Another major loophole in the Animal Welfare Act excludes animal breeders and dealers who sell directly to the public from providing animals with the basic standards of care required by other animal dealers.  One of the most important pending bills is the Pet Animal Welfare Statute (H.R. 2669), introduced May 26, 2005 by Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Sam Farr (D-CA).  Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced the companion bill (S. 1139) in the U.S. Senate on May 26, 2005.  This bill would close the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act, which currently classifies animal breeders and dealers that sell directly to the public via newspaper ads or over the internet as “pet stores,” exempting them from providing the animals with the minimum standards of care required by the Animal Welfare Act.  If passed, this law would require that any commercial breeder who sells more than 6 litters of dogs or cats directly to the public, or produces more than 25 puppies or kittens in a year be licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The bill also allows for public access to source records for animals bred overseas and imported into the U.S., extends the temporary suspension period for facilities with Animal Welfare Act violations from 21 days to 60 days, and gives the USDA authority to apply for injunctions.  Most importantly, this law would require small breeders and "puppy mills" to provide the basic humane standards of care and handling established in the Animal Welfare Act. Thousands of puppies and kittens are born into horrible conditions to sick mothers who are forced to continuously breed until they can reproduce no longer, at which time they are usually euthanized.  These “pet stores” fail to provide adequate food, water, shelter, sanitary conditions, socialization and veterinarian care to these new puppies and kittens, thus creating puppies and kittens sick or diseased that are sold to the unsuspecting consumer.  All animal breeders and dealers should be required to provide the minimum standards of care established in the Animal Welfare Act, regardless of their size and whether or not the animals are sold directly to the public.  Surely when Congress passed the provision regulating “puppy mills” in 1976 it did not intend to create such a loophole exempting these animal breeders and dealers from the most basic humane requirements.  Please call or write to your federal representative and senators and urge them to support these important bills.  For more information, please CLICK HERE.

On July 27, 2005, Senator Santorum gave a speech on the Senate floor clarifying PAWS and reassured rescue groups that they would not be affected by PAWS.  To read Senator Santorum's speech,

For more information on the horrors of puppy mills, visit
Related to the Pet Animal Welfare Statute is the Pet Safety and Protection Act (S. 451), sponsored by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and introduced in the U.S. Senate on February 17, 2005.  This Act would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit Class B animal dealers, who obtain animals from “random sources,” from supplying cats and dogs to research facilities, dog-fighting rings and puppy mills.  These “random source” animals are often obtained from animal shelters, stolen from dog parks and even private yards, or obtained from “free to a good home” ads.  Class B animal dealers and their many suppliers have even been known to falsify records to conceal the methods used to obtain these animals.  The Pet Safety and Protection Act is a major step in protecting companion animals.  Please contact your federal Senators and urge them to support this Act.  For more information, CLICK HERE.   For more information on stolen pets and pound seizure, visit http://www.stolenpets.com/ and http://www.banpoundseizure.org/home.shtml.

This issue is to be considered by a conference committee in the near future.  Please contact the members of the committee and urge them to support the Pet Safety and Protection Act.  For a list of the committee members, including their contact information, CLICK HERE.

On September 20, 2005, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill prohibiting research facilities from using tax dollars for purchasing animals from Class B dealers.  Please contact your U.S. Senator and thank him/her for voting in support of this amendment.  This amendment awaits further action when the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations leaders meet to resolve differences between their respective bills.  Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to support this amendment.