Feds say they're now sitting on bad dog breeders

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

Copyright KMOX Radio

  • Thom Katt

    Just goes to show that MO Prop. B wasn’t necessary and didn’t do a thing to help dogs. All that was needed was a nudge to get existing laws enforced. If HSUS would have concentrated on that instead of making a big carnival side show to get attention and donations, the bad actors would have been put of of business so much quicker! Think how much more good might have been done if all the money HSUS blew on the Prop. B campaign if had donated to state agencies to fund their kennel inspection programs.

    Come on Missourians. Support common sense. Let your legislators know that you want them to fix all the things the HSUS messed up when they wrote the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.”

    • Thom Katt

      One more thing to let your legislators know: Tell them you want a fully funded Animal Care Facilities Program at the Missouri Department of Agiculture. Inspectors have to make a living too, and they can’t do inspections if the State can’t even provide them with vehicles and fuel to get there.

  • Carol

    If you believe that all that was needed was a nudge to get something done, then I have a bridge I can sell you. The same inspectors are inspecting, they are seeing the same things and will walk by the same suffering dogs. There will be no revisit in 90 days unless someone is cited. Unless there are new inspectors that care about animals and not the owners of the kennel then there will not be better enforcement.

  • http://packmentality.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/will-the-usda-get-serious-now-in-going-after-puppy-mills/ Will the USDA get serious now in going after puppy mills? « PACK MENTALITY

    […] article suggests new “mechanisms” are in place to prompt follow-up visits to kennels and stiffer penalties for breeders who refuse to follow the […]

  • Karenanne Miller

    Without all the publicity of Prop B, like it or not, the Feds would have never taken this change of policy. The public is more educated and aware and it’s time that lax inspections allowing animal neglect and abuse stop.

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