Less than ten days since its filing, a petition submitted to the White House from The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Humane Society Legislative Fund asking President Obama to crack down on puppy mills gathered more than 10,600 signatures - doubling the threshold needed to assure an official response.
The groups submitted this petition using a new feature on the White House website called "We the People," which allows individuals to seek federal action. In turn, the White House promises a response to any petition gathering at least 5,000 signatures within 30 days. The anti-puppy mill petition met the requirement in less than one week, and as of today has more than 10,600 signatures. The petition is now the most popular animal-related petition on the White House website, and one of the top 15 overall.
"Thousands of animal lovers across the country are bringing the issue of puppy mills directly to the President's attention," said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign for The HSUS. "The petition asks the President to close a loophole that permits large-scale, commercial breeders who sell puppies online and directly to the public to escape basic oversight and minimal animal care standards. The Obama Administration needs to act now and close this loophole to crack down on the worst puppy mill abuses."
"The ASPCA has seen first-hand the unspeakable cruelty and horrific conditions of puppy mills," said Cori Menkin, senior director of the puppy mills campaign at the ASPCA. "The existing regulatory loophole allows many commercial breeders to operate without a license and without any inspection--meaning they are not accountable to anyone for their breeding and care standards. President Obama can take action to protect dogs and consumers and we urge him to do so."
"For too long the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not regulated or inspected commercial breeders selling puppies over the Internet to unsuspecting consumers. The Obama Administration has taken the first step to shutting down the foreign imports of underage puppies. Now it's time to properly oversee all large-scale puppy mills in the United States," said Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
Dogs in puppy mills typically are confined inside cramped wire cages for life, receive little to no medical care, and live in squalid conditions with little or no exercise, socialization or human interaction. The dogs must endure constant breeding cycles, often at the expense of their own health. Puppy mill dogs are sold in pet stores, online and directly to unsuspecting consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently issued a proposed rule to prohibit the import of puppies younger than six months of age from foreign puppy mills for commercial resale in the United States, implementing a law passed by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill. This White House petition calls on the agency to close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act which regulates large-scale commercial dog breeders who sell puppies wholesale to brokers or pet stores, but provides no oversight or standards for those who sell directly to the public through newspaper ads or the Internet.
Additional signatures are still encouraged to allow the petition to reach the status of "most popular" on the White House website. Those who wish to sign should go to: wh.gov/gdb.