The legislation promotes informed pet purchases, and helps to combat unregulated, puppy mills
US Representatives Deborah Ross (NC-02), a Democrat, and Republican Vern Buchanan (FL-16) have introduced a bipartisan bill—dubbed the Petfax Act—with the purpose of increasing transparency in the pet adoption process. If passed into law, the bill would require that a “Petfax” report detailing conditions in which the animal was bred and raised be provided to individuals who are purchasing pets.1,2
There are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills operating in the United States, of which the majority are unlicensed by the USDA, according to the Humane Society of the United States.3 These commercial dog breeding facilities may sell animals in pet stores or online without disclosing information about a dog’s history or health problems to potential adopters. By requiring disclosure of the history and health of animals to buyers, the Petfax Act will enforce transparency and accountability among breeders and sellers to promote better treatment and breeding practices, according to Ross and Buchanan.1,2
“Whenever you buy a car, it usually comes with a detailed Carfax report detailing the vehicle history, such as owner maintenance, accidents, and overall condition. Adopting a pet should be no different,” said Buchanan, in a news release.1 “That is why I am pleased to introduce the Petfax Act with Congresswoman Ross to require those who sell pets to provide a “Petfax” report outlining the animal’s health history. Cracking down on these unsanitary and inhumane puppy mills is an essential step in ensuring a safe and healthy future in the animal buying process.”
The Petfax Act would also establish stricter criteria for obtaining and maintaining licenses to sell pets, helping to ensure that only legitimate and responsible sellers are allowed to operate in the industry.1,2 This legislation would apply only to those with 5 or more female breeding animals.1
“Dog lovers across the country are unknowingly subsidizing bad breeders who mistreat animals because they don’t have access to the basic facts. They need to make informed decisions,” said Ross, in a news release.2 “Congress needs to step in to ensure that adopters aren’t kept in the dark about the history and breeding of their animals. That’s why we introduced this bipartisan bill. The Petfax Act will require that prospective pet owners are provided essential information about their new family member, a step that will help to promote transparency and responsible practices in the industry."
A similar bipartisan bill sponsored by Representatives Charlie Crist (FL-13), a Democrat, and Republican Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) was introduced in Congress in 2020. The Petfax Bill of 2020 had aimed to improve honesty in pet sales and proposed penalties for breeders and sellers who have engaged in animal abuse or deceptive sales practices.
In her prepared statement, Ross, a dog owner, said she was committed to helping pets find loving homes through ethical and informed choices of their owners. “I’m grateful for the partnership of Congressman Buchanan on this important issue,” she added.2