Goldie’s Act: Federal Legislation to Protect Dogs in Puppy Mills

Goldie’s Act (H.R. 1788) is named after Golder Retriever #142, who was a victim of one of the most egregious puppy mill cases we have seen to date. She lived without clean food and water, space to play, and love. She didn’t even have a name until we gave her one when we learned about her and the heartbreaking way she died.

Goldie’s Act is endorsed by the Problem Solvers Caucus and nearly 150 independent organizations

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Animal Legal Defense Fund, USA
Animal Welfare Institute, USA
National Animal Care and Control Association, USA
National Sheriff's Association, USA
Small & Rural Law Enforcement Executives Association, USA
Best Friends Animal Society, USA
Alaska SPCA, AK
Humane Society of Elmore County, AL
Greener Days Ahead Rescue, AR
Humane Society of Saline County, AR
Last Chance Arkansas, AR
Northeast Arkansas Humane Society, AR
Pitter Pat Junction, AR
Stone County Humane Society, AR
The Good Shepherd Humane Society, Inc., AR
Unconditional Love Pet Rescue, AR
Arizona Humane Society, AZ
Fearless Kitty Rescue, AZ
Rescue a Golden of Arizona, AZ
Rover's Rest Stop, AZ
Fallbrook Animal Sanctuary, CA
Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, CA
Shadow’s Fund, CA
START Rescue, CA
We Care Animal Rescue, CA
Old Blue, CA 
Colorado Citizens for Canine Welfare, CO
Colorado Herding Dog Rescue, CO
Colorado Humane Society, CO
Colorado Voters for Animals, CO
Humane Society of Boulder Valley, CO
PawSafe Animal Rescue, CT
Animal Rescue Corps, DC
Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, DC
Humane Rescue Alliance, DC
Humane Rescue Alliance, DC
Fallen Oak Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation, FL
Florida Urgent Rescue, FL
For the Love of Cats, FL
Halifax Humane Society, FL
Humane Society of Manatee County, FL
Humane Society of Tampa Bay, FL
Lake City Humane Society, FL
Operation:SNIP Inc., FL
Second Chance Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, FL
SPCA of Brevard, FL
Sunny Side Up Rescue, FL
The Cat Network, Inc., FL
Tiny Acres Northwest Florida Inc., FL
Tri County Animal Rescue, FL
Adopt a Golden Atlanta, GA
Savannah Wildlife Rescue Center, GA
Animal Rescue League of Iowa, IA
Cedar Valley Humane Society, IA
Iowa State Sheriff’s and Deputy’s Association, IA
It Takes A Village Animal Rescue and Resources, IA
Kings Harvest Pet Rescue, IA
Paws and More, IA
Tails Humane Society, IL
Brown County Humane Society, inc., IN
HELP the Animals, Inc., IN
Vanderburgh Humane Society, IN
Woodhaven Rescue Farm, IN
Pawnee County Humane Society, KS
The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, KS
Daviess County Animal Care and Control, KY
Grant County (KY) Friends of the Shelter, KY
Shamrock Pet Foundation, Inc., KY
Boston Veterinary Clinic, MA
Baltimore Humane Society, MD
Four-Legged Forgotten Oldies Senior Animal Farm, MD
Maryland SPCA, MD
The Humane Society of Harford County, Inc., MD
Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, ME
All About Animals Rescue, MI
Friends for Animals Of Metro Detroit, MI
Humane Animal Treatment Society, MI
Humane Society of Huron Valley, MI
Humane Society of Macomb, MI
Michigan Anti Cruelty Society, MI
Michigan Humane, MI
VegMichigan, MI
Borderland Humane Society, MN
Carver Scott Humane Society, MN
Great River Rescue, MN
Minnesota Animal Services Alliance, MN
Minnesota Humane Society, MN
Pennington County Humane Society, MN
Pope County Humane Society, MN
Retrieve a Golden from the Midwest, MN
Ruff Start Rescue, MN
Secondhand Hounds, MN
Sundown Horse Rescue, MN
The Rescue Crew, MN
The Rescue Pack, MN
Wadena County Humane Society, MN
Owl Hollow Farm (501C.3), MO
Pet Resource Center of Kansas City, MO
Stover Animal Rescue, Inc., MO
Mississippi Animal Rescue League, MS
Feral Cat Coalition of Cumberland of County, NC
North Carolina Animal Federation, NC
Phoenix Rescue and Healing Farm, NC
Dolly's Legacy Animal Rescue, NE
Midwest Wheaten Rescue, NE
Nebraska Humane Society, NE
Shepherd's Rest Goat and Sheep Rescue, NE
New Hampshire Humane Society, NH
Eleventh Hour Rescue, NJ
Monmouth County SPCA, NJ
West Jersey Volunteers for Animals, NJ
Washoe County Regional Animal Services, NV
Animal Rights Rochester, NY
Coming Home Animal Sanctuary, Inc., NY
New York Cat Hospital, NY
Phoenix Rising Equine Rescue & Rehabilitation, NY
SPCA Westchester, NY
Veterinary Hospital and Clinic of East Hampton, pc, NY
Voters for Animal Rights, NY
Cleveland Animal Protective League, OH
Ohio Animal Advocates, OH
Secondhand Mutts, OH
Bella SPCA, OK
Best Friends of Pets, OK
Gypsy Heritage Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation, OK
Equamore Foundation, OR
Lark Ranch Rescue and Rehabilitation, OR
Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon, OR
Oregon Humane Society, OR
Animal Care Sanctuary, PA
Animals Can't Talk, PA
Heart of Glass Animal Rescue, PA
Humane Society of Greene County, PA
Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association, PA
The Spayed Club, PA
LowCountry Animal Rescue, SC
Kenzie Consulting, TN
Gulf Coast Humane Society, TX
Mutley Crue Pet Sitting, TX
Animal Welfare League of Arlington, VA
Yellow Dog Potter-Pots for Paw, VA
Homeward Bound, Addison County's Humane Society, VT
Auburn Valley Humane Society, WA
Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, WA
Northwest Organization for Animal Help, WA
Spokane Humane Society, WA
Dane County Humane Society, WI
West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association, WV

