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Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, the US Department of Agriculture regulates commercial breeders, kennels, and brokers who sell dogs through wholesale channels and sets standards for the use of animals in biomedical and product research, circuses, zoos, and other public animal displays. Currently, the AWA applies only to commercial kennels that sell puppies to pet stores.
Some states have kennel licensing laws that equal or exceed the standards set in the federal law, and some states have puppy lemon laws designed to give buyers some recourse if the puppy they acquire is sick. Kennel regulations govern the number of animals kept, the conditions of the living quarters, feeding, and quarantine of sick animals, among other things. Some states also place restrictions on breeding, require that animal shelters sterilize all dogs they sell, and prohibit dogs riding in pick-up truck beds.