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The Pet Store Disclosure Act

Senate Bill S-1870, “The Pet Store Disclosure Bill” was signed into law on February 5, 2015 and codified as N.J.S.A. 56:8-92 through 95.3.  

This law establishes additional requirements under the Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs for all pet shops or pet dealers to provide breeder information to consumers about each cat or dog being offered for sale.

The bill requires this information to be posted on each cage or enclosure in a pet shop and in internet and print advertisements. More specifically, the bill requires the posting of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports for the breeder and the broker of the animal for the prior two years and the statement: “View the USDA inspection reports for the breeder for this animal and any broker that sold this animal to this pet shop by contacting the USDA through the Internet.  You are also entitled to receive information about the breeder’s or broker’s history through the federal Freedom of Information Act.  Charges may apply.”  

Under the law, the owner or operator of the pet shop is also required to keep this information up-to-date, ensure that the appropriate website and contact telephone number are functioning, post the current website and telephone number, and make changes to the signage as necessary so that the consumer has access to the correct information regarding the source of the animals at all times. The bill further prohibits any pet shop from selling any dog or cat purchased from any breeder or broker cited for violations by the USDA.  However, the provisions of this bill do not affect the pet shops and kennels from selling or offering for adoption any animal from New Jersey animal pounds, shelters and animal rescue organizations that are tax exempt organizations.  This law is considered one of the toughest pet shop and pet dealer laws in the nation. Health Officers should be familiar with the law in order to address public inquiries, although this new law does not impact the sanitary inspections of pet shops and kennels conducted by local health departments to ensure compliance of N.J.A.C. 8:23A Subchapter 1 for municipal licensure, under the authority N.J.S.A. 4:19-15.8 and 18.  

Health Officers that have documented violations of N.J.A.C. 8:23A Subchapter 1.9 during inspections of pet shops or kennels may consider notifying the Division of Consumer Affairs to collaborate on possible enforcement actions for the following situations that violate this new law:

  • Failure to isolate or quarantine animals with clinical signs of infectious disease from healthy dogs and cats (N.J.S.A. 56:8-95 Section 4 d.) and 

  • The owner, operator, or employee cannot diagnose, treat, or prescribe any treatment or therapy for any disease, injury or physical condition of any animal after it has been sold.  The owner or operator is allowed to vaccinate animals only under the order of a veterinarian prior to sale (N.J.S.A. 56:8-95 Section 4 e.).

The Division of Consumer Affairs can be contacted by calling 800-242-5846 or through email