Now ILLEGAL To Ship Puppies Without USDA License


New member
The Rule is in effect!

If you are a breeder and you have more than 4 intact females of any species (dog, cat, hamster, whether you are breeding the animal or not) you may NO LONGER ship your puppies to ANY pet puppy buyer UNLESS they physically see the actual puppy they are buying IN PERSON (no pics, webcam, etc) first.

If you are a puppy buyer or are looking for a Newfoundland puppy, keep in mind, if the breeder is shipping a puppy to you and has more than 4 females that are intact (early puppyhood to senior, cat, hamster whether they are breeding the animal or not) they are DOING SOMETHING ILLEGAL.

Breeders, you must either COMPLY with this new law, or close your doors (or just do things illegally with the risk of extraordinary fines)


The group that is helping fight this new law is still asking for donations but more importantly PLAINTIFFS!

They have raised about $50,000 and have only ONE Newfoundland Club signed on as a plaintiff. If you can get in touch with your Club, please urge them to sign on as a plaintiff.

Additionally, here is information regarding the complain system all breeders will now be subject to. Federal investigation will follow any complaint (legitimate or not) against you as a breeder.


Not trying to spam, but both pet owners and breeders need to be made aware of this and take it seriously.

Additionally, breeders are now open to fines and or jail time if they are not licensed and are now considered breaking the law if they ship animals unseen and have more than 4 intact female animals (not clear if it counts handlers, breeders with rescues/fosters, etc.


New member
Here's just something that has been circulating. Breeders, please talk to your breed clubs because, if I'm reading this right, Delegates have received a newsletter regarding this law.

An answer to AKC 'Perspectives' (for Delegates) article on new APHIS rule

This was written by Walt Hutchens with the instruction to PLEASE FORWARD

As many of us know, an article appearing in the December issue of the AKC's
'Perspectives' (for Delegates) newsletter discusses the new APHIS rule in
considerable detail. This newsletter is available ONLY to AKC Delegates;
permission to make this article public was denied based on grounds that
Delegates should have time to discuss it with their (AKC member) clubs,

That has left me with two unsatisfactory choices:

1. Agree that (to paraphrase an old saying) 'Oh, don't worry' should have a
greater head start in the round-the-world race before the truth is allowed
to start tying its shoes; or,

2. Post a response now even though most people won't be able immediately to
read the article.

I have chosen #2 and encourage interested pet breeders and other owners to
seek out and read a copy of the article itself. If you're a member of an AKC
member club, your delegate has access and is supposed to be discussing it
with you. This is the best general writing I've seen on the details of the
rule and this discussion is one that the pet fancy -- especially the hobby
and small commercial dog breeder and dog lover -- urgently needs.

The title is "Now that the dust has settled," and the author is Sherry
Wallis. While I have written this response to be as stand-alone as possible,
it presents ONE side of the story and does not cover the details in the

This, from the middle of the first page shows the general problem with this

"Most hobby breeders can be exempt with just some slight adjustments to
selling practices. Others may need to obtain a USDA license."

That's DEAD WRONG: Adjustments will be substantial for most breeders who try
to comply without getting a USDA license and very few of those who can't
make them will be able to get a license. The average 'adjustment' to this
new rule will be partial compliance, dread and trying to hide; some breeders
will be able to maintain that stance until they quit for other reasons, some
will be unable to cope with the risks and will quit early, and a few will be
busted and ruined.

The root of the problem is that the article relies throughout on APHIS
STATEMENTS about what their new rule means rather than WHAT THE RULE ITSELF
out of its way to confuse us by saying they'll figure things out as they go
and by giving conflicting answers.

A government agency can say "our rule is not what we mean" but they cannot
change its legal power by doing so and when (as in this case) the difference
between 'what we mean' and 'our rule' is substantial you can count on
getting whatever is worst sooner or later.

Furthermore there are two pro-regulation interest groups involved: The
animal rights movement (which wants breeding of pets ended) and the large
scale commercial breeders (who want small scale competitors costs to be
increased). Both groups have plenty of money and are certain to sue USDA to
compel enforcement to the letter of the rule if they think 'the letter'
would be better for them.

