Puppy Protection Act would end some of the worst puppy mill cruelties

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on April 27, 2021 with 50 Comments

We all know what dogs love: a comfortable napping spot, a romp in the grass, a kind touch and the safety and security of a caring environment. But thousands of dogs in commercial breeding operations licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sell to pet stores and online have none of these comforts.

Dogs are stacked in cramped wire cages with no room to run or play. Mother dogs are bred over and over for years to the point of exhaustion. Yet many puppy mills that continue these practices are still licensed by the USDA and in “good” standing, because this is currently legal under the federal Animal Welfare Act. The Puppy Protection Act — a bill introduced this week by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa. and Jim McGovern, D-Mass. — promises to improve how these dogs are treated.

The Puppy Protection Act would amend the Animal Welfare Act to require significant improvements to the standards of care required for licensed dog breeders. Large-scale commercial dog breeders who sell to pet stores, brokers or online sight-unseen are required to obtain a USDA license, undergo regular inspections and comply with standards of care defined in the Animal Welfare Act — but under the minimal standards now in place, breeders can keep dogs in cramped cages without protection from bitter cold or scorching hot weather. They can breed female dogs again and again until their bodies give out, even if the dogs have congenital defects that they could pass on to their puppies, generation after generation; once they are worn out, these mother dogs can be killed or sold at auction.

The Puppy Protection Act would require more spacious dog runs, solid floors instead of wire that hurts dogs’ paws, and feedings at least twice per day. Puppy millers would also have to make a reasonable effort to find retired breeding dogs a home or a rescue placement instead of just killing them.

There is a strong public health component to this legislation, too. Right now, the USDA allows commercial breeders to avoid taking injured or sick dogs to a veterinarian for hands-on diagnosis and care. This can lead to illnesses going unnoticed or incorrectly diagnosed and sick dogs treated for symptoms only — which could lead to deadly outbreaks of zoonotic disease. Some of these diseases — such as brucellosis, giardiasis and campylobacteriosis — are not only dangerous for animals but harmful if transmitted to humans. Dozens of people have landed in the hospital after contracting a multi-drug resistant Campylobacter “superbug” from pet store dogs, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which studied two different outbreaks of the disease.

As long as dogs continue to be bred in commercial breeding operations, improving their quality of life is the right thing to do. The Puppy Protection Act would provide a stronger standard of care and treatment for commercial dog breeding operations throughout the country and ensure that dogs raised in these operations are healthier and better socialized. Setting the animal welfare bar higher in this area should not be controversial, and we’re confident that we’ll succeed in gaining substantial bipartisan support for it in both the Senate and the House. You can help ensure that happens by asking your legislators to cosponsor the bill and help save thousands of dogs from suffering as a result of the inhumane conditions at these facilities.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Arlene says:


  2. Dee says:

    God did not make us so cruel and greedy

  3. Mayerlin A says:

    Breeding them it’s animal exploitation and abuse. Other states have banned puppy mills already. The right thing to do is to banned puppy mills.

  4. Barbara jannicelli says:

    Please cosponser the bill, this is so over due! Thank you 🙏

  5. Carol McDonald says:

    Puppy mills are cruel to the dogs trapped there for breeding purposes. They are kept in cage that are to small, rarely cleaned, and receive no human contact except when needed to perform or to be fed. Grooming is not fine and very care is usually rare. Puppies are often not cared for properly as mothers are undernourished and often sick. The lack of veterinary care for the parents impacts the puppies which are often sick when sold to pet stores or unsuspecting people. They need to be closed.

  6. Kerri L Surbaugh says:

    Congregating animals and waste without disease monitoring and health care is a zoonotic disease hazard.

  7. Tony says:

    Poor dogs

  8. Ewa Urbanski says:

    Sorgen Sie bitte dafür,dass es endlich gesetzlich geregelt wird und die Quallen
    der Tiere aufhören.Mit welchem Recht handeln wir so grausam!!!!

