Manatee requires health certificate before sale of any dog, cat

May 15, 2012 

If your dog or cat has a litter of puppies or kittens and you want to sell them, you first must have an official certificate of veterinary inspection -- a health certificate.

The health certificate is required before selling any dog or cat, not just puppies and kittens.

Florida State Statute 828.29 states that each dog offered for sale within the state must be tested and receive vaccines and anthelmintics (deworming) under the direction of a licensed veterinarian. The vaccines and anthelmintics are against distemper, leptospirosis (an infectious disease affecting the liver and kidneys), bordetella (kennel cough), parainfluenza, hepatitis, canine parvo, rabies (if the dog is older than 3 months, administered by a licensed veterinarian), roundworms and hookworms.

If the dog is younger than 4 months, the tests, vaccines and anthelmintics must be administered no more than 21 days before the sale. If the dog is older than 4 months, the tests, vaccines and anthelmintics must be administered no more than one year before the sale.

This statute also states that each cat offered for sale within the state must be tested and receive vaccines and anthelmintics (deworming) under the direction of a licensed veterinarian. The vaccines and anthelmintics are against Panleukopenia (feline distemper), feline viral rhinotracheitis, calici virus, rabies (if the cat is older than 3 months, administered by a licensed veterinarian), roundworms and hookworms.

If the cat is younger than 4 months, the tests, vaccines and anthelmintics must be administered no more than 21 days before the sale. If the cat is older than 4 months, the tests, vaccines and anthelmintics must be administered no more than one year before the sale.

Each dog or cat must have a current official certificate of veterinary inspection at all times while being offered for sale. At the time of the sale, the buyer must be provided with a copy of the official certificate of veterinary inspection. The term "official certificate of veterinary inspection" means a legible certificate of health, signed by the examining veterinarian, licensed in this state.

The official certificate of veterinary inspection must contain specific information about the pet, vaccines and tests. The examination must include, but is not limited to, a fecal test to determine if the dog or cat is free of internal parasites, including hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms. Each dog older than 6 months must also be tested for heartworms.

Each cat must also be tested for feline leukemia before being offered for sale. All of these tests must be performed by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian and the results must be listed on the official certificate of veterinary inspection.

A violation of this state law is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

This is to inform you of the requirements of state law. At Animal Services, we want to make sure Manatee County has healthy dogs and cats. For those who are selling dogs, cats, puppies or kittens, whether it is on Craig's List, in the newspaper or by having a sign on the side of the road, health certificates are required.

It is possible that you may receive a visit from one of our Animal Services Officers. Be prepared to provide the required health certificate for each dog or cat you have for sale. To get your health certificate, see any licensed veterinarian. The veterinarians know what to do to make sure you are in compliance with the law.

If you never have to look into the eyes of a dog or cat and make a choice, you are lucky. One day, we all would like to be lucky too.

Adopt your new family member from Manatee County Animal Services today. Don't forget about our May adoption special. We are commemorating Educator Appreciation Month. Adoption prices have fallen to only $20 for cats and $25 for dogs; fee includes current license certificate/tag, health check, microchip, and current vaccinations.

Call our information line at 941-749-3067.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.

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