Act 30, passed during the 2013 legislative session, amended the pet merchant licensing program that was historically managed by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM). In its prior form, the pet merchant licensing program mandated that all hobby breeders and retail pet shops license with VAAFM.
Effective July 1, Act 30 now mandates that all qualified hobby pet breeders obtain a pet dealer permit from their town of residence, rather than a license from VAAFM. Act 30 defines a “pet dealer” as 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 from cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids in any 12-month period. Pet dealers must apply to the municipal clerk of the town or city in which the cats, dogs, or wolf-hybrids are kept for a pet dealer permit, and the annual permit fee is $25. Pet dealer facility inspections may be performed at the town’s discretion. The pet dealer licensing requirement does not apply to pet shops, animal shelters, or rescue organizations.
Retail and wholesale pet shops, formerly licensed as pet merchants, are now required to license with VAAFM as pet shops. Act 30 defines a “pet shop” as a place of retail or wholesale business, including a flea market, which 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. Businesses that sell horses or livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and domestic fowl, are exempt from the pet shop licensing requirement. The pet shop license period is from April 1 to March 31 of each year, and the annual license fee is $150.
For more information on the pet dealer permitting and pet shop licensing programs, please visit the animal health section of the VAAFM website at www.agriculture.vermont.gov.