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The Humane Society of the United States Delivers More Than 60,000 Letters in Support of Proposed Rule to Regulate Internet Puppy Mills

USDA accepting public comments through July 16

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, hand-delivered more than 60,000 letters from its members and supporters to the United States Department of Agriculture in support of a proposed rule designed to crack down on Internet puppy mills.

“The tremendous public response to this proposal within just the first few weeks of the comment period shows that Americans support the USDA’s efforts to rein in unlicensed puppy mills,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign for The HSUS. “If passed, this rule will help protect thousands of dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities where puppies are sold over the Internet without any oversight.”

The rule would require large-scale, commercial puppy producers who sell pets to consumers over the Internet, by mail, or by phone to be regularly inspected and abide by the same basic standards of care as producers who sell to pet stores. Small, responsible breeders who sell puppies directly to the public from their property would not be affected.

The proposed rule remains open for public comments through July 16.


  • There are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.
  • Puppies from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog’s health, genetic history or future welfare.
  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life.
  • Since 2006, The HSUS has rescued more than 8,000 dogs from cruel conditions at unlicensed puppy mills. Most of the facilities involved were selling their puppies over the Internet.
  • The HSUS recommends never purchasing a puppy over the Internet or from a pet store; always visit a breeder in person to ensure that the dogs are raised in humane conditions.
  • On May 31, The HSUS announced that 50 more plaintiffs joined a lawsuit against online puppy seller Purebred Breeders LLC. The amended lawsuit, filed by consumer justice law firm Leopold Law, in partnership with lawyers at The HSUS, alleges that Purebred Breeders violates Florida state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers into believing that the puppies it sells are from high-quality breeders, when in fact they come from puppy mills.
  • For more information on responsible breeders, see humanesociety.org/breeder.

Media Contact:  Rebecca Basu, 301.258.3152, rbasu@humanesociety.org

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