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CVA Voices Support for New Legislation to Strengthen the National Animal Welfare Act

CVA Board President Colette Griffin and Board Member Karen Laski were on hand as U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal presented a bill called Goldie’s Act which amends and strengthens the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and provides solutions and clear authority for U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors, promoting the safety and wellbeing of animals.


Goldie’s Act was named in honor of a golden retriever who endured months of neglect and abuse and ultimately suffered a preventable death at a USDA-licensed puppy mill in Iowa. The measure mandates that the USDA conduct more meaningful inspections, document all violations and hold more frequent inspections for bad actors. The bipartisan legislation also requires the USDA to increase coordination with law enforcement, enact stronger penalties for violations, and provide vital aid for suffering animals.


“This essential measure gives the USDA the tools and resources needed to hold abusers accountable and to protect innocent animals,” said Blumenthal during a news conference. “Neglect and mistreatment have no place in our society, and I am proud to introduce this legislation to uphold the health and safety of animals and to keep them out of harm’s way.”


CVA Board President Colette Griffin and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

For 60 years, the landmark Animal Welfare Act has provided only minimum standards of care for animals who are commercially bred or transported, exhibited or sold to the public, and used in research, teaching or testing, according to the ASPCA. Enforcement, however, has been weak.


Despite more than 1,000 violations at licensed dog dealer facilities in the last fiscal year, the ASPCA says the USDA took enforcement action against dog dealers only a handful of times. Inspectors had the authority to issue fines, revoke licenses and remove suffering animals, but only issued minimal fines and short suspension — and never removed a single dog.


“This Act will help to ensure that dogs such as Goldie who are bred and warehoused for the pet trade in USDA-regulated facilities will not suffer horribly or die tragically as she and many thousands of other innocent, beautiful and loyal animals have in the past and continue to do so every day,” said CVA Board President Colette Griffin during the news conference.


Passage of Goldie’s Act, which has been endorsed by more than 150 organizations, will ensure that animals in USDA-licensed operations finally receive the protections they need and deserve. 

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