Question & Answer

What is the definition of hands-on veterinary care?
Each year, dogs must receive a hands-on examination by a licensed veterinarian. The examination must include auscultation, palpation and a visual inspection of a covered dog or cat and in which the heart, respiration, breeding soundness and the results of palpation are assessed. Examination means a complete physical evaluation from head to tail by a licensed veterinarian to include and recorded as indicated on the forms provided.

Is an annual vet exam mandatory?
Yes, an annual exam by a licensed veterinarian is required for all covered dogs. Covered dogs include all intact females more than six months of age and any males used for breeding.

Can my veterinarian do a visual exam only?
Dogs must have at least one complete, hands-on physical examination each year that is recorded on the forms provided by the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Program. Any additional exams may be visual at the discretion of the veterinarian and the licensee.

What is the definition of serious illness or injury?
Serious illness means a condition or injury that would likely result in significant pain or progression of disease if not addressed within 24 hours and would require daily or continuing treatment as determined by a veterinarian.

What is an example of extreme weather?
Temperatures less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit or more than 85 degrees Fahrenheit are considered extreme weather, as is inclement weather such as severe storms, including hail, excessive rain and flooding. During times of extreme weather, access to the outdoors may be limited at the discretion of the dogs’ owner and/or veterinarian.

Does the rule apply to cats?
The statute does not apply to cats, however the Department’s Animal Care Program does oversee many rules and regulations regarding cats. If you breed cats, or know someone who does, and need more information, please contact the Animal Care Program at (573) 751-3377 or ACFA@mda.mo.gov.

Does my pet have to be inspected by Animal Care?
No, personal pets are not included in the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act or the Animal Care Facilities Act.

Is concrete allowed in the pen?
Yes, concrete is one of the acceptable types of flooring. The full list of approved flooring manufacturers is available here.

What does unfettered access mean?
Unfettered access means that dogs have unrestricted access to both indoor and outdoor space.

What happens if I don’t comply with the new law?
The legislature included an enforcement provision in the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act, in which cases can be sent to the Attorney General’s Office or the County Prosecutor for non-compliance. The Attorney General and county prosecutors have the authority to pursue legal action as they deem appropriate in each situation.

Do I need an Animal Care license?
The Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Program licenses commercial breeders, animal shelters, boarding kennels, commercial kennels, contract kennels, dealers, pet sitters, exhibitors, hobby shows, intermediate handlers, dog pounds, pet stores, rescues and listing services.

If you have 4 or more intact females and are breeding dogs for commercial sale, yes you will need a license. If you operate a kennel, sell dogs on behalf of another breeder, you will need a license. If you are not sure whether your operation is included in one of the above categories, please contact the Animal Care Program at (573) 751-3377 or ACFA@mda.mo.gov.

Where can I find the forms needed to get a license?
Information about applying for a license through the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Program is available online. Application forms are also available on that website.

If you have questions about applying for a license, please contact the Animal Care Office at (573) 751-3377 or ACFA@mda.mo.gov.

Where can I find a form for a construction plan?
The Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Program does not require that you submit construction plans for your facility unless you are requesting an exemption to a portion of the rules during your construction process. However, it is advisable to have your inspector do a pre-construction visit. Requests for exemptions must be made in writing to the Animal Care Program and approved by the program manager prior to beginning construction.

If you have questions about making modifications to your existing facility or constructing a new facility, please contact the Animal Care Office at (573) 751-3377 or ACFA@mda.mo.gov.

What is the space requirement?
The space requirements take effect in two phases, and include both indoor and outdoor areas. First, Missouri dog breeders with existing facilities must double the size of their enclosures by Jan. 1, 2012. Second, in all new construction, and in all facilities by 2016, space is tripled.

A space calculator is available on the Animal Care Program website, which will figure the space required given the number of animals and their size.

Who qualifies as exempt?
Individuals with three or fewer intact females are generally exempt from needing a license from the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Animal Care Program.

If you are not sure whether your operation should have a license, please contact the Animal Care Program at (573) 751-3377 or ACFA@mda.mo.gov.