AC personnel perform two major types of inspections: prelicensing inspections and unannounced compliance inspections.
To determine whether prospective licensees are in compliance with the AWA, AC personnel perform prelicensing inspections of dealers and exhibitors prior to granting them licenses. Preregistration inspections are not required under the Act, but many facilities request them. Whenever possible, the program honors these requests in order to promote the highest level of compliance.
AC personnel conduct unannounced compliance inspections at the facilities of all licensees and registrants to ensure that they are operating within the regulations. The AWA requires that APHIS perform at least one compliance inspection per year at each research facility that uses animals covered under the Act. APHIS also uses a risk-based system to determine minimum inspection frequencies.
Find an Inspection Report (Searchable Database)
In addition to conducting routine inspections of licensed and registered facilities, AC personnel also follow up on public complaints to determine whether regulated animals are receiving proper care. APHIS regards these activities as critical to successful enforcement of the AWA. AC personnel also conduct periodic searches to identify any facilities that fall under the regulations of the AWA but are operating without a license or registration. In FY 2008, AC conducted more than 445 searches at unlicensed and unregistered facilities. In FY 2009, AC conducted more than 287 searches at unlicensed and unregistered facilities.
AC uses a risk-based inspection system to support its focused inspection strategy, allowing more frequent and in-depth inspections at problem facilities and fewer at those that are consistently in compliance. The system, initiated in 1998, uses several objective criteria, including past compliance history, to determine the inspection frequency at each licensed and registered facility. Facilities meeting the criteria for low-frequency intervals are subject to inspection once every 2–3 years. Facilities determined to require high-frequency inspections are subject to inspection as often as every 3 months. Those in the middle are inspected about once per year. Registered research facilities are inspected at least once per year, as required by the AWA. With this system, AC has been able to provide more in-depth inspections and improve the Agency’s interactions with licensees and registrants—an approach that APHIS firmly believes makes better use of AC’s inspection resources.
FY 2008 AWA Inspections
FY 2009 AWA Inspections
FY 2010 AWA Inspections
Total Number of Inspections Performed FY 2005-2010
After the Inspection: If inspectors discover conditions or records that are not in compliance with the regulations, AC typically establishes a deadline for correcting these items and provides it in the inspection report. In conjunction with APHIS’ Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES), AC immediately investigates any situations that may have caused unnecessary animal suffering or death. Inspectors are required to reinspect within 45 days any facilities where areas of noncompliance were found that have, or are likely to have, a serious impact on the well-being of the animals. If the conditions remain uncorrected, AC documents them for possible legal action. In cases of unrelieved suffering, AC may confiscate the animals or arrange for their placement elsewhere. With the assistance of IES and OGC, AC acted in two such situations in FY 2008, resulting in the placement of 67 animals (64 hamsters, 2 exotic mice, and 1 tiger). AC also assisted Missouri and Oklahoma State officials in 12 separate situations, in which several dogs were surrendered to local and regional shelters and local humane societies. In FY 2009, during 3 separate situations, AC confiscated 1 elephant and 6 large exotic cats (2 tigers and 4 lions). During a separate incident, AC facilitated the surrender of 2 elephants.
With the assistance of IES, AC acted in four such situations in FY 2008, resulting in the confiscation/surrender and placement of approximately 24 animals. In FY 2009, AC acted in five such situations, resulting in the confiscation/surrender and placement of 37 animals.
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Last Modified: April 22, 2010