A bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers introduced a bill on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 to bring Internet sellers of puppies under the regular oversight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency in-charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act; the act sets minimum care standards for animals. Pets currently sold over the Internet are not guaranteed anything, including food, water, or protection from extremes of heat or cold, exercise, or a clean, safe place to live, because of a loophole in the law.
The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act would require commercial breeders selling their puppies directly to the public, sight unseen, including via the web, to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). At this time, only breeders selling their dogs to pet stores or to puppy brokers are subject to federal oversight.
Puppy mills puppies are, most often, bred in overcrowded, unsanitary, and often cruel conditions and then sold online. Most of these puppies do not receive veterinary care or basics needs such as food and water and rarely are the socialized. There are facilities breeding puppies that are required to be licensed and inspected for commercial resale to pet stores, other breeders selling directly to consumers via the Internet, newspaper ads or other outlets, are exempt from any federal oversight.
The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS ace) is sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and David Vitter, R-La., and Representatives Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif.
Under the PUPS Act all breeders selling more than 50 dogs annually, despite if selling to pet stores or on-line, will be inspected and must meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for caring for the dogs. A major change is that licensing and inspection requirements in the current law do not apply to online sellers. In addition the bill also will require dogs be exercised or given access to an exercise area for 60 minutes a day. Sadly, most dogs in the puppy mills never get out of their wire cages
The ASPCA and Humane Society of United States are strong supporters of this bill and have been a strong voice asking for the changes in the law regarding the poor conditions and mistreatment to dogs born in puppy mills.
"We live in an era of online shopping and it should be no surprise that people are looking to the Internet to purchase puppies," says Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. "It removes the purchaser from the conditions of the animals even more. So many of these Internet sellers pretend to be humane breeders but are in fact puppy mills."
"Currently, abusive puppy mills are able to completely evade federal oversight by taking advantage of a pre-Internet loophole in current law, but the PUPS Act would change that," says Nancy Perry, senior vice president of government relations for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals." Thousands of these mills have shifted online to evade the law."
While changing the law will help, the greatest way to end puppy mills is to refuse to buy a puppy from a pet store, on-line or from an ad. Shelters and rescue organizations are filled with dogs deserving a forever home. These options have puppies and dogs of all ages. Society can do its part to close down puppy mills by rescuing or adopting the next dog for your home and family.
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