The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act (H.R. 835) has been reintroduced by federal lawmakers. This bill would amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to provide better protection for puppy mill dogs. While the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) endorse the bill, there is opposition to the proposal, stating its enforcement could overextend government resources.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act which protects certain animals from inhumane treatment and neglect.Puppy mills are large scale breeding facilities that breed dogs for commercial resale. They are required to be licensed and inspected by APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) however; there are many deficiencies with both the scope and enforcement of the AWA.
The AWA applies only to ‘wholesale’ operations which sell dogs to pet stores and brokers. It does not apply to sales directly to the public, primarily through the internet, therefore allowing puppy mills to escape regulation by the federal law. These inhumane facilities have taken advantage of this internet loophole increasing profits while dogs suffer. Violations often go unpunished allowing thousands of dogs to live their entire lives in overcrowded, filthy and inhumane conditions even in licensed facilities.
In response to concerns about this the USDA has published a proposed rule to close the loophole in the AWA regulations. The PUPS Act would require large scale breeding facilities selling more than 50 puppies’ over the internet, by phone or mail to be licensed and regularly inspected. It would also require breeding dogs be provided 60 minutes of exercise a day.
Thanks to increased public awareness and pressure on public officials more than 20 states passed new laws between 2008 and 2012 to crack down on puppy mills and improve the lives of dogs. The best way the public can help stop puppy mills is to stop supporting them. Check your local animal shelter, rescue group or responsible breeder at Petfinder.com. Make adoption your first option.