On May 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced crucial reforms to protect animals in puppy mills, research labs and roadside zoos.

Under the new regulations, puppy breeders and roadside zoos will no longer have their licenses automatically renewed every year. Rather, they’ll be required to apply for a new license every three years and pass an inspection to get it. This stops cruel breeders who repeatedly violate the Animal Welfare Act from continuing to operate without an evaluation.

Additionally, puppy breeders are required to comply with increased veterinary care standards, including 24-hour access to clean drinking water — a condition that was shockingly not necessary prior to these new reforms — and apply for a new license if the number of animals they’re keeping at their facilities greatly increases.

While the USDA should be applauded for establishing stricter rules and regulations for the inhumane puppy mill industry, it simply isn’t enough. Dogs still live in deplorable conditions at best, and bipartisan legislation that goes beyond the new licensing requirements has been introduced to Congress in order to help combat this tragedy.

“Despite the Animal Welfare Act, too many dogs are still treated inhumanely by commercial breeders,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, one of the sponsors on the Puppy Protection Act, “and spend their whole lives in conditions that most dog owners would find cruel and completely unacceptable.”

The Puppy Protection Act aims to improve these dreadful conditions and make sure puppies are both healthy and safe.

The USDA must continue to do the right thing for innocent dogs forced to endure horrifying situations. Sign Lady Freethinker’s petition urging Congress to pass the Puppy Protection Act, protecting thousands of dogs from harmful, profit-driven breeders.

SIGN: End All Puppy Mills in the US