Strengthen Oversight of Animal Dealers

Action needed by November 2!

Should someone who has violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) or state cruelty laws have a license to sell animals?

NO! And you can help make sure that this doesn’t happen.

USDA is considering changing its licensing regulations under the AWA and is asking the public for input on the matter by November 2.

Existing regulations mean that animal dealers have their licenses automatically renewed, including those who have a history of violating the AWA. To know this is a problem, we need only look at random source Class B dealers, which can legally acquire dogs and cats from pounds and then sell them so they can be used in research. AAVS has documented several incidents in which random source dealers with recent AWA violations have had their licenses renewed, allowing them to stay in business, and putting lost/stolen dogs and cats at risk of being sold to a lab.

Current administrative regulations present barriers to common sense limits on licensed entities that are chronic violators. Changes are needed, but, not surprisingly, there is a great deal of resistance from the businesses that have licenses.

YOUR voice for the animals is needed now to make sure USDA follows the right path.

USDA needs to streamline how it regulates and licenses animal dealers. It also needs to be diligent in overseeing those with a history of violating the law and harming animals — it’s their job!

Comments regarding this issue must be submitted to the USDA via the Federal Register. You may copy and paste the sample letter below or write your own comments. Directions are below the sample letter. Comments are due on  November 2.

Sample letter:

Dear Dr. Carter-Corker,

I support the use of expiration dates (no longer than three years) for animal dealer licenses instead of USDA’s current practice of automatic license renewal. Doing this will help ensure that only dealers who meet requirements of the Animal Welfare Act regulations are renewed. Unannounced inspections should be conducted during the license period as well to ensure documentation of compliance.

License fees should not be decreased. Rather, the cost to purchase a license should be set to cover the costs that USDA incurs in order to perform its enforcement duties such as inspections.

Individuals who have had their dealer license suspended or revoked should be prohibited from participating in other USDA regulated activities involving animals. Additionally, I believe it would be good to conduct a criminal background check on individuals applying for a license in order to capture violations of state cruelty laws.

Lastly, I understand that dealers want their privacy, but the public also has a right to records documenting the welfare of animals their facilities. One way to satisfy both these concerns is to require facilities to apply for a license using their business name while keeping track of individuals to prevent fraud.

Thank you in advance for considering my comments.



• Go to

• Write your comments (or copy and paste from the sample letter) in the box.

• Scroll down and add your contact information.

• Check box next to “I read and understand the statement above.”

• Click the green “Submit Comment” box.

• A message will appear stating:
“Thank you! Your comment had been submitted to for review by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.”

There will also be a “comment tracking number.”

• You’re done! Thank you for taking action to help animals in labs!