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Please Speak Up for Puppy Mill Dogs -- USDA Comment Period Ends on Wednesday

Urge the USDA to close the 'internet loophole' for puppy mills -- comments allowed until Wednesday, August 15th.

The United States Department of Agriculture will consider comments until Wednesday, August 15th about a proposed rule to hold online puppy sellers to the same standards that suppliers to pet stores are held to.

While the USDA only requires minimal standards of care for commercial puppy breeders (commonly known as Puppy Mills), the law does not extend to breeders  who sell directly to the public. 

This is often referred to as the 'online loophole' as it allows commercial breeders who market their puppies over the internet, by phone, or through catalogs to operate without any federal inspections.

“This is a very significant proposed federal action, since thousands of large-scale breeders take advantage of a loophole that allows them to escape any federal inspections,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.  “Dogs in puppy mills often live in small, overcrowded cages, living in filth and denied veterinary care. We need more eyes on these operations, and this rule will help.”

The proposed rule would require large-scale, commercial puppy breeders and dealers who sell to the public “sight unseen,” to abide by the same basic standards of care as those who sell wholesale to pet stores.

The proposed rule will not affect small hobby breeders who sell puppies directly to the public from their homes.  Small 'hobby' breeders who have less than five breeding females continue to be exempt from USDA licensing requirements.

Although the proposed rule is widely supported by animal-welfare groups including the ASPCA, the HSUS, and Best Friends Animal Society, there is one 'Champion of Dogs' who is against the legislation.  The American Kennel Club, which has been accused by the HSUS of representing the interests of breeders over the interests of the actual dogs they 'champion,' is urging its membership to oppose the law.

If you've read any of the reports about how puppies are legally raised in commercial breeding facilities, or watched any of the videos online, (just google 'puppy mills') it is hard to imagine how this loophole has existed this long, let alone fathom why any animal welfare organization would oppose it.

The proposed rule comes on the heels of an HSUS investigation which it claims demonstrated widespread consumer fraud and abuse throughout the commercial puppy mill industry.  The investigation’s findings led to a lawsuit against Purebred Breeders, LLC, which owns and operates almost 800 websites. The lawsuit alleges that the company uses deceptive sales practices to dupe unsuspecting consumers into purchasing dogs from puppy mills(View video footage of the investigation).

Although the proposed rule will not put an end to the suffering of breeding dogs in puppy mills, it will require thousands of previously unregulated commercial breeding facilities to finally be inspected and to conform to the (very) minimal standards of the Animal Welfare Act.

Please take a few moments now to contact the USDA to show your support.

Thank You for taking action for puppy mill dogs!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alethiologist August 17, 2012 at 12:57 AM
http://www.populationconnection.org/site/PageServer Sign up, it works and thank you for your interest!
KerriAnn Hofer August 17, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Thank You All again for supporting Puppy Mill regulations -- of course, the only way to close the mills is to eliminate the demand -- please help educate people about the connection between Pet Stores and Puppy Mills. If you are in the Norwalk area, please encourage friends to visit and to support PAWS (pawsct.org), and other local rescues/shelters.
Terri Cramer September 08, 2012 at 10:41 PM
I think that puppy mills should be 100% banned and pet stores should not be allowed to sell puppies or kittens!! If the government needs help shutting these horrible places down, round up some volunteers and give them the authority to shut them down and get every poor animal out of their and put in a safe place.
Tina Aronson February 06, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Banning the existence of puppy mills would be a dream, but since it's not an actuality yet, because they will still run underground, the next best step is to refuse to 'buy' a dog from a puppy store or on the internet from anyone other than a reputable breeder. Rescue, DO NOT BUY!!...that will really help put those ignorant scum out of business.
Leslie Yager February 06, 2013 at 02:51 PM
forgot what a powerful blog this was. glad it's back in play.

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