Petition Closed

Let’s put an end to unlicensed puppy mills today! Urge the USDA to close the loophole for Internet puppy sellers.

Under the current requirements of the Animal Welfare Act, commercial dog breeders only have to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) if they sell wholesale to pet shops or brokers. If they sell puppies directly to the public via the Internet, or by phone or mail, they can operate virtually under the radar and don’t have to provide even minimum standards of care for their dogs.

The USDA has recently proposed a rule to close this loophole by requiring that commercial breeders and dealers who sell to members of the public “sight unseen,” including those who sell over the phone or via the Internet, be licensed and inspected, and provide the same basic standards of care as those who sell wholesale to pet stores. This is a big step forward for dogs in puppy mills, and will crack down on the worst offenders who hide behind websites, classified ads and mail order catalogues.

The USDA is seeking public feedback on the proposed rule until July 16. We urgently need as many concerned citizens as possible to speak out in support of this critical reform.

Please contact the USDA before July 16 to convey your support for this long overdue reform.

Letter to
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
I just signed the following petition addressed to: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

The proposed rule to close the “sight unseen” loophole is critical to ensure that people breeding and selling dogs are doing so with oversight, and to ensure that they can no longer sell thousands of puppies online and through newspaper ads without ever being inspected. It should be required that dogs in licensed facilities receive basic care. These are reasonable and essential changes that I care about. Please close the loophole on Internet pet sellers.

In order to ensure that the USDA continues to focus on the regulating of large-scale commercial dealers that breed or sell animals as pets, I encourage you to make it clear in the new language that the definition of “dealer” not apply to nonprofit animal rescue groups, as these groups exist primarily to find homes for unwanted animals, rather than to breed or trade animals for profit.