A petition filed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society Legislation Fund (HSLF) received over 10,600 signatures in under ten days. This number is more than double what is needed to ensure an official response from President Obama and the White House.
The petition was filed through a new feature on the White House website called "We The People" which allows everyday people to seek federal action. The White House has issued a promise that any petition which gathers 5,000 signatures within 30 days will be responded to. Animal lovers went above and beyond this requirement, meeting the 5,000 signature condition in under a week, with the number still climbing.
"The petition asks the President to close a loophole that permits large-scale, commercial breeders who sell puppies online and directly to the public to escape basic oversight and minimal animal care standards. The Obama Administration needs to act now and close this loophole to crack down on the worst puppy mill abuses," said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign with the HSUS. "Thousands of animal lovers across the country are bringing the issue of puppy mills directly to the President’s attention."
The current USDA’s Animal Welfare Act regulates large-scale commercial dog breeders who sell puppies wholesale to brokers or pet stores. However, the loophole within that act means that dog breeders who sell their puppies directly to the public via newspaper or Internet advertisements are not being regulated. This petition is a call to close that loophole.
"The ASPCA has seen first-hand the unspeakable cruelty and horrific conditions of puppy mills," said Cori Menkin, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign at the ASPCA. "The existing regulatory loophole allows many commercial breeders to operate without a license and without any inspection — meaning they are not accountable to anyone for their breeding and care standards. President Obama can take action to protect dogs and consumers and we urge him to do so."
Additional signatures are still being accepted. Animal welfare supporters can take part in signing the petition at We the People - Crack Down on Puppy Mills to help advance the initiative.
Image: John Sibley / via Flickr