Skip to comments.USDA seeks change to regulate Internet pet sales
Posted on 05/11/2012 5:43:22 AM PDT by Gennie
Dog breeders who skirt animal welfare laws by selling puppies over the Internet would face tighter scrutiny under a rule change proposed Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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.
That law, written in 1966, set standards of care for animals bred for commercial sale and research. Retail sales were exempt from inspections under the assumption that anyone who visited the store could see whether the animals appeared healthy and cared for.
The Internet opened a new venue for puppy sales, and thousands of large-scale breeders who advertise there have not been subject to oversight or inspection.
The proposed change seeks to close that loophole by ensuring that anyone who sells pets over the Internet, by phone or mail order can no longer do so sight-unseen. Sellers either must open their doors to the public so buyers can see the animals before they purchase them, or obtain a license and be subject to inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
"We feel this is certainly a much-needed change to an outdated system," said Rebecca Blue, deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.
(Excerpt) Read more at google.com ...
Unless dogs are used for culinary purposes I see no grant of authority for the USDA to regulate pet sales. The USDA is supposed to regulate food.
Unless you are from Indonesia, like Obama, pets are not intended for sale as a food product. Someone needs to get the message to Obama that Americans don’t eat dogs and cats.
This is something to take note of from the article:
"You need to open your home if you breed more than four dogs. That sounds appropriate to me," said Patti Strand, director of the National Animal Interest Alliance.
I do NOT believe Patti Strand said this. It is the antithesis to what NAIA stands for.
National Animal Interest Alliance Somebody in the drive-by media is twisting this spokesman's words.
Without the actual rule to look at, and going on what the article quotes, it seems to me that if the buyer handles the shipping arrangements and costs, separate from the purchase of the dog, you would be exempt.
We are in the same boat that you are (small GSD breeder), but we allow anyone to come and look at the dogs, and generally prefer to sell locally, shipping only rarely; and during the summer we cannot ship by air anyway, so most drive in to pick up. We have had people drive from the east coast (mainly because they don’t trust air shipping anymore).
And about the localized bloodlines: as long as you can ship semen, and if this new set of rules doesn’t affect the actual breeding, you can still breed to anyone anywhere.
And you are right about local puppy mill laws: there is enough local control in most cases to handle things. This is one more case of the Feds overstepping their boundaries, and making it difficult to do any sort of business at all; and regulating things they have no knowledge of.
“breeders who advertise there have not been subject to oversight or inspection.”
Yet, I would wager that the private breeders produce much better quality dogs. In general, they breed out of passion for the breed and as a result they ensure that they only enhance the positive aspects of the breeds. The current regulations most likely cover puppy mills already and have not helped in the least.
These are guesses on my part, but I have yet to see a government intrusion that results in a better quality anything!
These so called ‘puppy mill’ laws are a joke and fall into the same category as the depressing SPCA ads asking for money IMO. How many dogs you have is not necessarily an indicator of how they are treated. I have malinois and any trainer/breeder who specializes in working/military dogs will tell you that they have to import dogs because there aren’t enough quality dogs bred in the USA. Many of the famous malinois/german shepherd kennels in Belgium, Holland,France and Germany would be labeled puppy mills here, and they most certainly are not. Short story is that the gubmint hates any internet sales, because they are much more difficult for them to take control over, tax, etc.
>Unless dogs are used for culinary purposes I see no grant of authority for the USDA to regulate pet sales. The USDA is supposed to regulate food.<
USDA has regulated commercial pet breeders/brokers for decades. Many farmers supplement their incomes with dog breeding and have been regulated in how these animals are housed and cared for. Sadly, the dogs and cats in these operations might be clean and fed/watered, but they do not live the way hobby breeders’dogs and household pets do. In fact, animals kept under USDA regs may NOT be household residents. They must be kept in separate buildings, with separate plumbing/sewer.
In other words, if small hobby or small breeders are swept under the USDA umbrella, people who breed non-commercially will no longer be able to keep canines as pets.
Keep in mind, this proposed law will count every intact female FOUR MONTHS OLD and up, regardless of whether she is being bred, as a “female used for breeding”. People who show and who breed for hobby purposes routinely keep young, intact females (you cannot show a spayed dog) until they’re old enough to be health screened for breeding suitability, plus old enough to have completed the requirements for an AKC championship or other title. If the dog does not pass all clearances, she is then spayed and will never enter the gene pool.
AKC’s statement on this topic:
Early next week, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be releasing for public comment a new interpretation of portions of existing regulations for the federal Animal Welfare Act.
