Regulating Internet puppy merchants
Dog breeders who avoid animal welfare laws and regulations by selling puppies over the Internet would face tighter scrutiny under a rule change proposed last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Under the change, dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies electronically, by mail or over the phone, would be subject to the same oversight faced by wholesale dealers as part of the Animal Welfare Act.
The proposal is aimed at closing the loophole created when the Internet became a new venue for puppy sales. The thousands of large-scale breeders who advertise there have not been subject to oversight or inspection.
Under the changes, sellers either must open their doors to the public so buyers can see the animals before they purchase them, or obtain a license and be subject to inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, according to the Associated Press.
The Animal Welfare Act, written in 1966, set standards of care for animals bred for commercial sale and research. Retail sales were exempt from inspections since those customers aren’t buying dogs sight unseen.
“We feel this is certainly a much-needed change to an outdated system,” said Rebecca Blue, deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. Blue said it’s designed to ensure that dogs sold and shipped to buyers are healthy, treated well and genetically sound.
“This is a very significant proposed federal action, since thousands of large-scale breeders take advantage of a loophole that allows them to escape any federal inspections,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Dogs in puppy mills often live in small, overcrowded cages, living in filth and denied veterinary care. We need more eyes on these operations, and this rule will help.”
The change does not affect backyard breeders who sell puppies from their homes or other physical locations.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 15th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animal welfare act, animals, change, department of agriculture, dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, inspection, internet, merchants, mills, oversight, pets, proposal, proposed, puppy, puppy mills, regulation, rule, sales, usda