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USDA Cracks Down On Puppy Mills With Stricter Reforms For Breeders

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on May 15, 2020

The puppy mill problem in this world has been ongoing for years with very little changes. Many dog lovers are aware of the situation, but others don’t even know it’s going on.

Unfortunately, many puppy mill breeders even have a USDA license, but that might be about to change. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has finally announced that there will be new reforms for puppy breeders and roadside zoos. Hopefully, these changes will help protect more animals from getting hurt.

What Requirements Have Changed?

In the past, a dog breeder could apply for a license once, and then it would be automatically renewed annually after that. This old regulation caused many people to continue breeding even after being called out for animal cruelty. So, the USDA is making changes to the licensing process.

Now, puppy breeders and roadside zoos must apply for a new license every three years. They must pass an inspection before they get their license renewed. If they have ever been involved in animal cruelty convictions, that must be disclosed in their application.

Also, if a breeder plans on greatly increasing the number of animals in their care, they must also apply for a new license. This would help confirm whether or not the breeder is capable of caring for more animals.

Most importantly, the USDA now requires dogs to have access to fresh, clean water every hour of the day. The dogs in their care will also be required to have annual vet checkups. The fact that these were not required before is very unsettling, but now, it’s a step in the right direction. After all, these changes are long overdue.

How to Help Even Further

Sadly, these new reforms don’t guarantee animal safety. States need to strongly enforce these rules and take these inspections seriously. Otherwise, puppy mill breeders will continue to get away with these disgusting actions.

Image: @HSUSPuppyMills/Facebook

“I applaud the USDA for finalizing an important rule to help protect dogs from abuse at the hands of irresponsible breeders,” said Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick. “But there is much more we must do to ensure that this kind of abuse never happens again. This includes getting the WOOF Act and the Puppy Protection Act signed into law.”

These two important bills could make the laws even better for dogs in need. The Welfare of Our Friends (WOOF) Act would take more serious precautions with breeding licenses. It would help catch people who have tried to find loopholes for the license renewal process. Then, the Puppy Protection Act would require even stronger standards of care such as larger enclosure sizes, solid flooring, regular exercise, and protection from extreme weather.

If you want to help put an end to puppy mills, please read more about the WOOF Act and the Puppy Protection Act. Both links provide ways for you to take action. Puppy mills have been in this world for far too long, so it’s time for all dogs to finally start being treated like beloved family members.


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