Many involved in the breeding and sale of purebred dogs are understandably concerned about the torrent of ordinances and statutes recently adopted which essentially or outright ban the sale of purebred dogs. But hope may be on the way-namely, Purdue’s animal care standards.

These standards are uniform “science-based, nationwide animal care standards for the commercial breeding and raising of dogs” that will exceed those currently required by the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”).

Purdue’s Center for Animal Welfare Science’s Director, Candace Croney, is in the process of developing these new standards, to “provide breeders with uniform standards for dog care and well-being in all states.”

“The project involves drafting comprehensive care practices based on the latest research on animal welfare science. Input from breeders, veterinary practitioners and other experts on canine care, reproductive management and welfare will also be incorporated.”

Activists and many dog enthusiasts consider the AWA standards implemented by the USDA to be inadequate.  The Purdue Standards will hopefully appease those concerned about the care of commercially bred dogs, even though many breeders and dealers already exceed USDA standards.

The next logical step would involve amending USDA’s regulations to adopt more stringent standards.

In the meantime, opponents of sales of commercially bred dogs continue to introduce ordinances and statutes in cities and states across the country, in an attempt to ban to sale of purebred dogs and promote adoption of shelter and rescue dogs instead.  While most dog lovers are in favor of adoption, many are also concerned that their freedom of choice to buy a purebred, or specially bred, dog with characteristics they desire in a pet, may soon be gone.

According to Andrew Hunte, president and CEO of The Hunte Corporation, a USDA licensed animal dealer, “[a]nimal rights organizations spend millions of dollars annually to promote negative messages about pets sold at retail, even though the facts do not support their claims. While they tout adoption as an ‘alternative’ to purchasing a pet at retail, their ultimate goal is to make sure that adoption isn’t just an alternative—it’s the only option available to consumers. Groups that once were considered mainstream are now promoting adoption as the only responsible path to pet ownership. As a result, dozens of responsible, well-regulated, tax-paying pet businesses across the country have been forced to close.”

Organizations supporting these laws, like the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, actively promote the replacement of purchased purebreds with adopted dogs, and provide step-by-step guidance for the adoption of local ordinances.  They are also critical of USDA’s federal inspection program.

Hopefully, when the Purdue Standards are published and adopted, the public will feel assured that dogs raised, bred, and housed according to those standards receive proper care.