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Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture, announced new laws that they hope will close the internet puppy mill loophole that currently exempts breeders that sell puppies online from the same regulations and inspections required of other breeders.
The current Animal Welfare Act, a law written in 1966 to set standards of care for animals bred for commercial resale, has received criticism in recent years due to a lack of adapting to modern technology. Because of loopholes in the law, those breeders selling directly to consumers through new technologies – like the internet – that weren’t in place when the laws were written, have not had to comply with federal regulations and inspections. Basically, these animals are not even guaranteed their very basic needs to survive – clean water, food, shelter, veterinary care, exercise, etc.
Online puppy sellers are generally the worst of the worst puppy mills. These are the breeders whose dogs are kept in deplorable conditions, given only enough food and water to remain alive long enough to breed a litter of unhealthy puppies, never receiving veterinary care, not feeling a loving human touch, or the joy of feeling the grass beneath their paws. They are packed into rickety cages, standing in feces and urine, their nails untrimmed, illnesses untreated, and coats un-groomed – all because the laws have not previously been updated to include them.
Today, animal advocates that have pushed strongly for an updated Animal Welfare Act are celebrating.
In a statement, The Humane Society of the United States said, “The USDA is announcing today a monumental victory for puppy mill dogs and those who advocate on their behalf, with plans to subject the thousands of breeders who sell online to federal inspections and oversight for the first time. The new rule will also apply to large commercial breeders of other warm-blooded pets such as kittens and small mammals and will improve the welfare of thousands of animals across the country, including those in your own backyard.”
The new regulations will take effect in 60 days. Breeders with more than four “breedable” females who currently sell animals online, by phone or by mail will need to apply for a USDA permit, pay an annual licensing fee and consent to random inspections. The USDA estimates some 4,000 breeders will be affected by the new law.
While it’s a step in the right direction for eradicating puppy mills, the USDA – who stands to bring in an additional $2.8 million annually in fees and fines from these breeders – must now step up and do their job of inspecting breeding facilities and imposing serious penalties for those that are in violation.
How do you feel about the changes to the Animal Welfare Act? Do you believe we’re finally headed toward the end of puppy mills? Weigh in with a comment below!
Please stop all dog breeding at once. I am a volunteer at my local shelter and there are many dog breed rescue groups in my town. Thousands of dogs in this state alone are always looking for homes or being put down.
Why breed more dogs and cause more suffering? Don’t you breeders have any heart at all for the poor homeless ones. You’re all so selfish.
Shut down Crab Orchard Puppy millsays:
There is tons of puppy millsthat are in need of shut down. The ones in the smaller towns don’t think they would get caught. Unfortunately for our town we have one that some of the Town Board members agree with keeping it around. Even with new city ordinances against certain things that she is in violation of they say that she is grandfathered in.take a look at the Facebook page shut down the Crab Orchard puppy mill
Hooray! It’s about time we protect these animals and have the ability to know where these pups come from.
All puppy mills need to be shut down. Some that have passed inspection that needed to be shutdown make me wonder if these inspectors can be bought.
Regulating those who are breeding and selling on-line is one thing, but only half the solution.
Strong laws prohibiting the buying and selling of animals on-line is the other half.
no , i am not happy ,it shouldnt be about how many breedable females you have, it should be about how many puppys you sell a year .and after you all decide how many that should be that is reasonable. then you should be taxed and the end of the year with a 1099 ? and i am sorry but all my breedable females, are going to stay in my house , and be part of my family .
USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture. Their business is farming and livestock. The USDA knows little or nothing about dogs. As long as a breeder’s paperwork is in order, the facilities are disinfected, cages are a (very) minimum size, and no infectious diseases are immediately obvious, the kennel passes.
The USDA has not the slightest interest in…
whether the breeder knows anything about his breed
whether the dogs used for breeding look like their breed
whether the dogs used for breeding act like their breed
whether the dogs used for breeding are free of genetic health problems such as hip dysplasia, eye diseases, or heart defects – all of which show up long after you buy the puppy.
