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New York enacts law requiring retailers to provide client education on exotic pet purchases


Sellers of exotic animals must now give clients written care instructions either in print or digital format.

New York state now requires pet retailers to provide purchasers with written instructions on proper care for small animals, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Association (JAVMA). This requirement, which took effect in March, applies to small mammals, such as hamsters, chinchillas, guinea pigs and gerbils, rabbits, and small amphibians and reptiles such as frogs, snakes and lizards. It does not apply to dogs, cats, birds, fish or feeder animals.

According to the new law, at the time of sale, every retailer shall “deliver or provide digital access to the purchaser of a small animal, written care recommendations for the class of small animal being purchased, which recommendations shall: (a) include generally accepted information intended for an inexperienced pet owner on housing, equipment, sanitation, environment, feeding and watering, handling, and veterinary care; and (b) have been created or published by a reliable source including but not limited to: a state or national professional veterinary association; an association established for the preservation and care of any such small animal; or an association representing pet retailers.”

Retailers must also keep a hard copy of these guidelines on premises for each species that they sell. According to the AVMA State Relations Department the law appears to be the first of its kind in the United States.

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