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Proposed Rule

Animal Welfare; Retail Pet Stores and Licensing Exemptions

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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ACTION:

Proposed rule; extension of comment period.

SUMMARY:

We are extending the comment period for our proposed rule that would revise the definition of retail pet store and related regulations to bring more pet animals sold at retail under the protection of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). We are also announcing the availability of a revised factsheet regarding our proposal. These actions will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before August 15, 2012.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0003 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 799-7039 before coming.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Gerald Rushin, Veterinary Medical Officer, Animal Care, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 84, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 851-3740.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On May 16, 2012, we published in the Federal Register (77 FR 28799-28805, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003) a proposal to revise the definition of retail pet store and related regulations to bring more pet animals sold at retail under the protection of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

“Retail pet stores” are not required to obtain a license under the AWA or comply with the AWA regulations and standards. Currently, anyone selling, at retail, the following animals for use as pets are considered retail pet stores: Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, and cold-blooded species.

Under the proposed rule, “retail pet store” status would not apply to such retailers if buyers do not physically enter the seller's place of business or residence in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase. Unless otherwise exempt under the regulations, these entities would be required to obtain a license from APHIS and would become subject to the requirements of the AWA. The proposed rule would exempt from regulation anyone who sells or negotiates the sale or purchase of any animal, except wild or exotic animals, dogs, or cats, and who derives no more than $500 gross income from the sale of such animals. In addition, the proposed rule would increase from three to four the number of breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals that a person may maintain on his or her premises and be exempt from licensing and inspection if he or she sells only the offspring of those animals born and raised on his or her premises for use as pets or exhibition, regardless of whether those animals are sold at retail or wholesale.

Comments on the proposed rule were required to be received on or before July 16, 2012. We are extending the comment period on Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003 for an additional 30 days. This action will allow interested persons additional time to prepare and submit comments.

We are also announcing the availability of a revised factsheet to clarify our proposed actions. The revised factsheet is available on the Web at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_welfare/2012/retail_pets_faq.pdf.

Authority: 7 U.S.C. 2131-2159; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.7.

Done in Washington, DC, this 11th day of July 2012.

Edward Avalos,

Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs.

[FR Doc. 2012-17283 Filed 7-13-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-34-P