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January 7, 2014

USDA Must Investigate Internet Puppy Broker, Unlicensed Breeders

A complaint filed with the United States Department of Agriculture requests the agency take enforcement action against more than 50 commercial dog breeders who appear to be operating in violation of federal law. The breeders appear to have illegally sold puppies to middleman Purebred Breeders, LLC, without a USDA license. The complaint filed by The Humane Society of the United States also urges the USDA to take enforcement action against Purebred Breeders for failing to obtain a license in light of recent changes to federal regulations that require retailers who sell puppies to consumers sight-unseen to obtain a federal license.

Purebred Breeders, one of the nation’s largest online puppy sellers, contracts with commercial dog breeders across the nation to purchase and then resell puppies over the Internet. The HSUS has received more than 150 complaints from customers who unwittingly purchased sick or dying puppies from Purebred Breeders. Communications with these purchasers revealed that, despite claims to the contrary, Purebred Breeders has obtained puppies from substandard breeding facilities.

The Animal Welfare Act’s regulations mandate that breeders who sell to third-parties like Purebred Breeders, or who sell directly to consumers over the internet, obtain a USDA dealer license. This requirement gives some degree of oversight to breeders and other animal dealers who operate without giving customers the opportunity to meet the puppies or the seller prior to purchasing or taking custody of the puppy.

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