Retail Sale of Pets: What Investigative Agencies Need to Know

Retail Sale of Pets: What Investigative Agencies Need to Know
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-08-15
Unit 1Slide Deck: Retail Sale of Pets
Unit 2Workbook - Retail Sale of Pets
Unit 3Recording: Retail Sale of Pets

Animals of different species showcased on pet stores look appealing to people who want to take these animals home as pets. But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes of these pet shop facades. Standard of care and legality of documents are some of the complaints being raised to law enforcement about these establishments.

This course’s instructor is Adam Leath. Based out of Daytona Beach, Adam is the Director of Volusia County Animal Services. In his capacity, he leads the investigation and response to animal victims – whether it is natural disasters or cruelty cases. He previously served as the Southeast Regional Director of the Field Investigations and Response Team at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) assisting local, state, and federal agencies investigate crimes against animals.

Adam talks about the retail sale of pets and the issues surrounding it. Some of the points discussed include:

  • The information, documentation, and intelligence to collate upon receiving a complaint.
  • Evaluating the credibility of the complaint by examining the complainant’s ulterior motives, and the integrity of the witnesses.
  • Conducting a thorough research of the business and its proprietor to understand the establishment’s operation, history, and past records.
  • Practicing thoroughness and not rushing the investigative process to capture the full story which involves:
    • The critical role veterinarians play on the scene in discerning the sanitary and health conditions that the animals are in.
    • Complete documentation and comprehensive evidence gathering.
    • Checking refrigerators and freezers for medication and animal cadavers.
    • Inspecting for prohibited species being sold.
    • Taking note of environmental factors and space requirements of the species within the establishment.
  • The most common grounds and practices that constitute a crime.
  • The standard of care as agreed upon by pet traders themselves through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and established as regulations by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS).
  • How statutes surrounding retail pet sales and the species that have protection under law vary across states.
  • The importance of the Official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (OCVI)/health certificate in establishing the legality of the trade.
  • The new trend of pet leasing that’s been banned in certain states due to its extortive nature.
  • A case study providing an end-to-end look in a pet retail case.
  • Webinar attendees had inquiries during the Q&A regarding:
    • The outcome for the violators in the case study.
    • Regulating reptiles in Reptile Expos.
    • How widespread pet leasing is.
    • Defining and differentiating the terms affidavit and search warrant.
    • The typical standard operating procedure for a pet retail complaint.
    • Employing the help of other organizations and agencies to help with the handling of these cases.
    • The requirements for individuals who sell their own pet litters, rescue and adopt pets, and breeders.

Regulation for the companies or individuals who are transporting the animals to the pet stores.


Audience Comments:

  • “Very informative, would like more webinars to expand on the topic.” — Carrie
  • “I really appreciated how he gave a specific case–and talked thru how the different players had differing levels of involvement/liability. That helped tremendously to get a handle on what/how/why of this type of investigation. Thank you!” — L
  • “I just enjoyed learning something new. Adam Leath was a great speaker!” –Nicholas



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This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.





** This webinar has been certified by the National Sheriffs' Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units through your POST. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Paid subscribers that attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Sheriffs' Association logo.
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