Discussion: Will New Rule Help Puppy Mill Dogs?

A change proposed to the Animal Welfare Act will affect dog breeders who sell via the internet.  Breeders who own more than 4 intact bitches would be required to open their breeding facilities, which in many cases is a person’s home, to the public or to USDA inspectors.

Do you think this proposed rule will protect puppy mill dogs?  How do you feel about opening your home to strangers who contact you online about a puppy?  Remember Bobbie Jo Stinnett?

53 thoughts on “Discussion: Will New Rule Help Puppy Mill Dogs?

  1. Oh, lord.

    If it’s going to be on the basis of the number of intact females, that needs to be much, much higher. Not four!

    Surely the number of puppies sold in a year would be a better measure–but even that has to be set to allow for the big breeds for whom a dozen or more puppies in a single litter is not unusual. How about we say, 100 puppies? Yes, it would let some millers slip through, but it ought to ensure that no one is forced to open their home to the random public because they’re a responsible, small-scale breeder!

    Or, even better, though I know this is dangerous radicalism, just enforce the normal and already-existing animal welfare and animal cruelty laws.

    1. Wouldn’t this include facilities with “more than” four female dogs (as in puppy mills)? Are you saying that breeders with, say, five bitches may not be puppy mills and shouldn’t be required to be inspected?

      I think the problem here is that the USDA doesn’t do much in the first place, so this won’t change things much, other than wasting more dollars enforcing weak laws.

      1. Yes. Exactly. The mere fact of having five intact females does not make you a puppy mill. Depending on the breed and the activities, it’s not at all uncommon for people who are seriously into the dog world to have multiple intact adults. Schutzhund dogs, real working dogs, giant breed dogs regardless of activity–because spay/neuter before the growth plates close lets the long bones grow too long, results in less solid joints, and lower bone density, it’s unusual for these dogs to be speutered before eighteen months, and three years is not unusual.

        If you’re showing your dogs in AKC conformation competition, you must keep your dogs intact.

        How many intact dogs a person has is a lousy measure of whether they’re a puppy mill. Number of puppies sold and how they are sold is a much better measure.

        Or, as I said, we could eliminate most of the abuses just by enforcing existing animal welfare and animal cruelty laws.

      2. “are you saying that breeders with, say, five bitches may not be a “puppy mill”…??
        YES emphatically YES.. and note.. this regulation covers all sorts of animals. APHIS has not to my knowledge commented on a “combination’ ” of these.. so if you have three natural dogs and five natural hamsters.. will you need a license and a paid inspection if you sell the offspring “online” or by telephone or “mail order” ( whatever that is)
        If you do as I did and take a litter of pups that are not born at your “retail store” ie your home (say the dam dies and you are helping to hand raise the litter and you place them) if you have more than four “breedable females” does that make you a puppy mill.. under APHIS rules you will need a license and paid inspection.. are you getting the picture.. it is all about control and MONEY

  2. The USDA, when they actually show up, issues piles of citations to the puppy millers (literally PILES) and then disappear. There are no consequences of any value to inhibit this vile industry and everyone knows it. I sent my response yesterday:

    “Retail pet stores are not required to be licensed and inspected under the AWA. We are also proposing to increase from three to four the number of breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals that a person may maintain on his or her premises and be exempt from the licensing and inspection requirements.”
    Seriously? Am I supposed to celebrate this as progress in animal protection? You close a “loophole” that cannot be policed anyway, now requiring animals being purchased to be physically “observed” and presume this will end internet sales? At the same time, you INCREASE the number of breeding animals allowed and still refuse to regulate the locations selling these animals OR the breeders producing them. WHERE exactly is the PROGRESS here? Actual protection will be when you BAN puppy mills and unregulated breeding operations, prosecute and punish those who profit from the misery these animals endure. This is utterly devoid of protection for animals on every level; it is an empty, pointless waste of time; a mere showpiece without substance.

