We have the opportunity RIGHT NOW to let the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) know how we feel about possible changes regarding commercial dog breeding (puppy mill) licensing. The USDA is asking for the public to comment and the deadline is November 2nd.
According to the USDA, “We are soliciting public comment on potential revisions to the licensing requirements under our Animal Welfare Act regulations to promote compliance with the Act, reduce licensing fees, and strengthen existing safeguards that prevent any individual whose license has been suspended or revoked, or who has a history of noncompliance, from obtaining a license or working with regulated animals. We are soliciting public comment on these topics to help us consider ways to reduce regulatory burden and more efficiently ensure the sustained compliance of licensees with the Act.”
Suggested issues to address in your comments to the USDA:
- OPPOSE: Encourage the USDA to keep the license expiration at 1 year instead of extending the expiration date from 3 to 5 years.
- OPPOSE: Ask the USDA to raise the licensing fee instead of reducing and/or eliminating it.
- SUPPORT: Applicants should have to disclose any animal cruelty convictions or other violation of Federal, State, or local laws or regulations pertaining to animals.
- SUPPORT: Strengthening existing prohibitions to expressly restrict individuals and businesses whose licenses have been suspended or revoked from working for other regulated entities, and prevent individuals with histories of noncompliance from applying for new licenses through different individuals or business names.
You may also mail your feedback to: Docket No. APHIS-2017-0062, Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8 4700 River Road Unit 118 Riverdale, MD 20737-1238 (must be received by November 2nd)
Each year, USDA issues new licenses and renews existing licenses for people who breed, sell, or exhibit animals for commercial purposes. The department is responsible for ensuring that these licensees comply with the AWA’s humane standards of care, which enables the American public to confidently purchase pets and view animals on public display. It also has the authority to suspend or revoke licenses if the individual or business does not comply with the standards of the AWA.
What is a Puppy Mill?
A puppy mill is a large scale commercial dog breeding operation where dogs live in cages and are bred repeatedly, producing puppies to be sold in pet stores across the country – and online throughout the world. There may be as few as 100 breeding dogs or as many as 800 breeding dogs housed at a single facility. It is estimated there are approximately 10,000 puppy mills in the USA, the majority being located in the Midwest. About one-third of these mills are approved and licensed by the USDA, as dogs are legally classified as ‘agriculture’.
About Harley’s Dream
Harley’s Dream was established in 2016 to create awareness and educate the public about the commercial dog breeding industry, also known as puppy mills. They believe that a grassroots approach by large groups of concerned citizens is the most effective way to bring about change. Their focus is to encourage advocacy by providing the tools necessary to educate children and adults alike. Learn more at: harleysdream.org