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Breeding licenses are usually required when an individual breeds dogs or cats solely for the purpose of selling the offspring. In Florida, the process is mostly regulated at the local levels, but breeders must abide by federal and state laws as well. The necessary type of license depends on the number of animals bred and the amount of profit generated.
Federal law governs many pet breeders through the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Dogs and cats are protected under this legislation, which regulates the living conditions of the animals. AWA laws apply to all animal breeders who gross more than $500 in profit each year from selling bred animals in a wholesale market. Retail breeders are exempt from the statute because they are subject to public oversight regarding the care and maintenance of their animals. The AWA requires licensing that is issued through the United States Department of Agriculture. To get a license, breeders must fill out an application and pay a fee based on the amount of sales completed each year. Without a license, breeders are not allowed to sell their bred animals.
State Level Requirements
Florida's breeder laws are more extensive than those found in the federal AWA. The state's regulations apply to all wholesale and retail pet dealers that sell more than two litters or 20 pets each year. State lawmakers also have created several breeding regulations. For example, the state's animal cruelty statute requires that all dogs and cats sold within Florida have an official certificate to verify proper inspection by a veterinarian, including administered vaccinations. There are also lemon laws that provide remedies for customers who unknowingly purchase sick or diseased pets from breeders. Even with these laws, there is no state-level breeder's license requirement. Instead, registration responsibilities are left to the localities.
Commercial Breeding Laws
On the local level, there are two types of breeder's licenses. Commercial licenses are granted to breeders with sales that make up more than 25% of the owner's income. In Seminole County, for example, a $125 filing fee is required for a commercial license as of 2014, along with yearly registration. County officials must also inspect the facility before a license is granted. Miami-Dade County requires owners to obtain valid business licenses and tax identification numbers. There is also a fee assessed, which is determined by the amount of yearly sales. Breeders who sell more than 20 pets each year must obtain commercial licenses in Palm Beach County, where as of 2014 licensees must pay $150 each calendar year to re-certify.
Hobby Breeding License
Hobby breeder licenses pertain to individuals who breed cats or dogs within a private residence. These breeders are limited to the sale of only two litters per year. Applicants must submit an application along with a filing fee that varies by jurisdiction. In Palm Beach County, for example, the hobby breeder license is free, while in Miami-Dade County, there is a $150 yearly fee as of 2014 and the hobby breeder must also show affiliation with a breeder organization.
Erika Winston is a Washington, D.C.-based writer, with more than 15 years of writing experience. Her articles have appeared in such magazines as Imara, Corporate Colors E-zine and Enterprise Virginia. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from Regent University and a Masters in public policy from New England College.