How well are the national and state laws enforced?

For animals to benefit from stronger animal welfare laws, state and national governments need effective, well-funded enforcement mechanisms. Governments need sufficient numbers of trained officers and veterinarians to inspect breeding facilities several times a year (unannounced) as well as to follow up on reports of illegal unlicensed facilities. Law enforcement officers must be trained in recognizing and stopping animal cruelty, and judicial systems must be willing to prosecute, impose meaningful fines, and shut down inhumane facilities.

Well-meaning, but non-compliant breeders may be given second chances if it is shown that their non-compliance results from a lack of information or resources. But the chance to improve must be accompanied by the missing education and resources.

Unfortunately, both state and national agencies tasked with implementing animal welfare legislation are frequently understaffed or underfunded, and in some cases, inspectors and judges appear unmotivated to take animal welfare seriously. The challenge of animal protection advocates and government agencies alike is to secure resources for enforcement, cultivate an understanding of the importance of animal welfare amongst a broad range of stakeholders, and support breeders in the adoption of more humane practices.

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