Barletta asks Trump to get tough with so-called puppy mills

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WASHINGTON — Congressman Lou Barletta recently sent a letter asking President Donald Trump to crack down on puppy mills.

Barletta requested that the president direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update the federal Animal Welfare Act, specifically treatment standards for commercial dog dealers, a press release says.

Dog-breeding facilities, known as puppy mills, are frequently criticized over conditions the pets must endure. Dogs often live in small, stacked wire cages which can create physical and behavioral issues.

Last year, Pennsylvania enacted new animal cruelty protections with its Libre’s Law, increasing penalties for abuse.

And in Pennsylvania and many other states, higher standards are required than described in the Animal Welfare Act, including the elimination of stacked cages, solid flooring rather than wire flooring, daily exercise, and required annual veterinary examinations.

“As a pet owner who considers our dog and two cats to be members of our family, I find it both disturbing and heartbreaking that all of our nation’s animals are not treated with respect,”said Barletta, R-Hazleton, in the release. “By cracking down on puppy mills, we can improve the lives of thousands of dogs and give hope to the families who bring them into their lives.”

In May, Barletta sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives to urge support for the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT). PACT would empower the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to prosecute extreme animal abuse cases that cross state lines, affect interstate commerce, or occur on federal property.

Barletta received the Legislative Leader Award from the Humane Society of the United States in recognition of his work on animal welfare legislation. The award, presented in April, honored Barletta for being a strong animal welfare advocate during his time in Congress, as well as his work alongside the Humane Society.