As Dog Adoptions Rise, Democrats Seek More Oversight of Breeders

Senate Democrats are pushing for stricter oversight of puppy mills amid a pandemic-fueled increase in pet adoptions.

The lawmakers are calling for bigger cages, mandated exercise and socialization for dogs that are in the care of breeders. The so-called Puppy Protection Act would also require screenings by vets before breeding. The effort is being led by Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate.

“As many Americans welcomed a dog into their family during the pandemic, we must ensure that the demand for pets is met with a commitment from breeders to raise dogs in humane conditions before they find their forever home,” Durbin said in a statement Tuesday.

Pet care comes up periodically in Congress, and regulators in 2014 implemented rules about online puppy sales based on legislation that Durbin introduced. The new bill is co-sponsored by 11 other Democrats in the Senate, and a companion measure was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this week.

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