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The New York State Pet Dealer Licensing Program ensures that dogs and cats are properly cared for; have adequate and humane housing; and receive veterinary care while kept by pet dealers. Learn more and find a licensed pet dealer in New York State.

Pet dealers shall comply with the following minimum standards of care for every animal in their custody or possession. 

1. Housing. (a) Animals shall be housed in primary enclosures or cages, which shall be constructed so as to be structurally sound. Such enclosures shall be maintained in good repair to contain the animal housed inside and protect it from injury. Surfaces shall have an impervious surface so as not to permit the absorption of fluids and which can be thoroughly and repeatedly cleaned and disinfected without retaining odors.    

(b) Primary enclosures or cages housing the animals shall provide sufficient space to allow each animal adequate freedom of movement to make normal postural adjustments, including the ability to stand up, turn around, and lie down with its limbs outstretched. If the flooring is constructed of metal strands, such strands must either be greater than one-eighth inch in diameter (nine gauge wire) or shall be coated with a material such as plastic or fiberglass, and shall be constructed so as not to allow passage of the animal's feet through any opening in the floor of the enclosure. Such flooring shall not sag or bend substantially between structural supports.

(c) Housing facilities shall be adequately ventilated at all times to provide for the health and well-being of the animal. Ventilation shall be provided by natural or mechanical means, such as windows, vents, fans, or air conditioners. Ventilation shall be established to minimize drafts, odors, and moisture condensation. 

(d) The temperature surrounding the animal shall be compatible with the health and well-being of the animal. Temperature shall be regulated by heating and cooling to sufficiently protect each animal from extremes of temperature and shall not be permitted to fall below or rise above ranges which would pose a health hazard to the animal. This shall include supplying shade from sunlight by natural or artificial means.

(e) The indoor facilities housing the animals shall be provided with adequate lighting sufficient to permit routine inspection and cleaning and be arranged so that each animal is protected from excessive illumination which poses a health hazard to the animal. Animal areas must be provided with regular diurnal light cycles of either natural or artificial light.

(f) The indoor and outdoor facilities housing the animals, including the primary enclosure or cage, shall be designed to allow for the efficient elimination of animal waste and water in order to keep the animal dry and prevent the animal from coming into contact with these substances. If drains are used they shall be constructed in a manner to minimize foul odors and backup of sewage. If a drainage system is used it shall comply with federal, state, and local laws relating to pollution control.

(g) In the event that a pet dealer has a pregnant or nursing dog on his or her premises, the pet dealer shall provide a whelping box for such dog. Separate and apart from the whelping box, a pet dealer shall provide a pregnant or nursing dog with a separate space accessible to her that complies with the standards set forth in paragraph (b) of this subdivision. Each nursing dog shall be provided with a sufficient amount of floor space to nurse and care for her litter.

(h) Pet dealers shall designate and provide an isolation area for animals that exhibit symptoms of contagious disease or illness. The location of such designated area must be such as to prevent or reduce the spread of disease to healthy animals and must otherwise meet all housing requirements of this section. 

2. Sanitation. Housing facilities, including primary enclosures and cages, shall be kept in a clean condition in order to maintain a healthy environment for the animal. This shall include removing and destroying any agents injurious to the health of the animal and periodic cleanings. Primary enclosures must be cleaned daily and sanitized at least once every two weeks by washing all soiled surfaces with appropriate detergent solutions and disinfectant or by using a combination detergent or disinfectant product that accomplishes the same purpose with a thorough cleaning of the surfaces to remove excreta, feces, hair, dirt, debris and food waste to permit effective sanitization, followed by a clean water rinse. The primary enclosure or cage shall be constructed so as to eliminate excess water, excretions, and waste material. Under no circumstances shall the animal remain inside the primary enclosure or cage while it is being cleaned with sterilizing agents or agents toxic to animals or cleaned in a manner likely to threaten the health and safety of the animal. Trash and waste products on the premises shall be properly contained and disposed of so as to minimize the risks of disease, contamination, and vermin. 

