Displaying items by tag: Puppy Mills

Pet retail facilities taking advantage of “essential services” designation and using it to peddle unhealthy dogs to unsuspecting consumers
 
LANCASTER, PA – Animal Wellness Action, a national animal protection group promoting legal standards against cruelty, conducted a survey, conducted between April 13-20th, of nearly 40 stores in Pennsylvania that sell dogs obtained from puppy mills and found that 30 percent of stores have been selling dogs during the COVID-19 crisis. Animal Wellness sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf, urging him to clarify that the sale of puppies from puppy mills is not an essential service, halt the transport of puppies for retail sale in the state, strengthen laws and regulations to protect dogs and consumers, and increase enforcement of the current law. Rather than buy puppies from a pet store, the public should be encouraged to adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue instead.
 
Nearly all puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills -- large, commercial dog breeding operations that sell dogs at stores and over the internet. Hundreds of puppy mills operate within Pennsylvania, and thousands of puppies are transported into the state each year from puppy mills located in the Midwest, despite a pullback on business activities to encourage social distancing during the crisis. While pet supply stores have been deemed essential, that designation was almost certainly driven by the need to provide food and other goods for proper pet care and not as a means to continue a live-animal sales activity that undermines animal welfare.
 
“We agree pet supply stores are essential, but only for the sale of food and other necessities for our pets, not for the purpose of continuing the trade in inhumanely produced, often sick animals,” said Michele Patterson, national puppy mill committee chair for Animal Wellness Action and a resident of Lancaster County.  “Given that Pennsylvania has often referred to as the ‘Puppy Mill Capital’ of the east coast, we must be especially vigilant and prevent the industry from doing more harm to dogs and consumers.”
 
Current federal and state standards for the care of mother dogs kept in mills are barely adequate for survival, loopholes allow violators to continue renewing their licenses, and fail to adequately address the fraud and deception of puppy mills. Puppies often become sick due to the poor breeding, unsanitary conditions of mills, and long-distance transport to pet stores. Families are devastated after their new puppy dies of illness, and according to a 2019 CDC investigation, the ill puppies have passed dangerous diseases onto people, such as campylobacter, a bacterial infection.
 
While Pennsylvania has made some progress in regulating puppy mills, major gaps in the law still exist.  AWA and other groups support Victoria’s Law, introduced by State Senators Tom Killion (R-9) and Andrew Dinniman (D-19), to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. Over 300 localities across the nation have adopted legislation restricting the sale of puppies in pet stores, and numerous state legislatures are taking up the issue.
 
In Congress, the PetFax Act (H.R. 5715), recently introduced by U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) – and modeled after CarFax reports -- would mandate honesty and transparency in the sales of dogs and cats. It would require that sellers of dogs and cats disclose certain information to a customer about the animals, including information identifying the dealer who bred the animals, the number of dogs and cats bred and sold by that dealer over the past two years, a listing of any violations the dealer has had in the past two years, and health information about the animals.
 
The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.
Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.
 

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist Introduces Petfax Act to Combat Puppy Mills Protect Consumers

Washington D.C. – Yesterday U.S. Representatives Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced legislation in the U.S. House recognized as the “Petfax Act” to mandate honesty and transparency in the commercial sales of dogs and cats and crackdown on cruel “puppy mills”– large commercial dog breeding operations that breed high volumes of puppies to sell at pet stores and across the internet. It is the third anti-puppy mill bill introduced in this Congress – an indicator of the broad concern about the systematic mistreatment of dogs in large-scale commercial dog breeding operations.

Over 100,000 mother dogs are forced to suffer in puppy mills where they are forced to spend their entire lives in barren cages without ever touching a blade of grass. Horrific, painful injuries are commonplace and frequently go untreated. Puppies often become sick due to the unsanitary conditions of mills and long-distance transport to pet stores where they are sold to unsuspecting customers. It is not uncommon for pet stores to deny that the dogs come from puppy mills. Current laws barely meet survival standards, fail to adequately protect animals and consumers, and allow violators to continue renewing their license.

“Most dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, where the dogs are treated like a cash crop,” said Holly Gann, Director of Federal Affairs for the Animal Wellness Foundation and Animal Wellness Action, “If you buy a car, you can get a full history from Carfax; but when it comes to purchasing a puppy, sellers generally won’t provide information about where the dog came from or the dog’s medical history.”

“Welcoming a new pet into your home is a decision rooted in love. Pet owners deserve the peace of mind that their new family member wasn’t abused or mistreated by breeder or seller,” said Rep. Crist. “Requiring a Petfax increases transparency, decreasing the potential for animal abuse, a win-win for all parties involved.”

