To the editor:
I am writing this letter to urge everyone to write to your legislators and ask them to support SF502 and HSB560, bills that will be voted on soon. They recently passed in the subcommittees, now they need to be passed in the full Commerce communities.
These bills will create direct state oversight of USDA licensed commercial facilities, provide needed funding and adjust fee inequities, create a remediation fund for county officials to tap into and include exemptions for small-scale hobby breeders. These bills will make Iowa a leader in the industry vs. the exception!
Currently, Iowa is the only state that doesn?t have state oversight. Without state oversight, Iowa?s animal neglect and cruelty statute, 717B, is not being enforced is USDA licensed facilities. Most of these dogs are living in horrendous conditions. They are lacking proper veterinary care, living in filthy conditions, and have little or no human contact. Iowa had the 2nd largest number of USDA licensed commercial dog breeders (aka puppy mills) in the country and 53 percent of these were cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act of 2014. This is not acceptable.
We need to make these people accountable, a slap on the wrist is not enough! Dogs are suffering and these breeders are getting away with it. These dogs are only a commodity to them, when in fact, they are living, breathing beings that feel joy, sadness, pain, and temperature extremes just as people do. The multi-million dollar pet industry is proof alone that there are thousands of caring people out there that would not condone this type of treatment.
Contrary to what some protesters of the bill are saying, this has nothing at all to do with livestock. And it does not harm small-scale hobby breeders, it actually helps them by lowering their fees. So, please get your letters out in the next few days. They vote the week of Feb. 15. It will only take 20 to 30 minutes of your time, but it can have a tremendous effect on the lives of these dogs! When writing your letters, you can go to iowavca.org and it will walk you through the steps to write and send your letter. This is a sister website to Iowa Friends of Companion Animals, which is an organization that is trying to better the lives of these puppy mill dogs.
If anyone would like to become a member of Iowa Friends of Companion Animals (and help these dogs even more), we meet the 4th Monday of every month at the Burlington Public Library at 6:30 p.m.