President Obama’s Opportunity for our Nation’s Puppies

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 - 1:30pm
Portuguese Water Dog puppy

The First Family, heeding President Truman’s maxim that if you want a friend in Washington, you should get a dog, did just that—they’ve added Sunny, a second Portuguese Water Dog, to their home in the White House! The family made a donation to the Washington (D.C.) Humane Society in Sunny’s honor, a lovely gesture that recognizes the important work shelters do for our communities and animals.

With Sunny and Bo, President Obama is able to make a difference in the lives of two dogs. However, the President has an opportunity to make an even bigger difference for thousands of dogs living in our country’s many large-scale, commercial breeding facilities. Last year, the USDA proposed a rule that, for the first time, would require large-scale commercial breeders that sell pets over the Internet (or conduct other sight-unseen sales) to be licensed and inspected under the federal Animal Welfare Act. Many of these commercial breeders are puppy mills—large-scale breeding operations that place profit over the well-being of their dogs.

Even though the ASPCA and our partners helped deliver 350,000 public comments in support, the Obama Administration has been slow to release the final rule. Another regulation preventing the importation of young puppies from foreign puppy mills has been in the pipeline for several years, and we urge the President to implement this new law immediately as well. By ensuring that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases its final rules on puppy importation and domestic puppy mills/online dog sales, President Obama can help protect dogs who aren’t as lucky as Bo and Sunny.

We hope that Sunny came from one of our nation’s shelters or rescues, or that the Obama family chose her from a responsible breeder—but regardless, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Sunny and Bo inspire the President to take action to protect the dogs who suffer daily in our nation’s puppy mills. Visit our No Pet Store Puppies website to learn more about where most puppy mill puppies end up.

The ASPCA works with the White House, Congress, and state legislatures across the country to make sure our nation has strong laws to protect animals. Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to learn how you can help!