“Too many animals suffer from inhumane conditions in our nation,” said Reschenthaler. “The Petfax Act of 2020, bipartisan legislation I’m introducing with Rep. Crist, will better protect dogs and cats from neglect and abuse. By improving transparency and providing consumers with more information, including the source of their pet and its record on animal welfare inspections, we can hold irresponsible sellers of dogs and cats accountable. Given the proven ties between cruelty to animals and child and senior abuse, I will continue fighting to strengthen protections for our nation’s pets.”

The Petfax Act would:

·        Require that sellers of dogs and cats disclose certain information to a customer about the animals, including information identifying the dealer who bred the animals, the number of dogs bred and sold by that dealer over the past two years, a listing of any violations the dealer has had in the past two years, and health information about the animals, including whether a veterinarian was seen, vaccinations administered, and congenital disease. The Petfax Act would make it illegal for a seller, such as a pet store, to misrepresent the source of a dog or cat, including misrepresenting whether the animal came from a mill.

·        Require that animal welfare inspection records are reinstated on the USDA website, so that the public can look up a breeder prior to purchasing a dog to see if the breeder has violations. These records were previously available until being taken down by the USDA in 2017, eliminating transparency and allowing mills with violations to have no accountability.

  • Similar to another bill in Congress – the Welfare Of Our Friends (WOOF) Act – the bill closes a loophole that allows mills with violations to continue operating. The bill prohibits USDA from issuing or renewing a license to a dealer who has had a suspension within the past 10 years. It also prevents a license from being granted to the immediate family member of a dealer who has had their license suspended or revoked, to someone who resides at the same address, or to an entity where the dealer holds an ownership interest.

The Petfax Act for honesty in pet sales is the latest in local, state, and federal legislation to root out puppy mills. Two other bills have also been introduced in Congress: The WOOF Act would address loopholes to stop puppy mills with suspensions from continuing to operate, and the Puppy Protection Act would increase the standards of care for mother dogs kept in these mills. Over 300 localities across the nation have adopted legislation to prevent pet stores from selling puppies that come from puppy mills, and California and Maryland have adopted similar state legislation, with many more to follow.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.

Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

Talkin' Pets News

September 9, 2019

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestrial Custom Dog Services

Producer - Lexi Lapp

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Social Media - Bob Page

Special Guest - Kelly Donithan - Senior Specialist of Disaster Operations for Humane Society International will join Jon and Talkin' Pets at 5pm ET to discuss the recent disaster by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas and what is being done for the animal population

Talkin' Pets News

March 17, 2018

Host - Jon Patch (The birthday boy today)

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestrial Custom Dog Services

Producer - Lexi Lapp

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Executive Producer - Bob Page

Special Guest - Dr. Mitsie Vargas, author of Alt-Vet: The Revolutionary Pet Care and Longevity Solution by Dr. Vargas will join Jon and Talkin' Pets 03/17/18 at 5pm EST to discuss and give away her new book

 

puppies in a crate

By ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker
 

Pets aren’t appliances. They are living, breathing, loving animals who deserve as much loyalty and compassion as they give. This is why we fight so hard to stop the cruel puppy-making factories that create “inventory” for pet stores at an incredibly inhumane cost. 

While awareness of the puppy mill problem is growing, humane regulation at the state and federal level has been slower to evolve. The federal government in particular has continuously failed to protect dogs in puppy mills. But some states are taking the initiative. In California, 36 local jurisdictions are among the more than 230 cities, towns, and counties across the country which have passed ordinances to stop the sale of cruelly bred animals at pet stores in their communities. 

Now, California lawmakers have taken the next big step, passing an unprecedented piece of legislation—The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act (Assembly Bill 485)—that would make California the first state in the nation to ban the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across the state. The bill awaits Governor Brown’s signature, and on behalf of millions of animal advocates and at-risk animals it would affect, I urge him to sign it. 

The brutality of puppy and kitten mills and their connection to pet stores is well-documented. These animals generally live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions—sometimes in wire-floored cages stacked in tall columns—without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. Animals bred in these conditions may also suffer from severe health issues, including contagious and deadly diseases and congenital defects, as well as behavioral challenges. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating a multistate outbreak of bacterial infections linked to puppies from retail pet stores which has sickened 39 people. 

By cutting off the puppy mill pipeline that moves cruelly bred animals from across the country into California pet stores, A.B. 485 will also help prevent California consumers from being duped into purchases that contribute to unconscionable animal “production” and suffering. 

On a larger level, this law demonstrates how legislative action on animal welfare in general can advance from the local level to the state level, furthering the hope of creating a culture that values compassion over cruelty.

