New ASPCA Research Shows Large Bipartisan Majority of Americans Support Federal Legislation to End Puppy Mills

In honor of National Animal Advocacy Day (April 30), actors Eric McCormack and Edie Falco join the ASPCA to support Goldie’s Act, federal legislation that will protect dogs in puppy mills
April 27, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) released new data from a national poll conducted by Lake Research Partners that revealed 77 percent of Americans support federal legislation that would end puppy mills. Additionally, 71 percent of Americans support federal legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) with support extending across political party, age, gender and regardless of whether the respondent lived in a rural or urban setting. The new data were released in advance of National Animal Advocacy Day, celebrated annually on April 30 to encourage all animal advocates to get involved in the legislative process and make a real difference for the animals in their community.

Last year, the ASPCA assisted the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) with the rescue of more than 500 dogs who were living in horrific conditions at a USDA-licensed dog breeding facility in Iowa. Despite observing over 200 violations of the AWA at this facility – including dogs who were sick and dying from injuries and disease, dogs housed in cages that were too small to turnaround, and dogs standing in waste – the USDA continued to permit the licensee to operate, never confiscating any dogs who were suffering and never issuing any penalties against the breeder.

This case is part of an ongoing pattern of the USDA failing to enforce the AWA, even when conditions are extremely poor, and dogs are dying. In response to this disturbing case, the ASPCA worked with a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers including U.S. Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Susan Wild (D-Pa.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), to introduce Goldie’s Act (H.R. 6100), named in honor of a Golden Retriever who suffered extreme neglect and died before she could be rescued from this USDA-licensed facility in Iowa. USDA inspectors did not intervene but instead documented Goldie’s deteriorating condition for months and though they had the authority to save her, they did nothing.

“For decades, the USDA has failed to enforce the law intended to protect dogs in puppy mills, and this research confirms that Americans overwhelmingly support stronger enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act to protect dogs and hold puppy mills accountable,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Goldie’s Act will require the USDA to do its job to protect dogs in federally licensed facilities and we are grateful to have influential advocates like Eric McCormack and Edie Falco using their voices to speak out against puppy mill cruelty. We thank Representatives Axne,

Fitzpatrick, Quigley, Malliotakis, Wild, and Buchanan for introducing this lifesaving bill and we urge Congress to pass Goldie’s Act to ensure dogs receive the protection they deserve.”

Goldie’s Act would require the USDA to conduct more frequent and meaningful inspections, confiscate dogs who are suffering, and impose deterring monetary penalties against licensees who violate the law. It will also require the USDA to share information about suspected cruelty and neglect with law enforcement agencies.

In honor of National Animal Advocacy Day (April 30), the ASPCA is hosting a week of action from April 25-30 to urge the public to contact their members of Congress and ask them to pass Goldie’s Act. To raise awareness about the bill, the ASPCA released a new video and has enlisted the support of award-winning actors Eric McCormack and Edie Falco to encourage the public to get involved. Last week, McCormack and his rescue dog, Wallace, participated in an Instagram Live discussion hosted by the ASPCA, and Falco, whose dog Sami was rescued from a puppy mill, is lending her voice in a recorded message and sending an email message to animal advocates.

“As an animal lover, it’s unconscionable to me that the USDA’s failed policies have allowed horrific cruelty to proliferate at federally licensed puppy mills for decades,” said McCormack. “The shocking inhumanity at the USDA-licensed facility in Iowa that led to the death of Goldie cannot be tolerated, and I encourage everyone to speak out against this abhorrence to hold puppy mills accountable.”

“My dog Sami spent two years living in a box, in the dark, without a name. She was forced to have puppies who were sold to pet stores, and that was her life,” said Falco. “I’m grateful that my dog Sami was rescued, but thousands of other dogs like Goldie aren’t as lucky and these dogs will continue to suffer in puppy mills across the country if the USDA doesn’t do its job. Goldie’s story is tragic, but we can prevent other dogs from meeting her fate by urging Congress to pass Goldie’s Act.”

For more information about the ASPCA’s efforts to protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities or to support Goldie’s Act, please visit