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 In the piece, Holbrook slams weak laws in regard to animal abuse. out of Mississippi ran an Associated Press story Sunday about the weak animal-cruelty laws in the state. Since Gov. Haley Barbour signed the state’s cat-and-dog felony abuse law back on April 26, no one has been charged under the law.

FOUR – And in Oklahoma, the debate is brewing over the need for better breeding regulations. A Tulsa World article from Monday reports a USDA auditor found a dog at one breeding facility that had an untreated bite wound that was eating away at the dog’s bone.

That breeder had been cited with 20 previous violations (from April 2006 to December 2007), but no enforcement actions had been taken. In another Oklahoma case, a dog was found completely covered in ticks at a breeding kennel with a “history of citations.”

At another Oklahoma facility with a “history of unenforced violations,” inspectors found five dead dogs and others who had “resorted to cannibalism.”

But despite this trend, Tulsa World reports an attorney for dog breeders is “challenging the constitutionality of the state’s rules.” She claims state inspectors won’t have any more success than federal inspectors on enforcement and controlling these problems.

So for this so-called reason you challenge the rules? Is she suggesting stronger regulations where the inspectors are forced to cite the violators and remove the dogs? Probably not.

This article clearly offers evidence that Oklahoma needs stronger laws, better enforcement mechanisms and a system of harsher punishment for puppy-mill breeders – as do many other states across the nation.