The draft rule was published well over a year ago and during a public
comment period of months there was detailed discussion of the problems.
APHIS had the information, the power, and plenty of time: If they wanted to
enforce a rule different than the original draft, why didn't they CHANGE THE
RULE before final publication? Since they didn't change the rule, why would
we assume that what they say about it now can be trusted?

A few examples of the problems:

1. The rule says that you can be exempt by selling all pets face to face
from your own premises. APHIS says that it's okay to do the sale face to
face somewhere else.

2. The rule says you're exempt if you breed and sell working dogs, dogs for
breeding/preservation of bloodlines, for hunting and for certain other
special purposes. APHIS says that this means you must intend selling them
ALL for the stated purpose and that too many sales as pets could require
them to investigate. How many would be 'too many'? They don't have a number
and will have to "go case by case,"
i.e., make it up as they go along.

3. The rule says you're exempt if you keep four or fewer breeding females
and sell only their offspring. APHIS says NOTHING that recognizes that hobby
breeders routinely have a substantial number of intact females that will
never be bred (or bred again) and all the signs are that an intact bitch
that is beyond early puppyhood would be counted.

Furthermore, the number counted is those 'maintained.' APHIS has not
clarified whether a handler who has a bitch to show over a weekend or
bringing one back for return to her owner is 'maintaining' that animal and
must therefore keep fewer of her own. How many bowls of kibble for a visitor
would be 'maintaining'? Does it matter if your sister feeds and walks her
two bitches herself while she is staying with you Christmas week?

We simply don't know if there can be a visiting bitch that doesn't count
toward your limit.

What about the breeder who takes in a rescue not of her breeding? Or a
'puppy back' in lieu of a stud fee? The article mentions the breeder/rescuer
problem but suggests only that one contact APHIS for guidance. They'll be
glad to talk to you but good luck getting anything to hang your breeding
program on.

4. APHIS has said both that the standards for in home breeder licensing are
the same as those for a breeding kennel, and that enforcement will be
adjusted for home breeders. Their recent publication of a handbook for
inspectors that takes both sides of that hasn't made things better.

Nor are the issues limited to breeders: ANYONE who sells a pet animal she
didn't breed must now do so face to face (or get licensed) even if she's a
rescuer, a show handler, or just your Mom who picked up a litter of kittens
from an abandoned barn. "Oh they would never enforce the rule against my
Mom," right? Well, we both hope so. The handler?
Would one of the competitors she beat this weekend both know she shipped a
stud fee puppy and be able to find the APHIS anonymous tip line number?
Rescuers who never breed may be safe for a while -- or maybe not.

This only scratches the surface of the conflicts and vague information about
the new rule. An additional level of confusion and danger comes from APHIS
statements that inspectors will have broad discretion to interpret the rule.
So the REAL rule you have to live with may depend on both who your inspector
is and whether he likes you or not, and may change when you get a new

The broadest issue with this rule is: There is NO now-unlicensed small
breeder in the U.S. who can at minimal cost be certain of compliance.
Those who rely on face-to-face will need to ditch some sales and raise the
cost of others in whatever situations they would normally have made
exceptions. Those who want to go with four-or-fewer will be unable to have a
substantial ongoing program and will have to be fanatical about visitors and
not reselling dogs they didn't breed.
Non-breeders who sell occasionally will need to decide how much risk they'll
take with 'face to face but NOT on my premises' and adjust as enforcement
changes. And most of the few who attempt licensing will be ground down by
the constant risks and problems.

That "Now that the dust has settled" title would be a bad joke if it were
funny. The TALK about a future rule has ended; the next phase is ENFORCMENT.
This is just the BEGINNING.

THIS RULE IS A CATASTROPHE. We cannot predict how bad the consequences will
be in January 2014, the next year, or the year after that because the timing
is up to APHIS and their handlers at HSUS but all the tools are there: We
would be fools to assume that they won't be used.

Experience with other HSUS-driven laws and regulations suggests they'll
start out slowly but that movement toward no small scale home breeding will
be steady, with fewer breeders each year than the year before and the pace
of enforcement action tuned to maintain this 'progress' with minimum
controversy. The complication is that the large commercial breeders have
BUSINESSES that will profit from squashing small competitors as soon as
possible; they might not be satisfied with 'slow but steady.'

