New Legislation Preventing Puppy Mills and Animal Cruelty

Federal lawmakers are hoping to crackdown on Puppy mills and animal cruelty. The measure called the PUPS Act, for “Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act” was introduced to close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that allows online dog sellers to operate outside of regulations.

“Puppy mills are large-scale, commercial breeding operations where dogs are commonly housed in overcrowded, filthy and inhumane conditions. The current law allows large, commercial breeders who sell puppies online or directly to the public to escape the licensing and inspection requirements that apply to breeders selling dogs to pet stores,” from press release from the Humane Society of the United States, a lobbying group for animal welfare.

The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966 to regulate the treatment of  animals in research and exhibition, but because of a loophole online dog breeders have been exempt from the regulations.

Under the PUPS Act, those who sell more than 50 dogs annually — whether through pet stores or online – will be required to undergo inspections and meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for caring for the dogs. The current law does not apply to online sellers.

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Photo: Sarah Ause, Best Friends Animal Society
The measure also requires that dogs be exercised or given access to an exercise area for 60 minutes a day. Some dogs in the puppy mills behind these websites never get out of their wire cages, says Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

According to Think Progress, Investigators at the International Fund for Animal Welfare asked several experts on puppy mill operations and dog breeding to make an estimate on how many puppy-mill dogs are sold online each year. They examined the ads at major online sellers and developed an estimate, based on general characteristics common to puppy mill ads and how many puppy mill dogs were sold through these websites per year.

The results:

Using the criteria developed by the expert panel, investigators found that 5,911 of the ads qualified as “likely puppy mill,” which equaled 62% of the ads analyzed from the six dedicated puppy sale websites. Further applying this 10% sample with the 62% “likely puppy mill” findings to the six websites would mean that as many as 57,447 ads and 107,425 individual puppies would potentially be classified as stemming from a “likely puppy mill” on that one day of the investigation…given the conservative nature of the determinations and the strong likelihood that many puppy mill ads were overlooked due to marketing manipulation, the expert panel and investigators felt that the total number of puppies coming from puppy mills may have been significantly underestimated.
If the legislation passes, it could prevent heart breaking stories like this.

“People did not realize that pet overpopulation was so terrible, that so many have been
abandoned, that spaying and neutering is so important,” written on the Hope For Paws Facebook page.