  9. Jeane Camargo da Silva says:

    Até quando as autoridades vão permitir crueldade contra os animais?!!

  10. gabriela vargas says:

    It is devasting to see all this terrible cruelty in a world that should be healthier and more evolved, but no, this terrible abuse makes us worse human beings, an we go backward. We demand the creation of laws to stop this filthy business; this business is inhumane, there are decades of suffering and pain for these animals, this business is a global problem, and we demand decisive action against puppy mills.

    • Jo Warhurst says:

      Right on.Tell them like it is.I was given a sweet little Yorkshire he was from a puppy breeder. He had a deformed jaw.When I took him to my vet I was told of his condition.The vet said the puppy should have never been sold.A rotton breeder.Murphy live to be 18 years old, he was a darling baby,but we loved him.I would never buy from a breeder,./puppy

  11. Retière says:

    Horrible! Stop it 🛑

  12. Tiffany says:

    No puppy mills!!

  13. Lillian says:

    Please. Anyone can clearly see that puppy mills need to be stopped. Unfortunately if we can not stop them. We need to place rules and regulations upon them because many people are to ignorent to do the right thing when not obligated by law or penalty.

    • Shiva says:

      Dear Humane Society,
      Please check Craigslist.
      Most of these cruel breeders sell the innocent puppies on Craigslist and online.
      Craigslist is one of the selling sites which breeders use to make money out of these innocent mother dogs.
      I feel extremely sad any time that I check the Craigslist pet site.

  14. Krystle dinton says:

    When will this ever end. Why are people so cruel. What if we started doing this too people. Maybe then, people will think twice before doing this too animals. I feel there is really something wrong with these people. They must have a mental problem. All I can say is my heart breaks too see animals suffer. Washington, D.C. needs to start changing the laws around. Start doing your job and stop flapping your gums.

  15. Diana Lewis says:

    We have the voice to stop this inhumane enterprise! Let’s end the purposeful breeding that results in suffering for so many dogs!

  16. Debra Cox says:

    Stop this insanity now!

  17. Max Delgado says:

    Can we please stop hurting animals all they do is give us love

  18. Chris Watt says:

    This bill would acknowledge that animals are living beings and that we have responsibility to better their lives. Please represent this conviction accordingly. I will look to see if you have heard and acted upon my request.

  19. Loren says:

    Great advice
    I agree with you 120%
    It is time that this cruelty is stopped forever and people punished appropriately.
    When you think about it though ,the only thing that Lawmakers knows how to do is flap their gums and they can’t even do that right!!
    Lawmakers stand up for what is right.
    It is time that this end ,and it needs to end now!

  20. Jaxon Brooks says:

    Stop puppy mills.

  21. Ana Melendez says:

    A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. Let’s stop puppy mills in the country and around the world. People making business with puppy mills must go to jail. Animals are also God’s creatures.

  22. George Sobus says:

    Dissolve our current USDA for NOT doing their job properly and reinstate a brand new USDA under new leadership and people that will actually DO THE JOB and close down many of these worthless kennels.

  23. Jaxon Brooks says:

    End puppy mills.

  24. Jennifer Williams says:

    It is unbelievable the lack of compassion people have. What has happened to this world?? It is absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking what people will do for money at the expense of defenseless animals.
    My heart goes out to every one of these poor, suffering animals.
    This has to end.

  25. Denee Pimental says:

    You know God put these animals here on this Earth for us to love take care of and to enjoy having them here to see. And you inhumane despicable people are ruining that enjoyment for our children and our future. By that time some of these animals are not going to even be here when they grow up because they’re going to be extinct because of all the INHUMANE cruel things you despicable people are doing. Save these puppies, save all these animals that are getting mistreated so wrong and cruel!!

