Victory! New Rule Brings Internet Puppy Breeders under Federal Oversight

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 11:15am

Every year, thousands of puppies are sold over the Internet and shipped to consumers like any other product. Websites advertising happy, healthy puppies commonly conceal a grim reality: They’re often fronts for puppy mills—large-scale, commercial breeding operations that rear dogs in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions with complete disregard for the animals’ wellbeing. Breeding dogs typically spend their entire lives in tiny, wire-bottomed cages churning out litters of puppies until they can no longer reproduce. All of this happens hidden from public view because outdated laws haven’t applied to Internet breeders. Until now.

Today, the USDA steps into the Internet age by issuing a rule that brings breeders selling animals to consumers sight-unseen under the regulatory umbrella of the Animal Welfare Act. That means for the first time, USDA inspectors will be laying eyes on animals who have been ignored for too long.

It also means that the ASPCA will be able to provide the public with a window into Internet breeding facilities through our No Pet Store Puppies campaign. The No Pet Store Puppies site boasts over 10,000 photos taken by USDA inspectors at licensed breeding facilities, allowing you to see where pet store puppies really come from. Once the USDA begins inspecting Internet sellers, we will be able to expose the bleak lives of puppies sold over the Internet, too.

We commend the USDA and the Obama Administration for taking this long-awaited step, and we thank you and the more than 350,000 supporters who told the USDA how crucial this rule is. 

For more information about puppy mills and to see the conditions captured by USDA inspectors, please visit   

Take Action!
It’s important to let government officials know when we think they’ve done a good job—it also never hurts to remind them that animal welfare is important to their constituents. Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center right now to quickly thank the USDA and President Obama for taking steps to protect our nation’s long-suffering puppy mill dogs.

Add new comment




I think this is great, now SHUT DOWN all the puppy mills and regulate the number of litters that a breeder can force a poor dog to have.

Thank you!


Well I would like to know why it takes so long when there are so many lives at
stake. This is not good enough though we need to take down all together the
newspaper, magazines, online. GO TO THE SHELTER PEOPLE THESE BABIES ARE


This is great. Wish it was more than just "lip service." More needs to be done to police these ads. At the end of the day, I feel nothing will be done and these are just words.


I agree with all the comments. I think profit for life should be forbiden by law, period. If people cannot "sell" life (animals) legally, at least the business would not be as attractive for puppy breaders. There should only be a contribution to shelters (as it is today), to help pay their medical bills, etc., but not profit for life. Regards.

Cary Berkelhamer

First let me say that this is a great day for animals . My question is this. With government spending shrinking where will these FDA inspectors come from. Will they be the inspectors that used to inspect chickens but now that the Feds decided that the "producers" can regulate themselves those people will need a gig. Will they be the people seeing to the puppy mills?


There are those of us who test for PRA, (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) have hips and elbow checks done and feed our dogs well to have healthy puppies. We produce maybe 1 litter a year and don't breed more than twice with skips in between cycles. No we don't make money but we do it for betterment of the breed we love. Yes, puppies are sold on line and prospective parents carefully screened and they must provide references. If renting signed letter from landlord with phone. Puppies come socialized and with health guarantee. So all breeders are not bad. Some of us are very responsible.

Jib Bennett

The only problem is that the puppies you have deliberately bred and place are taking up homes that could otherwise be housing dogs from the overpopulation of homeless and/or unwanted animals.


You are presuming that people who are looking for a specific sort of dog will just as easily or happily take a rescue, which is not always true.

It also ignores the fact that most dogs in shelters are owner turn-ins. Pet owners need to keep the dogs they get and behave responsibly too. Dogs in shelters don't just appear there - most of them had owners once.


Adopt don't Shop.


The God fearing Amish breed in Lancaster, PA and sell dogs too.