Will the USDA get serious now in going after puppy mills?

KMOX.com ran a story Monday concerning the US Department of Agriculture’s response to the reports earlier in 2010 that concluded its enforcement of breeding rules and regulations was extremely weak at best.

The article suggests new “mechanisms” are in place to prompt follow-up visits to kennels and stiffer penalties for breeders who refuse to follow the rules.

USDA spokesman David Sacks told KMOX the “worst offenders make up a small percentage of facilities the agency inspects.”

Maybe I’m reading too much between the lines here. Or maybe I’m not. These statements seem pretty weak to me, especially in light of how easy the inspectors have been on offenders to date.

Just stiffer penalties for those who “REFUSE” to follow the rules? Those who refuse to follow the rules should be shut down – period. And when you are already making excuses for those who are not quite the worst offenders, by stating it as – ‘Oh those worst offenders, there’s just a few of  ’em‘ – then it seems to me the same old, tire, lax enforcement will continue.

I want to hear USDA spokespersons telling everyone the gravy train is over for puppy mills. I want them out slamming the breeders who mistreat their animals, with shut-down orders ready at the quick draw.

It is a good sign that one breeder was shut down in Missouri for operating without a license and has been banned from commercial breeding. What worries me is that only the worst offenders will be challenged – and in the meantime, so many dogs will continue to suffer in what the USDA might consider as the not-so-terribly-horrible group.

Only time will tell and more time equals more suffering for dogs in puppy mills.

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