The most surprising thing to many people is that puppy mills are legal.
The standards governing the care of dogs and cats in commercial breeding facilities are set forth in the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the agency responsible for overseeing the commercial dog breeding industry and enforcing the AWA. Any breeder who wishes to sell to a pet store or to consumers over the Internet with five or more breeding females must be licensed with the USDA.
There are two primary reasons why the AWA and USDA are not sufficient to protect dogs in commercial-breeding facilities:
Even if enforced to its fullest extent, the AWA only requires the bare minimum in housing facilities and care. These standards are far below what most would consider humane, or even acceptable. The AWA also leaves significant discretion in the hands of puppy mill owners to decide what constitutes an adequate level of care for the dogs with respect to living environment, cleanliness and sanitation, feeding, veterinary care, housing structures, and comfort.
What is allowed under the AWA?
What’s wrong with USDA enforcement?
The USDA is overburdened.
*TPMP submitted a FOIA request to the USDA in July, 2014, requesting the number of inspectors and the number of facilities under their purview, but despite our repeated attempts, the USDA has failed to respond to our original FOIA request or follow up requests.
USDA inspectors have a record of leniency towards commercial breeders.
What can you do to help change this?
How can you make an impact and strengthen laws governing puppy mills? Here are several ways: