What Happens When the Federal Government Finds Dogs Living Like This?

August 1, 2022

a puppy in a dirty kennel at a puppy mill

This Bulldog puppy was living in filth and pacing in circles in his enclosure at a federally licensed puppy-breeding facility in Iowa. The facility’s licensee told an inspector from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that the puppy had an open wound on his neck when he was one week old. He also said that he sewed it up himself with a needle and thread and that he did not seek medical care for the puppy. 

When puppies in licensed commercial breeding facilities are old enough to be sold and shipped, a veterinarian must sign a form saying the puppy is free from disease. The licensee told the inspector that he took the Bulldog puppy and his littermates to get that veterinary sign-off, but that this puppy “failed”—so he was returned to the dirty pen where he was born and did not receive treatment for the medical condition that was causing his suffering. 

Though the USDA is responsible for ensuring the minimum standards of care are met at licensed commercial breeding operations, the inspector who witnessed this horrific cruelty wrote down his findings and left.

The USDA did not confiscate the puppy, didn’t suspend the licensee for stitching him up and failing to provide medical care, didn’t issue a fine, and didn’t do anything to help the puppy—all actions the agency could legally have taken that would have protected this puppy and others living in the facility. 

Late last month at the same facility, a USDA inspector noted that the dogs were living in “fly-infested” enclosures and were suffering from untreated illnesses and injuries. There were no records showing the dogs were ever vaccinated, dewormed or having received medical care. 

The facility remains licensed by the USDA. 

Commercial breeders don’t want you to see how their animals live—and die—so their facilities are not open to the public. Instead, they ship puppies to pet stores or online sellers to be purchased by unsuspecting pet lovers. 

But the federal government DOES see where puppies come from, and they are supposed to hold licensed breeders accountable. The USDA is failing at its job. 

It is time for Congress to act. Goldie’s Act is federal legislation that will require better inspections of licensed breeding facilities, lifesaving intervention for suffering animals, meaningful penalties for violators and more. Please urge your U.S. representative to support Goldie’s Act today!