You can contribute to that progress. If you live in California, let Governor Brown know how much he can help vulnerable and victimized animals with his signature. And wherever you live, consider adopting or fostering an animal in need and telling your friends and family to do the same. That will accelerate the evolution of humane standards in your community and, in the meantime, multiply the amount of love given and received in your home—something an appliance can never do. 


Lawsuit alleges national pet store chain engaged in fraudulent scheme to sell sick “puppy mill” puppies to consumers at premium prices based on fraudulent health guarantees

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Today, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, announced the filing of a nationwide consumer class action lawsuit against Petland, a national pet store chain, and the chain’s Kennesaw, Georgia location. The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia alleging Petland violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act and Georgia RICO Act.

The lawsuit is filed on behalf of a putative nationwide class of consumers victimized by Petland’s predatory business practices of charging premium prices for puppies Petland has “guaranteed” to be healthy—as certified by Petland’s veterinarians—when Petland knows full well it is selling puppies prone to illnesses and other defects, including “puppy-mill” sourced puppies.

A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog-breeding facility. Puppy mills produce the largest number of puppies as quickly as possible, without consideration of the care of the animals. Breeding practices and the crowded, unsanitary conditions in which puppies born in mills live during the first weeks of their lives put the dogs at risk of numerous genetic and hereditary conditions and deadly diseases. Additionally, many puppy mill dogs experience behavioral and psychological problems throughout their lives from lack of early socialization and being weaned too young.

The lawsuit also contends that Petland further inflates the animals’ price with phony services that exist only to line the company’s pockets, not benefit consumers or their dogs.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff and the nationwide class were bilked into paying premium prices for puppies but did not receive the benefit of the bargain.  Petland’s fraud harmed all class members, regardless of whether they were sold a sick or healthy pet, because they were paying for a “certified” healthy puppy. The complaint alleges the certification was a sham—it would be by pure chance if a customer got a healthy puppy, which is not what consumers thought they were paying for—at a premium price. Petland has profited handsomely from its fraudulent scheme.

The lawsuit comes at a critical time for the puppy mill and pet store industry and its many victims. In Georgia this spring, consumers and animal advocates narrowly defeated a bill in the state legislature dubbed the “Petland bill,” a sweetheart deal which would have capped damages for consumers harmed by Georgia pet stores and precluded cities and counties in the state from adopting stricter standards or banning the retail sale of pets altogether, as scores of cities and counties around the country have done over the last few years. Similar pet store centric bills masquerading as consumer protection legislation are popping up nationwide, the industry’s desperate attempt to stem the growing tide of opposition to its puppy-mill-dependent supply chain.

Petland’s scheme has left a trail of defrauded consumers and deceased or sick puppies, with expensive medical bills, in its wake,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Puppy mills put the bottom line ahead of the health and wellbeing of the animals, while Petland profits at the expense of its consumers and the sick puppies it peddles to them.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is litigating the case in collaboration with Georgia attorney Tamara Feliciano and attorneys from Andersen Sleater Sianni LLC.

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About the Animal Legal Defense Fund

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

Talking Points

  1. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a federal consumer class action lawsuit against the national pet store chain, Petland, on behalf of consumers who allege they were harmed by Petland’s fraudulent scheme to charge top-shelf prices for puppy mill-sourced puppies and phony services.
  2. The lawsuit alleges that buyers were swindled into purchasing puppies purportedly “certified” as healthy by a veterinarian and paying even more for worthless services from Petland-directed veterinarians and a Petland front group posing as a consumer claims manager.
  3. In puppy mills, both mother dogs and puppies suffer serious neglect and cruelty. As more and more consumers purposefully avoid purchasing puppies produced from mills, it is crucial that pet stores be transparent about the origin of their dogs and be held responsible for selling sick puppies to unknowing consumers.

Talkin' Pets News, July 22, 2017

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jay Stutz - Good Dog U Animal Planet

Producer - Daisy Charlotte

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Executive Producer - Bob Page

Special Guest - George Burgess - Sharkfest 2017 on Nat Geo Wild - Weeklong Event Begins Sunday July 23 at 8/7c

Talkin' Pets News, July 22, 2017

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jay Stutz - Good Dog U Animal Planet

Producer - Daisy Charlotte

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Executive Producer - Bob Page

Special Guest - George Burgess - Sharfest 2017

I was on the ground with the Animal Rescue Team and what we found was unimaginable: 84 Great Danes had been living in and around a 15,000-square-foot home in New Hampshire, walls smeared with feces and wooden floors thick with their waste.

Rescue video

Watch this rescue footage -- and then please help save more animals by making a gift to the Animal Rescue Team today.

What our Animal Rescue Team accomplished on that rainy, dreary day was extraordinary...

