Internet Puppy Mill Regulation Bill Introduced to the Senate

PetMD Editorial
Published: April 05, 2011
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Got a thing against puppy mills? (And well, of course you do.) Then you'll love the bill Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and David Vitter (R-La.) recently reintroduced to the U.S. Senate floor.

S. 707 -- known as the PUPS Act, for "Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act" -- will close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that currently allows large-scale, commercial breeders who sell puppies online or directly to the public to escape licensing and regulation.

Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, facilities that breed dogs for commercial resale through pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected. However, puppy mills that sell directly to the public are exempt from any federal oversight.

This means Internet sellers and other direct sales facilities can sell thousands of puppies -- which are sometimes sick and/or dying -- to unsuspecting consumers. All the while, breeding dogs at these facilities may spend their entire lives in constant confinement and suffering.

"The media regularly reports stories about dogs rescued from substandard facilities -- where dogs are housed in stacked wire cages and seriously ill dogs are routinely denied access to veterinary care," Sen. Durbin said. "Online dog sales have contributed to the rise of these disturbing cases. My bipartisan bill requires breeders who sell more than 50 dogs a year directly to the public to obtain a license from the USDA and ensures that the dogs receive proper care."

H.R. 835, a companion bill introduced last month in the House of Representatives by Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif., already has 86 cosponsors.

Image: Mary Haight / via Flickr

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