Benson, Vainieri Huttle, Eustace, Gusciora & Mukherji Consumer Protection Bill to Extend Pet Shop Regulations to Pet Dealers Receives Final Legislative Approval in the Assembly

(TRENTON) - Legislation sponsored by Daniel Benson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Timothy Eustace, Reed Gusciora and Raj Mukherji to establish new requirements for pet dealers and pet shops was given final legislative approval by the Assembly, 52-16-3, on Thursday. It now heads to the Governor for further consideration.

Currently, pet shops are required under the Pet Purchase Protection Act not to sell cats or dogs from certain breeders or brokers. The bill (A-2338) clarifies these requirements.

"This bill has one simple intention: to stop pet shops and consumers from buying from pet dealers who have had multiple USDA violations," said Benson (D- Mercer, Middlesex). "Pet dealers should follow the same regulations as do pet shop owners. With this bill, we increase accountability and protect consumers."

"Pets are considered cherished members of a family," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "When a cat or dog is purchased a family member must be sure the pet is healthy and well cared for prior to bring it home. This bill takes the necessary steps to ensure pet shops and pet dealers are held accountable for the merchandise it sells."

"Pet dealers should be subject to the same regulations as pet shop owners," said Eustace (D- Bergen, Passaic). "Families should feel confident in their purchase before they bring the new family member home."

"The law regarding pet dealers and pet shops should be consistent to ensure the families are not being sold an unhealthy or poorly cared for animal," said Gusciora (D-Union). "This could lead to problems down the road for families and money spent on veterinarian bills they had not planned to spend."

"Puppy mills are just bad business for New Jersey," said Mukherji (D-Hudson). "A pet is a lifetime commitment for families. The health and well-being of a new pet prior to purchase is important to new owners and it should be important to pet shop owners and dealers as well."

The measure was approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee in November and the Assembly Appropriations Committee in January.