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Puppy Mills Petition Surpasses 10,000 Signatures, More than Twice the Number Needed to Assure a White House Response

HSLF, Other Animal Welfare Groups Ask President Obama to Help Dogs by Cracking Down on Puppy Mills

WASHINGTON (Oct. 3, 2011) – Less than ten days since its filing, a petition submitted to the White House from The Humane Society Legislative Fund, The Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) 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.

Media contacts: Jordan Crump, 240-654-2964, jcrump@humanesociety.org
Rebecca McNeill, 646-291-4582, rebeccam@aspca.org

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The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at animalsandpolitics.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We're there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- on the Web at humanesociety.org. Subscribe to Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation. Join The HSUS on Facebook. Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “Humane TV” app.

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association was formed as a home for veterinary professionals who want to join together to speak out for animals, engage in direct care programs for animals in need, and educate the public and others in the profession about animal welfare issues. The HSVMA is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States -- on the Web at hsvma.org.

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change—growing by one million new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

Best Friends Animal Society, named Animal Welfare Non-Profit National Brand of the Year based on the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study, is a national animal welfare organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More HomelessPets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.