Senators want to close online puppy loophole
February 28th, 2013
12:23 PM ET
2 years 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. Sniffit

    Online sale of puppies: MUST REGULATE IMMEDIATELY!!!!

    Private sales of assault rifles without background checks or any registration, etc.: MUST NEVER REGULATE EVER!!!!

    Guns don't kill people, puppies do?

    February 28, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The goverment is going to the dogs ,but the gop will vote to cut foodstamps and soc sec and Medicare , who cares about humans ????

    February 28, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Sniffit

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

    Yeah, crapped his pampers right there and then.

    February 28, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Marie MD

    Lighting might strike me today. I agree wth this bill a 1000000%

    February 28, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. ja

    ha, ha, lets close the loophole on the assualt weapons and unregulated gun shows and sales

    February 28, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Boo

    This is a good idea....all puppy mills SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN. Adopt at a shelter....AVOID BREEDERS.

    February 28, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    What about gun control and protecting our kids? Well, at least they care about something.

    February 28, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Five words: term limits for these bozos.

    February 28, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. Wake up People!

    What's going on? Is Cruella DeVille trying to buy all the puppies to make another coat?

    No offense to the puppies......but what about a jobs bill??
    What's next, more anti abortion bills?

    February 28, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Warren

    Don't they have more important thing to worry about. Sounds like a law full of loop holes already....

    February 28, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. TomNPitt

    Well now – this should bring peace and freedom to the world!

    February 28, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Bugl3t

    Why doesn't Congress focus on something actually important? I have nothing against this idea, but it's like dealing with dusting the furniture while the house is burning down. Get to work.

    February 28, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. MrBeenThere

    Screw the People.................. God we have to protect those poor defenseless puppy's...........................
    Hope you see the sarcasm...........

    February 28, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. nothing new here

    Yes, I agree that these atrocious puppy mills need to be dealt with....
    But don't forget about the humans in need as well.
    Make love, not war.

    February 28, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Colorado

    PUPPIES!?! Both Senators Durbin and Vitter need to go. We have to consider laying off teachers, firefighters, cops and an entire host of contract workers and these guys waste their time on PUPPIES!?!

    February 28, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    Jokes aside, this is actually must-pass legislation. Puppy mills and kitten factories are disgusting, abusive and the kind of calloused, profit-driven damage to our humanity that should be stamped out wherever found. Now, if only we could get this kind of bipartisan concensus and will to act on the calloused, profit-driven damage to our humanity that takes place on Wall Street...

    February 28, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. Donna

    I love dogs but oppose this for one reason. Obama will turn it into a 10,000 person dept. at cabinet level, Dept. of Dogs. It'll eventually be expanded to include all animals and grow to 50,000 federal union employees and be renamed Dept. of Pets.

    February 28, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    Hey... I love dogs, and have 2 of my own. But seriously... on the list of top 100 priority, shouldn't this be number 247 or so?

    February 28, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. just sayin

    dogs are better than most people anyways. protect them at all costs. only cold hearted people incapable of emotion would not want to protect mans best friend.

    February 28, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. simp

    Really? Durbin how about pushing that private student loan bill you co sponsored that allows you to file for bankruptcy. The law W signed into law in 2006 is allowing these banks to do whatever they want for those of us who have these private loans, they are heartless and they continue to add interest no matter what. That's something that will help people not this.

    February 28, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. RealVoiceOfReason

    MrBeen I do not. Fact remains that Animals are helpless, while we humans control our own destiny. Government can't fix our problems, only you can. So let them at least do something good..for a change.

    "but it's like dealing with dusting the furniture while the house is burning down." Much like making gun laws that criminals and criminally insane will follow.

    February 28, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. theddy

    This is a great bill. It helps stop moronic animal breeders and puppy mills.

    About gun laws- that subject is not as cut and dry as this one. If you even compare these two issues as apples to apples than you obviously lack reasoning skills.

    February 28, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. tea party member

    They are seriously going to waste our money on this?

    February 28, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. AZ Girl

    Ok, I'm a dog person, but, don't you think there is a few OTHER important issues going on that you can concentrate on? Jeez Louise our representatives are like that dog on the movie "Up", whenever one talks I expect them to yell "Squirrel!" any second.

    All of you take your ADD meds and GET BACK TO WORK SOLVING OUR BIGGER PROBLEMS!!

    February 28, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Richard Miller

    The worthless congress just got more worthless. And to all of you dog lovers: Neuter them and you would not have problems with puppies. Sign me a cat lover!

    February 28, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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