Recently, I blogged about exciting news that the U.S. Department of Agriculture would propose a rule requiring large-scale puppy mills and kitten mills selling pets online, by phone, or by mail to be licensed and inspected for basic standards of care. This is a reform we've been working to achieve for two decades, and now we have an opportunity to lock it in as a matter of federal policy. The rule will be made final after a comment period that lasts until July 16. Please take a moment to contact the USDA to support this important protection.
But that's just one front of activity for us on puppy mills. Earlier this month was our sixth annual Puppy Mill Action Week, when we launched several new initiatives to enhance our public education, policy, and enforcement-related work. Our new Puppy Mills Tip Line reward fund will pay tipsters up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a puppy mill operator for animal cruelty. Tipsters can call 1-877-MILL-TIP or report cruelty online.
As we also announced this month, you can now register for our new Humane Society University course for anti-puppy mill advocates or watch the winners of our Why Puppy Mills Stink video contest online.
A few weeks ago, New York legislators introduced a bill to protect dogs in puppy mills, and we found out that the USDA has taken action against yet another mill identified in our Missouri's Dirty Dozen update report. Vestal's Kennel in Livonia, Mo., has permanently lost its USDA license and has been barred from obtaining another license in the future. Inspection reports at this facility documented filthy conditions, sick animals, refusal to grant access to inspectors on numerous occasions, and lack of proper veterinary care.
We are committed to turning around the puppy mill problem in our nation, and the actions I've enumerated above provide just some of the most recent evidence of the change that we are driving. Thanks for all you do to help raise awareness about this important issue and our Puppy Mills Campaign.
Originally posted on Pacelle's blog, A Humane Nation.