  3. The USDA, when they actually show up, issues PILES of citations to these millers, then disappears. There is NO enforcement, NO punishment, NO consequence of any value NOW. So, as usual, they avoid the heart of the matter by dealing with the fringes and calling it reform. I sent my response yesterday:

    “Retail pet stores are not required to be licensed and inspected under the AWA. We are also proposing to increase from three to four the number of breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals that a person may maintain on his or her premises and be exempt from the licensing and inspection requirements.”
    Seriously? Am I supposed to celebrate this as progress in animal protection? You close a “loophole” that cannot be policed anyway, now requiring animals being purchased to be physically “observed” and presume this will end internet sales? At the same time, you INCREASE the number of breeding animals allowed and still refuse to regulate the locations selling these animals OR the breeders producing them. WHERE exactly is the PROGRESS here? Actual protection will be when you BAN puppy mills and unregulated breeding operations, prosecute and punish those who profit from the misery these animals endure. This is utterly devoid of protection for animals on every level; it is an empty, pointless waste of time; a mere showpiece without substance.

  4. Isn’t it fairly common for reputable breeders to allow future puppy owners to see the puppies in their home? Shouldn’t that be a prerequisite to insure you aren’t purchasing from a puppy mill? Citing that article about one murder seems a bit over-reactive and fear inciting; businesses face problems of violence from customers all the time, but that is part of being an open business and not a shady back alley one. Anyone can be targeted by a crazy person for anything. Just because ONE breeder was murdered for allowing someone near them, does not a string of violence make.

    Also, they are not requiring “strangers” to be allowed inside; it sounds like it would only required agents to inspect the facilities, unless the USDA is hiring freelance undercover agents. I think inspections from the USDA could ensure that proper facilities are in place for the dogs and the breeder (or puppy mill) is not misrepresenting itself on the internet.

    But, I don’t think the USDA laws are strict enough against puppy mills anyway, so even if more suspected puppy mills are inspected, it’s not like it will help much.

    1. I just reread the original article, and breeders WILL have to allow buyers inside or be faced with inspection. I still believe that if you run a business out of your home, you should allow customers to see a puppy’s environment. It shouldn’t be a 9-5 time where people can walk in and out, but appointments seem fine. As an artist, if someone wanted to see my “studio” (corner of my apartment) where I create my paintings to make sure I wasn’t selling pieces secondhand, they have that right.

      If they don’t want the public, what’s wrong with an inspection? Other than the USDA won’t do anything if something is wrong.

      1. no they do not “have that right” to inspect your painting studio..you must ALLOW them access to your studio if it is in your home. There is so much wrong with this set of regulations it is difficult to know where to start. First of all to say well only ONE person was murdered is callous.. wow only one.. there have been others plus robberies and theft of personal property,, home invasions and theft of the animsl themselves. last week 12 “pit bull” puppies were stolen at gunpoint by two people comimg to the persons home “just to look” at the puppies.
        I am a “reputable breeder” and I have had four “breedable females” in my home at one time. so what? I did not breed all of them.. but it was my choice to keep them in their natural state. You might note that ‘breedable” has not been defined as of yet by APHIS..
        I am sending a puppy with a friend who will pick up the dog at a show we are both attending.. he will drive to puppy to a new home about 10 hours away and drop the pup off to a family who just lost their 12 year old dog that they got from me. Under these new regulations I would be committing an illegal act. The family would have to drive to my home and back.. 20 hours and many more dollars in GAS ( think about the environment) so that they could “inspect” my “retail store” i.e. my home.

  5. Current laws should be enforced, but the feds have no business in people’s homes under this over-the-top type of regulation. This so-called “internet loophole” is BOGUS. Animals have been sold sight unseen for decades (through magazine ad, referrals, performance shows, and now the internet) and only a tiny percentage of those sales go bad. If anything, the internet has helped the consumer *because* it’s quicker and easier to communicate via email, see a person’s web site, read articles about whatever animal is of interest, get references (try googling), see facilities via webcam and posted pictures, etc. That is all good!

    I don’t believe the rules will be passed as submitted, but IF they were, a major *bad consequence* would be the self-elimination of small and medium-sized pet breeders who are very knowledgeable about what they raise; educate and work closely with customers (local AND long distance); who may raise rare breeds that need to be exchanged or sold to other breeders trying to preserve lines or species; who may live in areas where it’s either dangerous to have strangers in one’s home; OR have someone (either competitor or anti-animal-breeder) targeting them in a mean-spirited fashion (maybe because they are outspoken against the AR movement). What that could mean is an actual *reduction in quality of and education about pets*, in that pets would either comes from onesey twosey breeders who don’t do testing or are not knowledgeable enough themselves to notice potential problems; from “rescues” who may not know the history or even the true breed of the animal they are *selling*; black-market pets; OR only from larger commercial breeders because they are already USDA licensed. Is that the future of pets that the public wants? I DON’T THINK SO.

