Today, the USDA announced final changes to the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regarding a new USDA definition for "retail pet store." The purpose of the new rule is to bring internet-based pet breeders and sellers under the regulation of the AWA.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) shares the USDA’s concern about unscrupulous and potentially substandard puppy sellers. The AKC encourages responsible puppy buyers to meet the breeders of their new puppy and to work with responsible breeders to understand the commitment, challenges and requirements that a puppy of their chosen breed requires. However, we understand that there are times when such a meeting is not feasible or necessary due to ongoing relationships between puppy buyers and sellers.
AKC is extremely disappointed that the proposed rule remains substantially unchanged from the version first proposed by USDA in May 2012. We believe that this rule is overly broad and may damage the ability of small hobby breeders to take the most appropriate care of their dogs. It appears that few of the comments provided by AKC and expert dog breeders have been taken into consideration. The AKC is also disappointed that there does not appear to be additional opportunities for stakeholder comments on these changes.
The AKC will continue to monitor the situation as we review the newly announced final rule. To learn more about the rule change read the APHIS press release.
For more information go to AKC’s Government Relations Regulatory Resources page here.