This is a step in the right direction and I’m glad to see some progress. I don’t trust the USDA to hold up their end of the deal though. Their track record for enforcement does not make me feel confident anything will change. We need to get someone above them to regulate the regulators. Until laws change forbidding sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores, we change laws for farmers/the amish, and the internet shuts down. THere will always be puppy mills. The amish are pretty much above the law and can do whatever they want. They are the worst offenders. IF we outlaw sales in pet stores, that’ll cut down probably 30 dogs a week per store. This will make a nice dent in puppy mill profits. As these laws change things will get worse before they get better so be prepared for that. Mills and stores will be dropping dogs at shelters, and on the streets to get within requirements. etc People will always find a loophole to sell on the internet, but at least this will curb the sales for a while until they figure out how to sneak around and do it illegally. I’m glad though that the animals are finally being spoken for. The governments eyes are finally opening up and becoming the slightest bit more compassionate toward animals. Animals don’t vote so they never cared..plain and simple. Now that the voters are speaking up congressman finally see that laws need to be changed adn animals deserve to have rights. They ARE man’s best friend, after all.
WE MUST RID OUR WORLD OF THESE TORTURE CHAMBERS CALLED PUPPY AND KITTEN MILLS!
Many blessings to all who work to make animals’ lives better. We are their only voice. ♥ So I am using my voice to post this repeatedly, until it somehow falls into the hands of someone who has the authority and the courage to help us put an end to puppy and kittens mills, once and for all…. PUPPY MILLS ARE GLUTTING THE SYSTEM
We will euthanize 10,000 pets today at our animal shelters and city Animal Care & Control facilities. We will euthanize 10,000 pets tomorrow too, and most every day. Unless our lawmakers enact regulations on the production of puppy and kitten mills, this pet overpopulation crisis is doomed to increase. This is costing our government millions of dollars, which are OUR TAX DOLLARS! And they are being spent to KILL PETS that the PUPPY MILLS ARE PRODUCING. What is wrong with this picture? The USDA has NEGLECTED to regulate this mill production, to the point that our country is about to explode with dead and suffering animals. Surely, our government must know that this has to stop! I will never understand how the USDA has any business having pets under the same regulations, (or the lack thereof), as poultry, slaughter hogs and beef cattle producers…WE DO NOT EAT DOGS AND CATS IN THIS COUNTRY, they are pets! Our government must stop allowing them to be mass produced like they were food animals! And the conditions that we accept as “USDA approved” for these animals to live in, consist of a lifetime of horrific neglect and deprivation! These pets don’t even go to slaughter when they are old enough and fattened up. They live their entire lives in a cage, often left out in all kinds of weather, with little or no veterinary care. The female’s’ life is spent carrying, nursing, or grieving her lost babies, until she is bred yet again. Then about twice a year, the male shares her cage until mating is complete. Then he is returned to languish in his own flthy cage until it is time to breed again. This only ends for them when they die, or become “no longer good for breeding” I don’t know what, if any regulation exists for their “disposal”. But the numbers of dead and decaying animal carcasses that are strewn throughout the property of far too many of these mills, speak volumes. Unfortunately, the financial influence of the Agriculture business has managed to supercede the horrific conditions of the animals, the pet overpopulation crisis, even the glutting of our own systems!
WE THE PEOPLE, MUST RISE UP AND DEMAND THAT OUR GOVERNMENT ENACT LAWS TO END THIS INSANITY! I guarantee you, if the beef producers were churning out millions of pounds of beef in a year, and we only ate half of it, and the other half had to be “disposed of” at great expense to the government, you can bet the USDA would be slapping some major restrictions on beef production. So why don’t they see that we are euthanizing over four million pets a year, and the puppy and kitten mills are “producing” a majority of them? IS OUR GOVERNMENT REALLY SO “OWNED” BY THE PUPPY MILL/Ag INDUSTRY, THAT THEY BETRAY THEIR CONSTITUENTS, WASTE OUR TAX DOLLARS AND GLUT THEIR OWN SYSTEM? We must find a way to rid our world of this horrific business of abuse and neglect! OUR GOVERNMENT MUST TAKE ACTION TODAY!
