Some dog breeders file lawsuit to block regulations

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Apparently, some dog breeders do not want to engage in even minimal welfare standards for welfare practices. As the USDA proposed a move of covering commercial breeders who sell directly to the public under the Animal Welfare Act, some breeders made it clear they do not want to fall under these minimal standards.

They have filed a lawsuit to block expansion of the rules.

Other breeders already fall under the act. But the system needs a upgrade, as too few inspectors are on the job to enforce the regulations, as they they stand now.

In reality, breeders who refuse to house and care for animals under these current, less-than-stringent guidelines should not be allowed to operate at all. Those who refuse proper veterinary care and those who house their dogs or cats in tiny cages 24/7 and those who never allow their animals time for play or exercise or proper food and water should be shut down – today.

It is difficult to understand how anyone could suggest all breeders should NOT be covered under at lease these very minimum standards of care in the Animal Welfare Act. If we shut down the puppy mill operators for good, the costs of enforcing the act will go down. If we shut the puppy mills down and slap some real punishment for the offenders, the penalty will be too great and the risk will be too big for other puppy mill operators.

It is time to see real action against puppy mills.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Animal welfare protests at Georgia Regents University

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The Humane Society of the US alleges, through video, that dogs are being abused during research studies at Georgia Regents University. With the release of this news, a group of animal-welfare advocates protested this past weekend at the Augusta, Ga. campus.

A response from Dr. Christopher Cutler and Dr. Mark Hamrick of the university ran on the WRDW-TV website. In the editorial, the two state the HSUS is claiming abuse where no such abuse is occurring. They support their position – in part – with the following:

Dogs are used infrequently in research conducted at the university. In this and every study at GRU, they are only obtained from vendors licensed and inspected by the USDA.

Puppy mill supporters use this same excuse, and it’s not a good one. The USDA is extremely short-handed with inspectors and we know puppy mills are operating unimpeded across the nation. And we know the regulations are extremely weak, as even puppy mills that are finally raided have often been allowed to stay in operation despite a history of infractions.

I would feel better to hear school officials were visiting the breeders on a regular basis for full tours, to ensure the parent dogs are being treated humanely. Are the breeders allowing the dogs regular, daily time for exercise and play? If not, these dogs are not being treated humanely.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

USDA announces crackdown on online puppy mill sales

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Finally, we might be seeing a move at the federal level to go after puppy mills.

The USDA has announced new regulations to bring dog breeders who sell puppies online or through the mail or by phone under the same guidelines imposed on wholesale breeders. This will be the case for breeders who breed four females or more.

The Associated Press story notes these breeders will need to apply for federal licenses and can be inspected by officials with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

And here’s more great news from the AP piece:

The Agriculture Department estimates that up to 4,640 dog breeders could be affected by the rule, along with about 325 cat breeders and up to 75 rabbit breeders.

Those oppose to the new rules claim the move will put many breeders out of business. GOOD. Those who cannot comply with basic, humane standards of care should not be allowed to operate at all.

Naturally, the AKC opposes the move by the USDA, as reported by the AP:

The American Kennel Club said it is dismayed by the rule, which is “overly broad and will do more damage than good,” said spokeswoman Lisa Petersen.

The AKC always opposes new regulations on puppy mills. Any move to actually force bad breeders to shut down brings the AKC out in force. And get this, the group claims the term “breeding female” is too vague. They probably think the term “compassion” is too vague.

Global Animal puts it this way – “Dog lovers rejoice!”

And on his blog, Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the US says tens of thousands of dogs housed in puppy mill will gain protection under the new regulations.

Pacelle explains the HSUS, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Doris Day Animal League have been pushing for the change. And they believe “… it was fundamentally unfair that people involved in the same underlying business enterprise (breeding dogs to sell for profit) would face entirely different regulatory standards.”

At minimum, why can’t officials at the AKC understand even this fact?

Pacelle goes on to add:

We thank the Obama administration and the USDA for bringing new standards of care to thousands of puppies, but also to kittens, rabbits and other warm-blooded animals who are often raised in inhumane facilities and sold as pets over the Internet, by mail or by phone, sight-unseen.

We must impose a system of inspections for commercial breeders. Those found to be abusing animals should be immediately shut down and those found to be operating without a license should be immediately shut down.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Reopening the door to horse slaughter plants an idiotic move

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Late last month, the US Department of Agriculture granted an application in New Mexico to open a horse-slaughter plant. And the same thing could happen in Iowa and Missouri.

It is still possible the USDA might not be granted the funding to inspect the plants, which would block the move.

An Associated Press article posted June 28 offered this tidbit:

The decision comes more than six months after Valley Meat Co. sued the USDA, accusing it of intentionally delaying the process because the Obama administration opposes horse slaughter.

I think arguments such as this fall under the category of “Crybaby.” So it’s no fair that someone disagrees with them on the issue? Is that a legal argument? Will “Waaaah, Mommy, they don’t think the way I think” stand up in court?

