Bipartisan voices urge USDA to implement puppy mill reforms

By on April 23, 2019 with 16 Comments

With one month to go before public comment closes on a federal rule that would curb some of the worst practices at puppy mills, some prominent voices are making the case for why the U.S. government needs to finalize this proposal and go even further to protect dogs from problem breeders who exploit and mistreat the animals in their care.

In a Washington Examiner op-ed today, Lara Trump, an adviser to President Trump, U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast, both Florida Republicans, and former Florida Attorney-General Pam Bondi, urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize the rule with its “commonsense measures” that would prevent dog dealers and other licensees with terrible animal care violations from obtaining new licenses. The proposal would also require commercial breeders and other facilities regulated by the USDA to obtain annual hands-on veterinary examinations and life-saving vaccinations for dogs, and provide them with a continual source of fresh water.

The rule is a good first step, but, as the authors argue, it does not go far enough to ensure a decent quality of life for dogs in federally licensed commercial breeding operations. The USDA’s rules still allow commercial breeders to keep hundreds of dogs in small, stacked wire cages for their entire lives. “Dogs in commercial breeding operations deserve a decent quality of life, not just a clean bowl of water and an annual vet exam. They also deserve room to run, fresh air, and spacious, comfortable housing,” the op-ed states.

Recently, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called for reform on another puppy-mill-related issue of major concern to us here at the Humane Society of the United States: the USDA sliding back on its job of going after some of the worst Animal Welfare Act violators.

In his letter to the USDA sent last week, Sen. Durbin cites a case in Georgia where a breeder was arrested after he had amassed more than 700 dogs and had been keeping them in filthy and uninhabitable conditions. The USDA had failed to require the breeder to get a license, even though he was openly selling online and had been identified in the HSUS’s Horrible Hundred report on problem puppy mills. The USDA, the Senator wrote, “must ensure breeders… are adhering to animal welfare rules and are being regularly inspected. I ask USDA to review the use of its resources and focus more attention on large, problematic dealers.”

As we have been reporting, over the past year, the USDA has also backpedaled on issuing citations to puppy mills, zoos and other licensed facilities that are mistreating animals. In fact, our own research has found that certain dog dealers cited for very severe animal welfare violations on their state inspection reports, including violations for filthy conditions, injured animals and emaciated dogs, somehow managed to receive a clean report from the USDA during the same month that state inspectors documented severe violations.

It is clear that we cannot allow this state of affairs to continue. Comments on the USDA rule close May 21, and we need your help. Please tell the USDA you support the improvements, but that they will mean nothing without strong enforcement and better standards. You can add your comment here (please personalize it) and we will deliver it to the USDA, along with the comments of other concerned citizens who want to wipe out the scourge of puppy mills for good.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Sharon Ann Ridings says:

    Please CLOSE ALL Puppy Mills and make them illiegal. Dogs have bee mistreated and suffered long enough.

  2. Avis Holt says:

    It cannot continue to be reported that “certain dog dealers cited for very severe animal welfare violations on their state inspection reports, including violations for filthy conditions, injured animals and emaciated dogs, somehow managed to receive a clean report from the USDA during the same month that state inspectors documented severe violations.” This is VERY WRONG. Please do the right thing by these animals. Thank you!

  3. Denise Basile says:

    Lets just get these horrible mills shit down , they should be illegal

  4. Mary Edwards says:

    Please enforce and strengthen the oversight of the USDA of commercial breeders of puppies. The animals need to be protected, as well as the people purchasing these puppies that unknowingly contribute to the suffering of millions of companion animals.

  5. E E says:

    Please, USDA, get more serious about puppy mill inspection, documentation and publication, and at least make “USDA license” have some meaning. No living creature should be forced to spend its life in misery.

  6. Adrienne Possenti says:

    Just think of how many wrongs could be made right if employees of the USDA actually got off their duffs & did their job for once. The USDA needs to be held accountable for complete negligence of the responsibilities to which they are tasked. USDA employees comprise the most unethical agency of slackers in our nation. The American public is keenly aware of what the USDA does & does not do. Taking the path of least resistance is the mode of operandi within the USDA. What is accomplished by employees of the USDA amounts to nothing & USDA employees collect a substantial salary for doing nothing. When / if USDA employees ever show an ounce of moral fortitude to tbe citizens they serve in the United States, perhaps then wrongs can be made right. Prove me wrong about you, USDA. Prove your pride in the job you do, show the high moral standards by which you operate on behalf of brutally abused wild and domesticate animals in the United States.

  7. Cindy Falvey says:

    Puppy Mills are cruel and inhumane. Close them all. Our companion animals deserve a life free of the horrible conditions they are now suffering !!!

  8. Natasha Miles says:

    Please close all Mills and prevent these people from ever being able to have a license again. This is not right and needs to be stopped.

  9. susan heffner says:

    close all puppy mills, the parent dogs are just used to breed and never have a loving family

  10. Diana says:

    No more puppy mills! Animals need rights! No more kill shelters, ever! Change the laws today.😢

  11. Freda Atkinson says:

    Stop puppy mills. In human treatment of animals should not be tolerated.

  12. Connie Schanberger says:

    Please many of you probably have loving dogs of your own, search your hearts and make these inhumane mills illegal. Our trusting companions deserve a life.

  13. Breeze Azrael says:

    I think puppy mills should be completely shut down!! People can buy pets from shelters like 40.000 dogs and cats a day get put down in the US every damn day and there are puppy mills? This is one of the causes!! It should not be for profits. Animals need rights too!

  14. Breeze Azrael says:

    I think puppy mills should be completely shut down!! People cat adopt animals and save their lives.

  15. Deborah Davis says:

    We need to crack down on these breeders, who make a living off the back of animals. They are neglected and abused. I hope it will become illegal to run these puppy mills.

  16. Nancy French says:

    Please close all puppy mills. We know first hand what awful lives these puppies and adult breeding dogs endure. We rescued a breeding female German shepherd that had been dumped at a high kill shelter because she wasn’t producing. She was only a puppy herself when she was first bred. She and all the other innocent animals need a voice.

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