Monday, December 30, 2013


We've become accustomed to “White Lies” from the popular media and from our government. Most of the time we just laugh and dismiss them as irrelevant. But sometimes, these lies take on a life of their own.

Take, for example, the recent revision of USDA-APHIS rules. The reasons cited for the revision include:

  1. Recommendation from an audit from the USDA's Office of the Inspector General (or “OIG”)
  2. Response to a petition to the White House from supporters of the Humane Society of the US (“HSUS”); and
  3. Many complaints received by the USDA from consumers who received sick pets after buying “sight-unseen” over the internet.

The response to these three reasons cited includes a revision of rules to require anyone who owns more than four breeding females of any species and who ships pets to even one buyer, must now fall under the licensing requirements of the USDA.

The problem with this is that hobby breeders, who often own more than four breeding females (particularly with small breeds) and who frequently ship pets, are generally unable to comply with USDA licensing requirements meant for commercial breeders, dealers and exhibitors like circuses, zoos and animal parks.

We don't keep dogs in cement kennels with impermeable surfaces. Instead our dogs are housed in areas with grass, carpeting and even upholstered furniture. We don't rely on our dogs as a primary source of income, so we have a “real” job, and are not home during business hours to submit to unannounced inspections. We don't sell in order to make a net profit, and we sure don't have the money to pay for additional structural modifications and licensing over and above our local requirements.

A further claim by USDA is that FEW breeders will be affected...about four thousand at most, they claim. However, in their own OIG report, they claim that: “more than 80% of breeders that OIG sampled were not licensed under the Animal Welfare Act, because they sold pets over the internet and claimed retail pet store status.”

Make up your mind, which is it? A few thousand, or 80% of the hundreds of thousands of breeders in the US?

But let's back up a bit. How was this impeccable USDA OIG research done?

By internet searches. Must have taken a whole hour-and-a-half one afternoon. Your tax money at work, folks.

OIG report, page 37: “We used two search engines to identify how many of these breeders were licensed in two of our eight sampled states. We identified 138 breeders that had more than 3 breeding females or handled more than 25 dogs a year. We found 112 of the 138 (81 percent) were not licensed by APHIS. If the breeders had sold their dogs wholesale (i.e. not retail through the Internet), they would have needed a license.”

First off, how do you accept at face value ANYTHING that's simply information gleaned from an internet website? Someone could embellish their website to include dogs they bred who are now owned by others. Or, information could be out of date. People DIE and their websites still live on.

Most people with common sense contact sellers, ask for references from previous buyers or from their veterinarian. They ask for recent photos to be sent to them or ask to see the dog(s) on skype or Youtube. But not the USDA OIG. Nope, we get our information the quick, lazy and unreliable way, via GOOGLE.

The plain fact is that it is not possible to know for sure how many dogs a person owns (intact or otherwise) or how many puppies they sell or if they actually do ship dogs, simply based on a website.

The USDA further admits in their own report that selling directly to the public via the internet is by definition RETAIL. Retail sellers have always been exempt from the AWA. This has been upheld in court! Look up DDAL v. Veneman.

Most all hobby breeders have a website and sell remotely. That DOES NOT make them terrible, horrible, no good really bad animal exploiters who need to be regulated by the USDA. In fact, it is a violation of our rights to personal privacy to have government workers traipsing through our homes unannounced simply because we have a hobby that involves breeding our pets.

Then there's the question of sample size. 138 websites in 8 states? Hardly a representative cross-section of the nation's breeders.

And HOW do they know that those breeders whose websites they perused sold even ONE animal sight-unseen? THEY DON'T.

And even if the web seller in question did sell pets remotely, SO WHAT??

Ah, but the USDA claims to have received many complaints about people receiving sick animals when purchasing and having the pet shipped to them. See reason #3 above.

My first instinct in reaction to this is to say, BUYER BEWARE. Do your homework, research the seller and his or her reputation. Make your purchase thoughtfully. It is YOUR responsibility to choose your next pet, after all. Not the government's responsibility to protect you from your own choices.

But upon reflection, my second instinct is skepticism. Sick Dogs? WHERE ARE THEY?


