WASHINGTON D.C. (KMOX) - Six months after an investigation revealed terrible lapses in the federal dog breeding inspection program, agriculture officials say they’re cracking down.
A USDA Inspector General’s report last spring opened the books on so-called ”puppy mills” where animals were dying and suffering – yet federal inspectors were giving those kennels chance after chance.
“After this audit came out there was a definite shift from education to enforcement,” says USDA spokesman David Sacks.
Sacks tells KMOX, the worst offenders make up a small percentage of facilities the agency inspects. But he adds, the agency has put “mechanisms” in place to trigger follow-up visits and stiffer penalties for breeders who refuse to follow the rules.
“So if that report cites a breeder for a repeat non-compliant item, that is automatically going to trigger a re-inspection within 90 days and that’s going to set into motion possible enforcement action,” expains Sacks.
In the worst cases, “when an animal is suffering, that’s an emergency situation for that animal. So we’re going to give that facility notice that we plan to confiscate that animal unless they give it the veterinary care that it needs. Typically within 24 to 48 hours we’ll be back.”
Sacks says the public can also track results. All dog breeding inspection reports for the last three years are on-line, as well as monthly updates on enforcement.
As an example in November, the agency announced the shut down of a Hermitage, Missouri outfit breeding Shelties without a license. The owner’s been fined more than $18,000 for failing to provide adequate shelter and veterinary care and is banned from commercial breeding.
Click here for a link to the USDA’s animal inspection action plan
Click here for a link to enforcement actions
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