Lara Trump, daughter-in-law to President Donald Trump, is leading a charge against puppy mills -- or commercial dog breeding facilities -- some of which have a terrible reputation for caring for the animals they house.
In an editorial for the Washington Examiner, Trump, Reps. Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast, and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi called for a government-wide crackdown on the operations.
The article said that in March, the Department of Agriculture proposed a new rule that would require federally licensed dog breeders have their dogs undergo a "hands-on veterinary exam," provide a constant supply of fresh water, and vaccinate them against deadly diseases. The proposal would also prevent puppy mills that have had their licenses revoked or have been found with unacceptable conditions from getting a new license.
The editorial explained how puppy mills "churn out puppies" to sell online and in pet stores across the nation.
"Currently, there are tens of thousands of breeding dogs trapped in puppy mills, and at least 2,500 commercial dog breeders, many of which would meet the description of a puppy mill, are licensed by the USDA," the editorial said.
According to the article, puppies living in these facilities have a pitiful existence that includes being housed in "tiny, cramped cages with little or no personal attention." The piece pointed out that many puppies are often sick, and said a recent outbreak of antibiotic-resistant disease in humans was linked to puppies that came from a puppy mill.
The proposal also recommends that puppies have a decent quality of life that includes the ability to run, access to fresh air, and spacious, comfortable housing. The article pointed out that some facilities keep dogs in cages that are only large enough for the animal to turn around in. Some cages also have a wire bottom which hurts the animals' feet. In addition, cages are often stacked on top of each other, causing stress to the animals."This is the least we can do to ensure that the dogs who produce America's next generation of pets, the loving animals that so many of us consider part of our families, are protected and have a life worth living — at the very least, that's what they deserve," the editorial said.
The authors of the editorial said that the proposal will be open for public comments until May 21 and urged anyone who is concerned about the welfare of puppies at these kinds of facilities to leave a comment on the website.