The key internal committee within the FBI that proposes changes to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR ) program rules recently (and unanimously) passed two resolutions that amend the UCR program to expand its scope to finally include crimes against animals, and in September 2014 the Director of the FBI formally approved these changes.
This great outcome is the product the hard work of many, including the Animal Welfare Institute, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. However, this could not have happened without the Herculean efforts of John Thompson, Deputy Executive Director of the National Sheriffs’ Association (or as we like to say, the “other NSA”).
Why should rabies in China concern us in this country? Because, as previously reported, the CDC has warned that animals, particularly puppies, are being imported into the US with falsified paperwork, including false proof of rabies vaccination. This is of particular concern when the animals are imported from rabies-endemic countries, like China, where routine vaccination and other animal health controls are not commonly enforced. When these animals are imported for adoption or sale, the owners, their families, and other pets are at risk of exposure to any diseases the imported animals may have.
Recognizing this increased risk, USDA has raised its standards for puppy mill imports by further restricting the importation of puppies from other countries to prevent the spread of disease from puppies bred in substandard conditions.
“Puppy mills” are defined by USDA’s Inspector General as “large-scale dog breeders that failed to provide humane treatment for the animals under their care.” See Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Care Program Inspections of Problematic Dealers, Audit Report, 33002-4-SF, May 2010. USDA notes that “neglected or abused pet animals confiscated from substandard breeding operations are often sent to shelters to provide for their care.” Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 18, September 18, 2013, 57228.
While local and state governments are placing increased restrictions on the sale of puppies and kittens from “puppy mills” and other commercial breeders, puppies and kittens coming from entirely unknown sources, or sometimes from the very worst puppy mills, are increasingly sold at pet stores and from rescue groups, limiting the ability of regulators to ensure their health.
—->[PD Note: REALLY? And what statistical evidence supports this? Was this written purposely like this?]
Unlike rescue groups, facilities that breed and sell their animals to pet stores are required to obtain a license from USDA pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) (7 USC § 2131 et seq.) first passed in 1966. As described in The Animal Welfare Act: Background and Selected Animal Welfare Legislation the AWA was enacted “to ensure the humane treatment of animals intended for research, bred for commercial sale, exhibited to the public, or commercially transported.” All licensed dog breeders must comply with USDA standards including provisions for “humane handling, shelter, space requirements, feeding, watering, sanitation, ventilation, veterinary care, and transport.”
USDA protects the health of animals and humans through these programs. To prevent the spread of disease between animals and humans (zoonotic disease) USDA recently expanded their regulations to include the sale of animals through the Internet, noting:
“Animals can carry zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be transmitted between, or are shared by animals and humans). The possibility of an animal carrying a zoonotic disease is reduced with adequate veterinary care, including vaccinations. To the extent that improved oversight reduces the likelihood of pet-to-human transmission of zoonotic diseases such as rabies, the public as a whole will benefit from the rule.” Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 18, September 18, 2013, 57228.
It does not make sense to prohibit the sale of puppies and kittens from commercial breeders who are exceeding USDA’s required standards, in favor of puppies and kittens from unregulated sources. In fact, this creates an increased animal and public health risk that should be addressed.
—->>[PD Note: It would seem that it has NEVER made sense to stop the sales of any legal commercial kennels in the USA……..and because ARs are then focusing on foreign animals, ARs are not fooling us….it’s all about stopping sales of animal that people want, and forcing people to take rehomed animals, period. Rehomed animals have difficulty competing with cute puppies or other cute animals, and always will. It is not that different from people wanting to adopt human babies and not rehomed, untrained bad kids. After all– the ARs have made animals into kids.