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RETAILERS CALL FOR BILL TO REQUIRE HUMANE PET CARE

 RETAILERS CALL FOR BILL TO REQUIRE HUMANE PET CARE
 ST. PAUL, Minn., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- A Minnesota pet retail


group is calling on state lawmakers to pass a bill that would require pet breeders to provide humane care and ensure that consumers receive healthy pets.
 Speaking before a state Senate panel, Paul Vincent of the Minnesota Pet Supply Association, urged lawmakers to oppose as "inadequate" a bill that would fail to license and inspect many pet breeding facilities and fail to protect many pet consumers. Vincent made the comments at a hearing before the Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee on a bill offered by Sen. Ted Mondale (DFL-St. Louis Park).
 "We must take a comprehensive approach in order to ensure Minnesota consumers receive healthy, well-adjusted pets," Vincent said. "We should pass a bill that provides broad protection to pet consumers based on humane care at pet facilities. We urge legislators to oppose any piecemeal effort that fails to incorporate these important provisions."
 Vincent said the Mondale bill fails "to go far enough," because when implemented it would likely protect only those consumers who purchase from pet shops. Vincent cited a 1991 survey conducted by the American Animal Hospital Association that found that less than eight percent of consumers purchased their dog or cat at a pet shop. The same survey found that 78 percent of consumers purchase their dog or cat directly from breeders, friends or other sources.
 "The practical effect of this legislation would be to protect only the eight percent of consumers who purchase from pet shops and leave the others unprotected," Vincent said. "A good consumer protection bill will protect all consumers, including the nearly 80 percent who purchase directly from breeders."
 Vincent said that to ensure consumers receive healthy pets the state must first require breeders and distributors to meet comprehensive humane care standards. Vincent pointed out that the Mondale bill would not require professional pet facilities to be licensed or inspected nor would it establish comprehensive humane care standards. As a result, Vincent said, it would do nothing to eliminate substandard breeding facilities.
 As an alternative, Vincent said state lawmakers should adopt an approach developed by the MPSA, which would, among other things:
 -- Require all pet breeding and distribution facilities with four or more breedable females to be licensed by the state and inspected annually by animal care experts.
 -- Establish a set of comprehensive humane care standards for professional pet facilities which meet or exceed federal requirements. The standards would address issues ranging from nutrition and housing to veterinary care and transportation.
 -- Allow pet consumers to return any dog or cat which, within 10 days after purchase, is certified by a veterinarian to have a serious or contagious disease.
 -- Upon return of the animal, allow the consumer to collect a full refund, a replacement of equal value, or payment by the seller for veterinary bills up to the animal's purchase price.
 "Professional pet shop operators are committed to ensuring that consumers receive healthy, quality pets," Vincent said. "As a result, we want a comprehensive humane care and consumer protection bill. We pledge to work with sincere legislators, consumers and interested groups as long as it takes to get one."
 -0- 3/4/92
 /CONTACT: Tim Sullivan of Issue Strategies Group, 612-293-1049, for Minnesota Pet Supply/ CO: Minnesota Pet Supply Association ST: Minnesota IN: SU:


AL -- MN010 -- 5132 03/04/92 16:47 EST
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Date:Mar 4, 1992
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