Great news! This week members of Congress reintroduced legislation to establish greater federal oversight of puppy mills and online dog sales.
The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act would require commercial breeders who sell their puppies directly to the public, sight unseen, including via the web, to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Currently, only breeders who sell dogs to pet stores or to puppy brokers are subject to federal oversight.
Many puppies sold online come from puppy mills and are commonly bred in unsanitary, overcrowded and often cruel conditions without sufficient veterinary care, food, water or socialization. While facilities that breed puppies for commercial resale through pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected, breeders who sell directly to consumers, via the Internet, newspaper classifieds or other outlets, are exempt from any federal oversight.
“As the ASPCA has seen firsthand, the photos of happy, healthy puppies posted on a breeder’s website often grossly misrepresent what conditions are really like for these puppies and their parents,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Puppy mills are able to completely evade federal oversight by taking advantage of a pre-Internet loophole in current law, but the PUPS Act would change that.”
As mentioned in USA Today, the PUPS Act will require that any breeder who sells more than 50 dogs each year to pet stores or online must meet federal standards.
“The current loophole has allowed too many dog breeders to get away with abusive behavior for far too long,” adds Cori Menkin, Senior Director of the ASPCA’s Puppy Mill Campaign. “We encourage Congress and the USDA to take meaningful steps to protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities.”