USDA Proposes Regulation of Internet Pet Sales

In a proposed change to Animal Welfare Act regulations introduced by the US Department of Agriculture, commercial puppy breeders who sell puppies over the internet may soon have to answer to the USDA. The change would subject dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies electronically, by mail or over the phone to the same oversight faced by wholesale dealers as part of the Animal Welfare Act.

Currently, large-scale breeders who sell online have not been subject to oversight or inspection. The proposed change would close that loophole by requiring that anyone who sells pets over the internet to open their doors to the public, allowing buyers to see the animals before they purchase them – if not they would be forced to obtain a license and be subject to inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., a longtime animal welfare supporter, welcomed the USDA’s decision.

“The change will finally allow the USDA to properly enforce violations, shut down puppy mills, and prevent future abuses of dogs and unsuspecting customers,” Farr said.


  1. Kirsten says on  05/11/2012 at 9:58 am

    It’s a start!

  2. Afreakingmen. ‘Bout time someone did something.

  3. K Lisa says on  05/11/2012 at 9:58 am

    about time…stop the greed, adopt, don’t breed!!!

  4. Cheryl says on  05/11/2012 at 9:59 am

    Good, they need to step in!

  5. Jenny says on  05/11/2012 at 9:59 am

    Wish they would ban the practice altogether, but this would be a great start.

  6. about time… there should be no place for such things in any civilised country. 10 years ago, it was already too late

  7. Kim says on  05/11/2012 at 10:00 am

    The USDA is an inept organization – but it’s a start. I wonder how they will sanction the puppies created in Asian labs that are shipped over.

  8. Kristi says on  05/11/2012 at 10:01 am

    i dont know how these breeders sleep at night

  9. Brad says on  05/11/2012 at 10:02 am

    While some things need to be done, I REALLY hesitate giving government any more power than it already has. People need to self regulate…. Supply and demand should run everything… But that would require people to give a shit.

  10. Andrea says on  05/11/2012 at 10:02 am

    I is about time…!

  11. Does this include adoption sites and mom-and-pop breeders?

  12. Everyone is all for giving the Federal govt power to take over something else when it agrees with our wishes.

  13. Leslie says on  05/11/2012 at 10:03 am

    A small step in the right direction, at this point any step is better than nione.

  14. NOOOOO

  15. then all we will have is puppy mill pets!!! :(

    • Anonymous says on  05/15/2012 at 2:04 pm

      no, they are talking about the puppymills. FYI pet store puppies ARE from puppymills so are alot that are sold online (well the ones that are not scams anyway)
      A good breeder will spend hours talking to you, & ask lots of questions (just like rescues do) & they have you sign paperwork saying if (for any reason) you cant keep it, you must return it to them. Altho stupid people dont care & will leave it at a shelter to die, those people shouldnt have pets to begin with

  16. Ginger says on  05/11/2012 at 10:08 am

    Everyone hates puppy mills but this legislation goes beyond that. there will be no dogs to adopt if there are no breeders. this legislation will affect you in ways you have no idea. the AR folks want to take away your right to own pets at all. please beware of seemingly innocuous regulations like this. there are already few pets to adopt in the US without bringing them in from other countries.

  17. Erika says on  05/11/2012 at 10:08 am

    USDA gives stamps of approval to puppy mills. I don’t expect much will improve by them stepping in.

  18. Irene says on  05/11/2012 at 10:08 am

    commercial breeders are puppy mills, Giovanni!

  19. Randi says on  05/11/2012 at 10:09 am

    Most puppy mills that sell to pet stores are USDA certified… so I fail to see how them stepping in is going to change anything.

  20. The FDA doesn’t do a good job keeping us safe from harmful drugs. They are in the pocket of Big Pharma. Better state of fed law banning puppy mills Must comply with certain standards, obtain a license and so forth. Make it almost impossible for these ‘people’ to take animals, stick them in a cage, breed them to death and not properly care for them.

  21. Lenna says on  05/11/2012 at 10:09 am

    no giovanni , there will be thousands of shelter dogs that will need a home !!

  22. ppl have no idea of the living conditions of the mama dogs when you order a puppy from across the country. it looks good because they show online photos of these happy cute puppies. how can ppl do that? both the buyers and sellers….

  23. that is good news now we have to push to get those puppy mills closed down we dont want more mills

  24. Ginger – you are incorrect. Over 3 million dogs IN THE US are euthanized every year due to overpopulation. There are PLENTY of dogs to adopt in the US. And this does not seek to shut down reputable breeders, it deals with puppy mills and backyard breeders who are not subject to inspection.

  25. Evalis says on  05/11/2012 at 10:18 am

    Better that nothing! But they should also get on the case of backyard breeders…

  26. Yay

  27. Nancy says on  05/11/2012 at 10:21 am

    How about banning them?

