Support Proposed Regulations for Online Pet Sales

Breeders who sell animals directly to the public may no longer be able to avoid federal oversight if a new proposal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) passes, which could mean a big blow to puppy mills.

Currently, thousands of breeders are taking advantage of a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that allows them to sell directly to the public via the Internet, phone or mail without any oversight.

The proposed change would update the 40-year-old definition of a “retail pet store” to close the loophole and impose the same regulations on these breeders as those faced by large-scale wholesale dealers under the AWA and would apply to those who breed more than four “female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals” every year. Brick and mortar pet stores have been exempt from regulations under the premise that people can actually go in and observe the health and well-being of animals before bringing them home.

Under the change, breeders will have to open their doors and allow buyers in to see animals before they buy them, or get a license and allow APHIS inspections to ensure that animals are cared for and healthy, according to the AP.

“This proposed change is aimed at modernizing our regulations to require individuals who sell animals directly to the public to meet basic care and feeding as required by the Animal Welfare Act,” said Rebecca Blue, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. “By revising the definition of retail pet store to be better suited to today’s marketplace, we will improve the welfare of pets sold to consumers via online, phone- and mail-based businesses.”


Please sign the petition supporting the USDA’s proposed regulations to help protect pets and consumers.

APHIS also needs to hear from us and will be accepting public comments on the proposed rule for 60 days after it’s published in the Federal Register, which should be any day now. When it’s online, if you would like to leave a comment you can do so here, or search for Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003.

Related Stories:

Facebook Bans Puppy Mill Ads

Ireland Bans Puppy Mills

Nearly 300 Dogs Seized from North Carolina Puppy Mills

Photo credit: Thinkstock


William C
William C8 months ago

Thanks for caring.

W. C
W. C9 months ago

Thank you.

Colin Wright
Past Member 5 years ago

Breeding needs to be stopped, period. Not "reputable", not "mills", ALL BREEDING. Every time you buy a dog from any breeder, anywhere, a shelter dog is killed. It's not rocket science people. You actions have consequences.

If you like making people kill animals, keep buying from breeders. If you want to save animals lives, adopt from shelters, especially high-kill shelters.

Aurea Walker

I fervently hope we can stop all puppy mills and the selling of these innocent creatures online. Reputable breeders are one thing, but better yet if you want a companion adopt thru rescue shelters.

Fiona T.
Past Member 5 years ago

If this helps the poor living things

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Marilyn Byrne
Marilyn Graziano5 years ago

I entirely agree with Janet C.I live in Europe and the same thing happens here. Marilyn B.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

thanks.. adopt from shelters people!

Joslynne Davidson you think these greedy know nothing monsters should not be shut down. Check out poor Rosie. If this doesn't cause you to think twice-you have no heart. I cried-and this haunts me. The AKC probably registered Rosie too.

Janet C.
Janet C.6 years ago

We really need regulation of puppy mills. Have you ever seen pictures of how these poor animals are treated? Bred and bred until they cannot bred again, then abused and killed in thne most horrible ways. We had a story recently here in NY State where a mill was shut down ant they showed pictures of the apalling conditions these animals were kept in: Stacks of wire cages with mothers and puppies. These cages were not cleaned, no water for the dogs, and feces and urine raining down on almost all. How could a puppy raised that way be normal? Then there were the cages with dead mothers, starved and dehydrated, simply left to die in feces on hot summer days. I would personally like to take every one of these sociopaths (mill runners) and put them in the dog cages and leave them to die.