14) "Fair" means any public or privately operated facility where animals are confined for the purpose of display or sale, or both, or for viewing.

    (15) "Consumer" means an individual who purchases or receives an animal from any person permitted, licensed, or registered under this chapter. A permit holder, licensee, or registrant under this chapter is not a consumer.

    (16) "Rescue organization" means any organization that accepts more than five animals in a calendar year for the purpose of finding adoptive homes for the animals. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 1993, No. 51 § 1; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2009, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; 2013, No. 30, § 6; 2015, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 53.)

  • § 3901a. Scope

    This chapter shall not apply to horses or livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and domestic fowl. (Added 2013, No. 30, § 6.)


  • Subchapter 002: ANIMAL WELFARE
  • § 3902. Registration of fairs

    No person may operate a fair as defined under section 3901 of this title unless a certificate of registration for the fair has been granted by the Secretary. Application for the certificate shall be made in a manner provided by the Secretary. No fee shall be required for the certificate. Certificates of registration shall be valid for a period of one year or until revoked and may be removed for like periods upon application in the manner provided. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3903. Animal shelters and rescue organizations

    (a) [Repealed.]

    (b) An animal shelter or rescue organization under this chapter shall not accept an animal unless the person transferring the animal to the shelter provides the following information: the name and address of the person transferring the animal and, if known, the name of the animal, its vaccination history, and other information concerning the background, temperament, and health of the animal.

    (c) A rescue organization under this chapter shall be recognized and approved as a nonprofit organization under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3). (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 1997, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2009, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 2013, No. 30, § 6; 2015, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 28.)

  • § 3904. Repealed. 1993, No. 51, § 5.

  • § 3905. Public auctions

    No person may operate a public auction as defined in this chapter after the expiration of six months following the effective date of this chapter unless a license to operate the auction has been granted by the Secretary. The license period shall be April 1 to March 31 and the license fee shall be $10.00 for each license period or part thereof. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 1975, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3906. Licensing of pet shops

    (a) No person may transact business as a pet shop, as defined in this chapter, unless a license for that purpose has been granted by the Secretary to that person. Application for the license shall be made in the manner provided by the Secretary. The license period shall be April 1 to March 31 and the license fee shall be $175.00 for each license period or part thereof.

    (b) [Repealed.]  (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 1975, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), § 22; 1989, No. 257 (Adj. Sess.), § 21; 1993, No. 51, § 2; 2001, No. 143 (Adj. Sess.), § 44; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2003, No. 66, §§ 102a, 102d; 2013, No. 30, § 6; 2015, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), § 29.)

  • § 3907. Denial or revocation of registration or license

    Issuance of a certificate of registration may be denied to any animal shelter, rescue organization, or fair or a license may be denied to any public auction or pet shop or any certificate or license previously granted under this chapter may be revoked by the Secretary if, after public hearing, it is determined that the housing facilities or primary enclosures are inadequate for the purposes of this chapter or if the feeding, watering, sanitizing, and housing practices of the animal shelter, rescue organization, fair, public auction, or pet shop, as the case may be, are not consistent with this chapter or with rules adopted under this chapter. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 1993, No. 51, § 3; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2009, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 12; 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3908. Adoption of regulations

    The Secretary may as he or she deems necessary adopt, amend, revise, and repeal rules consistent with this chapter for the purpose of carrying out its purposes. The rules may include provisions relating to humane transportation to and from registered or licensed premises, records of purchase and sale, identification of animals, primary enclosures, housing facilities, sanitation, euthanasia, ambient temperatures, feeding, watering, and adequate veterinary medical care, with respect to animals kept or cared for at premises licensed or registered under this chapter. The Secretary may at his or her discretion adopt in whole or in part those portions of the rules of the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets under Public Law 89-544, commonly known as the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act, which are consistent with the purposes of this chapter. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2009, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3909. Sale of animals by humane society

    The board of directors of an incorporated humane society shall determine the method of disposition of animals released by it. Any proceeds derived from the sale of animals by the society shall be paid to the clerk or treasurer of the humane society, and no part of the proceeds shall accrue to any individual. Proceeds from the sale of animals by any person authorized by a municipality to dispose of such animals shall revert to the treasury of the municipality. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3910. Exceptions

    This chapter shall not apply to any place or establishment operated as an animal hospital under the supervision of a duly licensed veterinarian in connection with the treatment, alleviation, or prevention of diseases. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3911. Penalties

    (a) Any person licensed or registered under this chapter who fails to provide animals under the person's care or custody with adequate food or adequate water, as defined in section 3901 of this title, or who fails to house animals in the person's care or custody in a manner which is adequate for their welfare shall be fined not more than $500.00.

    (b) Any person who operates a fair or public auction or who transacts business as a pet shop, animal shelter, or rescue organization without being duly licensed or without possessing a proper certificate of registration, as the case may be, as required under this chapter, or who violates any provision of this chapter or of any rule lawfully adopted under its authority for which no other penalty is provided shall be fined not more than $300.00 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

    (c) The Secretary may assess administrative penalties under 6 V.S.A. §§ 15-17, not to exceed $1,000.00, for violations of this chapter. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 1993, No. 51, § 4; 1997, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2009, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3912. Commitment of animals to Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets

    The Secretary or any officer of the Agency designated by the Secretary may file with the court in which a person was convicted of violating section 3911 of this chapter a petition for custody of animals in the possession of the person convicted. If the court, on due notice to that person and to any other person owning or having any interest in the animals, finds that the welfare of any of the animals so requires, the court shall order the animals committed to the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. Animals committed to the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets may be sold or euthanized or kept in the custody of the Agency, as the Secretary determines. (Added 1971, No. 27, § 5, eff. March 24, 1971; amended 1989, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 10(a), eff. Jan. 1, 1991; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3913. Euthanasia certification

    (a) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall establish rules for a euthanasia training program and certification process for persons completing the program.