Inclusion on this endorsement list does not imply partnership with the ASPCA.

If you represent an organization that wishes to join this list of endorsers, please do so here.


In November 2021, the ASPCA helped rescue more than 500 dogs from a commercial puppy-breeder in Iowa that was licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and supplied puppies to pet stores around the country. The USDA allowed this facility to operate for 17 months without ever checking on the welfare of the animals. When the USDA finally inspected the facility, they found dead dogs, dogs with untreated injuries and illnesses like parvovirus and distemper, dogs with painful fur matting, dogs in cages that were too small, insect infestations, and moldy food. That nightmarish place is where Goldie spent her life. Inspectors witnessed Goldie’s condition worsen over the course of 2021, but they didn’t help her. The agency failed her and the many other dogs who died in that puppy mill.

Emergency rescue happened only due to massive public pressure and intervention from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). But by that time, the breeder had already amassed over 100 violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

At a separate breeding facility in Virginia, the USDA documented horrific animal suffering for months, but did not intervene. Hundreds of puppies died from “unknown causes,” nursing mothers were denied food for days, dogs were left with severe, untreated medical conditions, dogs were killed due to unsafe housing, and dogs were euthanized without anesthesia. Just like the Iowa case, emergency rescue occurred only after the DOJ intervened. Only then did the remaining 4,000 dogs at this facility experience relief.

Despite knowing that thousands of dogs were suffering in extreme pain, the USDA impeded inspectors from visiting this facility, removed the lead inspector without cause, and struck 80 pages from the inspection report. Even after 70 AWA violations, the USDA allows this company to continue breeding and selling dogs.

It’s too late to save Goldie and the thousands of other dogs who died in dreadful conditions under the USDA’s watch, but we can prevent other dogs from meeting the same fate by passing Goldie’s Act.

Goldie’s Act would require the USDA to fulfill its obligation under the AWA to protect dogs in puppy mills—a responsibility the USDA has ignored for far too long.

The legislation would require the USDA to:

  • Conduct more frequent and meaningful inspections of the facilities it licenses.
  • Confiscate dogs who are suffering.
  • Impose deterring penalties for AWA violations.
  • Share inspection information in a timely manner with local law enforcement who can investigate cruelty.

Numerous federal audits over the past decade have revealed uncorrected, deep, and systemic flaws in enforcement that have allowed many bad commercial breeders to continue profiting off of cruelty.

The USDA is required to identify and report violations of the law during inspections so that those who violate the law may be held accountable through the use of penalties provided for in the AWA, such as fines and license revocation.

Contrary to this Congressional mandate, the USDA has chosen not to report violations and to let inhumane operators continue their cruel practices. The agency has not imposed a single penalty against a licensed commercial breeding facility since 2017, despite overwhelming evidence of cruelty. Instead, the agency has adopted a “customer service” approach—with the breeders being the “customers”—that has been proven ineffective by the agency’s own audit. With no enforcement, we can never hope to help the dogs who suffer behind the closed doors of these federally licensed facilities.

Congress must pass Goldie’s Act to protect dogs like Goldie in puppy mills.

To read more about the USDA’s pattern of failing to protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities, please visit these links: