News Channel 20

WASHINGTON (WICS/WRSP) — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, plans to introduce a bill this week that would expand protection for dogs.

The Puppy Protection Act would create stronger standards for housing, veterinary care, and breeding for dogs.

The legislation would ensure that dogs within a breeder's care have access to outdoor areas, suitable and safe enclosures, and regular interaction with other dogs and humans.

If passed, the bill would do the following:

  • Caging and space requirements: Expand enclosure requirements to allow dogs to stand on their hind legs without touching the top of their enclosure, as well as increase the number of square feet of their enclosure based on the dog’s size. Enclosures may not be stacked on top of one another.
  • Exercise: Offer dogs over 12 weeks of age unrestricted access from their primary enclosures to a ground-level, enclosed outdoor exercise area.
  • Socialization: Set a 30-minute requirement per day for dogs to socialize with humans and compatible dogs outside of the time spent in veterinary care.
  • Breeding: Require a screening by a veterinarian prior to each attempt to breed. It would also prohibit breeding of two litters in any 18-month period or more than six litters in a dog’s lifetime. In addition, breeders must find a humane placement for retired breeding dogs, such as with adoptive families or rescue organizations.

U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.