    (b) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall establish rules for the possession and use of euthanasia solutions by registered animal shelters that utilize certified euthanasia technicians. The rules shall identify euthanasia solutions which may be used, techniques for the proper handling and storage of solutions and requirements for recordkeeping, and address any other matter deemed necessary by the Secretary.

    (c) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets may revoke or suspend certification upon violation of the rules adopted under this section.

    (d) The rules shall comply with all applicable federal drug enforcement standards.

    (e) The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets has no responsibility to enforce any other statute relating to the abuse of narcotics or other regulated substance unless specifically authorized by such statute. (Added 1993, No. 116 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 23, 1994; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3914. Special funds

    Fees collected under this subchapter shall be credited to a special fund and shall be available to the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets to offset the cost of providing the services. (Added 1999, No. 49, § 131; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3915. Health certificate for transport into State

    (a) A dog, cat, ferret, or wolf-hybrid imported into the State for sale, resale, exchange, or donation shall be accompanied by an official health certificate or similar certificate of inspection for the dog, cat, ferret, or wolf-hybrid issued by a veterinarian licensed in the state or country of origin. The certificate shall certify that:

    (1) the dog, cat, ferret, or wolf-hybrid has been inspected and is free of visible signs of infections or contagious or communicable disease; and

    (2) if the dog, cat, ferret, or wolf-hybrid is more than three months of age, the dog, cat, ferret, or wolf-hybrid has a current rabies vaccination or is a specific breed for which a rabies vaccination is not age-appropriate.

    (b) The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets may adopt rules regarding the issuance and contents of any certificate required under subsection (a) of this section. (Added 2009, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), § 15; amended 2013, No. 30, § 6.)


  • Subchapter 003: SALE OF CATS, DOGS, AND WOLF-HYBRIDS
  • § 3921. Sale of a cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid; restitution

    (a) If, within seven days following the sale of a cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid by a pet dealer or pet shop, a licensed veterinarian of the consumer's choosing certifies the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid to be unfit for purchase due to illness or the presence of signs of contagious or infectious disease or if within one year the veterinarian certifies the existence of congenital malformation or hereditary disease, the consumer may act under subdivision (1) of this subsection or, if mutually agreed upon, under subdivision (2) or (3) of this subsection. The consumer shall have the right:

    (1) To return the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid to the pet dealer or pet shop and receive a full refund of the purchase price, including sales tax and reasonable veterinary fees related to certification under this section. A veterinary finding of intestinal parasites is not grounds for declaring a cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid unfit, nor is an injury or illness sustained subsequent to the consumer taking possession of a cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid.

    (2) To return the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid to the pet dealer or pet shop and receive an exchange cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid of the consumer's choice of equivalent value and reasonable veterinary costs related to certification under this subsection.

    (3) To retain the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid and receive reimbursement from the pet dealer or pet shop for reasonable veterinary service for the purpose of curing or attempting to cure the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid. In no case shall this service exceed the purchase price of the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid. Value of service is reasonable if it compares to similar service rendered by other veterinarians in the area, but in no case may it cover costs not directly related to the certification of unfitness.

    (b) The Secretary shall prescribe a form for and the content of the certificate to be used under subsection (a) of this section. The form shall include an identification of the type of cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid, the owner, the date and diagnosis, the treatment recommended, if any, and an estimated cost of the treatment. The form shall also include notice of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section.

    (c) Every pet dealer or pet shop who sells a cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid to a consumer shall provide the consumer at the time of sale with the written form prescribed by the Secretary. The notice may be included in a written contract, a certificate of the history of the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid, or another separate document.

    (d) The Secretary shall prescribe by rule other information which shall be provided in writing by the pet dealer or pet shop to the consumer at the time of sale. The information shall include a description of the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid, including breed and date of purchase; the name, address, and telephone number of the consumer; and the purchase price. Certification of this document occurs when signed by the pet dealer or pet shop.

    (e) Refund or reimbursement required under subsection (a) of this section shall be made within ten business days following receipt of the signed veterinary certification. The certification shall be presented to the pet dealer or pet shop within three business days by the consumer. (Added 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3922. Challenge by pet dealer or pet shop

    A pet dealer or pet shop may contest a demand for reimbursement, refund, or exchange under section 3921 of this title by requiring the consumer to produce the cat, dog, or wolf-hybrid for examination by a licensed veterinarian of the pet dealer or pet shop's designation. If the consumer and the pet dealer or pet shop are unable to reach an agreement under the provisions of this section within ten business days of an examination, the consumer may initiate an action in a court of competent jurisdiction in the locality where the consumer resides to obtain a refund, exchange, or reimbursement. Nothing in this section shall limit the rights or remedies which are otherwise available to the consumer under any other law. (Added 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3923. Administrative penalties

    The Secretary may assess administrative penalties under 6 V.S.A. §§ 15-17 not to exceed $1,000.00 for violations of this subchapter. (Added 2013, No. 30, § 6.)

  • § 3924. Exemptions

    Duly incorporated humane societies, rescue organizations, or animal shelters that make animals available for adoption are exempt from the requirements of this subchapter. (Added 2013, No. 30, § 6.)