    Remember, in context, that the “animal rights” agenda is to *eliminate animal use*, whether for pets, food, or clothes. ***So why are we letting the “animal rights” INDUSTRY frame the categorization of pet animal breeders as *guilty of neglect* just because they are breeders?*** That IS what’s happening. AR organizations, such as H$U$, have infiltrated the USDA (e.g., Sarah Conant, ex-H$U$, in APHIS enforcement), and they are “whispering in the ear” of the rule-makers that this is necessary and will generate a good reason for federal funding. NOT. And the *consequences* are VERY INTENDED by these AR groups. The end justifies the means for them, and animal and human casualties are *acceptable collateral damage*. They don’t believe your child or grandchild has a right to a pet, but that “viewing them from afar” (as PeTA’s Ingrid Newkirk suggested) is more ethical. NOT.

    1. so can you see how this is working.. APHIS is making busy work for itself.. trying to stay afloat..with the full support of the animal rights groups who see this as another way to “curb overpopulation” and of course put breeders .. even small ones.. out of business.
      APHIS budget was cut by 73 million dollars last year.. poised to take another hit this year of 53 million.. so.. where do you think they plan to get the “extra” cash to keep themselves in business.. yup … fines ( see the Dollarhite rabbit case where APHIS tried to collect 90,000 in fines ) and licenses.. and payment for increased inspections I totally agree with Marcy the connection with Sarah Conant and the HSUS is too close for any persons comfort level and these regulations are already being praised by HSUS.. connect the very obvious dots.

  6. cont..
    This weekend I am shipping a puppy to a very nice couple that I met at a dog show. Their vet is one of my best friends and they live in another state. They have an older dog from my friend and he has recommended me to them as a “good breeder”. They have had video and pictures of the puppy and both of the parents ( I own the stud dog). Under these regulations they would have to fly to my home ( round trip) or drive four days to “inspect my retail store ” i.e my home. Is this a good use of time and money and resources? Is it necessary ? If these regulations pass I will be a criminal subject to fines and jail time and even then I would have to apply for a AWA license which would preclude me from whelping any puppies in my home because the AWA standards are written for kennels and include things like non porous surfaces that can be steam cleaned

  7. Nothing the USDA has done so far has ever helped puppy mill dogs much, so I can’t really see how this will.

    1. The USDA has no idea how to protect the welfare of animals intended to be human companions. Their mission is regulating the conditions of livestock rearing so that our food supply is reasonably safe. That’s how they regulate puppy mills, and that, combined with the fact that since dogs aren’t part of our food supply, it’s a lower priority for them, is why conditions are so bad.

  8. cont.. even after all of that I would still be non compliant.. as the litter was not born at my home as these new regulations call for ( must be born and raised on the premises).. they were whelped by a friend and I brought them here at 8 weeks to place them in good homes because she lives in a very rural area and because I own the stud dog and because i know a great many more people in the breed.. and well just because it worked for me.. and for her.. and for the dogs.. so sue me.. or make me a criminal.. I don’t think so..
    Have any studies been done on how many animals ( not just dogs) will be affected by this? APHIS says about 900 breeders.. what?? and cost.. APHIS says.. about 2.5 million .. what??
    PLEASE remember although we talk about dogs and cats her ( most of the time) this set of regulations expands to many more species even including domestic farm animals sold as “pets’. so if you have more than four “breedable goats’ on your farm and you sell one as a pet and that person doers not pick it up at your “retail store” i.e. your farm but rather from a 4 H show you are out of compliance and must be licesned

  9. read my lips.. or words.. this has NOTHING to do with “puppy mills” nada.. zip.. zero.. naught

    1. Are there ANY licensed USDA breeders who have 4 intact bitches (or anything close)? It seems like the number was chosen specifically to target hobby breeders, not puppy mills. How can anyone possibly be a “mill” of anything with only 4 producers? I am also concerned that, if passed, 4 might later be amended to 3 or 2 or…

      1. I apologize for a slightly off-topic comment . . . this kind of thinking is already the law in some places, even where breeding is not involved. In Everett, Washington, you must submit to an inspection, and pay a licensing fee (i.e., a special tax/punishment) every year, if you have more than the “average” number of pets:

        “Homes with more than two dogs or two cats need to apply for a facility license. This policy helps ensure that people who have more than the average number of pets have the ability to properly care for them.”