...I witnessed remarkable teamwork as four of our Animal Rescue Team members tag-teamed to remove seven huge dogs from cages in a room filled with ammonia fumes and no ventilation. After dealing with one dog, the handler would get some fresh air while another rescuer went in to get the next dog.

...I watched the leader of our Animal Rescue Team, Sára Varsa, think fast when faced with a huge dilemma. Some of the dogs were literally too large for the largest cages we had. Even though we had three huge trucks, Sára knew we needed more. She made a quick call and before you know it -- horse trucks were delivered to the scene. Over and over she was met with variables and, with her team, found a solution.

From 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., our Animal Rescue Team worked tirelessly to save all of the dogs from this horrible situation. And by midnight, every dog was in a warm pile of shavings, fed and asleep in a safe place.

It’s only with the support of generous animal lovers like you that this lifesaving work is possible. Please make an emergency donation to save more animals who are suffering from cruelty.

All of the dogs have now received full veterinary exams, but they will continue to need ongoing care to address a range of medical conditions and to receive enrichment and training.

It’s heartwarming to see that these sweet dogs are already getting much more comfortable being around people -- regaining trust, despite everything they have gone through.

you can help give more animals like them a second chance at life.


Thank you,
Holly Hazard
Holly Hazard
Senior Vice President, Programs & Innovations

 

Lawsuit argues removal of online animal welfare records violates the Freedom of Information Act and the Administrative Procedure Act

SAN FRANSICO – Today, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for removing tens of thousands of animal welfare records from the agency’s website. According to the lawsuit, the USDA’s decision to remove the records violates both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The removed documents revealed inhumane treatment of animals at thousands of research laboratories, roadside zoos and puppy mills across the country.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California on behalf of a coalition of animal protection organizations, contends that the USDA violated FOIA, which requires federal agencies to affirmatively disclose final orders and frequently requested records. It also argues that the USDA violated the APA, which prohibits agencies from taking actions that are “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law[.]” If the coalition is successful with its claim under the APA, the USDA would be required to resume posting the records online so they are available to the public.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is joined in the lawsuit by Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, Companion Animal Protection Society and Animal Folks. The USDA’s decision to stop posting records significantly burdens the organizations because they must now manage voluminous FOIA requests to access the same records, potentially pay large fees, and wait for several months or even years to obtain records previously accessible immediately online at no cost.

Public access to these records is especially important in light of the USDA’s chronically lackadaisical enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The Office of Inspector General, an oversight division of the USDA, regularly finds that the USDA renders its enforcement of the AWA largely ineffective by not aggressively pursuing enforcement actions against substandard facilities and by significantly discounting penalties even when it does pursue enforcement action.

“The USDA itself needs oversight due to its continual failure to adequately enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The information blackout is a tremendous blow to transparency and undermines advocates who are working to protect hundreds of thousands of animals across the country.”

The plaintiffs filing today’s lawsuit regularly utilized the USDA database and enforcement actions page to obtain records about the conditions of animals at facilities regulated under the AWA, such as research laboratories, puppy mills and zoos around the country. In turn, these organizations use the records to advocate for stronger animal protection policies, confront the USDA over inadequate regulation of substandard facilities, supply evidence for law enforcement action and build legal cases against especially egregious violators. The Animal Legal Defense Fund relied on these records in its groundbreaking Endangered Species Act (ESA) victory against the Cricket Hollow Animal Park (previously Cricket Hollow Zoo), a roadside zoo that cruelly confined endangered animals in inhumane conditions. It was the first victory applying the ESA to protect animals in captivity.

The organizations are represented pro bono by Margaret Kwoka, Associate Professor at University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and Perkins Coie LLP.

For more information visit, aldf.org.

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About the Animal Legal Defense Fund
The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

About the Companion Animal Protection Society
Founded in 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy/kitten mills. CAPS addresses animal suffering through investigations, legislation, education, media relations, consumer assistance, and rescue.

About Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!

SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!) is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization dedicated to the rights of all animals.  Our mission is to end the exploitation of animals imprisoned in laboratories by educating the public with the reality of what is happening inside the vivisection industry and engaging government agencies to enforce laws, issue citations, and levy fines against criminal labs.  Through in-depth investigations of laboratories and national media campaigns, SAEN exposes and ends the misery of animals.

About Animal Folks

Animal Folks is a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting the lives of animals by modernizing the animal law enforcement system in Minnesota. Animal Folks is focused on systemic change — finding new, innovative ways to prevent animal cruelty and improve how animal law is enforced throughout Minnesota. To achieve this mission, Animal Folks conducts research on animal cruelty issues and cases, creates training materials and resources, files criminal and civil complaints against abusers, and collaborates with state, local and national authorities and organizations for sustainable reforms. www.animalfolks.org.

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