  26. Sandy Boyd says:

    It is about time we start looking at the cruelty taking place in puppy mills, home breeders and dog fighting etc. These acts are reprehensible!! WHY do we let this go on..We are sending a clear message to these Abusers that its ok, we need to have Stricter Laws and Punishment for these offenders. Data base for abuser’s to never, ever be able to own a pet, jail time and penalties!! What can the sane, compassionate people do???? WHY HAS IT TAKEN SO LONG TO REALIZE THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!

    • Nilda Vazquez says:

      I know of a home Breeder who takes great care of the mother and the puppies. He has the mare and stud genetically tested to make sure the puppies are born healthy with no birth defects. And if we have no breeders how are we to get pets?

  27. Chance mason says:

    I have read the PPA and I support the regulations in it as a Breeder. Profit before welfare is a bad thing. Done properly a breeder can produce a superior animal without harming the parents. My breeders have 220sf of indoor/outdoor kennel space along with dog runs and play areas. Also regular vet visits.
    I support stricter regulations. I do not support abolishing all breeding operations.

  28. Karen M Rogers says:

    Any human with an ounce of compassion recognizes that the way we treat our animals is not far removed from the way we treat each other. Ignoring the problem does not solve it, so we must ban puppy mills or any other type of enforced breeding and/or confinement. Animals of all species can be raised and nurtured with kindness and some freedom. There is more than sufficient cruelty in the world, so let’s stop what we can control.

  29. Barbara Carew says:

    Puppy Mills are horrible. The dog never step foot on the ground, their feet get splayed from the cage bottoms. They breed them every heat which comes soon after they take the puppies away at 3-4 week. Little puppies sell better. No love and affection are given because it’s all about making money.Thrse so called puppy Mills need to go away for good. Oh and the medical problems from inbreeding and over breeding are numerous. For this people pay premium prices.

  30. Tenna brown says:

    I want abolish all cruelty to any animal.including our wildlife

  31. Lyn asombrado says:

    AS the ” highest ” rated specie… we humans have the absolute responsibility to take good care of all earth’s creatures.

    This responsibility is our innate obligation as a human-being given to us by GOD…. to love and care for ALL GOD’s creatures.

  32. Debi Lackey says:

    I’m sorry to say that if they don’t just shut these puppy mills down they are simply going to keep doing as they have been doing.
    Who’s going to enforce it? What kind of oversight will there actually be? I don’t trust this process at all and it’s too slow anyway. Can we please just shut them down and ban them all together?

  33. Mary says:

    Please stop the puppy Mills and testing on animals. They are on earth for us to love and protect like children!

  34. Veronique DeAngelo says:

    Animals(all of them),need to be protected by law!!!
    It makes so much sense !!

  35. Pamela Bettcher says:

    If breeders are doing illegal things and abusing animals their licenses should be taken away and they should never be able to have animals again. They should spend time in jail, pay fines and vet fees for the care of their neglected animals.

  36. Sandy Knox says:

    Please protect these animals. We have to protect those that can’t speak for themselves.

  37. jeanette says:

    greedy rotten people, poor pups. stop this abuse with these helpless animals.

  38. adriana riley miller-cuevas says:

    PROVERBS 12;10 ” The righteous care for the needs of their animals but, the kindness acts of the WICKED are cruel”… stories like these about animals cruelty , are always hard to read without tearing up and finish but, .these sort of people should face serious jail time for their actions.and bless those who care for these precious innocent animals.

  39. Ava Reynolds says:

    Puppy mills are one thing creating sadness in this world! This must stop!

  40. Terri L. Brodt says:

    End it! No excuses for this abuse.

  41. Cheryl Hobson says:

    Puppy mills, cat mills all animal mills need to be eliminated. There are too many animals killed every year, we don’t need to be breeding more for someones profit.
    They do not care for the animals they have, they use them for their greed.

  42. Camilla Miller says:

    I think this is the worst thing. all for stopping them. The shelters are full because of this. We have a shelter dog love her to pieces.

  43. Laurie Denis says:

    Puppy mills needs to be stopped and stopped now.

  44. EMMA Wedel HAMMETT says:

    Thanks to all that are helping these animals.

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