Golden Retriever #142 didn’t have a warm bed, fresh food and water, or veterinary care when she needed it. She didn’t even have a name—but we call her Goldie. Goldie was raised in a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-licensed puppy mill in Iowa, one of hundreds of dogs living in similarly horrific conditions. She died there after suffering from extreme neglect for months.
Even though USDA inspectors repeatedly witnessed Goldie’s condition get worse and worse, USDA policies completely failed her. The USDA was supposed to protect her. Instead, they looked the other way.
Tragically, Goldie’s story is not unusual—this same pattern plays out over and over in USDA-licensed puppy mills across the country. Thousands of dogs are languishing right now and will continue to suffer if Congress doesn’t take action to help them.
On December 1, 2021, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers—Cindy Axne (D-IA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Susan Wild (D-PA) —introduced Goldie’s Act to ensure that no more animals meet the same awful fate in USDA-licensed commercial breeding facilities.
The USDA is supposed to ensure that the animals raised in commercial breeding facilities are protected against harm and neglect by conducting inspections and issuing penalties or fines for failure to comply with the Animal Welfare Act. However, over the years the USDA’s enforcement actions have plummeted, causing severe welfare problems for the very animals this law was designed to protect. Since 2017, the USDA has observed hundreds of federal violations at licensed puppy mills, yet, inexplicably, they have failed to take any meaningful action or revoke the license of a single dog breeder, despite overwhelming evidence of cruelty.
If passed, Goldie’s Act would require inspectors to take welfare conditions seriously and help animals who are visibly suffering. It also would require meaningful penalties for violations, and conditions involving cruelty and neglect would be shared with local law enforcement.
It is too late to save Goldie, but we must not let her death be in vain.
Animals kept under our federal government’s authority must never be left to suffer and die. We must pass Goldie’s Act to ensure that the USDA is doing their job and protecting the animals in their care. Use our online form to contact your U.S. representative today and urge them to support Goldie’s Act.