Americans have been misled about their dogs – USDA should make sure this doesn’t happen again

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Animal lovers across the country are concerned about a major report from the “Washington Post” which identified 86 rescues and shelters that misled Americans as to where they got their dogs. Pet lovers who thought their dogs had been “saved” from abuse or mistreatment have instead welcomed dogs raised in well socialized and healthy circumstances, bought at auction, and then shipped to shelters and shelters far away. .

Because these transactions are unregulated, no one knows how these dogs were treated on these trips.

This must change. Our pets deserve proper supervision and practices that prioritize their health and well-being or the information that has been shared with their new owners.

According to the Post, millions of dollars were spent buying dogs which were then resold. As someone whose dog was abandoned by its former owner at the Washington Humane Society (now the Humane Rescue Alliance), I am concerned about the implications of this story.

As the chairman of a pet advocacy group representing pet owners and professionals, I urge lawmakers and regulators to ensure this does not happen again.

There are strong steps policy makers can take quickly. Federal regulators should require that all organizations that operate as pet dealers under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) be licensed as such.

Under the AWA, the purchase and resale of dogs meets the definition of “pet reseller” activity and is subject to licensing and inspection by the US Department. of Agriculture (USDA). This applies at all levels, regardless of the tax status of the group carrying out the activity. In addition to transparency standards, the licensing will ensure that rescues and shelters that currently act as unregulated pet dealers are overseen in the same way as similar business entities.

Rescues and shelters that buy from licensed commercial breeders should additionally be regulated at the state level. Animal lovers should know the medical history of each animal they plan to bring into their family, especially when it is readily available. Strict policies in this direction are strongly supported by stores and advocacy groups like mine, and they should apply to rescues and shelters exposed through the post.

State lawmakers and regulators should also take action in other ways. To better protect against the spread of communicable diseases and track animal movements in and across the country, admission and placement reports should be mandatory for all shelters and rescues, as is the case in States like Connecticut, Maine and New York.

Likewise, requirements already in place for pet stores – such as vaccinations and veterinary checks – should apply to rescues and shelters so owners of dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals know they are getting an animal. in good health.

The implementation of these new standards would not be difficult. Federal regulations already exist; Congress should urge the USDA to investigate and enforce these regulations to rescues and shelters exposed through the mail. Likewise, state regulations are in place in several states. We are working with state legislators on model legislation to fill gaps in the law.

These simple solutions would improve both consumer protection and animal welfare. All future pet owners should know as much as possible about their pet’s health history and history. They need to know where their pet is coming from, and they need to be reassured that their dog has been treated properly from the day they were born until the day they returned home.

My personal and professional thanks go to those who denounced the practices reported by La Poste. Now is the time for those who care about animal welfare – the professional pet care community, responsible shelters and rescues, and policy makers – to work together to make sure the American people are right. informed of the trips of his best friends.

Mike Bober is Chairman of the Companion Animal Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), which advocates for public policy on behalf of animal care, pet owners and pet professionals.


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