WASHINGTON, D.C. This week, U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), and Jim McGovern (MA-02) took steps towards improving the regulations set for federally licensed commercial dog breeders by re-introducing the Puppy Protection Act, H.R. 2840.

“It’s crucial we stand up for animals—both as individuals and as a society. That means strengthening important regulations under the Animal Welfare Act to meet this goal,” said Fitzpatrick. “As a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, I’m committed to ensuring our government is doing its part to promote animal welfare.”

“Our four-legged, furry friends need us to be their advocate in the people’s Congress,” said Crist. “I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan piece of legislation that gives voice to the voiceless, protecting man’s best friend from exploitative dealers and breeders.”

“I’m proud that the Rules Committee is one of the most dog-friendly committees on Capitol Hill. Yet despite the Animal Welfare Act, too many dogs are treated inhumanely by commercial breeders, spending their whole lives in conditions that any dog owner would consider completely unacceptable and cruel,” said Chairman McGovern. “I look forward to working with Representatives Fitzpatrick, Crist, and Reschenthaler to push for the passage of this important and bipartisan bill.”

“I have long championed legislation that protects our nation’s animals from abuse and neglect,” said Reschenthaler. “This bill will promote animal welfare and provide enhanced protections for puppies across the country by implementing more humane standards for commercial dog breeders. Too many dogs currently suffer from inhumane conditions, but I look forward to working with my colleagues Representatives Fitzpatrick, Crist, and McGovern to better protect these animals in the future.”

“The pandemic has seen a significant surge in the number of American homes adopting pets from animal shelters and rescue groups. Unfortunately, it has also increased the number of animals purchased, so tens of thousands of puppies and mother breeding dogs are living in deplorable conditions in puppy mills across the country to meet this demand. That’s why Reps. Fitzpatrick, Crist, Reschenthaler, and McGovern introduced the Puppy Protection Act to create healthy and safe environments for these dogs living in large scale commercial breeding facilities,” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “We are grateful for their leadership to transform the lives of so many dogs and protect the American families who love them.”  

“AWI thanks Reps. Fitzpatrick, Crist, Reschenthaler, and McGovern for their efforts to update and enhance the requirements for the care of dogs in breeding facilities,” said Nancy Blaney, Director of Government Affairs at the Animal Welfare Institute. “Such improvements are long overdue for both breeding facilities and all entities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.”

“Dogs should not be raised in small cages, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and bred until they are spent,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action.  “We can do better than this as a nation when it comes to dog care."

“Thank you to Reps. Fitzpatrick, Crist, Reschenthaler, and McGovern for introducing the Puppy Protection Act, an important step in creating healthier and more humane conditions for dogs in breeding facilities," said Julie Castle, Best Friends Animal Society CEO. "These improvements are long overdue and critical in improving the lives of dogs across the country.” 

The Puppy Protection Act improves the standards for breeding practices, housing, veterinary care, and regulations for the placement and socialization of retired breeding dogs. Under the Animal Welfare Act, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates federally licensed commercial dog breeders that sell dogs wholesale to retail pet stores and commercial brokers, or directly to consumers over the Internet. Although the Animal Welfare Act aims to ensure the humane treatment of dogs in federally licensed facilities, the current standards fall short.

Hobbyist breeders, livestock, and family pets will not be impacted by the Puppy Protection Act.