Supplemental income from pet hair illegal in some states

Supplemental income from pet hair illegal in some states

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Sometimes you are just going about life when you learn the most interesting things. For example, I learned on “Good Mythical Morning, the Eating Chicken with Our Feet/Breaking Law” episode that it is illegal to sell dog hair in Delaware. Upon further investigation, I learned that it is illegal to sell dog and cat hair in New York also. People can sell dog hair on eBay, so this got me wondering just why is it illegal, and why would people want to buy it.

You see, I have an overabundance of dog and cat hair at my house. I want to get rid of it, not accumulate more of it. Yet, upon learning about this market for such hair, my mind kept returning to ways of bringing in income with my excess pet fur. Lucky for me, you see, I don’t live in Delaware or New York!

What could people possibly do with dog and cat hair? Well, I’m glad that you asked! Containment booms use it to absorb oil during disastrous spills. You can also use it as a natural critter repellent. I did try to repel deer from my garden one year with our dog’s fur, but I must not have used enough because the deer still came. When you’re done with that use, you can work it into your soil or add it to your compost. Dog and cat hair is also used to make clothes (dog wools coat) and in knitting or crocheting projects such as mittens or blankets. Some say it is even warmer than sheep’s wool. Hmmm. Another use is homemade jewelry. None of these uses had ever occurred to me. The only uses I ever thought of were to make a toupee for my dad (Sorry, Dad) or stuffing pillows with it, but I was afraid such stuffing would be an allergen.

The Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2000 and the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000, which prohibits the export, import, manufacture, or sale of dog or cat fur products, tells me that selling dog and cat fur must be serious business. It must have gotten out of hand. Since it is regulated, there must be standards.

How I never realized that I was sitting on a fortune all these years is beyond me. Here we are actually throwing our dog and cat fur away! Talk about waste, huh? My chocolate lab sheds year round. Even after brushing off Piggly Wiggly-sized plastic grocery bagfuls of fur, we can still sweep the floor to get three or more dustpans of it. Then we have our three cats in varying shades of gray, black and white, and tabby tiger. It makes me sick that I didn’t know about this form of income before.

That there is a market for it just goes to show how sheltered I have been. Here the stuff that has been upsetting me could have been paying for fancy vacations. Why, incredible as it might seem, I could have actually been happy about all that light, fluffy, clingy hair that escapes my broom and finds its way into and onto everything in the house. I’ve been so ungrateful and such a grumbler, tossing it away into the trash.

It just goes to show that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. I suppose I better go visit YouTube now for my tutorial on knitting mittens from dog and cat hair. It may take me awhile to learn all this business about weaving and looms and making yarn since I’m not the world’s craftiest person. Still, like I said, you learn something new every day.

What is something bizarre that you have learned recently?


22 Replies to “Supplemental income from pet hair illegal in some states”

  1. We have a snorkie (part Schnauzer, part Yorkshire Terrier), and he doesn’t shed much, but I enjoyed your story about it. Like you said, we learn something new every day, and I like learning new things.

  2. That is a great article…maybe you should send it off to Reader’s Digest or something? I love the pics of your furry animals. Wow, if I added Scotty’s hair in the spring when I have to body clip him, there are at least 2 wheelbarrows full. When you find the market, you’ll have to let me know 🙂 🙂 🙂 Meanwhile, I am promoting here. They have been the most amazing pet company I have ever ordered from/worked with. They sent me different houses for my barn cats without asking me to return the first ones. They interacted with me regarding the story of how I got all of my cats. Then they sent me a beautiful hand written card and 2 painted pictures to remind me of Smoky & Whiskey. They are absolutely amazing.

    1. Thanks, Deb! That’s wonderful how blessed you after you shared your story. You did a lot to help your feline friends. 🙂 Hmmm. Maybe I better search about horse hair products too. 🙂 We could go into business together. Thanks for sharing!

