Lawmakers Look To Develop Pet Boarding Facility Safety Legislation

July 21, 2014

The pet boarding industry is largely unregulated in the United States. But that could be changing in Arizona, as some state lawmakers are now entertaining the idea of statewide regulation.

The effort to establish state safety standards for the industry was prompted by an incident in Gilbert, Ariz. that resulted in the deaths of 21 dogs earlier this summer.

Arizona state Reps. Kate Brophy McGee and Brenda Barton have assembled a group of stakeholders including the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and area business owners to begin researching potential legislation aimed at setting minimum safety standards at pet boarding facilities.

Brophy McGee said the approach will be multifaceted, adding that the group will look to other states that have already enacted such laws for guidance.

"It’s a function of safety and affordability and humane treatment of our beloved pets. So that’s the conversation that needs to take place before we decide how to proceed," she said.

Carmen Rustenbeck is the CEO of the International Boarding and Pet Services Association. Rustenbeck said she’d rather approach animal safety with consumer education and industry self-regulation.

"I think that if a city or a county or a state is working with the association on what standards are, and it’s not a reactive thing but a proactive, then I think that could be a good match," she added.

Currently most government regulation that exists occurs at the local and municipal levels.