Senators want to close online puppy loophole
February 28th, 2013
12:23 PM ET
5 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. givemea break

    Well, who says they can't get anything done ?

    February 28, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. ulli

    They have time to spend on this frivilous stuff; but no time to address sequestration.

    Time to vote all of these f00ls out of office.

    February 28, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. rick rickerson

    people saying this will be done in a day and that will be the end of it. when does that ever happen? WE'RE 16 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT HOW ABOUT WE FOCUS ON COMING UP WITH A SOLUTION FOR THAT

    February 28, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Gary

    While some of the comments are eye rolling and yes I believe Puppies deserve to be treated just as good as anyone else, they could have lumped this in with a Bill that actually helps the economy and people not just make a bigger joke out of congress.

    At least CNN chose a cute picture of puppies.

    February 28, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    @Tom's post regarding the insanity of it being OK to the online sale of dogs (with which I also agree), but the inability to close the gun show loophole that allows unlimited sales without a background check: EXCELLENT post!

    February 28, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I just wish the President and Democrats or perhaps CNN would conduct a poll on middle class Americans who would agree to a tax hike to move the country forward. As a concerned American who cares for the common man and love for country, I have no problem paying more taxes if it would help move things forward. Let the rich enjoy their loopholes and tax havens in off shore accounts and let them go on their lavish vacations and spend their TARP bailout wining and dining . When I graduated from college, I worked two full-time jobs to pay back my student loans and I had no problem doing so. Hey, a lot of us middle class Americans aren't afraid of hard work. If I have to pick up the tab for my fellow Americans who are struggling I don't mind it a bit.

    February 28, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    @IL-MO Rescue, NFP: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. This is not putting animals before people. This is compassion, pure and simple. All civilized societies should take into account the welfare of the least among us.


    If only Republicans cared this much about the HUMANS who are the least among us ...

    February 28, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. ghostriter

    HA! I don't know which is funnier. Actually have the s@ck to present this bill one day before the big cuts go down or that a license to sell dogs makes sense, but a license to purchase weapons is considered too much.

    Other countries used to laugh at us. Now they just shake their heads.

    February 28, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Sarah

    Thank you, Senators Durbin and Vitter!! If someone is unable to abide by these regulations, he/she is not equipped to properly care for puppies.

    February 28, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Logic N LA

    Tom- you are correct. Congress believes that pedigree puppies are more important than safer gun laws or our economy. I'm not against stronger laws about puppie mills but a national law? Can't wai to see where this goes!!

    February 28, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. oceanluvver2

    I hope they get this passed! Animal rights are just as important as our rights and needs. Humans can take care of themselves, if they get off their lazy butts and quit being greedy. Animals rely on caring people to do the right thing by them.

    February 28, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. oceanluvver2

    I hope this passes this time! Animals deserve our care and compassion just as much as humans do. Humans can take care of themselves, if they would quit being greedy and get off their lazy butts! Animals depend on us to do the right thing by them. If you don't feel the same, do us a favor and move to another planet.

    February 28, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    Let me get this straight... It's okay to spout off about "legitimate" rape, try to ban abortions, and not want to impose more stingent gun laws (that would help save HUMAN lives), but OH NO the puppies need our protection. WTH? What's next, do they want armed guards for every puppy, too? I know this needs to be addressed, but we have more important issues to resolve.

    February 28, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Cheryl W.

    Many thanks to Senators Durbin and Vitter. There are millions of animal lovers out there that are voters – politicians should really keep that in mind!! Perhaps if a law were in place to regulate the sale of on-line puppies, this would lead to the eventual end to the ruthless, money-hungry puppy breeders out there. Perhaps, the money I (and thousands of others) spend on donations to shelters could be used elsewhere in society! I would encourage other animal lovers out there to post their comments.

    February 28, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. just sayin

    honestly, these imbeciles refuse to enforce our borders but want to inspect puppy breeders? forget about the dogs and cats... we need to start neutering some of these people so they don't breed.

    February 28, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Okay, puppies are covered. No big surprise that the conservatives would protect the babies. Now what about the adult dogs and the seniors, Republicans. Your legislation only covers puppies?

    February 28, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Name lynn

    These puppies are sooo cute, the republicans took out time for the puppies. Now its obama time republicans.

    February 28, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. angie4525

    This is amazing!! Finally.... keep up the good work!

    February 28, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. angie4525

    This is amazing! Please pass this!!!!

    February 28, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. g

    remember puppies bring your ID to vote

    February 28, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. tangledvine

    Numerous laws work their way through Congress at the same time and are voted on at the same time. Taking on this issue, this proposed law while others are still outstanding is not evidence of Congress not working. It's evidence that this issue is more of a no-brainer than gun laws which have so much opposition. Don't get me wrong. I support the ban on assault weapons. They have no place in our society. That said, it is going to be a tough battle to get meaningful gun laws passed. Does that mean that NO other laws should be passed in the meantime?

    February 28, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. don in albuquerque

    Amazing.......We are facing a sequester, the supreme joke is prepared to take the first step in dismantling the voters rights act, the people of the country cannot afford medical care, we are still paying billions a day for a war that need never to have happened, oil companies continue to make zillion dollar profits and remain on the government welfare role, our children are murdered by the dozens by weapons that no one should be allowed to own, the price of food continues to soar and we continue to pay out incredible subsidies to farmers (alot of them in congress) and what does congress give us? A puppy bill. This is the pinnacle of insanity for both sides of the aisle. Really? If we send the Queen a letter explaining that we are not capable of governing ourselves, and we apologize profusely, and tell her it was a horrible mistake, would she take us back? Pretty please with ice cream on top.

    February 28, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. MikeI

    GEE, that is taking care of the country,s biggest problem ! ! 1 1

    February 28, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Candy Kramer

    Many states and USDA already regulate dog breeders for the most part. Congress just needs to keep their nose on the important things and let the agencies already involved with dog breeders to deal with the issue.

    February 28, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. Doug in NYC

    @ don in albuquerque

    Given the current state of this country, I'm pretty sure the Queen wouldn't take us back. But can we apply for a bailout claiming that the United States is "Too big to fail"?

    February 28, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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