The Agriculture Department is cracking down on dog breeders who sell puppies over the Internet with new regulations that will force them to apply for federal licenses, according to The Associated Press.
The AP reports the rules announced Tuesday would subject dog owners who breed more than four females and sell the puppies online, by mail or over the phone to the same oversight faced by wholesale animal breeders.
Many breeders who run their businesses online have skirted federal oversight by classifying themselves as retail pet stores, which are exempt from licensing requirements. Commercial pet stores aren't required to have licenses because buyers can see the animals before they buy them and decide whether they appear healthy and cared for. But that's not the case when buying over the Internet, according to the AP.
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