Laws for Paws e-Newsletter
JULY 2019
ALLIANCE SENDS WARNING TO
USDA INSPECTORS  
“FALSIFYING INSPECTION REPORTS IS A FEDERAL CRIME”
The Alliance sent a warning this week to USDA inspectors and their supervisors, including Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, advising that current rules and policies regarding the documentation of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act appear to be a violation of federal criminal law.

Often times, when USDA inspectors identify violations, the inspectors attempt to cover-up the violations by not citing them on the official inspection report. Rather, the violations are documented on separate forms such as "teachable moments" or "self-reporting", or in their field notes. The inspector then makes the following notation on the official inspection report: "No non-compliant items identified during this inspection."

The Alliance notified USDA inspectors that federal law 18. U.S. Code § 1001 specifies that it is a criminal offense to falsify a federal document or conceal any material fact a crime punishable by up to five years in prison . It could therefore be deemed a criminal offense every time a USDA inspector documents on a federal inspection report that there are “no non-compliant items” at a puppy mill or other animal facility when the inspector knows full well that there are violations at the facility, and in fact, documents such violations separate from the inspection report. 

USDA has ordered inspectors to reduce their write-ups of dog breeders and instead call violations, “teachable moments” or consider them “self-reporting” violations or simply ignore minor violations and even to disregard veterinary care issues such as problems with teeth, ears and eyes. USDA inspectors have been instructed to document these violations on a separate form or in their field notes but to deny any such violations on the official inspection report. 
  
Instead of addressing abuses in the industry and initiating effective enforcement measures to ensure the health and welfare of dogs in commercial breeding operations, USDA has chosen to cover-up the industry’s wrong-doings . USDA is doing so in an effort to present a false narrative of the commercial dog breeding business for the sole purpose of protecting the economic interest of substandard dog breeders. USDA has been aiding and abetting cruel puppy mills for several years and has defended its actions by arguing that “we need to enable breeders to sell their dogs to pet stores…[and] citing violations is an impediment to such sales.” 
USDA Inspectors Falsifying Inspection Reports to Cover-Up for Inhumane Puppy Mills
USDA is so desperate to defend inhumane dog breeders that it has instructed its inspector to falsify inspection reports in order to provide false and misleading information to the public about the commercial dog breeding industry – even when doing so is a violation of federal criminal law. 

In response, the Alliance has issued a warning to all USDA Animal Care personnel and requested that the inspectors comply with federal law and immediately begin documenting all non-compliant items on official USDA inspection reports.

We emphasized to USDA that the legislative intent of the Animal Welfare Act was clearly to protect the animals and the consumers and never intended to conceal misdeeds on the part of dog breeders and animal operations. 

We are grateful that the Companion Animal Protection Society has joined the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation in issuing this warning to USDA.   

ALLIANCE SENDS WARNING
TO PET STORES
"YOU MAY BE VIOLATING STATE AND LOCAL LAWS"
Due to USDA’s failure to effectively enforce humane standards of care at puppy mills, several states, and even some municipalities, such as New York City, have taken manners into their own hands. These jurisdictions have passed laws and ordinances prohibiting pet stores from acquiring puppies from dog breeders that have received an excessive number of citations from USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

Instead of welcoming these ordinances as an incentive for breeders to care for their animals, USDA decided to help inhumane dog breeders circumvent these newly enacted state and local laws. USDA established new rules such as “teachable moments” and “self-reporting” in order to disguise violations. While still documenting such violations in the inspectors’ field notes and specialized forms for “teachable moments,” USDA inspectors no longer note the violations on the official USDA inspection report. As USDA explains, “we need to enable breeders to sell their dogs to pet stores…citing violations is an impediment to such sales.”

