Tribute to Goldie on Pet Free Puppy Day

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Thursday, July 21, 2022 is Pet-Free Puppy Day, a day to remind pet lovers around the world that puppies in pet stores sold most likely come from puppy mills (even if the pet store tells you that this is not true!).

Pet stores work hard to present a clean and healthy image so customers don’t think about where the puppies were born, how their parents were treated, or the living conditions. But buying a puppy from a pet store could support the cruel puppy mill industry.

Goldie, the Golden Retriever who lived and died in a puppy mill, looms large in our minds this year.

This week marks one year since Goldie died after enduring prolonged and extreme suffering at the hands of a USDA licensed commercial breeder. Goldie, known only as Golden Retriever #142, was one of more than 500 dogs living in horrific conditions at a breeding facility in Iowa.

Goldie died in the facility without fresh food, water or veterinary care. She never knew love or a warm bed. Hiding in a barn on the property, she was so skinny you could see almost every bone in her body – and USDA inspectors saw her but did nothing to intervene.

Despite Goldie’s tragic fate, it took months for the USDA to take action to shut down this puppy mill, even though their inspectors documented over 200 violations of the law. Dead dogs, sick dogs, dogs in dirty crates, dogs without veterinary care, dogs without food or water… the USDA has always allowed the business to continue as usual, raising and shipping puppies across the United States.

USDA policies completely failed Goldie. The agency was supposed to protect her. Instead, they looked the other way.

Tragically, this isn’t an isolated case — puppy mill operators care more about profits than dogs, and the USDA is making it easy. USDA standards of care are notoriously low, violations of the law are rarely cited, and they routinely go unpunished. The USDA continually grounds the thousands of dogs in federally licensed puppy mills across the country. The dogs continue to suffer, so it’s time for Congress to act and force the USDA to do its job.

Goldie’s Act will help ensure that no other animals meet the same appalling fate in USDA-licensed commercial breeding facilities. Goldie’s Law would require inspectors to step in and help animals that are visibly suffering. It would also require meaningful penalties for violations, and situations of cruelty and neglect would be shared with local law enforcement.

We must never forget what Goldie went through. No dog should suffer and die under USDA supervision. We need to pass Goldie’s Law to make sure the USDA does its job and protects the animals under its watch. Urge your US Representative to support the Goldie’s Act today.

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