The Humane Society of the US works tirelessly day in and day out to better conditions for all animals. They work to strengthen laws and implement legislation to safeguard our pets, wilflife, farm animals, marine animals and research animals.

Here is an excerpt from the Statements of Policy from the HSUS website.

Statement of Principles and Beliefs

The mission of The HSUS is to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. We seek to forge a lasting and comprehensive change in human consciousness of and behavior toward all animals in order to prevent animal cruelty, exploitation, and neglect, and to protect wild habitats and the entire community of life.

The HSUS seeks to achieve our goals through education, advocacy, public policy reform, and the empowerment of our supporters and partners. We do not engage in or support actions that are illegal or violent, or that run counter to the basic principles of compassion and respect for others.

The HSUS strives for integrity, fairness, and professionalism in pursuit of our mission. We will seek to be inclusive and to develop partnerships with a broad array of society’s institutions to further our goals.

From the HSUS

April 20, 2007;

HSUS Legal Petition Leads to New Rules for Puppy Health Inspections in Florida

WASHINGTON – The Humane Society of the United States applauded the Florida Department of Agriculture’s decision to develop new rules for veterinarian inspection of dogs for sale in the state. The Department of Agriculture’s decision comes in response to a legal petition filed earlier this month by The HSUS and Florida residents asking for mandatory inspection and certification procedures to reduce the chance that sick dogs would be sold unwittingly to consumers.

‘The agency’s decision to develop new rules for veterinary inspections is a major step forward for the protection of both dogs and consumers in the state of Florida,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president of animal protection litigation for The HSUS. “We look forward to working with the Department of Agriculture to get these new rules implemented and enforced.”

Florida’s Puppy Lemon Law requires that any puppy sold in Florida must be inspected and certified as healthy by a veterinarian before sale. However, some veterinarians simply accept the shot records provided by breeders and then issue certificates claiming puppies have had the proper vaccines and are free from parasites.

Properly conducted pre-sale veterinary examination is an important safeguard against the sale of dogs suffering with illnesses and parasites. Closing this loophole will make it much more difficult for puppy mills and retailers to profit from the sale of sick puppies.

“Puppy mills, and the stores that sell puppy mill dogs have profited for far too long from the sale of very ill dogs that would never pass a proper veterinary inspection,” said Stephanie Shain, director of companion animal outreach for The HSUS. “It is encouraging that the Department of Agriculture is responding to our petition and beginning to finally address the problem of sick puppies being passed off as healthy to unsuspecting families.”

The petitioners are being represented by Marcy LaHart, a public interest attorney in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Facts:

  • Approximately one third of the nation’s 11,000 pet stores continue to sell puppies.
  • Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages and lack of adequate socialization.
  • In Florida, as in every state, most dogs offered for sale through pet stores come from puppy mills.
  • Florida has never formally adopted rules regarding how the pre-purchase exams should be conducted.

Timeline:

  • October 2003 — A number of concerned customers file suit against Puppy Palace, a South Florida pet store with locations in Hollywood and Boynton Beach alleging deceptive and unfair trade practices and fraud. Many certificates were stamped rather than signed by veterinarians. Many alleged signatures of veterinarians were found to be forged.
  • December, 2003 — Several consumers file suit against Wizard of Claws, a notorious Broward County puppy-mill front. Wizard of Claws veterinarian has been signing health certificates allowing sale of puppies with contagious diseases, internal parasites and severe genetic problems.
  • Winter 2004 — Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Animal Industry Inspectors visit pet stores and examined health certificates for completeness, accuracy and timeliness. Numerous violations are discovered.
  • July 2006 — Rather than comply with the obligations of the Florida Administrative Procedures Act and adopt formal rules regarding pre-purchase examinations and completion of health certificates, the Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Industry drafted a memo that was faxed to some, but not all, Florida veterinarians.
  • April 2007 – The HSUS and several Florida residents file a petition seeking new rules from FDAC to formalize the inspection and certification process to ensure veterinarians do not rubber-stamp sick dogs as fit.

Now if only every state could crack down and get stronger laws and legislation in place for the sale of puppies. I totally abhor the idea of puppy mills in any way, shape or form and would like to see them all shut down!! But at this point anything we can do to improve conditions is at least a step in the right direction. If laws can be implemented to crack down on those selling puppies, puppy millers would have to improve conditions to produce healthy puppies and the only way to do that is to take better care of the dogs they are breeding.

For now it’s a sad fact that puppy mills exist so for now let’s do everything in our power, state by state, to force them to clean up their act!! This may only be one small step, but it’s a step in the right direction!

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