        I could not in any way be considered anti-government, but I was disturbed by this. Everett’s policy is based on the fallacy that if you are not average, you are suspect, and that only agents of the government can say you are okay.

      2. And I can guarantee that the AR industry collaborators would LOVE to see this federally. “Normal” would be one or two animals, until they die, and then NONE–appreciate from afar only!

        Put this in perspective. This isn’t applied to human children in families, so why in heck should it apply to animals? NO reason, unless one elevates animal well-being above human well-being–which is anti-societal.

      3. Meant to add earlier, the number of four intact females is not a new number. That is in the original law. Currently, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) requires that any person who maintains four or more breeding female dogs and/or cats and who breed dogs and cats for sale at the wholesale level and the wholesale dealers who supply these animals to pet stores, brokers, or research facilities be licensed and regulated.

    2. Agreed. For the USDA, this has to do with addressing not only their cutbacks in funding (to prove they are “needed” even more), but also to respond to the propagandized suggestions from the anti-pet-breeding contingency (H$U$, et al) within and without their organization. Of course, going back to my previous observation about the AR INDUSTRY, eliminating pet breeding insofar as society will allow is the incrementally pursued long-term goal, and most of the AR “true believers” believe that *any animal breeder* is a MILL, and therefore, going after small to medium-sized breeders (NOT just substandard breeders) is morally correct.

      THINK about how in the past few years the *majority of animal breeders* have been vilified and demonized by these AR-influenced groups, such that those who have agreed with the AR propaganda, DEMAND that pet breeders justify their existence and have even better facilities and processes for their animals than is required for HUMANS. How sane is that? Okay, then following on, how sane is the AR movement? NOT.

  10. many of you who rescue need to note rescues and fosters will be hugely affected by these new regulations how will “petfinder’ continue if they cannot ship dogs sight unseen to “adopters”. etc

  11. There’s a lot of talk here about dogs and puppies, but this affects cat breeders, too. There really aren’t that many of us in the first place, and the cat fancy has been fading away for many reasons in the last 10 years. Let me start off by first saying–not a single one of us raising animals *in our homes* would meet USDA standards. USDA doesn’t allow for things like porous surfaces (like dog beds). Second, I breed a somewhat rare breed of cat (who here has heard of the Japanese Bobtail?). It’s a very old breed in Japan but not very well known here. While I am happy to allow anyone local to come over to my house and see my kittens and other cats, I frequently place kittens long distance in other states because there are many areas that don’t have *any* JBT breeders. I have also placed cats in other countries, into Canada and Europe. That right there would make me not in compliance. I helped get the first JBT breeder in France started with 2 cats. I sell over the internet, have long email and phone conversations with buyers, send lots of pictures. Lots of people get second and third cats from me. It’s a stupid new regulation, and I agree with what has been said about it here.

    1. Your discussion is *spot on* and a perfect example of a small to medium breeder who would be snared in the USDA “trap” if these proposed rules are not altered significantly OR scrapped. In actuality, the AWA is way out of date, e.g., $500 gross sales. That number was determined in a time where the average income in the year of implementation of a little over $6,000/year. Average income today is at least 10x that, so right off the bat, the $500 needs to change if they are going to “update” the AWA rules and regs.

      Frankly, they should be *encouraging* people who sell over the internet because of the reasons I stated in a previous post. If there’s a real problem where someone gets burned by a bad deal, then the *local* or *state* authorities should be involved *AFTER* a good-faith attempt to hold the seller accountable (IF they are indeed not doing what they should). Automatically assuming the seller is *guilty* is an “animal rights” mindset and NOT what should be happening! In fact, where onerous animal regulations with slippery terminology or vague definitions are passed, there is not only a presumption of guilt, but also “cherry-picking” in targeting the most vulnerable based on people’s age and health, financial standing, etc. And the media is participating with glee. That is immoral, unethical, and should be illegal!

      The federal, as well as many other state and local governments who follow the feds in assumption of power, are getting way too involved in controlling the citizens rather than serving the citizens (as the U.S. Constitution demands). This does, of course, play right into the hands of the “animal rights” industry perception of wanting to dictate to citizens what they should eat and what type of interaction with animals (from afar?) they should have. All they have to do is convince strategically placed others (through appealing to their fanaticism OR through downright deception) to expand the “collateral damage” to more animals and people.

