Deplorable puppy mill conditions, in which dogs were infested with parasites, sleeping in their own feces and suffering with open, infected wounds, have yet to be properly addressed or even regulated by the USDA. This disturbing information was just reported by the Inspector General’s Office. The lack of enforcement by the USDA, as well as their failure to document violations and/or act to close down repeat offenders has resulted in no change in the current status of puppy mills. The inspector general’s report cited several cases of canine abuse and neglect, including the unnecessary death of an undisclosed number of dogs housed in various puppy mills across the country. First-time violators were rarely penalized and the majority of repeat offenders were for the most part ignored. Certain breeders previously cited for neglect and animal abuse were also ignored.
The report stated that the USDA’s emphasis was placed on educating the violators rather than penalizing them. Regarding the 27 dogs that died in the Oklahoma breeding facility, the breeder had been cited 29 violations, nine of which were repeat violations. The inspector reported finding five dead dogs and “other starving dogs that had resorted to cannibalism.” Yet, despite the atrocities, the USDA took no action at all.
Here are The Facts:
- Today, there are 99 inspectors responsible to regulate over 4,600 licensed dog breeders. In 2008, nearly 16,000 inspections were documented. Unfortunately, inspections without positive action or enforcement are a complete waste of time and money.
- Increased funding and appropriate spending of USDA dollars is paramount to improving both the regulation and enforcement of policies pertaining to puppy mills as enacted by the Animal Welfare Act. Supervision to mandate enforcement by the inspectors must also be addressed.
- Current loopholes in the Animal Welfare Act must be closed. For example, many breeders who have had their license revoked simply revert to selling their puppies directly to consumers, thereby circumventing the need for a USDA breeder’s license.
- Hopefully, creation of positive measures will be enacted to help prevent future recurrences of similar incidents. The USDA reports that they are actively adjusting their protocols and policies to help address these issues.
- This veterinarian, as well as the vast majority of veterinary medical doctors across the country have devoted their lives to improving the health and welfare of animals and oppose all animal neglect and/or cruelty.
- We can fly to the moon. Surely if we all worked together, veterinarians, the ASPCA, pet lovers and government officials alike, we can close puppy mills and enforce the humane treatment, care and housing of animals, putting an end to these travesties.