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I support the USDA proposed change to internet puppy sales. Will you?

August 13, 2012 23 comments

Daisy – my former puppy mill breeding dog

Well, today is it. The last day to comment on the USDA’s proposed rule change to the Animal Welfare Act. I’ve already made my comment, the question is… WILL YOU?

You haven’t heard about the proposed rule change? Then let me tell you what it means in one sentence. The ability for the USDA to inspect and regulate unscrupulous breeders and puppy mills who sell puppies over the internet.

Right now, yes today, puppy mills all over this country are using the internet to sell their puppies. Why? Because when they sell their puppies over the internet they can’t be inspected by the USDA. Nada. Never. This means they can keep their dogs in any condition they want. They don’t have to give them fresh water. They don’t have to feed them on a regular basis. They can keep them in tiny wire cages for their whole life. They don’t have to exercise them. They certainly don’t have to provide them the minimum of care that puppy mills who sell to pet stores do now.

Yes, yes, yes. I know it’s a bit more complicated than that.  Isn’t everything? But at its essence this rule change is about closing a loophole. One that badly needs  closing right now. All you have to do is look at eBay Classifieds to know that puppy millers are doing quite well on the internet. (BTW eBay – nice that you took puppies and kitties off your main listings page, but hiding them from the main page doesn’t address the real issue. You’re still facilitating the sale of puppy mill puppies over the internet.) And why not? They don’t have to worry about inspections. They don’t have to worry about dealing with a middle-man anymore. They simply pose their puppies next to a pop can or place them in front of a cute background and offer to ship them to you for an exorbitant fee.

So today is the day. It’s your chance to make a difference. As the owner of a former puppy mill breeding dog, I ask you to express your support for the proposed rule change. You can do so on the USDA website directly or you can use the easy form created by the ASPCA. Still confused? Hearing conflicting information from breeders on this topic? Go to the source. The USDA clarified some of questions and issues first raised by hobby breeders about the rule change.

Side note: I expect that I will hear from a lot of responsible breeders about how completely wrong I am about the specifics of this rule change. I am sure I will hear I am wrong to support it because it will have an impact on hobby breeders all over America. Great. Have at it. But before you do, answer me one question, why should I oppose a law that may or may not hurt you when I have seen very little from you in the way of opposing puppy mills?

I don’t see responsible and hobby breeders up in arms about the AKC handing out certificates to puppy millers. I never hear about responsible breeders exposing puppy millers who keep their pets in horrific conditions (and who, by the way, also give responsible breeders a bad name). Maybe you do fight against puppy mills and I just never hear about it. But I certainly haven’t seen the AKC stop giving them legitimacy.

I have always made the distinction between responsible “good” breeders and puppy millers. I support what you do. I respect breeders who care about the well-being of their dogs. But on this we will have to agree to disagree. I am for the rule change. I support it. I recognize that a rule change won’t mean there will be more inspectors available to inspect these internet puppy mills. I recognize that this will not stop puppy mills from selling over the internet. But what I do expect is that it will put a speed bump in their path and I’m good with that.

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