  12. When I redid my slideshow about mills last year, I asked Bill Smith for permission to use a quote he had given me in 2010 for my web site. Of course, Bill said yes. The USDA started this mess decades ago and is no better suited to get this crazy industry under control than (being blinded by money and complacency) and most people can spot a mill dog on a web site or in a store (being blinded the cuteness we see.)

    “As long as dog breeding is controlled by the Department of Agriculture, puppy mills will exist. How can any department of agriculture, state or federal, prosecute the very farmers they are paid to promote? Even if those farmers are exploiting and mistreating hundreds of dogs?” Bill Smith -Main Line Animal Rescue

    1. I that the USDA’s job should not include policing pet animal breeding at all. The AWA was originally intended for non-pet animal protection. Regulation of breeding should be left to the *states*. Certainly, the H$U$ and other anti-breeding organizations have presences in all states and are busy lobbying and pushing through onerous anti-breeding legislation already.

      And who, pray tell, should regulate dog breeding? The H$U$ or another “animal rights” anti-breeding group? NOT. They would say definitely yes–and proceed to terrorize and persecute ALL breeders and gradually eliminate them–“until there are none”.

      This latest in proposed USDA rules is a great testament to that (under the auspices of APHIS enforcement by H$U$-influenced elpoyees)–include most breeders, and in particular, include those with many years experience and dedication who can educate their buyers! Once those are weeded out, then pronounce another problem (occasional breeders or commercial breeders) and go after them with some new regulatory solution that they, BTW, would be willing to help structure and enforce.

      Bill Smith follows the anti-breeding position of the AR movement. When I read something of his, I pay attention to its content, but I *do not give factual credibility* to any of his pronouncements regarding what any animal breeder or regulatory agency does. For example, he is totally against breeding parrots for pets. He does, however, have no compunction about being allowed to *seize under color of law* a bird collection and begging for donations while putting the birds in his sanctuary (warehouse). Wow, my pet birds would love being in a flight with a bunch of other parrots and little to no human interaction–NOT.

  13. The AR movement??? Hmmm. Guess I must be considered part of that in some circles. I’ve always thought of it as the AA movement but call it what you will.

    1. AA = ? Alcoholics Anonymous? Animal Advocacy? If the latter, then we ALL who love animals advocate for their well-being. For the AR movement, well-being means no animal use (IOW, anti-societal), and I’d hope you are not that extreme.

      1. Animal Welfare Advocate/Advocacy. My positions are often characterized as being rights-oriented when they are not. I am not that extreme but have been called a zealot by some. Among other colorful names.

      2. What more people need to understand is that “animal rights” is NOT animal welfare. There’s a blurred line between the two if you don’t understand the distinction and allow yourself to be used by the AR movement, and if you don’t understand the long-term strategy of the AR movement and how incremental steps by “moving the middle” (google the term) are being achieved.

        Kind of like the frog in the pot of water where the water is gradually heated, and the frog doesn’t realize it’s being boiled until it’s too late. That’s what the AR movement is trying to do to pet ownership (and animal use)–kill it slowly so people don’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late.

        The good news is that there is a *majority* of animal lovers who will not let that happen, especially since the arrogance and heavy-handedness of the AR movement’s “incremental” steps (thanks to H$U$’s Pacelle, in particular) have become so overt and are catching more peoples’ attention. Until the AR movement’s anti-societal activities are checked and rejected by society, there will continue to be “collateral damage” casualties among animals and humans.

      3. Something that no one seems to have noticed is that in this case the “collateral damage” is going to be rescues. Rescues sell animals. You can call it adoption or whatever you want, but property changes hands for consideration and the government is going to call that a sale. Rescues will not fall under the hobby breeder exemption. Many rescues are not going to fit the retail sale model. Many rescues post their animals online and when a sale occurs the new owner may not go to the home of the fosterer where the animal has been “maintained”. If that happens even once – the rescue is subject to regulation. And regulation does not just mean inspections. Regulation means meeting all the requirements of licensing. How many rescues maintain their animals in buildings with surfaces impervious to water and capable of being cleaned on a weekly basis with a pressure hose? Etc. Etc. Etc.

        PETA, HSUS and ASPCA love this proposed regulation. Not only will it criminalize many hobby breeders, but it will drive the rescues that are so vociferous in their criticisms of the big 3 completely out of the running.

