Rep. Boyle Blasts Feds’ Delay in Investigating Pennsylvania Animal Dealer

Case Drags on Well After PETA Provided Evidence of Scores of Animal-Welfare Violations

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Douglass Township, Pa.

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is going public with his correspondence (available here and here) with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) concerning the agency’s months-long delays in closing two cases, including one against small-animal dealer Holmes Farm in Montgomery County, where a PETA sting uncovered egregious animal-welfare violations.

The case has now remained open for 572 days as of today—and the other case, against a Florida monkey dealer, for 772 days as of today—leaving animals in danger, as systemic problems potentially continue. The USDA replied that the cases were still “undergoing internal Agency review” and that it currently takes an average of 363 days to close a case—11 percent longer than in 2014. The average animal-protection case takes even longer: 499 days.

Meanwhile, in the time that the USDA has sat on the Florida case, PETA’s investigations division has closed more than 23 investigations, secured the filing of 519 criminal charges and the convictions of 45 defendants, and worked with law enforcement to seize nearly 200 animals.

Boyle’s statement reads, in part:

This spring, I reached out to the USDA on behalf of some constituents who are disturbed by cases of animal abuse and neglect in Pennsylvania and around the country. Many such cases involve confirmed violations of our most basic standards for animal welfare—yet the USDA’s investigations of these violent practices were delayed for months or even years. I was extremely troubled to learn from USDA that there is a backlog of nearly 500 open, uninvestigated cases of animal-welfare violations and that the average time it takes to close such a case is 499 days. I remain committed to addressing this backlog and lack of timely, effective enforcement of federal law.

At Holmes Farm, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—documented that animals were frozen alive, stacked in filthy cages, gassed by the dozens, and deprived of adequate food, water, and veterinary care. The hamster room reeked of ammonia, and personnel told inspectors that they had learned how to kill unwanted animals “on the internet.” USDA inspectors found at least 117 violations of 14 federal regulations. Holmes Farm’s USDA license was canceled on July 14, 2016, and apparently that day, it began operating under the new name Livestock Supplies, Inc.

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