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.