FAQ - Animal Welfare Act Violations? - Part 2

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Always into something...
Jan 28, 2009
Bowling Green, KY
Written by jandshyne:

Is action usually taken and if so how??

Yes, however there is a procedure in place that begins with written warnings, and ends in fines and this can be a very long process. Sometimes action can’t be taken immediately or at all or it can seem to the lay person that no action was taken but rest assured they take your complaint seriously and if nothing else you’ve succeeded in alerting the inspector and regional office of a potential problem and the facility will be watched a bit more closely.

What can I do if I don’t think the USDA has given my complaint enough merit??

Contact the director for the regional office and speak with them directly, insist something is done. Be as detailed as possible in your report of various violations.

Phone the animal welfare agency for your area. If you’re not sure who to call and you’re dealing with an exotic it’s usually best to try Game and Fish.

Continue to make weekly phone calls and send follow up letters until you are satisfied that something has been done.

Get others who’ve experienced the same violations to complain as well, many voices are always louder than one.

Contact local news agencies and tell your story, share your letters, complaints, photos, etc… with them.

Spread the word, the best way to stop the unethical breeding, selling, etc… of any species is to share your experience. Telling one other potential customer what you’ve witnessed can be enough to start a chain reaction and cost the facility money in sales and revenue which should make them stand up and take notice.

Is there any organization out there who specializes in aiding with these complaints??

Not specifically that I’m aware of, however the Hedgehog Welfare Society does have a committee and board members appointed specifically for this purpose and they are always willing to help draft a complaint, point you in the right direction, and if possible even write a complaint for you. You can find them by going to: http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org

Finally, you always have the option to try to help educate the facility. Often negligence in these situations is caused by ignorance which of course is NOT an excuse but can be overcome. You can request your complaints to the USDA remain anonymous so that you have the option to offer direct aide to the facility and it’s always best to visit with (or return with) care sheets, current books, and your knowledge available. Often you can turn the facility around all on your own by being hands on, the USDA and other animal welfare organizations are there if you can not accomplish this on your own but their general approach is to try to offer support and education as well so sometimes you can cut out the middle person (so to speak) and be more effective. If you’re not comfortable attempting this on your own you can often contact breeders and rescues in the area and they are generally willing to do it for you.

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