English: Chihuahua puppy

“Right now, the USDA considers any commercial dog breeder who sells puppies directly to the public, including over the Internet, a “pet store” and exempts them from federal oversight—no matter how large or abusive their breeding operation is. As a result, thousands of dogs are bred and kept in filthy, inhumane conditions with no basic welfare standards. This antiquated view of what constitutes a pet store urgently needs updating!

The loophole means that any breeder who sells puppies directly to the public is not required to open his or her kennel doors to federal inspectors. Unscrupulous breeders have been exploiting this loophole for decades by meeting unsuspecting consumers in parking lots and flea markets—and more recently, by selling puppies online.

This gaping loophole in federal law is under government scrutiny, and we need your help to ensure it is closed! In mid-May, the USDA released a draft of its proposed new rule to close this massive regulatory loophole. The proposed rule represents a meaningful effort by the USDA to target problematic, large-scale breeding operations that sell puppies to the public, sight unseen, by requiring these breeders to meet the minimum care standards of the Animal Welfare Act. While the rule is not perfect, we are hopeful that with your help, USDA will make the changes necessary to fix this problem once and for all.

While we often hear about the plight of the puppies who come out of puppy mills, the mothers of those puppies also urgently need protection. Breeding female dogs in puppy mills are forced to bear litter after litter without any break for their bodies to recover. They typically suffer from lack of proper nutrition, socialization and veterinary care. Support the USDA’s efforts to require more large-scale, commercial breeders to open their kennel doors to federal inspectors.
What You Can Do

The USDA wants your comments on the rule. Join the ASPCA in urging the USDA to make sure all puppy mills are regulated, and that legitimate rescues and shelters are not inadvertently impacted. The agency needs to hear YOU speak out in about this rule! If you haven’t done so already, please use the form below to send an official comment to the USDA today in support of the proposed regulation. We encourage you to enter your own text in the box provided to let the USDA know why this issue is important to you.” (ASPCA; thanks, Lloyd).