Unfortunately, we have some bad news to report on our efforts against puppy mills at the federal level. USDA announced today that the agency will no longer post inspection reports online for public viewing. This presents a serious obstacle to our efforts against puppy mills. The Alliance utilizes information from these online inspection reports to monitor the industry. The information gathered from these online reports was invaluable in our recent efforts to lobby the Missouri Department of Agriculture to hire two full time investigators as reported above.
Due to USDA's failure to improve its standards of care to ensure the humane treatment of dogs in puppy mills, as well as USDA's failure to effectively enforce its existing "survival" standards, 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 restricting pet stores from acquiring puppies from dog breeders that have a certain number of violations documented on their federal inspection reports.
USDA is now taking direct aim at these ordinances by refusing to post inspection reports of dog breeders in order to prevent states from monitoring conditions at puppy mills selling dogs to pet stores in their jurisdictions. The new administration within USDA is returning to its old ways of helping substandard breeders circumvent state and local laws restricting the sale of puppies from disreputable breeders.
In response, the Alliance has immediately filed an extensive FOIA request in an effort to gather timely inspection reports of all dog breeders in the state of Missouri. We will keep you apprised of future efforts to overturn this policy.