Minnesots breeder inspection complaints not public

Published 8:42 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2017

BLAINE — Critics said keeping the inspection records of Minnesota pet breeders secret leaves pets at risk and pet owners in the dark.

According to a press release, while the list of breeders licensed by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health is available, inspection reports and complaints are not public.

Maggie Dickenson of St. Paul had recently purchased a puppy that became sick less than a day after she brought him home. She took the puppy to the vet, but he didn’t survive. She fears the animal got infected at a pet store or at the breeder.

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Dickenson said inspection records should be public so people are aware of the conditions the animals lived in before purchasing them.

“How many other people out there are being affected by this?” asked Dickenson.

The Minnesota Pet Breeders Association said its members need secrecy to protect themselves from aggressive activists who may overreact to inspection results. State lawmakers agreed to keeping records a secret when they created the state inspection system in 2014 following complaints that existing federal inspections were weak.

Christine Coughlin is the director for Minnesota’s chapter of the Humane Society. She said the inspection system is “a patch work with mostly holes.”

“This is all information that is completely lost to us and we’re not able to see the conditions in which these animals are living, these inspections that are happening,” said Coughlin.