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minnesota: poor enforcement and governance
KEY MESSAGE: Due to limited State laws and regulations, limited USDA enforcement and limited local laws, animals suffer.
“The mass breeder’s bottom line is low overhead and high return. So bulk food purchases are often comprised of sweepings from the food manufacturer’s floor. Dogs are so nutrition deprived, their teeth rot as young as one or two years of age. Sometimes their jaws dissolve. Others lose their front teeth from gnawing on the metal bars that contain them.
There are approximately 5,000 mill-style outfits nationwide. Cruelty investigators have uncovered parasite-infested dogs with oozing eyes, ear infections, and fur so matted it forms a puppy’s skin into a blanket of red scabs. Dogs in congested quarters easily spread worms, upper respiratory infections, coccidia, giardia, and deadly parvovirus and distemper.
Dogs are found with gangrenous skin where collars became embedded in flesh. Others are balding, blind, emaciated. Some long-term mill dogs have been debarked by shoving a steel rod down their throats to mutilate vocal cords.”
The above is an excerpt from Born in a Missouri Puppy Mill, written by Brenda Shoss, Kinship Circle, in 2004, describing the condition of puppy mills in the United States. Missouri tops the list for puppy mills and dog production.
Minnesota has no state laws that allow it to license, inspect or regulate dog and cat breeders
Search the Internet or talk with anyone from the animal community and you will find hundreds of horror stories about animal neglect and suffering at the hands of unscrupulous dog and cat breeders, dealers, auctioneers and brokers.
Minnesota humane agents and many animal rescuers, veterinarians, animal shelters and law enforcement have all witnessed atrocities, and are trying to handle the crisis. The State of Minnesota, however, has no State law giving it the authority to license and regulate the dog and cat breeding industry; therefore, the State cannot inspect breeding facilities, enforce humane standards, or impose penalties on inhumane breeders.
USDA-licensed breeders in Minnesota are inspected by the USDA; however, inspection reports show enforcement of violations are minimal and inadequate. With 2.5 inspectors for Minnesota, the office is understaffed and underfunded. Reports also show commercial breeders are allowed to continue operating, even if violations pile up. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) allows for civil penalties to be imposed of up to $2,750 per violation; these penalties are often not imposed or deeply discounted, resulting in fewer AWA revenues for enforcement efforts and an attitude among breeders that violations are merely “a cost of doing business.” (per federal Audit Report)
2005 Audit Report shows a broken system
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Care Program is responsible for inspecting all facilities covered under the Animal Welfare Act, which includes USDA-licensed dog and cat breeders. In 2005, an Audit Report of the APHIS Animal Care Program Inspection and Enforcement Activities, conducted by the Assistant Inspector General for Audit, found the following (among other points):
The State of Minnesota falls under the administration of the Eastern Region office.