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 All of this happens hidden from public view because outdated laws haven’t applied to Internet breeders.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.

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Pissed off

This law has nothing to do with stopping puppy mills. USDA adores big breeders who pay them tons of $ to sell their garbage dogs. These dogs have NO tests done, all that is required to breed, is a uterus. Shame on those of you who think this law is heading us the right direction. It's a step back. We are going to lose small in home breeders who give the breeding dogs a good quality of life. Wake up people!

Anne W.

Our goal is to shut down ALL puppy mills, and this includes on line sellers and back yard breeders. There are so many homeless animals in shelters that need homes. Spay and neuter need to be increased as well.

Jeanne in Seattle

Great news and this should also curb and finally shut down places like "Iron Horse Ranch" on the Idaho/Washington state border. For too long the evil being done by the owner (see this: continues. In March, 2013 a Poodle Rescue group removed 50+ dogs from the horrific conditions which continue at this breeding house of horrors. Apparently the "authorities" in both Washington State and Idaho continue to shift off responsibilities off on each other claiming lack of jurisdiction and the animals suffer. I am fortunate that I have adopted a Standard Poodle who was whelped at a foster home when his Mother was rescued in March. He never had to suffer the birth in a foul cage, being raised on sub-standard food and water and then sold to whoever would pay for him. Despite time and again, raids on her property she continues to breed and subject her dogs to their special hell until they no longer can produce. When will the laws everywhere stop this type of inhumane abuse? This law is another step in shutting these places down, but I doubt there will be much immediate or medium term improvements. Until people running these places can no longer just post bail and go about their evil ways, this will continue. Google her place and see how it appears on line - a regular utopia, however, having photos of the real situation, I can attest that this is a sham and she needs to go to jail for a very long time and all of her animals placed in loving forever homes. Unfortunately it is already too late for some.

Donna Milbourne

Any effort to protect animals is applauded, but back yard breeders/puppy mills and the miserable "pet shops" that sell these unfortunates, need to be shut down and seriously regulated. I KNOW the USDA is overwhelmed and under staffed. Sadly, the horrid humans that profit from the animals misery, know this too.


I'd like it if they'd make those people stay in wire cages with nothing under them, lying in their own urine and feces, have no water, and barely fed..let's see if they like it.


It's about time this happen. Another thing they should make it a state law that all male and female animals be fix. The pounds are loaded with animals that will be put down due to over population that is a shame for this to happen.


I forgot to add that these people should be made to live a cage and lay, and sleep in their own feces. Also with no human touch. How they treat animals is probably how they treat people and their kids.

June Arseneault

They should be all shut down & not be allowed to be in business again. PLEASE SHUT THEM ALL DOWN NOW!!! All of these animals are GOD'S creatures.


When a single mating of dogs eventually produces 8,000 descendants and because we are euthanizing millions of dogs every year in the USA, I would like to see a Ten Year Moratorium be put on breeding. Yes, it seems far-fetched but consider the continuing and horrifying consequences if we don't based on my first sentence here. Many existing dogs will be alive in 10 years. I know this will be hard to regulate and probably will never pass but we can all pressure our legislators to approve far more restrictive legislation on breeders. They have turned female dogs into their personal piggy banks....It's upsetting for us and tragic for these dogs. Why do we need for even one more dog to be bred when we are euthanizing millions on an annual basis?? I am sorry but based on the facts that I posted in my first sentence, I no longer see any breeder as "responsible"....they are ALL contributing to the problem.....!


You do realize that a 10 year moratorium on breeding means that dogs die out, right?

A puppy born NOW will not be able to breed in 10 years: too old.