The Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) OPPOSED HR 847 Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS) in its entirety.
For over a decade the Humane Society of The United States (HSUS) and other anti-animal use groups have introduced federal legislation to restrict breeding of dogs and/or cats at the retail level. Their proposed legislation would amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) with strict regulations on retail breeders.
PUPS and all previous versions abandon an existing workable, legally tested basis for commercial pet business licensing and regulation, substituting a more complex, more expensive, and unfunded plan that will be litigated for years. Without precedent, this legislation will invade the privacy of American homes and set standards for pet care and housing. PUPS 2013 was the second introduction of a bill from 2010 that expands enforcement of the AWA into the private sector with a newly created high volume breeders classification based on sales. PUPS sets unworkable facility and exercise requirements for residential breeder/sellers/sheltering organizations.
See PUPS 2011 for analysis.
There is continued focus on use of the internet as a means to "evade" AWA regulation. The presumption is that the public purchases sight unseen and sellers can freely operate in substandard conditions. Contact through the internet certainly could be just the initial connection for a purchase. It is not a foregone conclusion that the buyer and seller do not meet in person, and that the buyer has no opportunity to see the seller's facilities. There are many avenues available to the public for buying dogs. It is not the duty of the federal government to monitor and regulate the purchasing habits or prerogatives of the public. Although a few unscrupulous people may sell dogs via the internet that are housed in poor conditions, these people can be dealt with by local cruelty and/or consumer protection laws. Whether by passage of PUPS or USDA/APHIS rulemaking, requiring internet sellers to be licensed is excessive.
The FY 2012 federal Budget has a proposed appropriation for APHIS programs of $837 million, which is 8.3% or $76 million lower than the amount appropriated for APHIS in FY 2011. Included in the modest budget of $29 million for Animal Welfare, APHIS has requested an increase of $6 million for increased investigation of current problematic dog breeders and dealers. Restructuring, retraining, increased staff, and increased funding should allow AC to satisfactorily inspect facilities and follow through with any enforcement measures of current licensees with consistency.
As part of the 2012 farm bill which was not enacted, the FY 2013 federal Budget proposed $25 million, about $3 million below 2012, for Animal Welfare activities, including $0.5 million for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.
FY 2014 USDA Budget has been released and again there is little revision to the current budget. The APHIS 2014 budget request of $798 million is an overall reduction of $24 million from 2013. Money requested specifically for Animal Welfare activities and enforcement is $29 million, a requested increase of only $1 million which is split between Animal Welfare and Horse Protection. Increase for Horse Protection requested to $893,000 from current $500,000; therefore leaving virtually no additional funds to enact or enforce increased regulation as called for in PUPS bill.
Expansion of regulatory responsibilities into the private sector will most certainly require exponential increases in APHIS staff and funding. Major expansion of current APHIS regulatory responsibilities is not only impractical but irresponsible at as the nation struggles with a government deficit, departmental budget cuts, spending cuts to vital services, and a struggling economy.
Case Law Doris Day Animal League v. Veneman Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) has been intent on regulating private in-home breeders who sell retail. Their belief is that everyone who breeds even one litter and sells from their home premises should be regulated. As USDA/APHIS currently only regulates commercial (wholesale) sellers DDAL filed suit against USDA contending that current regulation by the USDA was in violation of the Animal Welfare Act.