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Senators Shaheen, Hassan Cosponsor Legislation to Crack Down on Puppy Mills & Expand Protections for Dogs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan cosponsored legislation to help crack down on puppy mills by creating stronger standards for veterinary care, housing, and breeding for dogs. The Puppy Protection Act would ensure that dogs within breeders’ care have suitable and safe enclosures, access to outdoor areas, and regularly interact with other dogs and humans.

“Every effort must be made to ensure that dogs raised by breeders are kept in safe, sanitary and humane conditions,” said Senator Shaheen. “I was proud to help introduce the Puppy Protection Act, legislation that would prevent breeders from keeping dogs in squalid, negligent facilities and strengthen veterinary care, breeding and housing standards for dogs.”

“It is heartbreaking to see the conditions that puppies and dogs are subjected to in puppy mills and similar environments,” Senator Hassan said. “This important legislation would help ensure that dogs and puppies who are in a breeder’s care are properly cared for and can lead happy and healthy lives. I urge my colleagues to join us in taking long overdue action to strengthen protections for puppies.” 

Specifically, the bill would do the following:

  • Caging and space requirements: Expand enclosure requirements to allow dogs to stand on their hind legs without touching the top of their enclosure and increase the number of square feet of their enclosure based on the dog’s size. Enclosures may not be stacked on top of one another.
  • Exercise: Offer dogs over the age of 12 weeks unrestricted access from their primary enclosures to a ground-level, enclosed outdoor exercise area.
  • Socialization: Set a 30-minute requirement per day for dogs to socialize with humans and compatible dogs outside of the time spent in veterinary care.
  • Breeding: Require a screening by a veterinarian prior to each attempt to breed and prohibit breeding of two litters in any 18-month period or more than six litters in a dog’s lifetime. Breeders must also find a humane placement for retired breeding dogs, such as with adoptive families or rescue organizations.


Senators Shaheen and Hassan previously cosponsored historic bipartisan legislation that is now law that bans individuals from intentionally crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise causing serious bodily injury to animals.