        I would suggest that people read the current regulations – read the new proposed changes to those regulations – and think about how this is going to impact you and the organizations you care about. Then take advantage of the comment period to make USDA aware of your concerns and opinions. And copy your senators and your representatives on your comments.

  14. I sure don’t see a need for more laws when they can not or will not enforce the laws that are already on the books that would prevent all the horrors that happen at puppy mills. Our government already has too many laws that do not help because they are not enforced.

    1. I agree. More laws, however, is what our government is working on *continuously*. It’s darn near to the point where *anyone* can be made a criminal by some interpretation of a law. Enforcement? *Selectively*–where it will do the most good for the enforcer or to intimidate or squash a segment of society.

    2. Couldnt agree more. I dont really see this helping with mills much and as someone pointed out above, its going to affect rescues to a great extent. Im not liking this at all..

  15. It is my understanding that breeders who only sell online have been able to skirt the current law because of a loophole. I agree that the loophole needs to be closed. It is true that a number of laws on the books are not enforced and there are a lot of problems with how things currently stand, but the fact remains that if the laws are there they can be enforced, and they sometimes are.

    Personally, I would never purchase a puppy without seeing where it came from, and I would never sell one without requiring veterinary and personal references and visiting the home of the buyer. From the looks of the conversation here, there must not be as many responsible small breeders as I previously thought.

    1. was it a “loophole 40 years ago when it was perfectly acceptable to buy a puppy sight unseen from a breeder.. by mail.. or by reading an ad in the dog magazines? The internet is just an excuse.. actually the internet is a great resource for puppy buyers or any animal.. you can see the dog in instant photos..you can post youtubes with actual films of the pups as they are growing up .. and you can even “instant message” or “skype” to see the animal “live”. I do this often with my breeder friends and with people getting puppies from me.
      Is there a reason this is not “complaint driven” as so many other regulations and laws are? Yes because it is an animal rights cause.and it involves MONEY and control along with the loss of your privacy and rights.. but those are small things right?
      Jo I do not know what type of animals you breed .. or if you breed at all but it is very difficult to sell a puppy to a person who lives hundreds or even thousands of miles away and leave your home and job .. and other animals to “visit” their home
      Allow me to be responsible in my own way.. not yours. thank you

      1. I agree with you that the internet has been a great resource, but as you say we all have our preferred way of doing things and our reasons for that. I want to see where the animal is going and talk to the prospective owner face to face, irregardless of what has been exchanged over the internet.

        Loss of privacy and rights for the protection of others is sad, but I see it as often necessary. There are still people to this day who claim that their children belong to them and if they want to have sex with them in the privacy of their home that it is their right. Should we not risk some infringement of personal rights to acheive a greater good?

        Please do not see this as an attempt to force my beliefs on you, but as an effort to explain my thought process. I read and participate in these discussions occasionally because I believe it is a constructive process for us all. Sometimes I come away from them seeing a little differently; if not, I usually learn something that I did not know. I do not mean to be offensive.

  16. Again, the idea that internet selling is a “loophole” is BOGUS! If you have read any of the comments above, including stories of *why* long-distance sales take place and *why* internet selling is actually better than the sight-unseen oral-communication-only selling, then you don’t want to be educated. THERE IS NO INTERNET LOOPHOLE (except that the anti-breeding groups want to eliminate breeding, so here’s a good excuse to use the heavy hand of the federal government). There are literally *thousands* of small and medium-sized breeders in the U.S., and a good number of them who are conscientious, knowledgeable breeders do sell long-distance. The internet is a great tool for education, though obviously there are obviously liars, cheats, and misrepresenters on the internet (and that includes the AR industry participants).

    In addition, the buyer must bear some responsibility to check breeders out if they intend to buy long-distance, whether that’s from an ad in a magazine, a Yahoo sales site, or a breeder-specific web site. Buyers are mostly not stupid. They buy things over the internet all the time. It’s accepted in our society. The fact that it’s an animal should make no difference once suitability is determined, except for the care and handling given, e.g., through shipping via airlines. Both Continental and Delta Airlines have specific pet-friendly programs for shipping animals. Why would they do that if it wasn’t a respectable and well-used medium?

