Due to a loophole in Animal Welfare Act regulations, puppy mills were able to sell animals on-line without any regulation from the USDA. Because of this, many animals suffered in horrific conditions with no veterinary care. Thanks to public outcry led by the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Doris Day Animal League, this loophole has been closed. The on-line dealers will be subject to the same regulations as everyone else. I would like to thank all the members of congress who worked together across party lines to make this happen. More information can be found at the HSUS website http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2013/09/usda-announces-puppy-mill-rule.html-.
Although this will improve the conditions at puppy mills, it is still a horrible life for the animals destined to these conditions. Therefore, I would encourage everyone to work with a reputable local breeder. Better yet, my favorite solution is to adopt from shelters or rescue groups.