You Asked: Puppy Protection

By on December 14, 2007 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Today I would like to respond to a question from reader Linda Jordan, who is concerned about pet store puppy sales.

Q. The HSUS does a great job! I would love to see a day when pet stores would be no longer allowed to sell puppies! This would help to put a stop to puppy mills. Isn’t there a way we can get this put into law?

A. You are correct that without pet stores, many puppy mills would not survive financially. The vast majority of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills—mass-breeding facilities where parent dogs spend their entire lives in cages, churning out puppies treated like a cash crop. They are factory farms for dogs. A new threat is that puppy mills are now selling direct to the public through Internet sites, and these puppy mills go entirely unregulated under federal law. But simply passing a law to ban puppy mills—whether they sell to pet stores or direct to the public—won’t be easy. Nor would banning sales from pet stores.

Boston terrier dog at Virginia puppy mill
© The HSUS
This Virginia puppy mill is among the thousands across the country.

Commercial breeders, certain purebred dog club registries, and the pet sales industry together constitute a strong lobbying force to oppose any legislation that might reduce their profits. They sometimes gain lobbying assistance from the American Kennel Club. In their lobbying campaigns, some of these organizations often stir up their constituents by spreading false rumors about animal protection organizations. For example, they claim that The HSUS wants to phase out pet breeding or that we don’t want people to have pets. These are absurd and demonstrably false claims.

The HSUS will continue to fight for laws that will help put an end to the trade in puppy mill dogs, and we hope that the three investigations we’ve completed in the last six months (puppy mill auctions, Virginia puppy mills, and Pets of Bel Air) will give lift to our legislative initiatives. But legislation is only part of the answer.

We need to encourage consumers not to patronize pet stores that sell puppies and to never buy a dog online. Always first go to a shelter or breed rescue group. If a consumer insists on buying a dog from a breeder rather than adopting a homeless animal, they must do some research to find the most responsible breeder, and visit the premises in person to see where the puppies are born and raised. For free information on adopting, rescuing, or finding a reputable breeder, visit or send your request to: HSUS—Puppy Buyer’s Guide, 2100 L St., NW, Washington, DC 20037.

If you have a question about The HSUS, offer a comment through the blog or email your query. I may post it in a future blog.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals

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