Federal lawmaker takes in puppy saved from grim future
WASHINGTON (March 30, 2011) —The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund commend Representative Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., for adopting a rescued puppy he has named “Sebastian.” The HSUS and Columbia Second Chance recently rescued Sebastian’s mother and littermates from a Missouri puppy mill after the facility shut down. The mother dog and her four young puppies were all found neglected and riddled with parasites and lice. Two of Sebastian’s littermates were so weak that they unfortunately passed away shortly after their rescue. The HSUS was able to make a match by showing Rep. Grimm a photo of tiny Sebastian after hearing of the congressman’s desire to adopt a puppy. Sebastian will meet Rep. Grimm for the first time on March 30thin his office. Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO, will be on hand to deliver Sebastian to his Congressional adopter.
“Rep. Grimm is setting a terrific example by taking in a puppy in need of a loving home,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “Missouri, the puppy mill capital of the U.S., just passed stronger standards for the care of dogs by citizen initiative, encouraging some overwhelmed puppy mills to surrender dogs to the care of rescue groups. Sebastian’s story is a striking example of how the passage of strong animal protection laws is life-changing for individual animals. We’re proud of Rep. Grimm for making this compassionate choice.”
In addition to rescuing a dog in need of a home, Rep. Grimm is also leading federal policy efforts to protect dogs on Capitol Hill. On the first day of the 112th Congress, he introduced the Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act (H.R. 198) to establish a program that allows veterans to address post-traumatic stress disorder through therapeutic dog training. The trained dogs are then given to physically disabled veterans to help them with their daily activities. His years as a Marine serving in Operation Desert Storm inspired Rep. Grimm’s concern for wounded veterans, but his compassion for animals drove him to add language encouraging the use of shelter dogs for the program. Rep. Grimm also is a cosponsor of the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (H.R. 835), also known as the PUPS Act, a bill which would crack down on puppy mill abuses.
“I want to lead by example. That’s something I’ve always tried to do throughout my career in the Marine Corps, in the FBI, and as a Member of Congress,” said Rep. Grimm. “As a dog-lover who fully supports improving animal welfare, I couldn’t think of a better way to do that than by adopting a rescue dog. I thank The Humane Society of the United States for all their help in making this possible and I look forward to giving Sebastian a great new home.”
The PUPS Act, which is sponsored by Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif., will upgrade the federal law that covers abusive puppy mills in the United States. Puppy mills are large-scale, commercial breeding operations where dogs are commonly housed in overcrowded, filthy, and inhumane conditions. The legislation will close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that currently allows these large, commercial breeders who sell puppies online or directly to the public to escape federal licensing and regulation, leveling the playing field for all high-volume commercial dog breeders.
The bill would also require that dogs used for breeding puppies for commercial sale be provided an opportunity for daily exercise outside their cages. Breeding dogs in puppy mills are typically forced to live their entire lives in small cages with no opportunity for exercise, little or no socialization and minimal human interaction.
Facilities that sell dogs wholesale through pet stores are already required to be licensed and inspected under the federal Animal Welfare Act. However, puppy mills that sell directly to the public are exempt from any federal oversight whatsoever. Unregulated Internet sellers and other direct sales facilities sell hundreds of thousands of puppies a year to unsuspecting consumers. Due to improper care by these mills, these puppies are often sick, leaving outraged consumers with frail, sometimes dying puppies, high vet bills and broken hearts. Meanwhile, the breeding dogs at these facilities often spend their entire lives in constant confinement, suffering, and deprivation.
The legislation will require the following changes to the AWA:
- All dog breeders who sell more than 50 puppies per year directly to the public will be federally licensed and inspected.
- Dogs at commercial breeding facilities must be given the opportunity to exercise outside of their cages for 60 minutes a day.
- The bill will not affect small-scale or hobby breeders who sell fewer than 50 dogs per year directly to the public.
Media contact: Jordan Crump, (301) 548-7793, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at animalsandpolitics.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.