PAMELA M. BECK
Once again, I have to ask… what are YOU doing about this problem? How many letters have you written to your legislators? How many phone calls to the police/sheriff reporting a known puppy mill? Have you made a single donation to HSUS, who are the ones who represent all animals regarding any animal legislation in Washington DC??
Amen sister! Keep sticking up for the defenseless.
I agree with Judy. Those in charge of making sure these poor animals have at least basic care HAVE NOT done their job up to now and never will, specially when there is money involved. The only law I will call a “victory” is that, that bans ALL large scale breeding of any animal. I’m not against breeding all together, but I think people who want to breed should be made to pass a test on their knowledge of the animal they want to breed, pass a strict home inspection and only be allowed to breed once per year per animal and not be allowed to breed more than 2 -3 animals at the time, in order to get a license. These should be people who breed in their own homes and treat their animals as members of the family, sort of what you see on the show “Too cute”. Along with banning large breeding facilities, there should be a law making it mandatory to spay and neuter your animals. Further more, we need laws in place that make it impossible for back-yard breeders to advertize the sale of their animals, as doing so would discourage people from breeding. For those whose dog or cat gets pregnant “by accident” there should be a program to help them find good homes for their animals through rescue groups, who would keep the adoption fee. They should be required to spay and neuter their animals or face a fine. And jail time should definitely be the punishment for abandoning an animal instead of taking it to a shelter. In short, to really fix the problem of so many animals being abused, abandoned and killed in shelters by the hundreds of thousands every year we need very tough laws and a lot of education. May be then, those of us who care deeply about animal welfare can finally breath a sigh of relief.
This is great news! It’s a step in the right direction. They need to follow through with inspections and we need to stay on the USDA until that happens. I’m happy to hear the internet mills are getting accountability. We all know there are thousands of dogs living in deplorable conditions of licensed breeders who sell to pet stores. The USDA has a lot of work to do to rectify this situation that has left thousands of precious dogs suffering for years and years.
Americans stay on the USDA until they fix this!!!
Arrest them and throw away the key!
I’m sorry but we don’t need ANY breeders at this point. In the U.S. each year, we euthanize as many dogs as are born each year. We don’t need to breed more of them for any reason when there are so many living in torturous conditions and/or ending up at the end of a needle. Let’s take care of the ones that are already here and stop bringing more into the world!!
This would be wonderful if it negatively affected puppy mills- but it won’t. Puppy mills are already USDA licensed and still operating. The majority of them sell to puppy stores and brokers and never even set eyes on the Internet so this doesn’t apply to them. It’s hurting us small breeders of show lines. I breed Champion Yorkies and all USDA certification means is that my 6 beautiful yorkies can no longer live in my home and go with me to pick up my kids from school. They now have to live in a kennel building on concrete and are not allowed porous surfaces of any kind- that means no beds, no blankets, not even a towel to lay on. Wire or concrete is only allowed. The USDA is the reason dogs and cats live in conditions with concrete, cages and wire and nobody sees that…. They make us put our dogs in those conditions.
oh please, go re-read the law moron….. they’re not going to throw you in jail for allowing your dogs to sleep in in doggie beds instead of concrete
If you champion breeders are so aware of the terrible conditions they expect, why you don’t you try to do something about it. You people should be the biggest advocates of stopping puppy mills.
Thank you [email protected]!
Some of the regulations are important but for small hobby breeders it’s ridiculous. So the USDA would rather have dogs in kennel conditions with cement floors under them. I prefer having my furbabies in my home, under my nose when they have a litter. They get prenatal care, xrays to make sure the puppies are in a position to be born safely, after birth care and puppy check ups and shots before they go to homes. So I couldn’t get a USDA license because my dogs are in my home and part of my family. Crazy.
Yeah it’s crazy that you breed with 4-5Million great animals put down annually. ($$$ motivator, nothing else I”m sure)
That’s really an unfair comment, dog breeding and showing and pure-bred dog raising to improve and maintain the historical breed lines is a hobby for some and should not be put down in such a way without knowing anything about the person. Yes some breeders just want to sell puppies for money but many others are passionate about their breeds and the history behind their conformation. Don’t generalize without knowing it’s not nice.
