Years of bipartisan work to ensure the humane treatment of dogs at commercial breeding facilities and protect families buying pets online has resulted in a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule aimed at cracking down on puppy mills, Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) said Friday.
Gerlach applauded the USDA announcement that dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies online, by mail or over the phone would need a license and face the same oversight as wholesale animal breeders.
“Puppy mill profiteers will no longer be able to hide online and sell starved and sickly dogs to families looking for a new family pet,” Gerlach said. “By closing this Internet loophole in the federal Animal Welfare Act, the law has finally caught up to technology. This action is long overdue and necessary to end the horrific conditions and inhumane treatment of dogs at large breeding kennels here in Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Reputable and responsible breeders will not be hindered by this new federal rule. It is aimed at protecting dogs and making individuals motivated by profit rather than the fair and humane treatment of dogs accountable.”
The new USDA rule mirrors H.R. 847, the proposed Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS Act), which Gerlach has introduced during each of the last three sessions of Congress. The legislation, cosponsored by California Democrat Sam Farr, called for commercial breeders to be federally licensed and inspected regularly. Some large breeders have evaded federal animal welfare laws for years by selling dogs on the Internet.
“Internet sellers of dogs show the animals frolicking in grassy fields, but our investigations paint an entirely different picture: mother dogs, bred incessantly, confined in small wire cages, denied veterinary care, and exposed to extremes of heat and colds,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Pressure from Congress helped plug the gaping hole in our federal laws relating to inspections of puppy mill operators.”
More details about the new licensing and inspection requirements are available in this USDA press release.
News Release via Congressman Jim Gerlach,
Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional Disctrict