Thankfully, the USDA reports the Obama administration has asked Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter.

The article also cites a 2011 Government Accountability Office report suggesting the abuse and abandonment of horses has been rising since the ban on slaughter went on the books in 2006.

So I’ll ask this extremely important question: It is right to punish the horses because they are being abused and abandoned by people and because they are being over-bred to levels that are leading to increased populations of homeless horses?

What kind of illogical thought leads some people to want to punish the victims?

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Members of Federal Wildlife Services routinely engaged in acts of animal cruelty

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A Fox News story published Tuesday reports on routine acts of animal cruelty, by individuals working in the USDA’s Wildlife Services department. One person quoted in the article explains it is part of the job to have dogs attack wolves held in leg-hold traps.

Thankfully, two US Congressman – Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Rep. Peter Defazio (D-Ore.) are speaking out against these acts of torture to animals.

Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack was quoted in response to the reports:

USDA does not condone any form of animal cruelty and holds all employees responsible for adhering to Departmental and Agency standards and directives.

If Vilsack is true to his words, he will immediately ban the use of leg-hold traps and of course ban the use of dogs to attack wolves. And he should realize that there is a balance of nature to be addressed and killing off segments of the chain of life is no way to oversee ecosystems.

PUPS Act – to close the Internet loophole for dog breeders – was introduced on Wednesday

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Great news today. The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (The PUPS Act) was introduced Wednesday in the US Congress. And in equally good news, it is a bipartisan effort. The bill’s sponsors, as reported by the USA Today, are Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif.

Online puppy sellers are slipping around USDA regulations and inspections, because the Animal Welfare Act became the law of the land before the Internet rolled around. So the USA Today story notes

The PUPS Act will require all breeders who sell more than 50 dogs annually — whether through pet stores or online — to undergo inspections and meet U.S. Department of Agriculture standards for caring for the dogs.

This should be a sweep in both the House and Senate, but I can image a few uneducated elected officials voting with their special interests puppet masters and against this important legislation.

If passed, we need to see funding made available to the USDA for inspections and more enforcement.

 

Maryland Girl Scouts Troop wins Pack of Compassion Award – for letter to the AKC

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Girl Scout Troop 6811 out of Sandy Spring, Md. wrote a letter recently to the American Kennel Club, asking the organization to drop its opposition to proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Act that would close the loophole in the regulations that too many breeders are jumping through.

The girls want to make sure breeders who sell puppies over the Internet are subjected to regular inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as other breeders are.

In a statement, the AKC told ABC News, “The AKC believes it is neither the intent of the Animal Welfare Act nor USDA to place such an unfair burden on small, hobby breeders.”

This – of course – is completely twisted thinking, designed to divert the topic from the abuse of dogs in puppy mills. The new regulations would cover breeders who sell over the Internet or through other ads. In fact ALL BREEDERS should engage in humane practices. Why should any dog be abused? People who adopt pets or purchase puppies are not permitted to abuse them, under animal-cruelty laws. All breeders should be held to this standard.

The AKC’s position cannot be defended in any way, shape or form. The organization is fighting against regulations to ensure dogs received veterinary care, time for play and exercise and humane housing.

Several members of the Girl Scouts club were quoted in the ABC News piece, including 11-year old Mary Fran Papalia.

We want breeders, internet or otherwise, to be held accountable for their responsibilities. It’s pretty straightforward. If you are keeping dogs, take care of them.

And the story includes quotes from the Girl Scouts’ letter to the AKC: “We don’t understand why the rules should be different for some people, especially if they are making money by selling dogs, who keep so much of the money that their dogs are suffering.

This seems greedy and wrong to us and we hope it does to you too.”

The AKC’s response was short and non-responsive, as you will read in the article.

Three cheers for Girl Scouts Troop 6811. For their efforts to push the AKC to support compassion for animals, this group of impressive young women earns a very big Pack of Compassion Award.

Make sure you read the ABC News article. It contains some really great information and more quotes from the girls.

HSUS delivers 60,000+ letters to USDA in support of regulations on Internet puppy sales

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The Humane Society of the United States has hand-delivered over 60,000 letters from its members and supporters to the United States Department of Agriculture. The letters were written in support of a proposed new rule which would “crack down on Internet puppy mills.”

As things stand now, far too many puppy mills are stepping thr0ugh a huge hole in the regulations, by selling over the Internet, by mail or by phone. Puppy breeders who sell through stores are regulated (to a degree anyway). It’s time to close this loophole that ignores the existence of the Internet and ensure that all mass-production outfits are regularly inspected and are forced to meet basic guidelines of car for their dogs.

From the press release –

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“The tremendous public response to this proposal within just the first few weeks of the comment period shows that Americans support the USDA’s efforts to rein in unlicensed puppy mills,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign for The HSUS. “If passed, this rule will help protect thousands of dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities where puppies are sold over the Internet without any oversight.”

