Tell U.S. Department of Agriculture to Close Loophole in Puppy Mill Regulation

Target: Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Close a loophole in breeder regulation that exempts internet sellers from licensing and inspection.

Under the Animal Welfare Law, breeders who sell puppies to pet stores or puppy brokers must be licensed and are subject to inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, technology has greatly advanced since the law was passed, and now many breeders sell directly over the internet, evading the USDA’s regulations. An update to this law is long overdue. Sign the petition urging the USDA to close the loopholes in breeding laws.

The Animal Welfare Act was passed almost fifty years ago. It has been amended several times, with the most recent amendment passing in 2008. In that time the use of the internet has skyrocketed, and people are as likely to find a pet on Craigslist as they are at their local pet store or animal shelter. As it stands now, the Animal Welfare Act has no power to regulate breeders who conduct their business via the internet–and regulation is sorely needed.

Many breeders mistreat their animals, and without proper regulation, abuse can go unchecked for years. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), “[p]uppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization… Breeding dogs at mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or crammed inside filthy structures where they never get the chance to feel the sun or breathe fresh air.” Female dogs are bred as often as possible with very little time to recover between litters, dogs may be kept in wire-bottomed cages that hurt their paws, and puppies are often removed from their mothers and littermates far too early.

Animal advocacy groups like the ASPCA have recommended changes to the current laws regulating puppy mills. The USDA places the number of puppy mills in the United States between 2,000 and 3,000, but the ASPCA estimates that there may be as many as 10,000, including those that are operating illegally or otherwise without government oversight.

Take a stand against animal cruelty and encourage the USDA to close the loopholes in its regulation of puppy mills.


Dear Mr. Vilsack,

Over the years, the Animal Welfare Act has been amended many times to reflect growing and changing concerns about animal welfare. However, one significant aspect of the law has been overlooked. The current language of the Animal Welfare Act makes it impossible for the USDA to oversee breeding operations that conduct their business online. In a country where we rely increasingly on the internet for everything from research to shopping, this is a gross oversight. I urge you to take immediate steps to correct this problem and close the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act.

Under the Animal Welfare Act as it stands now, animals breeders and “puppy mills” are regulated by the USDA and held to certain standards of quality, cleanliness, and so on. However, the regulation only applies to breeders who sell to pet stores or puppy brokers. There is no regulation of breeders who sell their animals directly over the internet. This glaring loophole leaves many dogs (and other animals!) vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse.

Help keep the Animal Welfare Act strong and up-to-date. Adopt the recommendations of animal welfare groups like the ASPCA and close this harmful and needless loophole once and for all.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

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  1. John Olexa says:

    We need to put an end puppy mills!

    • Anne-Mari Gavin says:

      All animal breeding MUST be regulated by strict laws. Only registered breeders must be allowed to breed – only one litter per year. All back yard breeders and puppy mills must be severely delt with. Get them also to clean kennels & feed animals in their spare time every day of their lives. Heavy fines and make them work with animals who need help in shelters and farms.

  2. Dear Animal lovers,

    I wish to bring to your attention a good cause.

    Could you please assist by looking at the links – and if possible, please make a donation.

    If you cannot make a donation , please add the links to your site/friends/etc to help spread the message and help a good charity.

    saving cats and dogs in Korea and beyond………….

    Thank you

  3. SUE GRIFFITHS says:

    Stop breeding animals, registered or not.

    • If no-one breeds any animals, there will be no pets. Is that what you want? It is possible that those who want to remove animals from our lives/the planet are aliens, like those of Billy Meier. As David Icke says, they want us to be unhappy, so they can control and exploit us. Pet breeders may be helping to save the planet!

  4. I think there is a place for pet breeders in this world. However, I also think they should be well regulated.

    • SUE GRIFFITHS says:

      If a well regulated breeder breeds just one dog and sells it, then that dog takes up a loving home that could have gone to a dog on death row. Have you ever taken a look at ‘Death Row dogs? Wonderful people are busting a gut to try and find homes for them. Some are lucky and are adopted, others die. In the first 3 days of the new year 61 dogs were put to sleep because no one went to rescue them. That’s in just one shelter. So no more breeding please, and do look up death row dogs. You just might change your mind about breeding.

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