A hobby??? Maybe try needlepoint, woodworking, skydiving etc. Dogs are not a hobby!!!
Agility, conformation dog shows, tracking, field events, obedience, these are all hobbies that people can enjoy with their dogs and breeding for excellence in the dog show ring is a part of that hobby. I agree with you that rescuing and adoption are great options for the large majority of people looking for a pet. The important thing is NOT to BUY a dog from a PUPPY STORE because those are the kinds of establishments that get their dogs from puppy mills. But jumping on someone who breeds dogs for show or pets and making generalizations about why they do it is an unfair attack on the wrong person, we should be focusing our energies into decrying that the conditions in puppy mills and puppy stores are even allowed to exist under the law, instead of attacking someone who obviously cares for her dogs and where they end up.
Please stop with the meanness to the home breeder. Some people want puppies. I have three corgis that are all re-homed. But someday I will want a puppy and that doesn’t make me a bad person. Most home breeders never make any money, between time and vet cost. I agree that we need to find homes for these other dogs, and I donate money for this cause. I do this because of the passionate people who love this breed and those include the home breeder. We need to get the word out how bad these puppy mills are. Most people have no idea, I didn’t till I fell in love with Corgi’s and read all the info put out there by corgi lovers, including the home breeders. Spread the word, and no one will buy from these people.
This is a small step for mankind. We need a lot more inspectors. If the laws aren’t followed it won’t do the animals any good. Why do these breeders get away with mistreating these dogs ? Someone should be at every breeder at the very least every six months. A lot of damage can be done to an animal in just a few days.
It won’t affect me, because I only have two females, but I am usually all for anything that helps shut down puppy mills! I still say that it’s also up to us to hold people accountable for the treatment of their dogs. If you desire a special breed of dog, research them, then research hobby breeders. Go to their house and see it and how the dogs and puppies are treated for yourself! If you’re not welcome to come, then that’s a red flag…go somewhere else. I sell my dogs online and in the local paper, but there are a million pictures, and people are encouraged to drop by anytime they want. On the other side, I am very careful about who buys my puppies, and have turned people away. I want to be sure that they’re ready for the commitment of a dog, have adequate facilities and/or housing, and time to devote to the puppy. And are well educated on that particular breed, and know what to expect. Just my opinion….but please say no to puppy mills, know where your dog came from, and it’s puppy history! It prevents problems later on, and keeps dogs from becoming pound puppies.
Janet, why do you breed at all? Are you in it to improve the breed of dog? Prior to breeding any of your dogs, do you properly test your dogs to make sure they do not pass on genetic defects? Do you show? Agility? Field Trial? How often do you breed? Or, are do you breed to make money?
You’re all wrong on this. You should be sending interested clients to their local shelters and rescue groups. Stop breeding while thousands are put down everyday because of people like you.
Problem here is you CAN go to a breeders house. They put a few healthy dogs in the house and the kennels are all out back, out of sight. So that doesn’t mean much anymore.
Puppy mills are rampant. I can’t believe that this action is strong enough to capture these barbaric breeders. Not only are they consciousless, they are sad excuses of human beings who deal in this trade. 30 years ago this wasn’t much of a problem, now it’s epidemic and these regulations won’t “make” the barbarian breeders comply. They will flly under the radar and continue their barbaric practices, or in the alternative, pay the fees and believe they are unknown,” and will never be inspected. These breeders have no souls and now, even the Amish in PA are getting into puppy mills. Why are puppy mills still populating when there has been such an out cry from real animal lovers?
I am glad to see that some steps are being made to shut down puppy/cat mills. Now we need to find the money to step up the number of inspectors needed to be able to up hold this new action. This is just the first step on an ongoing overwhelming problem. I hope everyone will support this and the money needed to make this and upcoming, better laws possible.
This is wonderful, however, please keep an eye out for the Amish Community. They run puppy mills like they raise kids. Something has to be done to check on these animals as well.
