What is l’maseh in regards to having dolls that look like real people. Is one required to make some sort of pagam in the doll. Is there any tzad or makor l’hakil to not to do this?
Shevet Ha-Levi is stringent concerning dolls (based on Yoreh De’ah 141).
However, many are lenient, because the doll is clearly a children’s toy, and not something that any self-respecting idolater will worship. This is parallel to the halachah of keilim mevuzim, which are permitted even when they have a tzurah on them, because they are certainly not intended for idolatry.
The common custom is to be lenient in this matter; though this is possibly out of ignorance of the issue, I know many yerei shamayim who are not particular about buying dolls.
If somebody has such dolls in his possession, he must be careful not to “fix” them if they break, for this can be involve a severe prohibition.
See: Shut Oznei Yehoshua (1:13); Yabia Omer (3: Yoreh De’ah 8); Yecheveh Da’as (3:64).