Breeders point out, if APHIS cannot enforce the rules it already has, it is hard to see how they will have the manpower to inspect the 5,000 additional online breeders it is now charged with inspecting. I’m sure APHIS is understaffed and underfunded with our government’s current implementation of sequestration and emphasis on military showmanship. Just changing the definition of a word is not going to suddenly save all the pets being abused unless enough veterinarians and animal inspectors are put on the job and given the authority to enforce the laws on record.
I have had clients tell me about breeders who really care about their dogs, but they are housing more dogs than the city allows in their home, so they only let two out in the yard at a time (in one particular case dalmatians — they all looked the same) so city inspectors would never know. The people who play this type of shenanigans will probably continue to do so and be hard to find. Are their conditions better than the conditions that are in these puppy mills? We will only know if we insist on seeing the breeding operation and the breeding dogs on site.
Patricia McConnell is definitely receiving a lot of heartfelt feedback by small breeders for her stand celebrating the new USDA definition of a retail store. I have to say I stand firmly in her camp. Let the really small breeders carry on, but if three or four or more females are being bred, you are no longer a small operation. You have to step up to the plate and build a safe environment that can be kept clean and parasite-free and submit to inspections. Let’s protect the consumer a bit and hope that the breeders that invest in a good environment for the dogs will also breed responsibly.