Just take a quick look at these distressing photos, and it’s obvious: Many puppy mill dogs clearly do not receive adequate veterinary care. The dogs in these photos are suffering from symptoms of grave neglect—emaciation, severe matting, advanced dental disease, eye and ear infections, skin diseases and mammary growths—that indicate a lack of regular, preventive veterinary care. This is especially true of adult breeding dogs, who typically are bred at every opportunity regardless of their health.
Why does this happen? Part of the problem is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the enforcement agency for dog breeding requirements outlined in the Animal Welfare Act, recommends that facilities have veterinarians visit a minimum of once a year. An annual veterinary exam may be sufficient for a well-cared-for pet, but for dogs living in crowded, filthy enclosures and enduring frequent pregnancies—which vets consider a state of “accelerated starvation” because it is so physically taxing—annual vet visits are simply not enough.
The USDA is accepting comments on its veterinary care policy until Friday, October 11. Please tell the agency to revise its policy to recommend twice-a-year vet exams for animals, especially breeding animals. Submit your comments directly on this government webpage—we’ve provided talking points you may use (below), but your message will be more powerful if you tell the USDA how you feel in your own words.
The USDA’s Policy #3 on veterinary care falls short of common professional standards. The recommendation that veterinary visits occur “at least annually” is not sufficient to protect animals.
-Breeding dogs frequently suffer from emaciation, severe matting, advanced dental disease, eye and ear infection, skin diseases, and mammary growths that indicate a lack of regular, preventive care.
-Organizations including the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the American Kennel Club, the American College of Theriogenologists and the Society for Theriogenology recommend semiannual veterinary exams and veterinary exams prior to breeding.
-Please revise Policy #3 to recommend a hands-on veterinary exam at least twice annually for all animals, particularly those bred more than once a year.
On behalf of the puppy mill dogs, thank you for your help.