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Durbin urges USDA to increase enforcement of illegal puppy mills

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act to prevent operation of illegal puppy mills across the country. In a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Durbin cited a recent report where a breeder in Georgia was arrested after he amassed more than 700 dogs and had been keeping them in filthy and uninhabitable conditions.

Durbin questioned why USDA has begun a pilot program that gives breeder’s advance notice of inspections, and that citations of breeders have dropped each year since 2016, "This breeder, operating under the name Georgia Puppies, was state licensed and was selling puppies online through its own website and on third-party sites like Although limited by resources, USDA must ensure breeders, like the man in Georgia, are adhering to animal welfare rules and are being regularly inspected."

For years, Durbin has worked to reign in these illegal puppy mills.

  • In 2017, Durbin called on the Trump Administration to immediately restore animal cruelty information purged from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website.
  • In 2011, he introduced the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act, also known as the PUPS Act, which would require all breeders who sell more than 50 dogs a year to obtain a license from the USDA, including those that sell dogs online. 

You can read the full letter by clicking here.

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