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.

PM Pack-Line Headlines: Ringling Bros. fine, animal cruelty and puppy mills

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ONE – The owner of the Ringling Bros. circus has agreed to pay up on a $270,000 fine imposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CBS News reports this the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an “animal exhibitor” under the Animal Welfare Act.

Feld Entertainment has stated it does not admit to violating the law but agreed to the settlement with the USDA. The inspection reports, as noted in the CBS story, paints a pattern of troubling treatment of circus elephants. Yet, the company seems to deny any wrongdoing.

TWO – I found interesting editorial written by Angela Holbrook for the ConcornOnline.com. In the piece, Holbrook slams weak laws in regard to animal abuse.

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Pack News Topics – Animal-welfare focus for AVMA, protest at UCLA lab and NYC shelter funding

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The American Veterinary Medical Association is advancing its recent move to focus more on animal welfare.

A group of veterinarians, animal scientists, and educators met June 22-24 at AVMA headquarters to discuss animal-welfare curriculum for U.S. veterinary schools.

A news piece on the AVMA website includes this –

“” While not completely absent from veterinary curricula, instruction in animal welfare science and ethics has come under increasing criticism as insufficient, unsystematic, and disconnected in delivery. In response, the AVMA created the Model Animal Welfare Curriculum Planning Group with the goal of helping veterinary students receive the education necessary to be leaders in the field of animal welfare as graduate veterinarians. “”

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