ASPCA Petitions U.S. Government for Stronger Puppy Mill Regulations

September 21, 2015

Today the ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association jointly filed a legal petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging the agency to improve care standards for dogs kept in federally licensed, commercial breeding facilities for use in the pet trade. The USDA regulates these facilities—the worst of which are commonly known as puppy mills—but its standards are woefully inadequate and fall quite short of ensuring the humane treatment of dogs.  

The rules enforced by the USDA leave a lot of room for dogs to be severely mistreated. Dogs in American commercial breeding facilities can be kept in cages only six inches longer than the dogs in each direction—and these tiny cages may be stacked on top of one another. It's completely legal for these cages to have open wire flooring, and it’s fine to breed female dogs at every opportunity (not allowing their bodies to rest and recover between litters). It’s also legal to breed dogs without screening them for painful and expensive heritable disorders like hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. Take a look at our gallery of breeder photos taken by the USDA to see for yourself what it means for a breeder to be “USDA-licensed.”

The changes we’ve proposed today would dramatically improve the lives of tens of thousands of dogs in commercial breeding facilities by creating stronger, clearer standards for veterinary care, housing, food and water, socialization, breeding practices and placement of retired breeding dogs. 

“Dogs are not products that can be simply warehoused without appropriate regard for their welfare,” says ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “If you agree that the USDA needs to step up, please urge Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to grant the petition to ensure these vulnerable animals have proper care.”