Public comment period ends July 16
In mid-June, the Humane Society of the United States hand-delivered more than 60,000 letters from its members and supporters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in support of a proposed USDA rule designed to crack down on Internet puppy mills.
The rule, which would be implemented under the federal Animal Welfare Act, would require large-scale, commercial breeders and dealers who sell puppies to members of the public “sight unseen” – including by mail, phone, and over the Internet – to be fully licensed and inspected and to abide by the same standards of care as those who sell wholesale to pet stores. Small, responsible breeders who sell puppies in person to the public directly from their properties would not be affected.
“The tremendous public response to this proposal within just the first few weeks of the comment period shows that Americans support the USDA’s efforts to rein in unlicensed puppy mills,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign for The HSUS. “If passed, this rule will help protect thousands of dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities where puppies are sold over the Internet without any oversight.”
The HSUS is also involved in a lawsuit against online puppy seller Purebred Breeders LLC. Thought to be the largest online seller of dogs in the country, the Florida-based company sells as many as 20,000 puppies a year over the Internet, according to whistleblowers who worked there.
Filed by consumer justice law firm Leopold Law in partnership with The HSUS, the suit alleges that Purebred Breeders violates Florida state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers into believing that the puppies it sells are from high-quality breeders, when in fact they come from puppy mills.
Many former customers of online puppy seller Purebred Breeders LLC have joined a lawsuit against the company, saying they were misled into buying sick or injured dogs. The lawsuit charges that Purebred Breeders runs nearly 800 Internet domains designed to mislead consumers into believing that they are dealing with breeders in their home states when shopping online for a puppy.
To learn more about the lawsuit, or to file a complaint if you feel you were duped by Purebred Breeders, contact Natasha Sugathapala at Leopold Law: 561-515-1400, Natasha@leopold-law.com
The USDA’s period for public comments remains open through July 16. Take action on this important issue by submitting your comment here.
Visit hsus.org to learn more about the HSUS puppy mill campaign and its other important work to improve the lives of animals.
PUPPY MILL FACTS
- There are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.
- Puppies from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog’s health, genetic history, or future welfare.
- Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization, or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life.
- To be sure you are not supporting a puppy mill, avoid buying a puppy over the Internet or from a pet store. Always visit a breeder in person so you can inspect the facility and ensure that the dogs are raised in humane and sanitary conditions.
- Best of all, save a life by adopting your new dog from a local rescue group!