Howl to the Hill: Event Brings Advocates Together in Support of Goldie’s Act

July 21, 2023

Howl to the Hill Event Group Photo

On July 20, 2023, actor Bellamy Young, animal advocates, puppy mill survivors and members of Congress joined us for “Howl to the Hill,” a rally on Capitol Hill. The event supported Goldie’s Act (H.R. 1788), legislation that would ensure the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does its job to protect dogs in federally licensed puppy mills. 

Currently, 250,000 dogs are languishing in USDA-licensed puppy mills. The USDA is turning a blind eye and failing to enforce the Animal Welfare Act, allowing dogs to suffer in cruel facilities. 

Goldie’s Act is named after a Golden Retriever who lived in an abhorrent Iowa puppy mill operated by Daniel Gingerich. The USDA witnessed her decline for months yet failed to intervene. She died in that puppy mill. She didn’t even have a name until we learned about her fate. 

Bellamy Foster with an ASPCA Goldie's Act sign

USDA inspectors knew Goldie was suffering. They documented her deterioration month after month, even filming her skeletal condition and had the authority to help her, but the agency took no action. Bellamy Young, known for her role on the ABC political drama Scandal, shared how appalled she was that the USDA could have saved Goldie, but they never did.  

Young urged Congress to pass Goldie’s Act to stop this type of cruelty from ever happening again.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and Rep Mike Quigley

Sponsors of Goldie’s Act, U.S. Representatives Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), Mike Quigley (D-IL), and Zach Nunn (R-IA), along with other members of Congress—including the Chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, Earl Blumenauer—participated in Howl to the Hill. They emphasized the importance of passing Goldie’s Act, which is supported by members on both sides of the aisle, to protect animals without a voice. 

Beverly and Holly

Holly, a two-year-old Pomeranian Husky mix was in attendance with her mom, Beverly, and served as the official ambassador dog. Prior to Holly’s rescue, she lived Gingerich’s puppy mill—the same puppy mill where Goldie lived and died. Because the USDA failed to take action against Gingerich, the Department of Justice eventually intervened. Holly was one of more than 500 dogs surrendered as a result. 

Sheriff Keith Davis

Sheriff Keith Davis from the Wayne County, Iowa Sheriff’s Office worked alongside the ASPCA and other animal welfare agencies to rescue dogs from Gingerich’s puppy mill. He saw firsthand the effects of the USDA’s failed policies, which not only lead to unbelievable animal abuse but also place a huge burden on local law enforcement and the animal welfare community. For this reason, the National Sheriff’s Association has endorsed Goldie’s Act. 

Blossom, a beagle with an orange Goldie's Act bandana

One of the best parts of Howl to the Hill? The four-legged advocates! We welcomed Blossom, a Beagle who was rescued from Envigo—a USDA-licensed research facility that inflicted unimaginable harm on dogs. The USDA knew that Envigo was repeatedly violating the Animal Welfare Act, but instead of taking action and helping the thousands of Beagles in harm’s way, they attempted to cover up Envigo’s abuse.

A woman holding a Goldie's Act sign

Even if you couldn’t attend Howl to the Hill, you can still help dogs in puppy mills today! Use our easy online form to send a message to your members of Congress, urging them to support Goldie’s Act. It’s time to hold the USDA accountable and require the agency to conduct more frequent and meaningful inspections, provide lifesaving intervention for suffering animals, impose penalties for violations, and communicate with local law enforcement to address cruelty and neglect.