Bill introduced in Senate to end worst practices in puppy mills

By on September 30, 2020 with 15 Comments

A bill introduced in the Senate yesterday would prohibit some of the cruelest practices in puppy mills that are licensed to sell to pet stores and online, like stacking cages of dogs on top of each other, using wire flooring in cages, and leaving dogs unprotected in extreme weather.

The Puppy Protection Act, S. 4757, sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is a companion to H.R. 2442, which was introduced in the House last year and is now supported by 170 members. This is the first time that a bill strengthening baseline standards for U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed commercial dog dealers has been introduced in the Senate, and it signifies a huge leap forward in our ongoing work to protect dogs trapped in the misery of puppy mills.

It’s extremely important that this bill becomes law because existing federal regulations to protect dogs in puppy mills continue to be inadequate and are often not properly enforced. As we’ve reported so frequently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is tasked with ensuring that breeders who sell to middleman dealers, pet stores and online are following Animal Welfare Act regulations, has been particularly lax in issuing citations to violators. The agency did finalize a rule last year to tighten licensing requirements, among other dog care reforms, but those changes are not enough to address the conditions that now exist in puppy mills.

The Puppy Protection Act would build upon the USDA rule and require many more positive changes, including:

  • Prohibiting breeders from stacking cages or using wire flooring and instead requiring them to give dogs solid flooring and spacious living areas with room to run.
  • Prohibiting breeders from keeping dogs in freezing or blistering hot conditions.
  • Requiring breeders to have injured and sick dogs promptly examined by a veterinarian.
  • Setting specific limits on breeding age and frequency to allow mother dogs to rest between litters of puppies.
  • Requiring breeders to feed dogs at least twice per day.
  • Requiring breeders to attempt to rehome unwanted dogs instead of destroying them.

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund have been fighting for years to wipe out the scourge of puppy mills. We are working with state lawmakers to pass laws against puppy mills, including cutting off the puppy-mill-pet-store pipeline, and with the USDA to tighten enforcement against AWA violators. We step in to assist with rescues from puppy mills, offering our expertise, assistance and resources to local shelters overwhelmed with an influx of animals. And we raise awareness about the puppy mill problem through our investigations and our annual Horrible Hundred report which has led to many millers being convicted or closed.

We have long championed a federal law addressing some of the worst problems in puppy mills and we applaud Sen. Durbin for introducing this important bill. But as always, we will need your help in getting this job done. Please contact your U.S. Senators today. Ask them to cosponsor the Puppy Protection Act and make it law, ending the suffering of tens of thousands of animals now languishing in puppy mills.


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  1. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Ya no podemos permitir mas injusticia y más animalitos sigan sufriendo y pasando por estas crueldades esto tiene que acabar ya

  2. Carolyn Denton says:

    Thank you Kitty Block and HSUS for bringing to light the atrocities suffered by animals at the hands of man. Thank you also to our elected officials who sponsor bill to stop this cruelty.

  3. Kim Bachtlin says:

    If we can’t abolish puppy mills, at least force them to give these dogs a decent life.

  4. Sandra Cripe says:

    Please, please why can’t puppy mills be eradicated 100%. There is absolutely nothing that they can do to make it better. They need to be gone forever. Every dog suffers no matter how hard they try to improve. What can we do to make puppy mills completely illegal? Completely illegal????

  5. Nancy Kuhn says:

    These people need to get a real job. I think puppy mills should be banned but at least give them a better life.

  6. Carol Fultz says:

    Please stop this cruelty and make sure these animals have a somewhat decent life.

  7. BillieJo Tees says:

    Please end the suffering and abuse that happens with puppy mills now. They are barbaric money making machines.

  8. Deborah Kerns says:

    Thank you Senator Durbin and all those who fight to stop this horror!

  9. Da Muller says:

    The HSUS, and others, have achieved major advances in addressing despicable puppy mill horrors. All of the requirements in place to protect the victims are a blessing–if they are enforced. Unfortunately
    mill profiteers are usually heartless scumbags whose only goal is to profit, at the expense of all the defenseless victims. And since this faction of the profit industry is hidden away from public view, and the profiteers are very skillful at sidestepping laws, with the help of poor oversight, they operate as usual.

    One need I never see addressed is the need to require sufficient help at these mills to ensure humane care. Why can’t this type of business be monitored by local animal control, funded by a special local puppy mill business tax to pay for the cost? I will address this issue to my state senator.

  10. Margaret A Watkins says:

    I’m on-line with the animal-rescue sites a good part of the day. I have seen the way people mistreat and abuse their “pets”. I became a monthly donor to the HSI trying to help get the Asian dog and cat meat farms shut down. I was not able to send as much as I would have liked, but I suppose every little bit helps. It makes me sick to see how the puppy mills are using these innocent creatures to there own evil advantage. Please shut them down for good!

  11. Patricia Mazzoni says:

    Please, end the cruel treatment that dogs in puppy mills endure everyday of their lives. Pass the Puppy Protection Act, S 4757.

  12. Loreli Jolliff says:

    Please end puppy mills. There are way to many great pets that need a home in shelters.

  13. Dodie Horgan says:

    I am grateful for Senator Durban introducing a Federal Bill to help stop the atrocities of Puppy Mills. Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed a State bill to regulate, and enforce fines, and shutdowns of chronic offenders of humane treatment of animals in puppy mills. The Missouri Congress disregarded the voters completely, and decided to not put it into law!

    • Lynda says:

      Dodie, do you know if this bill passed ?
      The Amish have opened up a puppy mill near me in western N C and I am in search of laws .
      This post came up in my search in NC.

      Thank You

  14. Lynda says:

    Did this bill pass ? I hope so 🙏🐶

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