Since the Commercial Dog Breeders Act (Senate Bill 130) was enacted in March of 2013, Ohio law requires that commercial breeders, dog retailers, high-volume breeders, and registered animal rescues meet new standards in order to receive a license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).
Any establishment that buys, sells, or offers to sell animals wholesale for the purpose of resale to a third party is considered a retailer. In many cases, an animal retailer can be someone who simply gifts one or more animals to a pet store on a regular (yearly) basis.
While the legal standards for retailers are somewhat more relaxed than those for high-volume breeders, it is important for anyone engaging in animal retail to procure and maintain an official ODA license.
A high-volume breeder is defined as any facility that (1) houses and maintains adult breeding dogs, (2) produces a minimum of nine litters of puppies in a given year, and (3) sells a minimum of sixty dogs annually.
Once the license is obtained, the breeder must comply with the ODA breeding standards and submit to regular inspections to ensure compliance. Most high-volume breeders are also required to have liability insurance or a surety bond, the cost of which depends on the number of dogs being housed.
Even if no commercial transaction is taking place, all animal rescues must be registered and licensed by the ODA. Unlike commercial breeders, non-profit rescues can register with the ODA at no cost, and may be exempt from many standard licensing and registration requirements.