Proposed bill cracks down on puppy mills
In May, federal lawmakers introduced a Senate bill known as the PUPS Act, for Puppy Uniform Protection Statute. The legislation would close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that currently allows large, commercial breeders who sell puppies online to escape licensing and regulation.
"Man's best friend shouldn't be treated like a cash crop," says Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. "It's a much-needed upgrade to our nation's laws that will help protect dogs in mass-breeding facilities from cruelty and harm."
The HSUS estimates there are more than 10,000 puppy mills in the country, with Missouri and Oklahoma leading the states in unlicensed dog breeders. Missouri alone is estimated to have 3,000 breeding operations that produce nearly 40 percent of all dogs in the pet trade.
"Missouri's laws on commercial dog breeding are outdated and vague, and they need to be strengthened," says Barbara Schmitz, Missouri's HSUS director.
In a grassroots effort, the Missourians for the Protection of Dogs gathered nearly 200,000 signatures to help end the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills.
Currently awaiting certification for the November ballot, The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act would require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog with sufficient food, water, housing, exercise and rest between breeding cycles. Among other things, it would prevent stacking of cages, wire flooring and prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 dogs.
Earlier this year, Oklahoma and Iowa also passed legislation to crack down on puppy mills. Ten states passed similar laws in 2009.