Christopher E. Grimes, Director of DOG BY DOG
February 25, 2017
As we have previously reported, the decision to immediately remove all public inspection reports on facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) was “stunning” and the timing came as a “particular surprise” to those within the Animal Care Division of the USDA since it came without direction or even the confirmation of President Trump’s pick to head the department, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.
Since that sudden announcement, clarity and leadership within the USDA remains elusive. There remains no confirmation hearings scheduled for President Trump’s nominee for Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and there seems to be little urgency on the part of the Administration to make it a priority. What is clear to those within the Animal Care Division? The backpedaling by the USDA to restore access to specific institutions and federal research labs was not due to the uproar among animal welfare organizations and the the public, but legal direction from the USDA Office of General Counsel.
When asked the likelihood USDA licensed dog breeders inspection reports would be coming back online, an Animal Care Division official responded abruptly, “No way. The records regarding large-scale commercial breeders are not coming back.” The official further noted, “These are top-down decisions by who the hell knows and the slow walk on Perdue’s nomination shows it. They don’t really care about getting leadership in here.”
When asked why the delay in the confirmation hearings of Perdue, a source working with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry simply responded, “It isn’t because of the committee.”
This internal look into the rollout of a major policy shift within the USDA was provided by an official at the Western Regional Office for Animal Care and confirmed by sources at USDA Headquarters in Riverdale, MD and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. All sources requested anonymity out of concern for their current positions. Based on the relationships we built with these individuals during the production of DOG BY DOG, we are confident in their assessments.
In an effort to continue to educate the public on puppy mills, BEYOND DOG BY DOG is original reporting by DOG BY DOG Director Christopher E. Grimes and is based on contacts and sources that provided insight used in the documentary. First article can be found here: BEYOND DOG BY DOG: INSIDE THE USDA DECISION ON AWA PUBLIC RECORDS