Home Warner, Kaine, Durbin press USDA for updated dog breeding facility standards

Warner, Kaine, Durbin press USDA for updated dog breeding facility standards

Rebecca Barnabi
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The United States Department of Agriculture is encouraged by 24 Democratic lawmakers in a letter to update standards for commercial dog breeding facilities.

The standards, according to a press release, are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, as well as Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and 21 other colleagues sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack to implement strong standards for veterinary care, housing and breeding of dogs suggested by the Puppy Protection Act.

The letter comes after the Envigo RMS LLC breeding facility in Cumberland was shut down in July and 4,000 beagles rescued following a court case and reports of neglect.

“We write to request that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) consider updating its standards of care for dogs living in commercial breeding facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA),” the Senators’ letter states. “This Congress, we introduced the Puppy Protection Act (S. 1385), which would amend the AWA and provide several critical updates for the humane treatment of dogs by licensed breeders operating in the United States.  The legislation would ensure dogs receive adequate housing, caging, feeding and watering, human and other animal socialization, and veterinary care.”

The letter states that dog dealers with the “USDA-licensed” recognition make Americans assume they have met high standards for dog breeding. Yet, many Americans find that the dog they purchased from a breeder “lived in substandard conditions before purchase, and often deal with the repercussions of a sick puppy once they’ve purchased the dog. We are hopeful that USDA will take the long-overdue step of ensuring its regulatory standards of care for dogs meet the expectations and demands of the American public.”


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.