Letter to the Editor: Federal Legislation Needed to Protect Puppies from Abuse

This July marks the two-year anniversary of Goldie’s death. Goldie, known only as “Golden Retriever #142” when she was alive, suffered and died in a federally-licensed puppy mill. Puppy mills are cruel commercial breeding operations that breed dogs over and over again to produce large amounts of puppies as quickly and cheaply as possible. To cut costs, puppy mills, like the one Goldie was kept in, often keep dogs in small, filthy cages and fail to provide adequate veterinary care, grooming, or socialization.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is tasked with regulating puppy mills to ensure that animals are not being abused, but for decades, the agency has shirked this mandated responsibility. The USDA often fails to inspect licensed facilities with reliable frequency and rarely takes meaningful action against licensees abusing dogs and puppies. In fact, the USDA has approved licenses for persons and entities known to routinely abuse animals.

Today, a quarter of a million dogs like Goldie continue to suffer in USDA-licensed puppy mills across the U.S. Thankfully, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced Goldie’s Act (H.R.1788). Goldie’s Act would address critical pitfalls in the USDA’s regulatory scheme and ensure better protections for animals in puppy mills. To protect these animals, I urge my lawmakers, U.S. Representative Michael Lawler and U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to support Goldie’s Act and include it in the 2023 Farm Bill.

Terry Austin
Sleepy Hollow

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