According to a report in USA Today, the conditions for pets sold via the Internet are currently outside of any legislation. The breeders are not required to provide them with anything – not protection from extremes of heat or cold, food, water, exercise, or a clean, safe place to live.
“Currently, abusive puppy mills are able to completely evade federal oversight by taking advantage of a pre-Internet loophole in current law, but the PUPS Act would change that,” Nancy Perry, senior vice president of government relations for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told USA Today. “Thousands of these mills have shifted online to evade the law.”
The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act, sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), which was presented last week, attempts to bring online pet sellers under the control of the US Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for implementation of the Animal Welfare Act.
“The media regularly report stories about dogs rescued from substandard facilities – where dogs are housed in stacked wire cages and seriously ill and injured dogs are routinely denied access to veterinary care,” Durbin said. “Online dog sales have contributed to the rise of these sad cases.”
If passed, the PUPS Act will require all breeders who sell more than 50 dogs per year, including those who sell online, to meet minimum care standards, which includes providing them with at least 60 minutes of exercise per day.
Reportedly, $53 billion was spent in US pet industry in 2012, including food, medical care and other services. The estimated number of US puppy mills is 4,000, and they produce more than half a million puppies a year. Also, it is believed that the share of online pet sales is significantly underestimated.