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Breeders’ Lawsuit Threatens New USDA Rule Cracking Down on Puppy Mills

Dec. 31, 2013 Editor’s note: The HSUS filed a motion to join the government in its protection of the critical animal welfare regulation and will vigorously defend against this misguided lawsuit.

Commercial puppy breeders filed suit in federal court on December 16 challenging a critical regulation aimed at cracking down on large-scale puppy mills. The U.S Department of Agriculture adopted the regulation earlier this year. The lawsuit makes clear that some commercial dog breeders would prefer to avoid compliance with even the very basic standards of care required by the Animal Welfare Act. The Humane Society of the United States will intervene in the lawsuit and join the government in defending the common-sense regulation.

The new rule closed the regulatory loophole that previously allowed commercial dog breeders to sell puppies to the public online without any federal oversight under the Animal Welfare Act. It affords some protection to tens of thousands of dogs suffering in substandard, filthy, and overcrowded cages, often for the duration of their lives. The federal rule levels the playing field between large-scale dog breeders that sell puppies directly to the public and through web sites, which were previously unregulated with no standards at all, and those that sell dogs wholesale to pet stores, which already were licensed and inspected under the Animal Welfare Act.

Media Contact: Cheylin Parker: 301-258-1505; cparker@humanesociety.org

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