HSUS vs Puppy Mills?

October 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

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The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has for years been using funds to promote legislative changes in regards to puppy mills and other large dog facilities. Now this may seem like a noble and right thing for the HSUS to be doing however I think it may be an inappropriate use of funds, especially considering some of the laws or regulatory changes they are promoting are not going to make a lick of difference and considering that HSUS needs to take care of its own issues before complaining about others.

Let me first start by saying, I do think that although puppy mills are a legal form of business, it is not an acceptable form of business. It is one in which it does not have the health and welfare of dogs in mind. Puppy mills do not have the best interest of dogs and their breeds as their top priority. Puppy mills should be shut down the way most bad businesses are shut down – don’t buy their product.

In this point I agree with the HSUS from their website (Puppy Mills: FAQ) –

Because most puppy mills are not illegal, we need help from the public to put an end to the consumer demand for their “product.” You can help The HSUS put a stop to puppy mills by getting your next dog from an animal shelter, rescue group, or a humane and reputable breeder that you have carefully screened in person.

The focus should be on public education. Letting people in the general public considering purchasing a puppy from a puppy mill or a dog store what they are getting and how that puppy was produced. It is not an easy task and will take sometime but it is a better choice than trying to regulate and make laws against freedom of business, especially considering the amount of money being spent on trying to regulate something that can not be regulated.

Also from HSUS website –

Only large-scale commercial facilities that breed or broker animals for resale—to pet stores for example—are required to be licensed and inspected by the USDA because they are considered “wholesale” operations. Those that sell directly to the public—thousands of facilities that breed and sell just as many puppies as their wholesale counterparts—are not required to adhere to the Animal Welfare Act or to any federal humane care standards.

Inspection records obtained by The HSUS show that many USDA-licensed breeders get away with repeated violations of the Animal Welfare Act. These violators are rarely fined and their licenses are rarely suspended. Facilities with long histories of repeated violations for basic care conditions are often allowed to renew their licenses again and again.

So this means two things – 1.) The laws/regulations do not and are not enforceable on anyone that does not register with USDA – most Amish puppy mills are not touchable by business laws and regulations 2.) The current laws on the books obviously are there but are not enforced – so making new laws is stupid when the current ones are not even enforced. Are the new laws going to be enforced more, just because they are new?

The major problem with these laws are that they are not enforced. The reason the laws are not enforced? No one to enforce them, no money to enforce them and no place to go with the dogs when they are taken away from the violator. When the dogs are taken from these facilities, many times they are placed in other facilities just as over crowded or they are euthanized. Since breeding dogs is not an illegal business when the laws are enforced and the dogs are taken away from violators, the puppy mills just start over with new dogs. Looking at this honestly there are laws already that exist to prevent puppy mills they are just not enforced.

Looking at the current national story of the Tea Party attempting to block the current Proposition in Missouri. The new proposition makes only 3 changes to the laws that are currently on the books in Missouri in regards to animal facilities.

  1. Limits the amount of breeding animals to 50
  2. Requires resting periods between breedings
  3. Increasing the amount of space that the dogs need to have

The Tea Party’s main complaint is that the Proposition does not include anything as a way to fund or enforce the new regulations. Now in my opinion, this proposition does nothing to change anything. Why should the HSUS waste its money on a law that is not going to change what is going on there?

Lets take out the freedom to do business and the rights of people, I do not want to get into that argument here, lets look at the 3 changes and where I believe they are not going to make a difference.

  1. limit to 50 breeding dogs – Are you kidding? I can run a real good puppy mill with 50 dogs! 8-9 bitches with 1-2 males of 5 of the most common breeds, then my brother can own 50 and my cousin also. We would have a real good puppy mill business.
  2. Resting periods between breedings – how in the world is this going to be enforced?
  3. Increasing the amount of space an individual dog should have – the puppy mills are not following the amount of space requirements that are already on the books in Missouri. If those are not enforced how is this going to change anything?

The HSUS is wasting valuable resources on a bad regulatory change that will not make a lick of difference to the health and welfare of dogs. Even if the proposition passes, the puppy mills will continue to be run in that state despite the new rules.

They are doing this in many states. Trying to limit the amount of dogs people are allowed to own is the main focus of the majority of these bills and propositions. Limiting the number of dogs people own should not be the focus the focus needs to be on the health and welfare of the dogs that are owned. Limiting the number of dogs does nothing – a bad breeder with only 5 dogs can have deplorable conditions.

Talking about deplorable conditions – the HSUS supports facilities that go against the legislation they are trying to push for puppy mills. Not enough space, multiple dogs in cages and runs, not enough man power to keep the facilities clean or to get the dogs exercised. Instead of spending valuable resources on promoting legislation and trying to go toe to toe with the Tea Party, why don’t they try and clean up their own act and provide money to true humane and welfare issues for shelters. There are some shelters and rescue facilities that are fabulous and well maintained, but there are others that are completely disgusting. Lets use the money and resources to help those facilities clean their act up. Pull the wooden beam from thine own eye before pointing at the splinter in someone else’s.

Puppy mills are terrible. The operators have no regard for the health and well being of the dogs and they certainly do not have the best interest of improving the breed of the dogs. They need to be shut down by public education and by not buying their product. The HSUS needs to clean up its own act and not spend the thousands to millions of dollars trying to get legislation passed. Their donations need to be spent on cleaning up the facilities they support making sure they run well and in accordance to the standards they wish others to have and in educating the public. Being involved in politics is not my idea of where the donations of the HSUS should be spent.

If you have a comment please do not hesitate to give me your opinion, below.

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About Dr Daniel Beatty
An Infopreneur with a Veterinary Medicine degree.