WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with Congressman James McGovern (MA-02), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) introduced the bipartisan Puppy Protection Act of 2023 to bolster protection for puppies by improving federal standards for licensed commercial dog breeders. Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) is leading the companion to bill in the Senate, to be introduced at a later date.

“It is crucial that Congress update the standards for commercial breeders in the Animal Welfare Act to further protect animals, and this bipartisan legislation does just that,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I’m proud to lead the Puppy Protection Act to ensure that Congress stands up for our dogs, and I am grateful to Congressmen Reschenthaler, McGovern, and Panetta for joining me in this bipartisan effort.” 

“Dogs stacked on top of one another—no room for them to stand up. No regular exercise. Rampant viruses and dirty cages. These are the conditions faced by too many dogs at the hands of too many commercial dog breeders,” said Congressman McGovern. “Our best friends deserve better, and this bipartisan bill gives dogs the proper, commonsense safeguards any owner would want for their pet. Through consistent dialogue, I’m confident we can work hand-and-paw with breeders for this bill’s inclusion in the farm bill and give dogs the overdue protections they deserve.”

“As a member of the Animal Protection Caucus, I am committed to championing legislation that promotes animal welfare,” said Reschenthaler. “Too many dogs currently suffer from inhumane conditions and abuse at the hands of commercial breeders. The Puppy Protection Act will protect these animals and put puppy mills on a short leash by holding them to a higher standard of care. I look forward to partnering with my colleagues to bring this commonsense bill to the House floor.”

“Despite the progress we’ve made with the Animal Welfare Act, dogs continue to be treated inhumanely and kept in subpar living conditions by bad actors in the commercial dog breeding industry,” said Congressman Panetta.  “The Puppy Protection Act will improve existing regulations for these breeders and the living standards for the animals in their care.  Protecting dogs across the country from mistreatment and cruelty is something every animal lover can agree on.”  

The legislation is endorsed by the Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the Humane Society of the United States, and the ASPCA.

“AWI thanks Reps. Fitzpatrick, McGovern, Reschenthaler, and Panetta 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.”

“For most Americans, it’s a natural inclination to see and treat our dogs like family. We want to make sure that they live in safe, healthy, and happy environments. Unfortunately, not everyone holds the same standard, and as a result, tens of thousands of dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities suffer in cramped cages that deny their most basic needs and comfort,” said Sara Amundson, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The Puppy Protection Act sets a higher benchmark of care for those animals to guarantee that their start to life is a healthier one. The leadership of Reps. Fitzpatrick, McGovern, Reschenthaler and Panetta has been decisive in raising the bar for their care and ensuring that when they join our households they can do so as healthy and happy family members.”

Read the text of the bill HERE.