The real answer is we don't know how rapidly this will go. All we can be


Sound Bay Newfs

Active member
Reputable breeders do not ship a pup to someone they have not met anyway. I don't ship pups at all. But this legislation is something to be aware of.


New member
Reputable breeders do not ship a pup to someone they have not met anyway. I don't ship pups at all. But this legislation is something to be aware of.
I believe part of the problem will also be breeder to breeder shipping. I.e. even if you know the person incredibly well and have shipped to them in the past, you will no longer be able to do so. Every specific pup being shipped must be viewed in person by the buyer. I could be wrong, but I believe that is also part of the issue with this law.


New member
Exactly Blacklightning

Even if you KNOW the person because they have purchased from you in the past, you are NOT allowed to ship that puppy to the buyer unless they fly out to you and view the exact puppy for sale.

YOU MAY NOT have a delivery company deliver the puppy to the person either, and this supposedly includes "trains" (where one friend delivers the animal to the buyer for them). But there is some ambiguity about that.

Additionally, if you take puppy back for stud service, and try to sell that puppy (either right away or when the puppy is an old adult and retired), you are no longer exempt from the USDA license and need to be licensed or you will be doing something illegal.

And finally, if you purchase a dog for breeding (from another kennel) and retire said dog, you may NOT sell said dog (exchange for money regardless of amount-even if just covering vet bills) or you will no longer be exempt and you will need a license.

It's also ambiguous if you will need a license if your dog needs a c-section and delivers her puppies at a vet office!

(since, due to this law, you also can NOT sell any dog not BORN on your premises, regardless of how many females you have)

Also, like I said, if a HANDLER has more than 4 bitches at her premises, some of which they breed and some of which they are just showing, they may also be breaking the law.

Same goes for Newfoundland breeders who rescue or foster. If you take in a bitch that is intact you are required to get a license from the USDA if you're over 4 females.

Really, a "wait, see, watch" approach is dangerous in this instance.

The law has been in effect since last month and the only chance of doing anything about it is through this injunction.

Additionally, if there are breeders who like to start drama and cause problems for other people, the USDA is at your service.

Just call in a complaint against another breeder (whether it be true or false, need not show evidence and your identity is protected from even the USDA) and the federal government now HAS to inspect/ follow up with the kennel for all reports. Even if it's done vindictively, viciously.

And since it's an anonymous system of reporting, you can feel free to report them over and over, and the USDA will have to keep going back to inspect their kennel. Have fun all!!! ;-) (sarcasm, but this is now what we all face!)

No search warrant needed, you can NOT deny them access to your kennel or your ENTIRE house when they come by.

If it doesn't affect you now, you better believe additions to the law in the future will rope you in.
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New member
This is beyond awful. Cannot even imagine how this will be handled. Not all of us have the $$$$$ to travel long distances to pick up our puppy, especially overseas.

I believe once ppl wake up to all the implications, these laws will be repealed.


New member
There is 90(?) days to file an injunction against this law (try to get it repealed / re-done).

There is an organization working on it (linked above).

Unfortunately, only ONE Newfoundland club signed on, which is kind of disappointing, but MANY dog clubs have joined in.

The more that sign up as plaintiff, the better the chance at winning.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have the attitude "it doesn't affect me, who cares", especially in another group I'm in. That's just sad :(

I'm one of the loudest people rallying against this new law and it doesn't affect me at all. *sigh*


New member
I've posted in most places on fb that I could.

I also contacted GAD to see if he would sign Newf Net up as a plaintiff.
I explained what it is that I was asking but I'm awaiting a response.

Haven't heard back from him yet.

If you have any places to suggest, let me know. You can also forward my posts :)


New member
Unfortunately this is the fallout from the call to get rid of backyard breeders and puppy mills. Very hard to write a law that shuts down those without making it more difficult for good breeders.


New member
Yeah, except this does nothing to BYBers. They can operate as usual.

A lot of BYBers sell on craigslist. You can have 100 breeding bitches as long as every sale is face to face. You can even meet in a walmart parking lot.

Also, many puppy mills are USDA licensed and due to the fact that there aren't enough inspectors, some facilities don't get inspected very often (once in 6 years), and have their dogs in deplorable conditions.

All this law really does is harm responsible / reputable breeders of dogs and cats while allowing the irresponsible craigslist mill breeders stay in business.