USDA has been lax on puppy-mill operations

A new Associated Press story slams the US Department of Agriculture for lax enforcement of puppy mills. Investigators have uncovered cases where repeat offenders were ignored and others were basically given a pass on violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

In the story, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated his department will look to improve enforcement, penalties and inspector training.

Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and David Vitter (R-La.) stated they will team to introduce legislation to close a loophole in the law that allows breeders to sell online. And the article notes Durbin and Vitter said they will be calling for changes to be made within the Agriculture Department.

In one case, an Oklahoma breeder was cited for 29 violations over an 11-month period before action was taken.

I’m hoping this story will actually prompt some real, positive changes in the areas of enforcement and increased penalties for puppy mill operations. But better laws and better regulations are certainly needed – including a system of routine, unannounced inspections of commercial breeding operations.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by D Gary Grady on May 26, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    For clarity, it isn’t the AP as such that slammed the U.S. Department of Agriculture; they only reported what the USDA’s own Inspector General and a team of federal investigators had concluded. The reports are horrific. For just one example:

    “In the case of the Oklahoma breeding facility where 27 dogs died, the breeder had been cited for 29 violations, including nine repeated violations, from February 2006 to January 2007. The inspector returned in November 2007 before any enforcement action had taken place, according to the report, and found five dead dogs and ‘other starving dogs that had resorted to cannibalism.’

    “Despite these conditions, the inspectors did not immediately confiscate the surviving dogs and, the report says, 22 additional dogs died before the breeder’s license was revoked.”


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