You are so right!
Cherie from PA
What have you done about it? Have you made any phone calls? Written any letters?
If the laws already available to the USDA would be enforced, places like the picture would not exist. Even when complaints are turned in to officials, nothing is ever done. Now the USDA plans on going after loving and caring small breeders to fund their political agenda. This is just another harassment of the American people and loss of liberty for loving, hard working people who care about the animals they breed and where their animals go. This rule also will invite diseases to come into the areas where very young unvaccinated animals live. We all know the USDA will do nothing about the large commercial breeders who’s animals never touch the ground, are never held or loved, and will die without ever knowing any type of happiness. Shame on you.
While the apparent intent is admirable, we already have international puppy mills stepping up their business by exporting to the US. They are not subject to the same regulations that US breeders are, nor is there a quarantine period, nor are health certificates required. So the USDA may have plugged one loophole, but another gaping one has already formed.
Why do I, a sheep breeder have to go through a 30 day Quarantine and health paper from the country of origin and form a USDA Vet to even get a sheep in But puppies and cats don’t. If you are going out of the country with your dog you have to have one. They need to get all their eggs in one basket. If they full under the USDA than NO MATTER WHAT ANIMAL IT IS THE SAME RULES APPLIE. FOR INPORT OR EXPORT, it is for the safety of all animals not just for farm animals.
This new rule will hurt reputable show breeders more than the “mills”. say goodbye to the pampered purebred raised in the family home. We can’t get the USDA license because our dogs sleep in bed with us. A very sad day.
Breeders with more than four breedable females – how many dogs sleep in your bed?
Not sure how it will hurt good breeders, I rescue, so I see what the puppy mill breeders look like and its sad. I don’t think they are going to hurt people like you that are responsible in breeding. Why wouldn’t you be able to get USDA license? That would be wrong. I would like to believe that if you apply, you would receive.
To get a USDA license you have to have an actual kennel building that is separate from your house. All of your dogs must be housed in that kennel building and stay in that kennel building. No bringing a dog into your house for any reason, even if it is sick or having puppies. See the problem now?
Ann, I am just asking because I really don’t understand. If you are a small breeder who just sells puppies from your pet. You have people come to your house and you screen them for the best ‘parents’ for you precious pups. Do you need a USDA license? Isn’t that just for people who what to sell on the internet or to brokers?
What is the cost of the inspection and annual fee for the license? We dont make any money on our litters the way it is. No way is this going to help responsible breeders. As for Puppy MIlls..the criminals always find a way around the law!
This will not hurt good breeders. We need to slow down the production of puppies from the “good breeders” for a little while, until some of the animals in shelters get adopted. Good breeders usually have less than 4 females if they have more they usually aren’t a “good breeder”. If all legit breeders would stop breeding for just one year imagine how many animals in shelters would be adopted if it’s the only option. The breeds wouldn’t cease to exist. The breeders make enough money to survive, I’m sure, with how much they charge for a pup…OR they might have to get a REAL job for a year. This would at least take a dent out of the shelter problems.
Tip of the ice-berg. I don’t trust the USDA to do their job properly, because if they were, all large puppy mills would be shut down already. There shouldn’t even be any cat or puppy mills at all.Put the mill owners in a small crate for 9 or more years and there would be hell to pay, so why is it OK for animals of any kind. Screw the USDA…Just shut down all puppy mills, no questions asked.
I foster these throw away dogs and it’s not pretty. Put the owners faces on the front page of newpaper’s and magazines for the world to see who operates the HELL that these animals go through. I wonder which one is the animal, the owner or the dogs and cats. My Vote goes to the owners of the mills. I wouldn’t even attempt to call them human beings.
I absolutely agree with you. The AKC is supposed to inspect these shameful places. Based on the pictures that appear on the net they have not done their job. I doubt if the USDA will be any better unless the public keeps a sharp eye on them. Internet sellers need to be regulated – out of business. The rest of these horrible places should be closed as well.
