Malliotakis Leads Bipartisan Introduction of Goldie’s Act
Legislation strengthens enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, protects dogs in Puppy Mills
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Chris Smith (NJ-04), and Zach Nunn (IA-03) introduced the Goldie’s Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and protect dogs in puppy mills.
Specifically, the legislation, which is named after a golden retriever who was neglected and abused at a USDA-licensed puppy mill in Iowa, requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to frequently conduct thorough site inspections and report all violations of the AWA, remove suffering animals from abusive environments, impose penalties on offending owners and close loopholes that allow dog dealers to subvert accountability.
“Protecting animal welfare has been a personal passion of mine since my time in the New York State Assembly,” Congresswoman Malliotakis said. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation which protects those without a voice by requiring the USDA to publicly report all animal welfare violations, remove animals from abusive environments, and take action to hold animal abusers accountable.”
“As a dog owner, I feel strongly that we must hold animal abusers accountable for their violations of the Animal Welfare Act,” said. Rep. Krishnamoothi. “I am proud to join Rep. Malliotakis in championing this bipartisan legislation to close enforcement loopholes which have enabled animal cruelty to go unreported and without penalty for far too long.”
“Time and again, USDA has allowed bad actors in the animal breeding industry to avoid accountability for explicit violations of the Animal Welfare Act,” Rep. Quigley said. “Enough is enough. The USDA must prioritize the health and safety of animals by ensuring that federally licensed facilities comply with the law. I am proud to cosponsor Goldie’s Act once again to strengthen the USDA’s enforcement authority and bring an end to rampant animal welfare violations.”
“Our bipartisan Goldie’s Act will close enforcement and accountability loopholes in the Animal Welfare Act for individuals mistreating and abusing animals,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick, Co-Chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus. “I have long championed legislation that promotes a more holistic approach to animal welfare, and I am proud to continue this work of imposing stronger penalties for animal cruelty violations.”
“Dogs are family members and they deserve the best defense from people who would do them harm,” Rep. Nunn said. “Goldie’s Law is an important bill to ensure better protection for dogs and hold individuals accountable for cruel behavior.”
The legislation has the support of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA), the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and the Humane Society of the United States.
“Goldie’s Act – named after a dog who endured months of agony and pain under the USDA’s watch and suffered a preventable death in an Iowa puppy mill – will prevent thousands of other vulnerable dogs from meeting the same tragic and unacceptable fate at the hands of the federal agency obligated to protect them,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “We urge Congress to include Goldie’s Act in the upcoming Farm Bill to ensure the USDA fulfills its responsibility under the law – and to taxpayers – to protect dogs bred and warehoused for the pet trade.”
Full text of the bill is available HERE.
Congresswoman Malliotakis is a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and the Congressional Zoo and Aquarium Caucus. Last Congress, Malliotakis was given a 100 percent rating from the Humane Society Legislative Fund and was recently named a 2022 Legislative Leader by the organization for her commitment and advocacy for animal rights in Congress.
Banner Image: Puppies, Image Credit – Jametlene Reskp