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USDA Announces Recent Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act Enforcement Actions

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Tanya Espinosa    (301) 851-4092
Lyndsay Cole    (970) 494-7410

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2014 --The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is continuing to move swiftly and consistently to take enforcement action in response to animal welfare violations.  As part of its effort to make its actions transparent and accessible to the public, APHIS is highlighting enforcement actions taken in response to violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA).

Copies of documents related to these actions, as well as copies of official warnings, are available in the APHIS FOIA Reading Room at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/foia/enforcement_actions.php.

During the month of March, APHIS filed administrative complaints alleging that the following persons violated the AWA or HPA:
           AC Docket No. 14-0082; The University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

           AC Docket No. 140084, 140085; Kirby Van Burch and VanBurch Productions, Inc. d/b/a Kirby VanBurch Theatre.

           HPA Docket No. 14-0078; Heart of American Walking Horse Association.

           HPA Docket No. 14-0083; Ernest Upton.

The following persons entered into pre-litigation settlement agreements (also known as stipulations) in connection with alleged violations of the AWA or HPA:

           APHIS Case No. CA130334-AC; China Southern Airlines Co., Limited.

           APHIS Case No. IA130050-AC; David A. and Helen J. Cline.

           APHIS Case No. OK130021-AC; Phyllis Burleson d/b/a County Lane Kennels.

           APHIS Case No. PA130045-AC; James F. Swetter, Sr. d/b/a Swetland Game Farm.

           APHIS Case No. SD130007-AC; Bonnie Versteeg.

           APHIS Case No. SD130010-AC; Vickie L. Hines d/b/a Lar-Kie Kennels.

           APHIS Case No. TX130484-AC; Richard T. Spohrer d/b/a The Monkey Man.

           APHIS Case No. MO130067-AC; Kenneth Dewayne Dake.

USDA's administrative law judges and judicial officer issued decisions and orders under the AWA or HPA involving the following persons:

           AC Docket No. 14-0001; Real Pets Corporation.

           AC Docket No. 11-0027; Joseph M. Estes.

           AC Docket No. 13-0295 and 13-0294; Gloria Lee Gilbert and Roger Gilbert d/b/a A Little Petting Zoo and All Events Entertainment.

           HPA Docket No. 11-0314; Richard Evans.

           HPA Docket No. 14-0057, 14-0058, 14-0059; Timothy Lee Smith, Mark West, and Evergreen Horse Farm, Inc.

The AWA requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for certain animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially or exhibited to the public.  It excludes those animals raised for food or fiber.  Persons who operate facilities in these categories must provide their animals with adequate care and treatment in the areas of housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care and protection from extreme weather and temperatures.

To ensure that its licensees are meeting the AWA standards, APHIS inspectors conduct routine, unannounced inspections of all licensed facilities.  Violations of the AWA can lead to penalties, including official warnings, civil penalties and license suspensions/revocations.  For more information on the inspection and enforcement processes, visit APHIS’ animal care website at www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/.

The HPA is the federal law that prohibits horses subjected to a practice called soring from participating in shows, sales, exhibitions and auctions.  Soring is a cruel and abusive practice used to accentuate a horse’s gait.  APHIS works actively with the horse industry to protect against such abuse, ensuring that only sound and healthy horses participate in shows, sales, exhibitions and auctions.  APHIS’ ultimate goal is to end the inhumane practice of soring completely.
The HPA authorizes APHIS to issue civil penalties and to disqualify violators from participating in horse shows, exhibitions and sales.  Both the AWA and HPA contain criminal penalties as well.

Note to reporters:  USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet and through really simple syndication (RSS) feeds.  Go to the APHIS news release page at www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom and click on the RSS feed link. 

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write:  USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC   20250-9410 or call
(800) 795-3272  (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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