USDA and many pet stores fail to recognize that regardless on what form the violations are documented, USDA is still noting that the breeders have violations of the AWA. It remains unlawful, therefore, for pet stores to acquire dogs from breeders with AWA violations irrespective if USDA documents them on the inspection report or upon a "teachable moment" form or in their field notes. Rather, the pet stores must now gather more documentation from the breeders, from whom they are obtaining puppies, and not merely rely on USDA inspection reports. 
Accordingly, the Alliance has sent letters to hundreds of pet stores across the country advising the pet stores to require dog breeders from whom they are sourcing dogs, to provide not only copies of the official USDA inspection reports, but also “teachable moment” forms, “self-reporting” documents, all field notes that contain documentation of non-compliant items, and any other relevant documents including computer files that contain documentation of non-compliant items. 

The Alliance requested that the pet stores come into full compliance with state and local laws in order to protect the public from acquiring a dog from an inhumane dog breeder and to ensure that their customers are acquiring a healthy animal.

PUPPY MILL ACTION BOOT CAMP!
Puppy Mill Action Boot Camp is open to the public and our own Alliance Executive Director Bob Baker will be speaking at this conference!

Per the Humane Society of the United States, "Attendees will learn how to effectively advocate against puppy
mills and participate in workshops to sharpen their skills."
For more info and to register, click here
OIG RESPONDS TO ALLIANCE COMPLAINTS OF USDA MALFEASANCE
Initiates Audit of USDA

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), the internal investigative unit within the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has initiated a “performance audit” of USDA. This audit is in response to a request by the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation in an effort to expose the failure of USDA to effectively enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act as it pertains to puppy mills.

AUGUST

Pool Paws for Humane Laws Dog Swim / St. Charles
Mon, Aug 5: 6 - 8pm / McNair Park Pool
Thur, Aug 8: 6 - 8pm / McNair Park Pool
To volunteer, email admin@maal.org

OpSpot's "Hope for the Animals" Day / St. Louis
Sun, Aug 18: 9 - 11am / Tower Grove Park (Sons of Rest Pavilion)
For more info click here
To volunteer, email admin@maal.org


SEPTEMBER

Pool Paws for Humane Laws Dog Swim / Kirkwood Aquatic Center
Tue, Sep 3: 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Thur, Sep 5: 5:30pm - 6:00pm (small dogs only), 6 - 7:30pm (ALL DOGS)
To volunteer, email admin@maal.org

Pool Paws for Humane Laws Dog Swim / O'Fallon
Sat, Sep 7: 9:30am - 11:30pm / Alligator's Creek Aquatic Center
To volunteer, email admin@maal.org

Greentree Festival / Kirkwood (Kirkwood Park)
Sat, Sep 14: 9:00am - 7:00pm
Sun, Sep 15: 10:00am - 5:00pm
For more info click here
To volunteer for a 2.5 hour shift, email admin@maal.org


Visit our website for more events, news, legislation and general info!
HELPING ANIMALS!

If you find yourself in a situation where you question the treatment of an animal, or the conditions, or maybe you're wondering about helping wildlife or assisting in a rescue, or you have witnessed something that needs to be reported - go to our website because chances are you will find a number and/or a link that can help address it.

A Great Way to Support the Alliance
With so many people shopping online these days, you can now support the Alliance each time you make a purchase on Amazon. Click here or on the icon. Once you've identified "Missouri Alliance for Animals" as your charitable organization of choice, a portion of your purchase will be donated by Amazon to the Alliance each time you shop on Amazon! What a great way to contribute!
Schnucks eScrip Card

Another great way to support
the Alliance!
Did you know that every time you shop at Schnucks, they'll donate a percentage of your purchase to the Alliance? It's an awesome way to support the Alliance's mission and it doesn't cost you a thing! We'll even register your eScrip card for you so you don't have to!

Simply email us at admin@maal.org with "Schnucks eScrip" in the Subject line, no message required - and we'll send your registered Schnucks eScrip card to you within 7 days.

Once you receive it, you can start using it (we've already registered it for you!) - put it on your key fob to remind the cashier to scan it at check-out!

THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
ALLIANCE SWAG

The Alliance has T-Shirts available!