FROM: Minnesota Humane Society [firstname.lastname@example.org]
In response to consumer complaints, media investigations and pressure from animal welfare organizations, the Inspector General conducted an audit of APHIS/USDA inspections of licensed breeding facilities. The audit was performed between 2006 & 2008, and the final report was released just this week.
The conclusions of the audit confirm what animal welfare organizations have long suspected. USDA inspectors are not adequately trained and are not enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. The audit report cites the following findings:
• The enforcement process was ineffective against problematic dealers. Education was the preferred action taken and no enforcement action was taken against violators.
• Violations were not cited or documented properly by inspectors to support enforcement actions.
• The monetary penalties assessed were not adequate to deter violators.
• The internet is a loop hole allowing an increasing number of large scale breeders to avoid inspections and these breeders are not being monitored to ensure the animals are being humanely treated.
APHIS/USDA has acknowledged the various problems raised in the audit report and is working to incorporate the recommendations of the Inspector General. Additionally, these findings could give leverage to the national legislation, Puppy Uniform Protection Statute (PUPS), which if passed would require:
• All breeders selling more than 50 puppies per year to the general public be federally licensed and inspected.
• Dogs at commercial breeding facilities must be given the opportunity to exercise for 60 minutes daily.
Help get the PUPS legislation passed. Please call your US Senator and Representative and urge them to vote in favor of PUPS. Below are links to access contact information for your US Senator and Representative.