PUPS Act – Paws Up or Paws Down?

I’ve been reading a bit on the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act, commonly referred to as PUPS (pdf).  This piece of proposed federal legislation is designed to “close the loophole that allows large breeders to sell puppies online, escaping inspection and oversight

Here is the official summary.  I’ve excerpted some language from the bill below for your consideration.

The term ‘high volume retail breeder’ means a person who, in commerce, for compensation or profit—
(i) has an ownership interest in or custody of 1 or more breeding female dogs;
(ii) sells or offers for sale, via any means of conveyance (including the Internet, telephone, or newspaper), more than 50 of the offspring of such breeding female dogs for use as pets in any 1-year period.

Note that the bill defines a “breeding female dog” an an intact bitch aged 4 months or older.

Regarding exercise, the bill says:

(A) each dog that is at least 12 weeks old (other than a female dog with unweaned puppies) has daily access to exercise that—
(i) allows the dog—
(I) to move sufficiently to develop or maintain normal muscle tone and mass as appropriate for the age, breed, sex, and reproductive status of the dog; and

(II) the ability to achieve a running stride; and

(ii) is not a forced activity (other than a forced activity used for veterinary
treatment) or other physical activity that is repetitive, restrictive of other activities, solitary, and goal-oriented;
(B) the provided area for exercise—
(i) is separate from the primary enclosure if the primary enclosure does not provide sufficient space to achieve a running stride;
(ii) has flooring that—
(I) is sufficient to allow for the type of activity described in subparagraph (A); and
(II)(aa) is solid flooring; or
(bb) is nonsolid, nonwire flooring, if the nonsolid, nonwire flooring—
(AA) is safe for the breed, size, and age of the dog;
(BB) is free from protruding sharp edges; and

(CC) is designed so that the paw of the dog is unable to extend through or become caught in the flooring;
(iii) is cleaned at least once each day;
(iv) is free of infestation by pests or vermin; and
(v) is designed in a manner to prevent escape of the dogs.

There is an exemption for dogs who a vet has determined should not exercise due to health considerations.  The exemption must state that the dog has a permanent condition or in the case of a temporary medical problem, the owner must get the exemption renewed every 30 days.

Here is a piece opposing the bill (pdf).  It raises some interesting points about the vague term “ownership interest in”, the seeming inability for the average home to meet the exercise area requirements and the fact that breeders must open their homes for inspections.  Another key issue is the set number of puppies which qualifies someone as a high volume retail breeder.  The bill lists that number as 50.  Some breeders are concerned that if passed, the bill could be amended in future to lower that number.

What are your thoughts on PUPS?


7 thoughts on “PUPS Act – Paws Up or Paws Down?

  1. Interesting! Expecially since the inspections aren’t done now and if they are the inspectors do nothing to enforce the existing laws already on the books.

    In a perfect world none of this would be necessary. People would respect the creatures in their care.

  2. The article says “…all breeders that sell more than 50 dogs a year…” yet the bill says “sells or offers for sale
    …” and the opposing pieces speaks about a single 4-month old female causing commercial kennel status but doesn’t explain that. So some pieces here are a bit jagged.

    However, the “ownership interest” that Suzie Black challenges seems to be only in the breeding female and not any puppies sold with a contractual return. Nor does semen ownership typically come from a “breeding female dog”.

    Also, you need a clearer picture of the previous laws and the changes this would make, including laws governing commercial kennels. And fill in other holes such as the penalties and that 30 seconds of exercise doesn’t cut it.

    Overall, I could see this going either way. I’d suggest that those most interested don’t simply complain but work together to draft something that attacks the original issue in a manner they feel is reasonable. IMO that makes a far better argument.

    1. The reason “ownership interest” in the bitches is significant to my mind is because it relates to the 50 puppies sold from those bitches. It could possibly put a breeder in a position of having to count the 15 pups she sold herself that year plus the 40 that were sold by other breeders whose bitches she has this vague “ownership interest in”. Maybe the breeder is listed on the AKC papers as co-owner of one of them, maybe she is the owner of the frozen semen used to impregnate another, etc.

      1. I have been told that breeders maintain an “ownership interest” if their sales contract stipulates that the puppy or dog HAS to come back to the breeder if the buyer is unable to keep it for any reason at all. The legal term for this is “remainder interest.”

  3. Why aren’t inspections being done now? And why can’t we get enforcement in place and functional?
    This isn’t a perfect world, but I also think you can’t legislate that either!
    As a general rule, I’m opposed to new laws. (The old ones aren’t working, what makes us think new ones will be better?!)

  4. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws..
    Ayn Rand..
    and in this case so true…vague and arbitrary laws that allow for more “inspections” of private homes on the premise of “too many sold’ is an anathema to our freedoms.. when will it be enough?? I can tell you.. for most people NEVER until of course their ox is the one being gored.. and by then it will be too late.

  5. PUPS is unnecessary. The HSUS has lobbied for this law, not as a way to protect dogs, but as a way to drive the final nail in the coffin of the dog fancy and pet ownership in general to further their vegan agenda. What the heck is the “internet sales loophole”, for example? They missed that train a long time ago. The very best quality puppies are almost always ‘sold’ via the internet, and if someone sees this as some kind of loophole to avoid humane treatment, well that is just crazy. It’s the “parking lot” sales tool that we ought to worry about, where the pups are conveniently delivered to your local Wal Mart lot. via a rusty un-marked van. The puppies come from some hidden hell hole in the woods, where a license and inspection is just laughed at. If we want to shut down true “puppy mills” (illegal substandard breeder is a more accurate name) we need to find them first, and arrest the bastards for breaking EXISTING LAWS. The internet is just an illustrated telephone conversation, where you don’t really know what’s behind a voice or url. If you don’t carefully follow up on references, personal visits, credentials, shame on you. In my area pet stores are rare, but the few who are still selling puppies could be more carefully vetted, I believe, or maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to sell dogs, that is matter for debate. The latest USDA/APHIS scandal around inspections deserves looking at, and if wealthy lobbying groups are really out to protect animals, well they should aim their efforts at improving enforcement of existing laws. Think about it – if some big DC lobby firm got the media to show some horrific traffic accidents with dead and maimed people and claimed that we all ought to limit our vehicle numbers and drive fewer miles because others broke existing traffic laws, would you go along with that? Would you willingly agree to cut down your drive to work because an unlicensed driver with no insurance blew a stop sign and killed your neighbor, and if we don’t agree to that, the “suggestion” would become law?
    PUPS, like Prop B in MO is fully intended to shut down all breeding of dogs, regardless of what the proponents claim to the contrary. The cumulative effects of these state and now federal laws will first flood the country with dogs when kennels will have no choice but to dump them or be fined. Who do you think will take all these dogs? How about the REAL puppy mills, who will move further underground with their new stash of breeding dogs, easily able to sell thousands and thousands of puppies well under the cost that the remaining legal kennels can afford to charge because the good guys are now limited? A flood of new black market pups, some from overseas (the failed Soviet states are already doing this), most from our own hidden ‘mills’ will result, and there will be NO MORE money left to train and hire anywhere near the number of law enforcement humane specialists and kennel inspectors needed to find these hell holes and prosecute them.

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