  28. Ditto.

  29. Paula Hill says on  05/11/2012 at 10:27 am

    Bout time but they should be banned forever!

  30. Rose says on  05/11/2012 at 10:27 am


  31. Rose says on  05/11/2012 at 10:27 am

    Dapat e banned ng tuluyan yan

  32. Joanna says on  05/11/2012 at 10:28 am

    Any breeder is scum all breeding needs to come to a halt until there is a grip on this madness. Let these lowlifes get a job. Akc ak what ever you people all make me sick. One in ten dogs ever born find a home…how do you live with yourselves. 30 % of dogs in shelters are purebreed dogs. You all have blood on your hands and you must be stopped now.

  33. Slpaok says on  05/11/2012 at 10:30 am

    About time…

  34. Good! Regulations are needed but banning could affect some of the rescue groups who use the internet to contact potential homes.

  35. Justice says on  05/11/2012 at 10:33 am

    Great Move!

  36. Joanna says on  05/11/2012 at 10:47 am

    Usda a government agency these move too slow while animals suffer…move their asses and move them now. I for one am tired of the animal sadness.

  37. Courtney says on  05/11/2012 at 10:49 am

    Yes Joanna agree 100% with yoy Breeders are bottom feeders. As far as I am concerned ANYBODY who does not spay and neuter a dog or cat in their care are ignorant and essentially bottom feeders. I am so sick and tired of thinking about the millions and millions( closer to 4 rather than 3) of pet YEARLY pts because of all these retardant. Ugh. When will the madness stop! And many of them GASSED to deat! It takes sometimes up to 40 minutes for these wonderful creatures to die.!!! All the while panicking, clawing over each other. Ir is truly horrific.
    And people, there are PLENTY of pure needs at shelters. I work in rescue. Young babies too. All breeders SUCK. !!

  38. Courtney says on  05/11/2012 at 10:50 am

    Sorry for typos, upset and typing fast on my phone….

  39. YAY!

  40. HOPE SO!

  41. I’ve rescued pure breed cats with chronic problems b/c overbreeding.

  42. This is very overdue, but am SO happy to see this!

  43. Carolyn says on  05/11/2012 at 11:21 am

    It’s about time. Some, and I say some, of these breeders are not nice people

  44. Carolyn says on  05/11/2012 at 11:27 am

    IVe been on line a lot lately looking for a Pom. I have learned that the pictures of many of the dogs breeders show as available are not. One woman told me she had four females she was gonna let go. I then figured out the females had reaches 7 yrs old and all had hernias, etc. Which just means they had been bred constantly. Put a real sour taste in my mouth.

  45. Sookey says on  05/11/2012 at 11:28 am

    Joanna Block, since there are 77 million owned dogs in the U.S., then if you’re correct that only one in ten dogs born finds a home, there must be 770 million dogs born in the U.S. every year. If that is true, then why are the shelters importing at least 400,000 dogs every year from third-world countries whose farmers are purposely breeding those dogs for the American shelter market?
    …….Courtney Roth, there are at least 300 pure breeds bred in the U.S. At the very most, no more than 50 of those breeds are commonly found in shelters. So if someone has specific preferences or needs in a dog, what should that person do? Make do with a shelter dog who doesn’t really meet her or his needs and probably wind up returning the dog to that or another shelter (making that dog a double statistic), or look for a good breeder who has the dog he or she actually needs and wants?

    • Donna says on  05/14/2012 at 10:11 pm

      Ginger are you for real- few pets to adopt in the US. Are you ignorant to the number of pets killed DAILY in shelters across the country. Any decent breeders will support this idea- as they have nothing to hide, but with the poor reputation of USDA and their inability to police their current policies ,chances are nothing will change.

    • Donna says on  05/14/2012 at 10:14 pm

      Sookey- 77 million dogs owned does NOT mean 770 million bred every year-It is the TOTAL dogs owned, FOR MORE THAN JUST ONE YEAR. You are an idiot.

    • wendy says on  05/15/2012 at 1:57 pm

      I agree not all breeders are bad or in it for the money. Most good breeders only breed when they have enough people wanting a puppy. So they only breed once a year sometimes longer inbetween litters.
      They need to just end all puppymills completely, since they breed 100’s of litters every year, maybe there wouldnt be as many killed in shelters

  46. Carolyn says on  05/11/2012 at 11:28 am

    And I can’t believe someone thinks there are not enough dogs available! this person must have their head in a hole in the ground

  47. How about NO internet sales of ANY pets WHATSOEVER?

  48. Nina says on  05/11/2012 at 11:35 am

    How to vote for this? I agree that puppy mills must be stopped!

