Dec 3, 2021 - News

Rep. Cindy Axne calls for stiffer requirements in Animal Welfare Act

A husky found at Wayne County puppy mill

A Siberian husky found at a Wayne County puppy mill. Photo via court documents

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, of Iowa, introduced a new bill this week aimed at tightening enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Driving the news: "Goldie's Act" is named after one of the 500 dogs recently found in deplorable conditions at Daniel Gingerich's puppy mill in Wayne County, which was shut down last month.

  • Inspectors saw Goldie, a golden retriever who was later described as "extremely emaciated," but did not make an official report of her condition or existence.
  • Months later, she was found in a barn with no water and zero body fat. She was euthanized on site.

State of play: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for inspecting and enforcing violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which is meant to set a minimum standard of care for animal operations, like dog breeding facilities.

  • Yes, but: Even if USDA inspectors witness violations, they may not record it or enforce any penalties.

Details: Axne's bill would require inspectors to document and report all offenses.

  • It would also require the removal of suffering animals, more frequent inspections and monetary penalties for violations.

Of note: The bill was introduced with bipartisan support.

Goldie the dog was emaciated
Goldie, a golden retriever that Axne's bill addressing animal welfare is named after. Photo via court documents

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