    Yeah, the AR fanatics would love to require all sales in a home. That way, they could take their hidden cameras and zoom in on a temporary poop pile (shot from several angles so it looks like it’s a bunch of poop) or a cobweb and turn people in for neglect/abuse, and create their own “stings”. It’s getting downright *outrageous* and *unacceptable* that these abusive AR types are allowed to get away with persecuting breeders– because the ARFs disapprove of breeding, period, and those who follow the AR-influenced anti-breeder ideas are being unwittingly (sometimes) used to further the AR movement’s agenda.

    1. Marcy, you say that buyers buy “things” over the internet all the time, and that probably provides the key as to why our points of view are so different. In no way can I equate buying a dog with purchasing a coffee maker or a pair of shoes. I disagree that a prospective buyer or seller exchanging a living being can be adequately checked out via the internet.

      Although I have heard some of the things you are saying about the AR movement, I speak only from the perspective of someone who loves dogs. Laws often have unwanted ramifications, but just as they have been necessary for the protection of children, they are also necessary for the protection of dogs, IF one values dogs as more than a commodity. Child day care centers are inspected and regulated, so I suppose one of them could be targeted via the law in an unfair manner, but we accept that as part of trying to ensure the safety of our children.

      1. first of all children are NOT dogs and vice versa and I agree with Marcy.. she stated that using the internet to buy a dog after suitability and care and handling were resolved is a fine way to purchase. and again where is the purchaser in all of this it seems that no one want to take responsibility for anything that they buy including a dog.. if you are dumb enough to buy a dog from a group that you do not know anything about.. well then shame on you.. and your use of capital letters like IF is very telling.. also again child care has nothing to do with selling dogs, cats,snakes, mice, or pet rats..
        by the way you are not “exchanging a living being” you are purchasing a pet.

      2. I find it OFFENSIVE to compare rules, regulations, and inspections for child care centers with animal facilities. Animals are NOT children, even though we may care for them as part of our family. Perspective is necessary here! When laws are passed requiring MORE STRINGENT requirements for animal care than for children or elderly humans, I STRONGLY OBJECT and consider that viewpoint anti-societal and “animal rights”-influenced. I have always had some kind of pet, and I have children.

        I love my pets, but there is **no comparison** with the value I place on my children and most other humans, for that matter. The difference is that an AR “true believer” considers animals equal and even more than equal to humans. Look at what has been written by the major influencers of the AR movement: Ingrid Newkirk, Peter Singer, Steven Best, etc.! When someone can say in all seriousness that if they had to choose whether to save a child or an animal (that it would be a hard decision), that person is a traitor to humanity, IMO, and their pronouncement should have no credibility in this society. Proteges of these people are the ones who are trying to erode the human/animal bond (insofar as society will permit). The larger groups (like H$U$) are cagier and won’t say that directly, but you can bet their leadership feels that way. Unfortunately, there are many *damaged* people who jump on that bandwagon in an attempt to find self-esteem in destroying the lives of others. It’s one definition of sociopath, and the AR movement has encouraged a whole lot of them, IMO.

  17. And by the way, this is not a change to the Animal Welfare Act. This is a proposed change to the regulatory structure used to administer the Animal Welfare Act.

    1. Susan what you are saying is that it is not a change to the law, but administrative rulemaking to amend the regulations written from the law? That is the impression that I have so far, but I have not yet finished researching the matter. I have found the regs., which I should have given as a reference earlier when I stated that the number has always been 4 or more breeding animals: http://www.animallaw.info/administrative/adusawareg2.htm

      1. The current licensing threshold is four or more. The proposed rule would allow four to be exempt and require licensing beginning at “more than four.”

  18. Alice, I meant for my use of the word IF to be perfectly clear. I absolutely view dogs as more than commodities; I consider them to be very special; and they do live and breathe. While they are not children, I consider them members of my family.

  19. Jo for some reason you seem to think you are the only one here who likes their animals.. you are not.. what is at stake here has noting to do with how people “feel” about their animals.. it has to do with our rights to buy and sell animals.. and that includes rescue groups.. do those that rescue think that somehow they will magically be “exempt” from all of this regulatory junk because you have a “higher purpose”.. breed rescue ( something that I participate in) will be history.. foster homes.. nope they do not meet regulations..so goose meet gander.. your time is coming too if you don;t wise up. Shirley has a great grasp on most situations.. I think she will figure this out as well… these regulations are not good for breeders or rescuers and especially people who do both..

