Senators want to close online puppy loophole
February 28th, 2013
12:23 PM ET
1 year ago

Senators want to close online puppy loophole

(CNN) – Maybe Congress really is going to the dogs.

A bipartisan pair of senators re-introduced a bill Wednesday that would regulate the online sale of puppies.

The legislation, "Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act," would require all breeders that sell more than 50 dogs a year to be licensed and to undergo inspections.

The effort, lawmakers say, would ensure that man's best friend is getting the right amount of tender-loving care.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana paired up to help out the pooches. They first introduced the bill in March 2011 during the last Congress, but it failed in committee. A House version of the bill at the time also failed.

"The media regularly reports stories about dogs rescued from substandard facilities – where dogs are housed in stacked wire cages and seriously ill and injured dogs are routinely denied access to veterinary care," Durbin said in a statement. "Online dog sales have contributed to the rise of these sad cases."

At issue is a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that regulates wholesale animal breeders who sell to pet stores. Because retail pet stores are thought to be supplied by licensed, regulated breeders, retail stores are not regulated.

Online puppy sales have increased in popularity but dealers were able to sidestep the same standards that dogs in pet stores must meet. The PUPS Act aims to funnel direct sales of dogs into the same regulatory framework, Durbin's office says.

Vitter said he was also alarmed by reports of inhumane treatment and abusive breeding practices of dogs sold online.

"The PUPS Act introduced by Senator Durbin and me will help ensure that puppies are treated humanely and bred in safe and sanitary facilities and that consumers can purchase healthy pets for their families."

The Department of Agriculture proposed a rule to close the loophole last year, but the rule has not gone into place.

– CNN's Ashley Killough and Mary Grace Lucas contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • David Vitter • Dick Durbin • puppy
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. ALittleBird

    House leadership responds: "The job-killing puppy protection act MUST be defeated!"

    February 28, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. don in albuquerque

    @Doug in NYC–I bow to your insight. You are correct, you may be onto something there

    February 28, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Hooyoo2say

    @Blahblah I am with you, I think many would be surprised at the results of such a poll. Actually similar polls were conducted back in 2000 during the Presidential election between GW and Al Gore. The poll asked Americans which they preferred, GW's agenda to use the surplus by returning it to Americans in the form of tax cuts or Gore's stance the money should be put in a lockbox as a rainy day fund and to shore up social security and medicare to preserve it for future generations.The outcome was an overwhelming support, 76% polled, for the Gore plan.That 76% who opposed nominee George Bush's plan to deplete the surplus deficit through tax cuts came from an equal combination of both Republican and Democrat likely voters. Bush ended up in the White House and immediately enacted the first of his two rounds of tax cuts. Exactly what the polls indicated the vast majority of Americans opposed. Voters weery from years of the black cloud of deficits hanging over their heads. I guess Bush thought he knew what was best for the majority of tax payers, the rest is history. Of course the 2000 poll was a pre-Tea Party and "severely conservative" GOP.

    February 28, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. roro

    Are you kidding me? With all the crap going on in this country, this is what the senate is concerned with? How about putting this country back on the right track? How about actually going back to work and finishing something before going on yet another break? Really unbelievable!

    February 28, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. Emily

    I'm guessing no one here has actually researched this issue. Puppymills are actually a HUGE issue in this country. I have adopted three rescue dogs, one of them being a puppy mill puppy that someone adopted from a petstore. How would any of you like it if you bought your kid an adorable puppy from a store only to find out that it has had serious medical issues that can't be fixed, or it can be fixed but would cost you thousands of dollars? Have you ever seen what these poor creatures have to go through and have to live through everyday before someone shoots them, just because they don't produce puppies anymore? What your paying for from an online breeder is for a dog that is inbred, has lots of health issues, and will almost likely never be as healthy as it could be.

    February 28, 2013 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Puppy mill loophole; CLOSED.

    Tax loopholes for billionaires: OPPOSED.

    Gun loopholes that create a legalized black market for firearms: OPPOSED.

    Regulatory loopholes that allowed gays and others to slip thru VAWA's coverage cracks: OPPOSED.

    Section 5 preventing loopholes in the VRA and voting procedures: STRIKE IT DOWN SO WE CAN CREATE THEM.

    The list goes on and on. Unless the GOP/Teatrolls get their shyte together, the next loophole to close will be the one around their party's neck.

    February 28, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. rosaadriana

    Oh I see they want to close online puppy loop hold but don't want to do anything about a gun show background check loop hole. So they care more about the welfare of animals than people. Not surprised.

    February 28, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. trh

    If the dogs could vote, this would be passed quickly.

    February 28, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. ted

    I think breeders that sell one dog or more should be licensed. All this will do is tell the breeders to set up lots of phoney shell companies and each can sell 49 dogs. This is the typical crap that comes out of Washington. I just asked my dog what he thought about the new law and he barked and sniffed and kissed me on the lips. I trust my dog more than the clowns in DC.

    February 28, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  10. conniesz

    HOORAY for this compassionate bill. Puppy mills are animal torture and need to be stopped.

    February 28, 2013 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. scout124

    I don't even know what the article said, I couldn't get past that adorable photo...

    February 28, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  12. clydetheslyde

    It's illegal to buy puppies online, but not guns? This is great news for puppy mill owners, because now when a breeding female is now longer producing, they owners can easily purchase a weapon to shoot it.

    February 28, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. Randy, San Francisco

    Expect Republicans/Tea Partiers and Speaker Boehner in the House to object that there are too many regulations, unnecessary and too costly, bad for business, intrusion on the rights of individuals to conduct business, and smacks of nanny state.

    February 28, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  14. g

    what about the puppies running wall street and the oil companys sucking us dry

    February 28, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. James Doorey

    I'm proud of my senator (D.Durbin) for helping this bill make its way. Please stop the suffering, at the puppy mills and when your "prue bred" puppy gets sick and you have to tell your kids it because you have a genetically lacking, in-bred dog.
    Thanks Mr Durbin!

    February 28, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. WillyNilly

    I hope this law succeeds and starts a love-fest among congresspeople that leads them to fixing OUR problems too. Please, don't complain about helping out puppies... only the worst among us would complain.

    February 28, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. Reggie from LA

    @Hooyoo2say @Sniffit nailed this!! If you didn't find their comments, you should. Federal coffers HAD the money, now the banks and WalMart HAVE it (reference tax cuts) I guess GW bought another round of votes for 2004 and of course when that failed...you know, Florida and all.

    February 28, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. cbr

    Now if they would just put as much effort into keeping our children safe then they would be on to something. The Department of Agriculture and the Sates need to solve this problem. Congress needs to be concerned about our young citizens and their welfare.

    February 28, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. Evergreen

    Maybe taking this easy step has prepared them to tackle the bigger stuff. Maybe it is liking taking the training wheels off a bike.

    February 28, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. MessiahNoMO

    I support this bill 1,000 %
    Decent people need to come to the rescue of these helpless puppies that are relentlessly
    bred with no regard to the puppies or their mothers.

    Karma is a terrible thing to court...in your next life. You could be one of those sick but
    cute looking puppies or worst one of their mothers.

    February 28, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
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