Trump Administration Allows Puppy Mills’ Violations To Be Kept Priva

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Legislators in Florida are looking at legislation regarding the selling of puppies from USDA-licensed breeders, and animal advocates fear that the Trump administration could once again give irresponsible breeders room to do whatever they want with no accountability.

Last year, we told you about the United States Department of Agriculture scrubbing any information about animal breeders–bad or good–in the name of ‘protecting privacy’ within a month of then-new President Trump taking office. Public information about puppy mills was scrubbed from the USDA website it had been previously available on before he took office. What that really translated to was puppy mills and irresponsible breeders were essentially protected from anyone knowing about their bad habits, and left animals at risk for irresponsible breeding.

In fact, the T ampa Bay Times asked the USDA to give inspection reports of 15 puppy breeders in the Tampa-area, and what they received was basically 54-pages of redacted data that gave absolutely no information about the practices of any of the breeders. Any one of the fifteen could be horrible puppy mills and no one would know, as the agency said giving any information about personnel and medical files would be an ‘unwarranted invasion of privacy.’

Related: USDA Moves Animal Welfare Records; Sparks Concern About Secretary Nominee

Now, lawmakers in Florida are looking to retract local ordinances that stop sales of dogs from USDA-licensed breeders, ordinances that were originally put in place to block puppy mills from having retail outlets in hopes of putting a hurt on the profits of puppy mills.

John Goodwin is a senior director for the Humane Society of the United States Stop Puppy Mills campaign and he says that a USDA license for dog breeding is like a license for driving. With the information about the violation recordings of puppy mills no longer being available, puppy mills can continue to hold onto their licenses and no one has any way of knowing what they are doing or what horrific conditions the dogs are living in are.

Related: Historic Bill Banning Puppy Mill Pet Store Sales in Hands of California Governor

If the Florida legislature decides to follow through on the amendment that Representative Halsey Beshears introduced that would block puppy mill ordinances, Goodwin says that dog buyers will have no idea what the conditions the places that bred the puppies were in.

And irresponsible breeders will have essentially no accountability or reason to practice safe breeding. If you’re in favor of the new legislation in Florida, let your assemblyperson know by sending an email or call their offices!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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