  49. Good!And may the ones who have done wrong pay severely for their sins!!!!!!!!!!!! No mercy for those imbiciles!

  50. EEEEK. I found my Bailey on Craigslist!!

  51. They should!

  52. Jan says on  05/11/2012 at 11:42 am


  53. Pam says on  05/11/2012 at 12:01 pm

    The USDA currently does a shameful job of checking puppy mill kennels now.. just how is this law going to make any difference

  54. Silvia says on  05/11/2012 at 12:34 pm

    Finally some regulation, but let’s not stop there & strive to close these mills permanently!

  55. Courtney says on  05/11/2012 at 12:54 pm

    YES Sookey Capote, as you si aptly put it, ‘make do with a shelter dog’. What a lovely expression.

  56. SSB Pack says on  05/11/2012 at 12:54 pm

    Something to think about:

    I am going to get attacked for this comment but be aware that there are many inclusions in this legislation that will produce negative consequences for dogs not positive ones.

    Breeders will no longer be able to take deposits before planning a litter due to the requirement that buyers must be able to see puppies before purchase. What this means is, responsible breeders, yes they do exist, who plan litters in advance based on guaranteed commitments from potential buyers to ensure all puppies will have predetermined homes at birth will no longer be able to take deposits. This could have one of two results, no litters produced from responsible breeders who you should be protecting as these are the breeders who will make every effort to produce healthy pups, or careless people who will dump unsold pups at shelters.

    Another thing to think about; the regulation has the potential to punish the wrong people. As written, the legislation states that anyone owning more than 4 breeding females will be subject to commercial regulations. Think about this. If a responsible breeder has more than 4 intact females but only breeds two litters a year they are subject to federal commercial regulation. Yet, this will not affect a ruthless breeder who slips under the radar by keeping only 3 females but breeds them every heat amounting to 6 litters a year, something a responsible breeder would never do. The result? Unsold puppies will continue to be dumped at shelters.

    This is just two potential results from this USDA regulation as it is currently being proposed.

  57. Amanda says on  05/11/2012 at 12:54 pm

    Again, it goes back to irresponsible people buying animals. Choose a breeder, research them, visit them, and let them place the right animal with you. Yes, the people running these online ‘shops’ need to be stopped, but people need to stop buying from them too!!!

  58. Teri says on  05/11/2012 at 12:56 pm

    I like that…I know of a person that sells over the internet..I’d very much like it to stop…

  59. Courtney says on  05/11/2012 at 12:59 pm

    Have those elitists go down to their nearest shelter and be there for a week to so the sheer numbers be euthanized. Isn’t having a pet about love and companionship? I am sure one dog in the millions put down would work for the ‘needs or preferences’. One has to ask oneself, do you want to be part of the solution ir problem? By the way, we in the rescue communiies see VERY unusual breeds come through more often than one might think. Transports are available for very little money all over the country.

  60. Courtney says on  05/11/2012 at 1:02 pm

    And Sookey, shelters are not importing dogs from other countries. What the hell are you talking about. Get your facts straight.

  61. ok what about the small breeders that use the internet to get their info out?!

    • SSB Pack says on  05/11/2012 at 4:19 pm

      Apparently the opinion here is to slam any type of breeder regardless of intention or commitment to a particularly breeding practice and condemn them all as “scum” so as to make it easier to place the blame for all ills. A fair and balanced method of justice and problem solving don’t you think?

  62. Courtney says on  05/11/2012 at 1:42 pm

    Carolyn, go to for your pom.

  63. Tina says on  05/11/2012 at 11:11 pm

    You know why animals die in shelters? because too many people view their pets as DISPOSABLE, buy pets on impulse, do not do their research when picking a pet, etc.
    Pets do NOT die in shelters because of responsible breeding. And there are indeed parts of this country where there is a shortage of adoptable dogs in shelters and dogs ARE being imported from outside the USA to fill that need.
    Instead of importing, we should be moving dogs from high kill shelters to the shelters needing dogs. here is a book to read:

    The “purebred” dogs found in shelters are not coming from responsible breeders. Purebred dog clubs here in the USA all have a rescue component – and those folks are hard at work rescuing their breed when needed. Some more popular breeds like labs and pit bulls are almost impossible to keep up with because of all the irresponsible breeding going on. Anyone who breeds to make a buck is in it for the wrong reason.

    Please do not lump responsible breeders, who put their heart and souls (and their money) into preserving their beloved breeds, in with puppymills and back yard breeders.

  64. mlwells says on  05/19/2012 at 3:34 pm

    “there will be thousands of shelter dogs that will need a home” … there are thousands of children in the nation’s various shelter systems in need of a home, yet, we permit U.S. citizens to adopt children from abroad!

    This legislation will not effect those kennels open to the public but selling puppies to out-of-state families via the Internet …

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