Missouri animal rights group sues USDA over handling of puppy mills

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — A local animal rights group files suit against the USDA for failing to cite puppy mills for Animal Welfare Act Violations.

The Executive Director of Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Bob Baker, contends the USDA has allowed puppy mills to avoid certain animal welfare act citations by calling them "teachable moments" instead.

"They adopted another rule called self-reporting, where if dog breeders admitted they had violations, the USDA wouldn't cite them for this," Barker says. "It's unconscionable they would allow them to get around the Animal Welfare Act."

If the breeders aren't cited, then that means breeders can still sell dogs in states and cities that ban the sale of dogs from inhumane breeders.

Baker says seven states have had to take matters into their own hands because the USDA has been so bad at enforcing the welfare act.

The Animal Welfare Act is the only federal law that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport and by dealers. It sets minimum standards of care for animals confined in commercial breeding operations, known as puppy mills.

Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation is represented by Advancing Law for Animals.

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