Posts Tagged ‘PUPS Act’

Proposals, puppy mills and postulations

October 5, 2011 8 comments

I’ve been involved in a rather long discourse (over several days) with someone on a friend’s page. The topic? The new regulations being proposed by the USDA regarding the retail sale of pets, over the internet and elsewhere. These regulations would revise the current version of the Animal Welfare Act, which is the overarching federal law governing cat and dog breeders.

Currently, the Animal Welfare Act does not include governance over the retail sale of cats and dogs who are sold directly to consumers, “such as through websites, by telephone, at parking lots or from the kennel.”

More and more puppy millers are selling their dogs over the internet without any fear of being exposed. It’s a much more anonymous process for them. They can hide all the bad stuff, like: animal abuse, lack of vet care, poor living conditions for the animals, sick dogs and cats, etc. It’s much easier to fool the general public over the internet when they can’t see your facility and you don’t face inspection by the USDA.

The long running discourse began with the following postulation.

“Before everyone gets on the “Yahoo” bandwagon on this, please realize that any legislation that attempts to regulate folks in the way this one does is only going to get the honest and responsible folks. Limits on pet numbers is just the first PETA and HSUS step to get their foot in the door and then watch the numbers lower down. Who is gonna regulate the folks who backyard breed? How will they track folks who advertise in the newspapers or on internet?? Use a different phone number, a different email addy, a different ‘kennel’ name and in the eyes of the govt, they are different folks. The responsible breeders, who do the testing–health and genetic–and participate in dog sports and dog shows and breed only to better the breed are gonna be the ones who get hurt by this until—you and I can no longer own pets. Not a world I choose to live in. And no, I am not a breeder, yes I do rescue, yes I am a responsible pet owner who cares deeply about my dogs and any future dogs I will share my life with. This is not the way to fix things.”

I looked at this comment with some skepticism. When someone says something like “this is how PETA and HSUS plans to control you”, my feelers start twitching. It’s too close to Humane Watch propaganda to not have them twitch, but then another commenter asked “Is this bill funded in a self sustaining manner? Is there staffing? The USDA is overwhelmed and underfunded.” Now those are good questions, I thought. The USDA isn’t doing a good job inspecting the breeders they are supposed to be inspecting now. How could they possibly take on more?

This same commenter goes on to say that we should focus on enforcing current laws versus adding more laws. But, is that really an option? Current laws are all over the place depending on which state you live in. There is no national legislation around the retail sale of puppies and kitties. So are these the only options? To either support legislation that may not be able to be enforced effectively or to not support it at all? That seems rather limited doesn’t it?

To me, doing nothing seems like no option at all. We’re already way behind the puppy millers. They’re using the internet to sell their puppies and kitties now. (Heck, even eBay helps them out!) And, puppy millers now have access to folks who are willing to look the other way as long as they get paid to create their websites for them. So, do we not support a bill that captures the outliers, those flying under the radar? Or, do we support it and hope that the enforcement will come? I prefer the latter to the former.

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