Veterinarian and Consumer Reporting on Sick Animals

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur



Veterinarian and consumer reporting on sick dogs/puppies, cats/kittens purchased from pet stores and breeders.

Among other animal welfare discussions taking place within various rescue groups both in and outside of our area, one topic high on the list is the subject of veterinarians making sure to inform and encourage their pet-owner patients to contact the appropriate authorities if they have purchased a sick puppy/dog or kitten/cat, from a pet store or breeder, that has been deemed medically unfit by a licensed veterinarian.

Surprisingly, although there are guidelines in place for this type of reporting within New York State, not all veterinarians are following it. has been working on this two-fold:

  1. Within New York State, we are working with the Monroe County NY Humane Society, Western NY veterinarians and with the NYS Animal Protection Federation on a plan to reintroduce the free educational and re-educational training to NYS Veterinarians and their staff on the process of this reporting, that is provided by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, Division of Animal Industry – we have been in contact with the NYS Dept of Ag and Markets to confirm they support our endeavor.
  2. Nationwide, we are working with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to inform veterinarians across all States on the importance of reporting sick domestic animals purchased from a breeder or pet store. HSUS has already approved the related letter created by for this purpose.  Discussions are now in process on the best way to disseminate this important information.
  • NYS Veterinarians will be asked to schedule their educational training appointment with the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, Division of Animal Industry.
  • Veterinarians will be asked to incorporate this information into their patient-care routine so that pet owners are made aware of the options they have to report a sick animal.
  • Veterinarians will be asked to report any sick puppy/dog or kitten/cat, from a pet store or breeder, that has been deemed medically unfit, to their local Animal Cruelty organization, as well as to the correct State authorities so illnesses and selling sources can be tracked.

Like so many concerned individuals who rally for the best interest of an animal, we would like to know that our community is behind ANY honorable effort to improve the lives of animals, which includes adhering to processes to keep our pet stores and breeders acting in good faith.

Did you know?

Many consumers AND veterinarians are afraid to report a sick dog/puppy or cat/kitten purchased from a pet store or breeder out of fear of “causing trouble” or becoming known as a “whistle blower” in their community.    Others discourage reporting for fear of being put out of a pet store or breeding business.  Doing your part, and encouraging others to do the same, helps keep pet stores and breeders accountable.    When you report a sick animal purchased from a breeder or a pet store, these reports are followed up on by those who have authority to take further action on that situation.

Many bad breeders slip through the cracks, and this allows them to continue breed irresponsibly and to continue to sell sick animals to pets stores and to individuals without being held responsible or made accountable.  Reporting matters.

What can you do?

  • If you know someone who has purchased a sick dog/puppy or cat/kitten from a pets store or breeder, encourage that person to take that animal to a private licensed veterinarian.
  • If the veterinarian has deemed the animal medically unfit, a)  request that the veterinarian report this both to their local USDA organization AND to their local animal cruelty division, and b) request that that person also report it (as the consumer), to both to their local USDA organization AND to their local animal cruelty division.
  • YOU can also report a sick animal to the proper authorities (as per above).
  • Start a conversation.  It should be mandatory that ALL states have enforced reporting guidelines.  Check with your local and state legislators to see what is in place for your state. Reach out to your local shelter and advocate communities to talk about it and to see how you can push for enforced reporting as a united front.

Are you doing anything on this issue?

We would LOVE to know.    Share it with us, and we will share it all over the place.   If it’s something we can also get involved in, we will!    If you have a suggestion or idea, pass it along!   There is power in numbers, so  let’s join together.   Contact us!

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