A friend of mine was way ahead of me there. She wrote to the USDA and demanded that they PROVE their assertion that people are receiving sick dogs when buying sight-unseen via the Internet. Here is the response she received:

Dear Ms. XXXXX:

This is in response to your July 16, 2012, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for copies of complaints concerning the welfare of dogs and other pets received by APHIS directly from members of the public as referenced in that statement. Your request was received in this office on October 13, 2011, and assigned case number FOIA 12-03007-F.

Animal Care (AC) employees conducted a thorough search of their files and did not locate any information responsive to your request.

AC has informed this office that they have no records concerning the welfare of dogs and other pets received by APHIS directly from members of the public as referenced in the APHIS issued Regulatory Impact Analysis & Initial Regulatory
Flexibility Analysis Proposed Rule, APHIS-2011-0003 RIN 0579-AD57 because they do not record complaints regarding retail sales as it is not an Animal Welfare Act (AWA) covered activity.

You may appeal our no record determination. If you chose to appeal, your appeal must be in writing and must be received within 45 days of the date of this letter to the following address:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Ag Box 3401
Washington, DC 20250-3401

Please refer to FOIA 12-03007-F in your appeal letter and add the words “FOIA Appeal” to the front of the envelope. To assist the Administrator in reviewing your appeal, provide specific reasons why you believe modification of the determination warranted.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Kacie Edwards of my staff at (301) 851-4084.


Tonya Woods
Freedom of Information & Privacy Act
Legislative and Public Affairs

BTW, an appeal was sent but was never answered. Funny, eh?

So, there is absolutely NO documentation to support the assertion that even ONE complaint about internet sellers was ever received by the USDA!

We can see that the audit itself was a farce, and there is absolutely no validity to the claim of complaints about sellers shipping sick dogs. What about the petition?

A petition by the radical animal rights group the Humane Society of the US was acted upon by the current administration. Yet what was it that this petition requested? It requested that “PUPPY MILLS” (a legally undefined entity) that sell puppies via the internet be regulated under the AWA.
A reasonable reaction to anyone using such an emotion-laden term as "puppy mill" would NOT include lending any sort of consideration to their nonsensical request.

And hey, if you ship a dog and own more than four intact females, now you are automatically a "puppy mill"? Good to know.

The current group of USDA-APHIS licensed breeders are slurred as “puppy mills” by these same animal rights activists, and laws are being passed in many locales to prevent the puppies from licensed, inspected breeders to be sold! But these humaniacs want even MORE breeders regulated under APHIS, so they can agitate to prevent them from breeding and selling any puppies at all!! Pretty clever tactic, I'll admit. And in today's current United States of Idiocracy, they seem to be getting away with it so far.

Oddly enough, major dog organizations...the very groups that should be on the front lines supporting our rights as breeders.... have so far refused to challenge these new APHIS rules, which clearly violate the intent of the Animal Welfare Act by regulating non-commercial, hobby breeders. Instead, these groups are urging their supporters to try to seek out loopholes for exemption. If we don't go along with these new rules, they say, then Congress will pass PUPS and we'll be in an even worse situation. In fact, these major groups have been cooperating with USDA-APHIS in formulating and implementing the new rules! A horrible betrayal of all of our rights, sadly enough.

Animal Rights "humaniacs" won't stop at redefining retail pet stores and new APHIS rules. They are going to push for an easy score like PUPS regardless of what happens with the new APHIS rules. When that happens, we will have to be on the front lines fighting that atrocity of PUPS as well.

A large group of independent dog breeders and owners (over 21,000 to date) have decided to mount a legal challenge to these new rules. You can read more about that process here:

The new USDA-APHIS rules are based on a trifecta of lies....a report cobbled together by the USDA from internet searches, a petition to the White House from the ever-disingenuous HSUS, and the completely unsustantiated claim of "complaints" about sick puppies being shipped to buyers.

Please support “KODA” and the effort to protect our domestic animals from excessive federal government regulation.

Surely he needs to be regulated by the Federal government!


  1. The new USDA-APHIS rules are based on a trifecta of lies....a report cobbled together by the USDA from internet searches, a petition to the White House from the ever-disingenuous HSUS, and the completely unsustantiated claim of "complaints" about sick puppies being shipped to buyers.

  2. Excellent summary! This entire situation boggles the mind. And the fact that much of the new rule will be enforced on a 'case by case' basis (APHIS staff members' words) simply tells us it will be selectively enforced

  3. What a horrible situation. You expect people with an agenda to push to lie, but it comes to something when government employees use outright lies to pass new regulations.