Investigation of USDA Licensed Breeding and Brokering Facilities
Since 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society’s primary goal has been to protect companion animals by investigating their abuse and suffering in pet shops and puppy mills. We look for two major problems areas in our investigations of federally licensed commercial breeders and brokers:
1. Compliance with local, state, and federal laws
2. Humane treatment of animals
CAPS works closely with federal, state, and local government agencies to ensure that all documentary evidence gathered is trustworthy and admissible in a court of law. Our findings continue to be reliable proof of the cruelty in puppy mills. Undercover footage regularly appears as evidence for pet shop ordinances and class-action-lawsuits. Newspapers, magazines, online publications, and TV news shows rely on our candid videos and images to show the public the horrors behind commercial mass breeders. We have been the trusted source of multiple exposés and documentaries for over two decades.
Investigation of Pet Shops
Another important front in the fight against puppy mills is their main source of income, pet shops. CAPS has worked with local officials to investigate hundreds of pet shops that buy from large-scale breeders. For years, CAPS has relied on members, local animal welfare groups, and the public to report diseased puppies and poor conditions in these businesses. We have received thousands of complaints from consumers, many which led to class-action-lawsuits and more in depth investigations of the breeders and brokers who supplied the unscrupulous pet stores.
Since 1995, CAPS’ focus has been on the USDA’s failure to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) as it pertains to commercial dog breeders and brokers. To document AWA violations, CAPS investigates federally licensed facilities across the nation (more than 1,000 since 1997). Based on years of investigative experience, CAPS concluded that the USDA’s implementation of the AWA has been grievously insufficient – fulfilling neither the letter nor the intent of the AWA. Those regulated by the USDA often disregard the rules and so do many of the regulators.
CAPS requests oversight hearings on the USDA’s failure to enforce the AWA. In Capitol Hill, we are advocating for changes to the AWA itself and recommending new policies regarding the actions of the USDA inspectors. CAPS visits Washington, DC several times a year and continues to present documentary evidence to top USDA officials and members of Congress.