Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent a formal letter last week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), demanding the law be enforced against violations by commercial breeders in the state of Missouri, which is known as the puppy mill capital of America.
Although animal cruelty often goes unpunished by federal authorities in Missouri, ALDF demanded that the law be enforced against breeders in violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). ALDF is urging the USDA to move suffering animals to reputable shelters where they can receive veterinary attention. The letter also calls on the USDA to apply civil penalties and revoke the licenses of commercial dealers that have violated the AWA on multiple, documented occasions, including the following:
- Antech, Inc. (Barnhart) injected carbon dioxide into a 55-gallon drum to euthanize 60-90 pound dogs who could barely fit into the container.
- Simply Puppies (Hannibal) kept a dog living in an outdoor enclosure with a dead dog. In addition, the breeder failed to provide bedding in 52 enclosures containing a total of 94 dogs, though the temperature was well-below freezing.
- Hill Top Kennel (Clark) allowed 15 puppies to live in wire-floored cages with holes large enough that their feet fell through. On August 18, 2011, the kennel did not provide adequate veterinary care to a dog who gave birth to a litter of puppies during the night and ate most of them by the morning.
- Valente Rios (Galt) failed to provide adequate veterinary care to a dog with a bone protruding from his tail. The breeder admitted the tail was recently docked using scissors without sanitation or anesthesia.
- Cloverleaf Kennel (Willow Springs) failed to provide dogs with access to water in an outdoor facility with temperatures registering 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Inspectors observed mouse droppings on every surface and at least one dead mouse in a food receptacle.
Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said “We implore the USDA to act on violations documented by their own agency, and to do their job to protect Missouri’s animals. Until then, puppy mills will continue to profit while dogs suffer behind closed doors.”
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