Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Department and USDA Secretary, Thomas J. Vilsack:
As a citizen and an animal lover, I am writing to encourage you to conduct thorough inspections of puppy mill facilities, and enforce animal welfare policies when finding violations that directly impact the health and safety of the dogs in a facility.
It is the responsibility of the USDA to inspect the conditions these dogs are kept in to ensure their safety, yet animal cruelty and neglect is rampant due to the leniency of these inspections.
Without consistent enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, dogs, including pregnant ones, become sick or injured, and are forced to live in inexcusable conditions. These dogs should not be living in overcrowded, feces-infested, and urine-soaked cages, and suffer in the freezing cold and scorching heat, especially when an official is inspecting the facility and obligated to report anything that breaches animal welfare policies.
You have the power to fine violators, revoke their licenses, and pursue criminal charges if abuse or neglect is found. Facilities that abuse or neglect dogs should be held accountable without hesitance.
I ask that you reconsider how you conduct inspections of these facilities, and strictly enforce animal welfare policies, so injured and sick dogs will not be left to suffer day after day. In addition, I ask that you ensure facilities are not able to operate after multiple, uncorrected violations, and that inspection records not be obscured. The established animal protections exist for a reason, and I ask the USDA to do the right thing and protect these puppies from being abused for profit.
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.