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"Game-Changers" for Puppy Mill Dogs: H.R. 1624 & H.R. 1788

Conventional wisdom suggests three's the charm. Let's hope so. For the third time since 2003, legislation to raise standards at puppy mills has been introduced. Two bills gaining support in Congress would help. The Puppy Protection Act raises standards for breeders. Goldie's Act allows the USDA to use stronger enforcement of standards, confiscate dogs needing immediate health care, AND issue much steeper fines for violations.

In a true bi-partisan effort, U. S. Reps Brian Fitzpatrick, (R- PA), James McGovern (D-MD), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the Puppy Protection Act of 2023, H.R. 1624 on March 17, 2023.

Game-changing Standards

What seems obvious to every dog-loving guardian is now spelled out for puppy mill breeders in easy-to-understand language. Apparently, these breeders need laws passed to ensure they treat their dogs humanely.

Here are the new standards required by the Puppy Protection Act:

  • Adequate housing large enough for the tallest dog inside to stand on its hind legs without touching the roof

  • NO wire flooring - must be solid

  • NO stacked cages

  • Temperature control that is between 45-85 degrees

  • Feed nutritious food 2 x a day

  • Access to water 24/7 that's not frozen or contaminated

  • That each dog over 12 weeks, has adequate exercise, including, unrestricted access from their primary enclosures during daylight hours to an outdoor exercise area

  • That each dog has meaningful socialization with humans and compatible dogs for at least 30 minutes each day

  • Adequate veterinary care when needed

How New Standards Would Be Enforced #compassion

The second bill to help puppy mill dogs comes out of a tragedy. "Goldie’s Act would strengthen enforcement. It was named after a golden retriever who endured months of agony and pain under the USDA’s watch. She suffered a preventable death in an Iowa puppy mill. Goldie's Act will prevent thousands of other vulnerable dogs from meeting the same tragic and unacceptable fate at the hands of the federal agency obligated to protect them,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO.

In March of this year, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and five other bipartisan lawmakers: Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Zach Nunn (R-IA), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), hope Goldie and the bill named after her strengthen the Animal Welfare Act. "Protecting animal welfare has been a personal passion of mine since my time in the New York State Assembly," Congresswoman Malliotakis said. "I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation which protects those without a voice by requiring the USDA to publicly report all animal welfare violations, remove animals from abusive environments, and take action to hold animal abusers accountable."

Goldie's Act also requires USDA to confiscate animals in poor conditions and give a copy of all AWA violations to local and state authorities. Finally, it requires the penalty of a violation of the AWA to become $10,000 and requires breeders to stop violating it with a hearing.

Call to Action

Because puppy mill dogs can't ask for help, your voice is needed. You can help these bills pass. Go to Put in your zip code to find your federal rep. Simply call your Congressman/ woman. Tell your name and city and you're a voting constituent. Here's what you can say: "I'm calling to urge (name of congressman/ woman) to co-sponsor The Puppy Protection Act H.R. 1684 and Goldie's Act H.R. 1788. These two bills will protect the welfare of dogs and consumers by requiring increased standards of care for dogs in USDA-licensed facilities and allow the USDA to confiscate wounded, sick, and dying dogs."

Your Voice Can Change History for Puppy Mill Dogs

Legislation to improve conditions at puppy mills is needed because the USDA is not living up to the Animal Welfare Act guidelines.

In Goldie's case, at Daniel Gingerich's puppy mill, photos, and a USDA inspection report from July 28, show dogs were neglected and hidden from inspectors. Records show inspectors knew about Goldie when she arrived at the mill in early April. Inspectors saw it again during a May inspection, and again on July 28, but never confiscated her.

"They've utterly failed to protect the animals that they're charged with protecting," said Robert Hensley, Senior Counsel for the ASPCA. "USDA should have acted months ago to revoke Mr. Gingerich's license and confiscated these animals for their own safety."

Rep. Fitzpatrick emphasized the urgency of legislation. “It is crucial that Congress update the standards for commercial breeders in the Animal Welfare Act to further protect animals, and this bipartisan legislation does just that. I’m proud to lead the Puppy Protection Act to ensure that Congress stands up for our dogs, and I am grateful to Congressmen Reschenthaler, McGovern, and Panetta for joining me in this bipartisan effort.”

Both bills are endorsed by the Animal Welfare Institute, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the Humane Society of the United States #JohnPGoodwin, and the #ASPCA.

Please remember to thank these compassionate and logical lawmakers with a quick tweet for speaking up for puppy mill dogs.

Brian Fitzpatrick: @RepBrianFitz

Nicole Malliotakis: @RepMalliotakis

Dick Durbin: @SenatorDurbin

James McGovern @RepMcGovern

Guy Reschenthaler @GReschenthaler

Jimmy Panetta @JimmyPanetta

Rep. Krishnamoorthi @CongressmanRaja

Rep. Quigley @RepMikeQuigley

Rep. Nunn @ZachNunn

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