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AKC Legislation Toolbox

The AKC has materials and resources available to help with education of people and legislators.  Here is a link to the AKC Canine Legislation Toolkit.

Puppy Uniform Protection & Safety Act (PUPS) Intro

There have been varied attempts over the past 15-20 years to control in home breeding by hobbyists and domestic animal retailers. The documents on this page include a brief history of those attempts; the most recent proposed bill now referred to the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee; US Department of Agriculture documents; and related analyses from opposed groups and individuals. To fully understand how this affects GSDCA members and future breeding of German Shepherds, please read the documents carefully.

What's the Truth About PUPS?


  • PUPS would create a new category of breeder, "High Volume Retail Breeder." High Volume Retail Breeders would be required to be licensed by USDA under the Animal Welfare Act/AWA.  They would be defined based on their ownership of or of having of ownership interests in one or more “breeding female dogs,” and sales, or offer to sell, by any means, of more than 50 of the offspring of those “breeding female dogs” in any 1-year period.

  • In the past, legislation has excluded home/hobby breeders since they are exempt under the AWA from federal licensing. However, in this bill, home/hobby breeders would be required to follow USDA rules and regulations, should they meet the High Volume Retail Breeder definition.  This bill would, for the first time, require home/hobby breeders to follow the strict USDA requirements, such as engineering standards designed for large commercial kennels and not homes.  Such regulations would exceedingly difficult to meet in a home/residential breeding environment.

  • This bill would affect all breeders who sell directly to the public, including show/hobby/working dog breeders.

  • If passed, PUPS would disastrously reduce purposely-bred pups for the public.

read more > > >

Legislation Leading up to PUPS

The history of legislation leading up to PUPS will shed some light on the persistent efforts of certain groups to control all breeders, including those breeders who sell directly to the public. This review touches on those efforts and then examines those aspects of the bill that would directly affect hobby dog breeders

Without knowing the history, it is difficult for some to immediately understand the significance of this new/old Federal proposed bill.  The many, many years of history of animal "politics" is too involved and lengthy for this review.  However, following are some recent updates on proposed bills that included dog-breeding constraints.  

There have been varied attempts over the past 15-20 years to control in-home breeding by hobbyists and domestic animal retailers. For a more detailed history, please go to:

The following has occurred in this century.

2001, PPA, the Puppy Protection Act (S1478) was proposed (Santorum, R-PA).  This bill would have given strict regulations on retail breeders. Retail breeders are defined as those breeders who do sell directly to the public.  The bill failed.

2001, The Doris Day Animal League (now merged with HSUS) sued the U.S. Agriculture Department to require regulation of in-home (retail) breeders.  After 3 years and appeals, the Supreme Court refused to hear it, and the appeal stood.  The lawsuit failed.

2005 PAWS (S1139) was proposed (Santorum, co-sponsored by Durbin/Specter).  HSUS joined DDAL (and for a time AKC!) in pushing for regulation and in-home inspection of small and hobby breeders. AKC dropped out when the 3rd party inspections was removed.  Failed

2008 PUPS 1 "Baby's Bill" S3519 Durbin (Sam Farr (D-CA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Lois Capps (D-CA), Terry Everett (R-AL)) proposed this law regulating retail breeders, with backing by HSUS and Television personalities.  This the first time that numerical limits are mentioned and also the first time that internet sellers are mentioned. The bill stalled in Committee.  Failed.

2010 PUPS 2 S. 3424 Durbin (Vitter R-LA, Wyden D-OR) is the most recent reincarnation of these series of proposed bills attempting to regulate in-home breeders and retail sales of domestic animals.  This PUPS bill repeats earlier efforts to regulate numbers, internet sales, and including for the first time, telephone sales.

2011 PUPS 3 H.R. 835 Rep Gerlach, Jim [PS-6] (introduced 2/18/2011), S. 707 Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] (introduced 3/31/2011) is designed to close the "Internet loophole" in the Animal Welfare Act which allows breeders who sell numberous puppies over the Internet of directly to the public to avoid the USDA regulation required of other breeder-retailers.  This bill has the exact same wording as 201 PUPS 2.

