WASHINGTON – Should the federal government step in to increase oversight of dog breeding facilities? Some prominent animal rights advocates say “yes” and are pushing Congress to change the current laws.
While most dogs in America enjoy a great life for their owners, not every dog is as lucky.
Activists believe the federal government should do more to protect the animals, noting that records show insufficient efforts.
“We’ve had this problem for decades,” Ingrid Segerman said.
Segerman is a lobbyist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The ASPCA and Segerman want Congress to compel the Department of Agriculture, which oversees dog breeding facilities, to investigate and fine more breeders for violations.
“They basically have this program of inaction,” Segerman said.
“They are rarely issuing fines,” she said.
Last year, there were 11 administrative actions taken by the agency involving breeders. While some fines were issued, others were merely warnings.
The ASPCA believes that the low number of violations is not because dogs are being treated better in the country.
Segerman believes that more fines are needed to keep more dogs safe.
act of goldie
The Goldie Act is named after a malnourished Golden Retriever in Iowa.
It took 18 visits and six months for a facility owner to get a license suspended by the USDA.
Eventually the pup had to be put down.
Goldie’s Act would order the USDA to conduct more inspections and impose harsher penalties.
A bipartisan confrontation in Congress to try and include it in this year’s Farm Bill, legislation that happens every five years in our country and often leads to policy changes at the USDA.
“It will let the USDA do its job,” Segerman said.
Scripps News contacted the USDA for comment on this issue. The agency provided the following statement:
APHIS takes animal welfare very seriously. Our vetting process for individuals and/or businesses that reveal non-compliance with the Animal Welfare Act may result in enforcement action. If deficiencies are not corrected in subsequent inspections, APHIS considers legal action. Repeated non-compliance and serious incidents may warrant enforcement actions such as warning letters, monetary penalties, license suspension and revocation. Additional information about APHIS’s investigation and enforcement process can be found at Here [aphis.usda.gov],