In a move that is sure to be applauded by dog lovers everywhere, the U.S Department of Agriculture has closed a legal loophole that allowed puppy mills to continue to operate without oversight by selling dogs over the Internet. Whereas the Animal Welfare Act imposed regulations on those breeders who sell to pet stores, online sales remained outside the law. By switching to Internet sellers, many large-scale breeders simply avoided the teeth of the AWA altogether, and more and more bad breeders turned into Internet-only operation as a result. But their days are numbered:
Finally, under pressure from [animal welfare] groups, the USDA’s inspector general looked into enforcement of the rules governing dog breeding, finding appalling abuses of dogs and deficient exercise of authority by USDA where it had authority. Animal right groups credit that OIG report, combined with their public pressure in Congress and with the Obama administration, for finally compelling federal action.
This is just another positive step toward closing all puppy mills in this country. Although there’s still a long way to go, we should celebrate such victories.