The rule would require large-scale, commercial puppy producers who sell pets to consumers over the Internet, by mail, or by phone to be regularly inspected and abide by the same basic standards of care as producers who sell to pet stores. Small, responsible breeders who sell puppies directly to the public from their property would not be affected.

The proposed rule remains open for public comments through July 16.

FACTS:

There are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.
Puppies from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog’s health, genetic history or future welfare.
Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life.
Since 2006, The HSUS has rescued more than 8,000 dogs from cruel conditions at unlicensed puppy mills. Most of the facilities involved were selling their puppies over the Internet.
The HSUS recommends never purchasing a puppy over the Internet or from a pet store; always visit a breeder in person to ensure that the dogs are raised in humane conditions.
On May 31, The HSUS announced that 50 more plaintiffs joined a lawsuit against online puppy seller Purebred Breeders LLC. The amended lawsuit, filed by consumer justice law firm Leopold Law, in partnership with lawyers at The HSUS, alleges that Purebred Breeders violates Florida state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers into believing that the puppies it sells are from high-quality breeders, when in fact they come from puppy mills.
For more information on responsible breeders, see humanesociety.org/breeder.

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USDA’s new proposed rules for dog breeders could help shut down more puppy mills

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It is at least a couple of decades past due, but we might finally see Internet sales and other retail sales of puppies covered under the Animal Welfare Act.

The change in the Animal Welfare Act has been on the table for some time now, but it is again a hot topic in the news this week, with the USDA proposal in the headlines.

The Washington Post reports the new regulations would cover breeders who breed more than four females and sell over the Internet, by mail or through phone sales. They will fall under the same guidelines as wholesale breeders. And this is the important change, as reported by the Washington Post – “” Sellers either must open their doors to the public so buyers can see the animals before they purchase them, or obtain a license and be subject to inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “”

The time is now for the federal government and all state governments to get serious about shutting down puppy mills. The horrible suffering has gone on for far too long.

The new regulations are getting bipartisan support in the US Congress. This is really great news! The bad news is it still doesn’t cover so-called backyard breeders who sell locally from their homes.

The Philly Dawg blog on Philly.com jumped on the news yesterday and and reported a large number of breeders in Pennsylvania have dropped their USDA licenses of late to sell over the Internet and slide by any oversight.

The Humane Society of the United States is applauding the move:

Sports editor drops the ball in understanding animal-welfare movement

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I just happened across an editorial on “Animal Rights” by the sports editor of the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle out of Kansas. I don’t want to slam another writer too hard, but it is apparent that while he must know sports, on the topic of animal welfare …. well… not so much.

Of late, some folks on the other side of this topic have been attempting to define “animal rights” versus “animal welfare.” Too often the goal seems to be to hold off any efforts to improve animal welfare at all, by claiming it’s all an effort by animal rights extremists.

In reality, too often the fight against improved animal-welfare laws comes from those who want animals to have no more protection from abuse than a living room sofa.

Tim Horan writes – “”” Because greyhounds are so well regulated within the NGA and its inspection program headed by Abilene’s Craig Randle, the greyhounds raised to be registered with NGA are exempt from Kansas laws that regulate puppy mills. “”

That is really NOT the reason racing greyh0unds are exempt from puppy mill laws. Can you say lobbyists and special interests?

Horan obviously doesn’t know about the greyhounds that never make it out alive. He doesn’t know about the racing greyhounds taken in by rescue groups in poor health. He doesn’t know about the closed system the NGA operates under. He doesn’t know about the alarming rate of cancer in racing greyhounds.
And I wonder if Horan would eat in a local restaurant knowing that it had never been inspected by the health department and instead was merely being inspected by the owners of the restaurant?
Horan cries that if greyhound breeding did fall under USDA regulations, the cost would be too great for the breeders. Not for other breeders; just for greyhound breeders.
But if their breeding practices are so great, as he tries to claim, then they should fall well within the minimum standards of the USDA – right?
And he wraps up the piece by defining welfare vs. rights, noting animal welfare is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as being “a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.”
Exactly! That is why greyhounds and other animals should be protected from harm. Allowing an industry to self-regulate just won’t cut it. Allowing breeders who sell directly to the public to operate outside the necessary protections and regulations won’t cut it. Laws that merely catch the abusers after their victims have suffered for months and years won’t cut it. Laws that catch only the puppy mills that happen to be exposed by consequence or luck won’t cut it.
People can type out the definition of animal welfare, but it doesn’t help much if they really do not understand it. To insure that animals have “proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care and humane handling” is to insure they have basic rights to protect them abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.
Because the other side doesn’t have a logical counter-argument, they routinely toss out tin-foil-hat claims that suggest people will be arrested for killing ants or maybe cats will get the right to vote if animal lovers get their way. We need a reasoned debate on animal welfare, as opposed propaganda.