    1. Not at all. It was said to me that my use of the word IF was very telling, so I was just ensuring that it was telling exactly what I meant. :)

      I have taken the suggestion that Susan Beale made earlier and so far I have found the current regulations, the proposed rule, the background information relating to the proposed rule, and the public comments, and I have read most of it. I’m sure as this continues along that we will see more opinions from animal law attorneys and others with more expertise with the law. I hope that everyone interested in protecting animals and improving their conditions in our society reads the materials, forms an opinion, and comments based on the facts available. Certainly the many different groups calling themselves rescues will be interested in this issue, irregardless of whether they maintain four intact breeding females or profit from sales of pets. Kudos to Shirley for bringing the proposed rule up as it will encourage more people to become informed and comment. Hopefully involvement will improve what comes out in the end!

  20. Someone’s comment suggested that this rule would affect only those that sell exclusively via internet, phone, or mail. That is not the case: anyone with five or more “breeding females” who EVER ships a puppy (or meets the buyer somewhere, delivers the puppy to the buyer’s home, sends the selected puppy with a friend traveling to a show near the buyer’s home, etc) to a person who has not seen the puppy on the breeder’s premises will be required to become USDA licensed or reduce the number of intact bitches to four or fewer. The proposed rule will require that EVERY puppy (kitten, hamster, guinea pig, rabbit and other named species) sold as a pet be seen in a personal visit by the buyer, on the premises of the breeder. If the breeder has 5 or more breeding females and ships ANY animal to a new owner, a USDA license is required.

    Note also that the not otherwise defined “breeding females” are cumulative, regardless of species. Two female dogs and three female rabbits, one female rabbit and one dog and three cats, and so on, will require licensing unless all young produced by any/all of them are sold on the breeder’s premises.

    At present, only breeders who sell to dealers and brokers, rather than directly to buyers, are required to be licensed (if they have four or more breeding females). This rule would affect many thousands of breeders of many species of animals considered pets. Rabbit breeders say that the most common place of purchase/sale is at rabbit shows. Dog and cat breeders commonly deliver a selected animal to a buyer at a show. I have not seen posts from the “pocket pet” breeders indicating whether they ever deliver pets to buyers off their premises. But it certainly will affect breeders of the most populous pet species.

    1. Yes, this proposed rule is egregious and unacceptable. Given the potential to eliminate most small pet breeding (but NOT large commercial breeders) within a few years, any doubt that the “animal rights” INDUSTRY is behind this (H$U$, namely, and probably ALDF).

  21. Something else not widely understood is that USDA will nto be inspecting “our homes” because if we are licensed we will not be able to raise puppies, kittens, etc., *in our homes.* We will be required to raise them in quarters separated from our homes: either an addition or an outbuilding constructed for this purpose, unless you live in a home made with impervious floors and walls that can be washed with disinfectant or hosed downwith 180` water every two weeks, and ceilings that can be washed or replaced whenever the USDA inspector thinks they should. And you must have heating, air conditioning, and ventilation and humidity control systems. A compliant facility is a very sterile environment compared to a home. People who have such facilities are certainly able to raise healthy, happy puppies (and probably other species of pets), but if it is home-like, it is not where the family lives. If they are underfoot in the kitchen, it is in THEIR kitchen, not the breeder’s.

    USDA seems to believe those who say that the only reason one would keep five breedable females of any species or multiple species is to breed them as early and as often as nature allows to produce as many young as possible to be sold at a huge profit. As to dogs in particular, they do not comprehend that ethical, competent breeders may keep animals for up to several years before even deciding WHETHER to breed them. They are waiting for the bitch to mature physically and mentally; for health clearances available in her breed (some of which can’t be performed until 1 or 2 years of age, some older); to be sure the mature bitch is within height or weight limits per the breed standard; to earn conformation or performance titles to establish that the bitch conforms to the breed standard and/or can do the work she was bred to do and/or has the temperament to learn and perform in the competitions the breeder values.

    The people backing this proposed rule don’t want to breed animals, and they don’t want anyone else to be able to do it either. They claim those opposing it are “unscrupulous large-scale breeders who keep their animals in inhumane conditions.” Like having litters born in their bedrooms, and puppies/kittens romping throughout the house.

    1. You are absolutely on the mark here. Except for *large* commercial breeders (NOT 4 breeding females–should be enough to pretty much generate a living for someone), USDA licensing and specs are INAPPROPRIATE for application. Your last paragraph sums it up well.

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