  3. That was really interesting Michelle. I had no idea that Brinkley’s fur could be worth something!☺️

  4. I learned about dog hair being used for repelling deer and other varments from a friend that has a business of grooming dogs, she started real young developing her business of grooming and does it so well she is overloaded. She has trained others to also groom dogs. So she started to try to sell dog hair by collecting hair from her customer’s dogs and the problem she had was she didn’t have the time to sell it at various places like farmers markets etc. and also to bag it up. She also used it in cute decorations that birds could steal from it for their nests. But again she just didn’t have enough time to do additional money making businesses on the side. So there is a market for such things, go for it girls. You never no where it might lead you to have witnessing conversations etc. and isn’t that even more important? Blessings Michelle as you inspire us and give us new things to think about.

  5. I’m a professional handspinner–my specialty is dog and cat fur yarn, haha–and I’ve read into those sorts of laws for the U.S. in general and my state. In this usage of the term, “fur” is defined as a skin with fur attached, and not referring to undercoat brushed off an animal or hair clipped from a poodle. It would be illegal to skin a cat and sell its pelt (“fur”), but it would not be illegal to brush a cat and use the fiber. I haven’t read up on Delaware and New York specifically, though, so I’m not sure if they deviate from the norm when using the term “fur”. I’ll have to go check that out now!

    1. Nice to meet you, Jason! My pets leave plenty of undercoat hair around the house which triggered my tongue-in-cheek thoughts for using it for something useful. I’m impressed that you do what I can only imagine doing. Great job! Thanks for sharing your insights.

        1. Since you are well informed in this industry, Jason, would you be able to answer Pamela’s question in the comments? She seeks to learn about spinning pet hair. Thanks. Super toasty yarn for sweaters sounds perfect in freezing Midwestern winters!

  6. Your article has really helped me because with this pandemic, pet hair is crazy. We have 4 White great pyrenese and the hair is unbelievable! I was looking for info on who is buying the hair, so I could make a little extra money to help out while I am not working.

    1. I’m sorry, Pamela, but I can’t share with you any specific markets for the pet hair. I was simply blogging about my frustrations and pointing out that those craftier than I am have made use of their piles of pet hair by selling to certain markets I had been unaware of before. You may want to talk with Jason, who actually works in this trade. See his comment. You can also do a search online for markets specific to your state for weaving animal hair. Good luck. 🙂

    2. Hi Pamela, Michelle pointed me your way.

      Fine print, I’m not a lawyer so don’t take any of the following as legal business advice, etc., etc.

      I do custom orders primarily, so people provide me with their animal’s brushed out fur and I transform it into yarn for them. I don’t know of anyone who sells shed dog fur consistently; I’ve seen a few one-off listings over the years. This shop on Etsy is devoted to selling cat fur, though

      It’s definitely a niche market and a niche product. Using tags like chiengora, dog fur for spinning, dog fur spinning fiber, dog hair spinning fiber, chiengora fiber, luxury spinning fiber, exotic fiber, exotic spinning fibers, extra soft, super warm, extra warm, natural fiber for spinning, natural white spinning fiber, fiber for handspinners, etc., would be useful in targeting people who would be interested in your fiber.

      Since dog fur is so niche, and unfortunately has a stigma to overcome a lot of the time, it’s important to market the fur responsibly so you don’t reinforce the negative connotations that many people associate with dog fur yarns.
      If you sell raw (unprocessed) fur, make sure to state that the fur needs to be washed properly before spinning, or else there will be wet dog smell. Washing fur before spinning is suuuper important to ensure a nice yarn. The fur itself isn’t the cause of wet dog smell–it’s the dander, skin oils, and bacteria that are responsible. If the fiber is spun in the raw, the smell will get trapped since a lot of odor-causing matter will be held in by the twisted fibers, and won’t be able to rinse out. That’s why washing the loose fur is important when processing dog fur.

      If you want to create a more valuable product, you could learn to wash the fur yourself and then offer clean dog fur for spinning–just make sure you know what you are doing and are performing rigorous quality testing so you are definitely passing squeaky-clean fiber on to the customer.

      It took me a lot of time and experimenting to formulate a washing technique, so mine’s a trade secret, but I do offer a stand-alone washing service for people who want to spin their own fur.

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