Today U.S. Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Charlie Crist (D-FL) introduced two new bills that seek to significantly improve the lives of dogs kept by federally licensed commercial breeders.
The first bill, the Welfare of Our Friends (WOOF) Act (H.R. 4691), would enhance enforcement by preventing a breeder whose license has been suspended or revoked from continuing to operate through a new license acquired by someone else at the same address. Right now, it is possible for suspended or revoked breeders to evade enforcement by having family members apply for a new license, allowing the same business to continue as usual—terrible conditions and all.
Keeping problem dealers shut down is one huge piece of the puzzle. Another is that the USDA’s care standards themselves must improve. Current law requires only the bare minimum; treatment that would be unthinkable for family pets is perfectly legal for dogs in breeding facilities. These dogs can spend their entire lives on wire flooring, in filthy and crowded stacked cages, without proper grooming, exercise, or access to veterinary care.
The Puppy Protection Act (H.R. 4693) would significantly upgrade USDA’s care standards. Importantly, the bill mandates that dogs must have completely solid flooring with enough space to stand, access to nutritious food and drinkable water, adequate exercise, critical socialization and veterinary care. These new standards would be a real stride toward ensuring that dogs in commercial breeding facilities live less terrible lives.
“It’s crucial we stand up for animals—both as individuals and as a society,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “As a member of the Animal Protection Caucus, I’m committed to ensuring our government is doing its part to promote animal welfare.” Rep. Crist added, “The Bible teaches us to care for all of God’s creatures, and that includes man’s best friend. Proud to join in introducing bipartisan legislation that protects dogs from unprincipled dealers and breeders, providing a voice for the voiceless.”
The ASPCA thanks Reps. Fitzpatrick and Crist for their leadership on these two bills.
Stay tuned for news on how to help advance this important legislation in the days and weeks to come. Be the first to get alerted when it’s time to take action on these and other bills by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade right now!