No, it’s not really AKC’s job to police puppy mills. AKC is primarily a registry that promotes events for purebred dogs, and health research for purebred dogs. Altho AKC does do some inspections, the only way they can “discipline” facilities not meeting standards, is by suspending the owner from registration privileges and showing privileges (not that many of this type of breeder care about showing). The millers get around this inconvenience by registering the dogs under a relative’s name. AKC can of course report these places to USDA. What has happened is that new registries have sprung up, that do not care how the dogs are maintained and do not contribute money to health research. For example, APRI. Many of the volume puppy producers have abandoned AKC – meaning less revenue for AKC and also removing them from any scrutiny by AKC. AKC started the “Frequently Used Sire” program years ago, requiring all sires who have produced 7 or more litters to have an AKC DNA profile – that annoyed many of the puppy millers because some of their “purebreds” are not always purebred – especially the little white dogs may be bichon/maltese/poodle in varying percentages. Altho AKC does set standards, it is really up to the USDA to enforce the anti-cruelty LAWS. My concern is that USDA hasn’t done so well enforcing existing laws, so why would we expect this law to be enforced any better?
Exactly right you are!
OH hell YES the AKC should share the responsibility of inspecting. It is THEIR stamp of approval. those almighty AKC “papers” that puts the high price on the puppies head. You’d better believe they should take responsibility. I rescue and have personally seen registered dogs that had a mix breed in them. I know they cannot control everything but to sit back and take all that money for all these dogs and share no blame for the disaster that is backyard breeders and puppy mills??? If no AKC papers came with these puppies, the puppy mills would shut down faster. The AKC is a joke today, and all about money. Its a beauty contest, with NO health requirements whatsoever to “show” a dog. It only has to “look” a certain way. Check out Pedigreed Dogs Exposed.
I don’t believe the AKC is required to inspect puppy mills. The AKC helps breeders like myself, protect themselves from shady breeders and from undocumented purebred dogs and bogus legislation. The AKC does inspect breeding facilities and homes of it’s registered purebred dog breeders on occasion. Puppy mills do not register with the AKC to avoid inspection. The information, that I have heard, is that the AKC will inspect a facility when numerous requests for litter registration come from the same address or the same individual. People, who are the most critical of the AKC, have never participated in AKC events or used the AKC as a helpful resource to become a better breeder, dog trainer or responsible pet owner. The AKC is just a convenient target for some people to complain about. We, members of AKC and UKC purebred dog clubs, are not perfect, but we are working hard to do better. Will you work with us or just unjustly criticize us?
Thank you Bob. The AKC stamp of approval is what puts the high price on the dog. They the AKC, make all the money off this. They should share some of the responsibility for inspecting and making sure the dogs are not suffering.
I agree fully. While I am excited for any new accomplishments in favor of all our animals, I agree ALL PUPPY MILLS should be SHUT DOWN. Considering what they do not do for these helpless animals, there should be a law in place that it would be against the law to own or operate any puppy mill or selling animals that were bred in that environment.
But the AKC does not WANT puppy mills to shut down. Where do you think they get all their money????
I agree with Judy. There have been many stories that the USDA has NOT done it’s job and inspections were not done because of not enough employees. Well with all that money coming in maybe some can go to hire more people. It is not right that these poor dogs and cats suffer because our own have no compassion. And I also agree that it should be made public their faces on newspaper and news channels for animal abuse. Let’s make it public all the way.
I totally agree Judy!!!!!!!
Scientists have recently published (what all the rest of us already knew) research that concludes that ALL animals/fish/birds/reptiles et al are all sentient beings who have as much right to kindness and care as any other being. Humans are at the top of the food chain … that doesn’t mean we have the right to kill or torture any other beings.
While this is a huge move to help eradicate puppy mills, the USDA is not the only group of people who will need to step up their game. Action will be needed by organizations and individuals alike to find homes for the thousands of animals that will be in need of new forever homes. We need to show our appreciation for all of the organizations and individuals that work so hard to rescue these animals by giving our support and time to assist in this massive endeavor.
I agree. Society has to get it’s head out of the sand & stop “minding our own business”. We need to keep our eyes open & not be afraid to report someone who’s doing something wrong.