In particular, two proposed changes may have a potentially significant impact on AKC breeders:
Current AWA regulations do not require licensing of retail pet stores. The newly proposed rule will significantly narrow the definition of retail pet stores so that: Retail pet store means any outlet 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
This rescinds the retail pet store status/protection for those who engage in internet sales. Breeders who engage in internet-only or other sales without allowing the buyer to personally observe the puppy ahead of purchase will be subject to current USDA commercial breeder licensing and inspections. However, breeders who sell pets to their customers face-to-face will now qualify as retail pet stores for the purpose of remaining exempt from USDA regulations.
The proposed new rule also increases the exception for regulation as a commercial breeder for those who maintain up to four breeding female dogs on their premises if person sells only the offspring born and raised on the premises for use as pets or exhibition (regardless of whether those animals are sold at retail or wholesale).
The American Kennel Club will review the proposal, provide comment after fully analyzing the impacts of the proposed rule, and will report all developments as they warrant.
For more information, visit http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_welfare/2012/retail_pets_faq.pdf for a fact sheet prepared by USDA/APHIS regarding the proposed rule change; and http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2012/05/pdf/docket_APHIS_2011_0003.pdf for a preliminary copy of the proposal.
Exactly. You could have many “breeding dogs” but because you are responsible, have very few litters, carefully watch where puppies go and be regulated...OR you could have up to the limit with 4 breeding females, produce 8 litters a year if you bred all those girls every heat, sell those people to WHOEVER and be exempt. Makes perfect sense! </sarc>
Why don’t they all just shut up themselves..and leave We the People alone?
Questions and Answers:
Proposed Rule Retail Pet Sales
That would be nice...the federal government is about to get even bigger since I guess they think the states aren’t doing enough.
But what about other pets? Will you still be able to sell pussy over the Internet?
Hmm... I cannot find the actual rule changes, just a thumbnail description. From the Q&A, it appears that proposed rules are more restrictive than a lot of the state and local puppy mill rules. Not good... I don’t know who they think will enforce these, as the current state and local rules are essentially unenforceable due to lack of manpower, unless someone complains...
We also take deposits, but not on a specific dog, so that might skirt the rules... We don’t select the puppies that will go to specific owners until late in the process.
And I don’t think that shipped semen is the be-all-end-all answer, but it is affordable (for the most part) and doable by any competent vet across the country. It is not as “exotic” as it used to be for dogs... The conception rate for shipped semen/AI are just as good as normal breeding, if you have competent vets on both sides and there are no other issues with the dogs; just like normal breeding. You just have to do your normal homework and due diligence.
And if you want a puppy/dog from someone who cannot ship, you would just have to arrange for transport on your own. I don’t see any problem with that, as we cannot ship for about 3/4 of the year, due to shipping heat restrictions. (And I dislike air shipping anyway...)
Don’t take my arguments to say that I am on-board with this sort of rule change. I hate it, and I dislike anyone telling me how to run my hobby/business when they have never done it, and haven’t a clue on what they are dealing with. This is just one more reason to run under the radar as much as possible...
>According to their Facebook page, they are for it at this time?<
Here’s a quote from Strand off the FB comments on this subject:
“As you might imagine, seeing all the buzzwords and having my quote placed immediately after Wayne’s made me more than a little uncomfortable, too. I understand everyone’s concern. Many of the people posting here didn’t realize at first that this is a proposed rule, and none had been able to read it for themselves yet.
At NAIA we have said for decades that one of the distinguishing characteristics between the commercial breeders and us, especially when it comes to regulation, is that the dog-buying public can see the puppies, littermates, dam and in some cases the relatives of the puppy they are buying, when they buy from us”
Frankly, I am beyond disappointed in Ms Strand and NAIA at this point. Four, 4 month and up females in a non-commercial dog breeder/exhibitor’s home is in no way unusual nor is it indicative of “volume” breeding activity.
Another relevant post by Strand (although I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. Spin faster, Patti.
“First, no one including me knows what the final proposal will be as it has not been published yet. The AP called me for a comment and I replied to the limited information the writer provided me. There are a number of ways that my comments can be construed, but the part I responded to was the part that would exempt breeders who provide their purchasers access to their home or kennel. The devil is always in the details, though, so rest assured that if the proposal in its entirety turns out to be unreasonable, we won’t support it.
Keep in mind that this is a “proposed rule” which requires public input before finalizing. In other words, hobby breeders will have the opportunity to write them and push for changes and/or better methods of implementation if the proposal is unreasonable. The USDA has the authority to draft the regulations needed to implement laws already on the books and no one doubts their authority in this matter. What’s important now is giving them the right input after we’ve all had a chance to read it.”