Read more: Legislation Leading up to PUPS

AKC Alert - March 08 2011

Federal PUPS Legislation Information Update
Date of Article: March 08, 2011

The American Kennel Club and our Washington, D.C.-based advocacy team are closely monitoring H.R. 835, the federal Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act. While the bill has been assigned to the Agriculture Committee, no hearings have been scheduled, and no Senate version has been introduced.

This bill is almost identical to the version introduced in 2010, and seeks to develop federal regulation of dog breeders who breed and sell more than 50 puppies a year directly to consumers. H.R. 835 would require the new category of breeders to abide by basic minimum standards of care and conditions and to abide by new performance-based exercise requirements. As we mentioned last year, this bill is a significant improvement over previous versions that focused on the number of dogs owned, regardless of how many were bred or sold.

However, the AKC also has a number of serious concerns with the bill as introduced. Some of these concerns include:

  • Definition of “breeding female” as an intact female dog aged 4 months or older. Female dogs are not sufficiently mature at 4 months of age to be bred.
  • Definition of “high volume breeder” as someone with “an ownership interest in or custody ofone or more breeding female dogs.” This definition is overly broad and does not take intoaccount the tradition of co- and joint ownerships common among dog show participants,sporting dog trainers, hunting club members, and other hobbyists. Additionally, a reference tothe number of dogs owned by a breeder is unnecessary and potentially misleading.
  • Current exercise language is overly vague and should be clarified to ensure that the dailyexercise requirements do not preclude training or other types of physical activity.

We will continue to monitor this legislation vigilantly and to outline our concerns regarding PUPS legislation to appropriate members of Congress and staff. At this point, we do not expect a hearing to be scheduled in the near future.

The AKC will continue its education campaign with legislators and we will keep you up to date on any new developments.

May 2010 USDA Inspection Report

The May 2010, Inspection Report by the USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

This report presents the results of the subject review. Your written response to the official draft report is included at the end of the report. Excerpts from the response and the Office of Inspector General's (OIG) position are incorporated into the relevant sections of the report. Based on the information in your written response, we have accepted your management decision on Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 14. Please follow your internal agency procedures in forwarding final action correspondence to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

Based on your written response, management decision has not been reached on Recommendations 4 and 11. The information needed to reach management decision on these recommendations is set forth in the OIG Position section after each recommendation. In accordance with Departmental Regulation 1720-1, please furnish a reply within 60 days providing the information requested in the OIG Position section. Please note that the regulation requires a management decision to be reached on all findings and recommendations within a maximum of 6 months from report issuance, and final action to be taken within 1 year of each management decision.

We appreciate the courtesies and cooperation extended to us by members of your staff during the review. Read the full report.

Fact Sheet for USDA Kennel Owners

Every USDA Licensed Kennel Owner receives this or a similar fact sheet explaining in general terms the kennel requirements. More detailed requirements are given to the kennel owner for the specifics.

APIS Inspection Sheet

Each APHIS inspector is theoretically supposed to carefully fill out this inspection check off sheet, and turn in the check-off sheet. This document details rules and information for the APHIS inspector in other of his duties and responsibilities.

The PUPS Bill 2011

Read THE BILL (HR-835)

Mr. GERLACH (for himself, Mr. FARR, Mrs. CAPPS, and Mr. YOUNG of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture on February 28, 2011


Pet Industry Joint Advisory Alert

PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council) is a pet industry group who advises and lobbies for the commercial breeder, the pet stores and supplier. They have encouraged cooperation between all groups, attempting to remove the divisiveness that remains between the commercial and retail breeder.

This is a PIJAC PetAlert document sent out immediately after the introduction of PUPS.

Sportsmen & Animal Owners Alliance Position Paper

March 2011

The SAOVA (Sportsmen & Animal Owners Alliance) is OPPOSED to HR 835 Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS) in its entirety.

Here is the SAOVA PUPS 2011 Position Paper

Illinois Federation of Dog Club & Owners Position Paper

Here is Position Paper of the Illinois Federation of Dog Club and Owners - an excellent analysis, thoroughly researched position paper with cites throughout. As of May 2011, they stand OPPOSED to the bill.

"Future of Dogs"


"Future of Dogs" by Suzie Black of Hawkwind, edited by Cherie Rankin.  This is an excellent article regarding PUPS written by a breeder.