The Pet Animal Welfare Statue (PAWS, H.R. 2669/S. 1139) would amend the Animal Welfare Act to strengthen the licensure requirements for commercial dog and cat breeders. Under the current law, breeders who sell directly to the public do not have to be licensed by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). PAWS would require any breeder who breeds more than six litters of dogs or cats and sells them at retail to be licensed. It would also require licensure for any person who sells more than 25 dogs if they were bred or raised on the premises. If these facilities are required to be licensed by the USDA, they would be legally required to comply with the standards of care set forth in the Animal Welfare Act.
Additionally, PAWS would require licensure for any retail pet store that imports dogs from outside of the United States. As there is no United States oversight of the conditions under which imported puppies are bred and raised, PAWS is critical to ensure that no health risks are present upon the sale of these puppies to the United States public. PAWS would also require all retail pet stores to keep detailed records on the source of dogs offered for sale.
Ultimately, PAWS is designed to strengthen the Animal Welfare Act and help achieve the objectives of the original legislation and the Congressional intent of the law. Contact your representative now and urge him or her to support and cosponsor H.R. 2669/S. 1139!