At the federal level, in 1966, Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act, which outlines specific minimum standards of care for dogs, and some other kinds of animals bred for commercial resale. Under the AWA, certain large-scale commercial breeders are required to be licensed and regularly inspected by the USDA.
At the state level, according to the report by Humane Society in 2020, among the 50 states in the U.S., 17 states require licensing and inspections, or elects to inspect under its authority, 17 states require some licensing or limits but do not regularly inspect, and 16 states have no specific laws to address puppy mills.
For detailed provisions of puppy mill laws, there are the categories of Commercial Breeder Laws, Puppy Lemon Laws, Pet Leasing Restrictions, Pet Store Sales Restrictions, and Outdoor Sales Ban/ Restrictions. Read more here.
On the other hand, as puppy mill is one of the most important parts of the whole retail pet sale industry, the laws banning retail pet sale is important for puppy mills. “Retail pet sale bans prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats (and sometimes additional animals like a rabbit) sourced from commercial breeders. Instead, stores can offer animals available for adoption from rescues and shelters. In 2017, California made history when it became the first state to prohibit pet stores from selling commercially-bred animals. Maryland followed suit with a similar law in 2018. Hundreds of cities and counties, including Cook County (Chicago), Boston, and Philadelphia, have also passed retail pet sale bans.” (ALDF) There are close to 300 U.S. cities and counties that have passed retail pet sales ban legislation.
“Retail pet sales bans often include language promoting partnerships between animal shelters/rescues and pet stores, so that stores can encourage the adoption of homeless pets instead of stocking commercially bred puppies.” (ASPCA)
Unfortunately, puppy mill ban or retail pet sale ban is not a popular trend in Asian jurisdictions. With the trend of retail pet sales, the slogan “Adopt Not Shop” will have a limited impact. The ban on puppy mills or retail pet sales will make people adopt more from animal shelters and abandon fewer animals so that the ban will have a good impact on animal shelters and stray animals. There is still a long way to go to educate the public and change the view of society.