On February 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) barred the public from viewing its online database of licensed dog and cat breeding facilities. The USDA also terminated public access to the inspection reports of those facilities.

This is only the latest failure by the USDA to protect puppy mill animals.

For years, our work at CAPS has shown that USDA inspectors aren’t properly enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. Our efforts led the USDA’s Office of Inspector General to issue a scathing report about the department’s failures, recommending immediate changes at the agency. But the USDA has resisted those recommendations.

And now the USDA has added the removal of the inspection database to its list of harmful decisions. Without the database, it’s difficult for the public to discover if a dog or cat breeder is violating the Animal Welfare Act. Concerned citizens are forced to use the Freedom of Information Act process, which can take many months. Meanwhile, unscrupulous breeders and pet shops can continue to deceive consumers and keep harming animals, outside of public scrutiny.

Dog with infected eyes at an Iowa puppy mill

As you may know, CAPS has been helping cities and states across the country regulate and ban the sale of puppy mill animals. But without timely access to the USDA’s information, they cannot properly enforce their laws. Municipalities that wish to enact similar regulations also need USDA reports when determining if their local pet shops use breeders who violate the Animal Welfare Act.

Drinking water for dogs at a Missouri puppy mill

In order to relieve the suffering of mill animals, the failures of the USDA have to be exposed and challenged.

So CAPS is taking action, and we need your help.

To start, we’re petitioning the USDA over its database removal. Over 50,000 people have already added their names to the petition, and you can, too. Click here to sign.

CAPS petition to the USDA

In addition, we’re starting a crucial funding drive, with every dollar going to a new three-part initiative, aimed at bringing changes to the USDA:

1) We’re making a short documentary that exposes the problems at the USDA. This will be an educational tool for the public, the media, and members of Congress.

2) We have joined with the Animal Legal Defense Fund to sue the USDA over its deleted puppy mill database.

3) CAPS is starting a campaign of relentless pressure on Congress and the USDA on behalf of puppy mill animals. We won’t stop until the USDA starts to fully enforce the Animal Welfare Act.

Undercover video shows the importance of the USDA inspection database

We have a fundraising goal of $25,000 for this new initiative. If you can, please donate today and join the fight to protect puppies and kittens suffering in mills. Even if you’re unable to donate, you can still help by sharing the following link with friends and family:

Hundreds of thousands of animals are currently suffering inside pet shops and puppy mills. With your help, we can stop the cycle of cruelty. On behalf of the voiceless, we thank you for your compassion and generosity.

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