USDA issues puppy mill rule after legislative prompting by Gerlach

The Department of Agriculture recently issued a new puppy mill rule that mirrors a bill that Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) has introduced during each of the last three sessions of Congress.

Gerlach’s proposed legislation, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act, would require commercial breeders to be federally licensed and inspected on a regular basis.

Certain dog breeders evade federal animal welfare laws by selling dogs on the Internet, according to Gerlach.

“Puppy mill profiteers will no longer be able to hide online and sell starved and sickly dogs to families looking for a new family pet,” Gerlach said. “By closing this Internet loophole in the federal Animal Welfare Act, the law has finally caught up to technology. “

The USDA rule mandates that dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies on the Internet, by mail or through phone calls must have a license and face identical oversight as wholesale animal breeders.

“This action is long overdue and necessary to end the horrific conditions and inhumane treatment of dogs at large breeding kennels here in Pennsylvania and throughout the country,” Gerlach said. “Reputable and responsible breeders will not be hindered by this new federal rule. It is aimed at protecting dogs and making individuals motivated by profit rather than the fair and humane treatment of dogs accountable.”