USDA-APHIS to regulate online pet breeders

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  June 2012:

USDA-APHIS to regulate online pet breeders

    RIVERDALE,  Maryland–The USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service on May 16,  2012 proposed “to revise the definition of retail pet store and related regulations to bring more pet animals sold at retail under the protection of the Animal Welfare Act.  Specifically,”  USDA-APHIS stated in the Federal Register,  “we would narrow the  definition of retail pet store so that it means a place of business or residence that each buyer physically enters in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase,  and where only certain animals are sold or offered for sale, at retail, for use as pets. Retail pet stores are not required to be licensed and inspected under the AWA.”  Publication of the proposed change opened a 30-day comment period.
“Dog breeders who skirt animal welfare laws by selling puppies over the Internet would face tighter scrutiny,”  explained Tracie Cone of Associated Press.  “The change would subject dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies electronically,  by mail or over the phone,  to the same oversight faced by wholesale dealers as part of the Animal Welfare Act.
The proposed rule change was welcomed by both the Humane Society of the U.S. and the National Animal Interest Alliance, founded in 1992 and headed ever since by Oregon dog breeder Patti Strand.
The proposed rule change was announced after the Southern California cities of Aliso Viejo,  Laguna Beach, Irvine,  Huntington Beach,  and Dana Point adopted ordinances prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats from commercial breeders. The San Clemente city council voted down a similar proposed ordinance.
The American SPCA on May 21,  2012 announced that more than 100,000 people had taken an online “No Pet Store Puppies” pledge.
“The national campaign, launched last July, raises awareness about the connection between pet stores and puppy mills and aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers not to buy any items-including food, supplies or toys-if the store or website sells dogs,”  said ASPCA spokesperson Anita Kelson Edson.

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