Controversial New Rules Proposed for Pet Trade Regulation

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The American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) are fighting like cats and dogs over a proposal designed to close pet industry regulation loopholes that have enabled unscrupulous breeders to dodge animal welfare regulations crafted before the invention of the Internet.

Puppy Mills are Often Legal Retail Outlets

Retail pet outlets are generally exempt from animal welfare regulations because the customers themselves are thought to be regulators by demanding good treatment of the pets on sight. Now many pets are purchased sight unseen through the Internet and national magazine ads. This has enabled puppy mills to do a brisk business, sometimes sending sick, unsocialized, and substandard puppies to unsuspecting buyers.

Penalizing Hobbyists and/or Breed Champions?

On the other hand, modern trade practices have also enabled responsible breeders to have a broader quality customer base to champion their chosen breed through. This has been particularly helpful for the promotion and propagation of rare breeds. And this is the position that the AKC is coming from. They fear that steep regulations could force breed enthusiasts out of a business that is rarely profitable as it is.

Under the proposed rules, any breeder with more than four breeding females would  be subject to USDA inspection and oversight. The definition of breeding females is somewhat vague. Does that apply to unalterd females being raised and evaluated for health and constitution for future breeding purposes? And this is just one of the concerns of the AKC, who believes they are already doing a lot to regulate AKC breeders with their own inspections.

The HSUS believes the AKC has become a stumbling block to any legislation that promotes animal wellfare, having opposed more than 80 state and local regulations to crack down on puppy mills. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS states, "This is mindboggling that the American Kennel Club, that says that its a dogs champion, is opposing basic standards. Weve got to really question what the AKC is doing. Weve got to demand that they become part of the solution and no longer be part of the problem."

See the HSUS video commentary on the AKC:

For more information on this topic, please see: http://images.akc.org/governmentrelations/documents/pdf/usda_alert_dog_shows_june2012.pdf

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/report_akc_breeders.pdf

Puppy mill rescue photo courtesy of Josh Henderson.

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amy holcomb on July 11 at 1:26 PM said:

I really feel that the AKC has had it's run, it's like the rich boy's club. How many people have said to you my dog is AKC papered, who cares the dog ? The AKC for years has done massive registers on dogs from puppy mills that go straight to the internet or to dog stores to be sold. People buy the dogs and make places in the cages for more, about 50% are bought on a whim and many of those end up in shelters. If you are serious about getting a dog go to a shelter adopt or a responsible breeder , know where your dog comes from.
jacinda on July 11 at 4:14 PM said:

and a responsible breeder would go through the akc standards when breeding their dogs so they don't end up retarded. your contradicting yourself. their honestly is no solution, because no one will ever listen. we're all too opinionated.
amy holcomb on July 11 at 9:45 PM said:

I agree with following AKC standard though that will not guarentee you will not have a special needs dog. I have 2 that are AKC standards and are special needs. There is a solution, giving up and assuming no one will ever listen is not a solution. AKC needs to follow their own guidelines and not certify puppy mill dogs.
A Random Person on September 26 at 3:13 PM said:

I myself despise the likes of puppy mills, but lets face it, they arn't the only ones who would suffer here. It not just dog breeders being targeted. Have cats? those are monitored. breed rabbits? Those are on the list. Chicken, Gerbils, Fish and Ferrets? Doesn't mater what you have. Wheather or not you intend to sell the offspring, if you have more than 4 females, you are on their list.
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