The Humane Society of the United States on Tuesday welcomed the newest puppy to the White House by calling on President Obama to make good on a 2011 promise to crackdown on the types of unlicensed, unregulated and often cruel puppy mills he was able to avoid in getting his pricey new Portuguese Water Dog.
"With Sunny in the limelight today, we take the opportunity to express to the president our hope that he will make dogs not just a family priority, but a national policy priority too," said Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, in his blog.
The Humane Society has long been fighting against puppy mills, both those in the United States and international mills that ship dogs here. In October 2011, they and other national animal welfare groups petitioned Obama for action and his administration in December promised to act swiftly to regulate the industry.
The administration drew up two rules, one to prevent young, often sick, puppies from being imported into the U.S. Another was to target U.S. puppy mills that sell online — the fastest-growing method — by regulating those with four or more breeding female dogs.
Neither rule, however, has been put into action. The Office of Management and Budget had no immediate reaction.
"Both are small steps that can make real differences in the lives of dogs who are not so fortunate as [first dogs] Bo and Sunny. We've been anxiously awaiting the final rules, and they've been a long time in coming. It's time for the White House to make these policies law. No more delays," said Pacelle.
He also told Secrets: "The HSUS celebrates pets, and we're thrilled to hear that Sunny is already bringing joy into the lives of the first family. We are glad that the Obamas made a donation in Sunny's name to the Washington Humane Society, which shows the family's concern for the problem of homeless dogs and cats in our nation. We hope the Obamas considered adoption or rescue as the first choice in obtaining a dog, but on a broader level, there is much more the president can do to help dogs nationally."
Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.