3. Feeding and watering. (a) Animals shall be provided with wholesome and palatable food, free from contamination and of nutritional value sufficient to maintain each animal in good health.

(b) Animals shall be adequately fed at intervals not to exceed twelve hours or at least twice in any twenty-four hour period in quantities appropriate for the animal species and age, unless determined otherwise by and under the direction of a duly licensed veterinarian.

(c) Sanitary food receptacles shall be provided in sufficient number, of adequate size, and so located as to enable each animal in the primary enclosure or cage to be supplied with an adequate amount of food.

(d) Animals shall be provided with regular access to clean, fresh water, supplied in a sanitary manner sufficient for its needs, except when there are instructions from a duly licensed veterinarian to withhold water for medical reasons.

4. Handling. Each animal shall be handled in a humane manner so as not to cause the animal physical injury or harm.

5. Veterinary care. (a) Any pet dealer duly licensed pursuant to this article shall designate an attending veterinarian, who shall provide veterinary care to the dealer's animals which shall include a written program of veterinary care and regular visits to the pet dealer's premises. Such program of veterinary care shall include:

(i) The availability of appropriate facilities, personnel, equipment, and services to comply with the provisions of this article;

(ii) The use of methods determined to be appropriate by the attending veterinarian to prevent, control, and respond to diseases and injuries, and the availability of emergency, weekend, and holiday care;

(iii) Daily observation of all animals to assess their health and well-being; provided, however, that daily observation of animals may be accomplished by someone other than the attending veterinarian who has received the guidance identified in subparagraph (iv) of this paragraph; and provided, further, that a mechanism of direct and frequent communication is required so that timely and accurate information on problems of animal health, behavior, and well-being is conveyed to the attending veterinarian;

(iv) Adequate guidance to personnel involved in the care and use of animals regarding handling and immobilization;

(v) Pre-procedural and post-procedural care in accordance with established veterinary medical and nursing procedures; and

(vi) In the case of dealers who sell or offer to sell twenty-five or more dogs or cats per year to the public for profit that are born and raised on the dealer's residential premises, annual veterinary examinations, at a minimum, for all intact adult dogs or cats on such dealer's premises.

(b) All animals shall be inoculated as required by state or local law. Veterinary care appropriate to the species shall be provided without undue delay when necessary. Each animal shall be observed each day by the pet dealer or by a person working under the pet dealer's supervision.

(c) Within five business days of receipt, but prior to sale of any dog or cat, the pet dealer shall have a duly licensed veterinarian conduct an examination and tests appropriate to the age and breed to determine if the animal has any medical conditions apparent at the time of the examination that adversely affect the health of the animal. For animals eighteen months of age or older, such examination shall include a diagnosis of any congenital conditions that adversely affect the health of the animal. Any animal diagnosed with a contagious disease shall be treated and caged separately from healthy animals.

(d) If an animal suffers from a congenital or hereditary condition, disease, or illness which, in the professional opinion of the pet dealer's veterinarian, requires euthanasia, the veterinarian shall humanely euthanize such animal without undue delay.

(e) In the event an animal is returned to a pet dealer due to a congenital or hereditary condition, illness, or disease requiring veterinary care, the pet dealer shall, without undue delay, provide the animal with proper veterinary care.

6. Humane euthanasia. Humane euthanasia of an animal shall be carried out in accordance with section three hundred seventy-four of this chapter.

7. Exercise requirements. Pet dealers shall develop, maintain, document, and implement an appropriate plan to provide dogs with the opportunity for daily exercise. In developing such plan, consideration should be given to providing positive physical contact with humans that encourages exercise through play or other similar activities. Such plan shall be approved by the attending veterinarian, and must be made available to the department upon request.

8. Grooming. All animals shall be groomed regularly to prevent excessive matting of fur, overgrown toenails and flea and tick infestation.

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