Barletta Urges Crack Down on Puppy Mills

Jul 6, 2018
Press Release
Vows to continue working on legislation to protect animals

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) last week sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him to prioritize cracking down on animal cruelty violations at dog breeding facilities known as “puppy mills.”  Specifically, Barletta requested that the president direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to update the humane care and treatment standards for commercial dog dealers under the Animal Welfare Act.

“As a pet owner who considers our dog and two cats to be members of our family, I find it both disturbing and heartbreaking that all of our nation’s animals are not treated with respect,” Barletta said.  “By cracking down on puppy mills, we can improve the lives of thousands of dogs and give hope to the families who bring them into their lives.” 

Horrible conditions run rampant in puppy mills, with many dogs living their entire lives in tiny, stacked wire cages.  This causes them severe physical and behavioral harm, and leaves families heartbroken when they bring home sick and abused puppies.  Many states, including Pennsylvania, already require standards higher than those in the Animal Welfare Act, including solid flooring (so that dogs cannot get their feet stuck in wire floors), eliminating stacked cages (which cause too many animals to be crammed into a tiny space, spreading disease), requiring daily exercise, and providing annual veterinary examinations. 

In May, Barletta sent a letter to both Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives urging their support for H.R. 1494, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act.  The PACT Act, of which Barletta is a cosponsor, would empower the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Attorneys to prosecute extreme animal abuse cases that cross state lines, affect interstate commerce, or occur on federal property.  This legislation would complement state level anti-animal cruelty laws by providing a tool for law enforcement when extreme animal cruelty occurs on federal property or in interstate commerce.  Law enforcement organizations, including the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, and more than 200 local law enforcement offices across the nation, have supported this legislation.

In April, the Humane Society of the United States presented Barletta with their Legislative Leader Award due to his work on animal welfare legislation.  Barletta has been a strong advocate for the humane treatment of animals during his time in Congress and has worked alongside the Humane Society to advance legislation and other efforts designed to protect animals across the country.