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

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

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

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2015 --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).

APHIS has recently moved the Horse Protection Act Disqualification and Civil Penalty List to the Investigative and Enforcement web page for ease of use.  The list can be found at USDA HPA Federal Disqualification and Civil Penalty List

Copies of documents related to these actions, as well as copies of official warnings, are available in the APHIS FOIA Reading Room at. /wps/portal/enforcementactions

During the month of May, APHIS filed administrative complaints alleging that the following persons violated the AWA or HPA:

AWA Docket No. 15-0119, 15-0120; Nick Sculac and Big Cats of Serenity Springs d/b/a Serenity Springs Wildlife Center.

AWA Docket No. 15-0113; City of Clay Center d/b/a Clay Center Zoo.

AWA Docket No. 15-0107, 15-0108, 15-0109; Virginia Safari Park and Preservation Center, Inc. a/k/a Virginia Safari Park, Meghan Mogensen, and Eric Mogensen.

HPA Docket No. 15-0114, 15-0115; Danny Hughes and Charles Stivers.

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. OH140009-AC; Andy Yoder.

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

AWA Docket No. 15-0090, 15-0091; Anthony L. Schachtele and Rebecca Jo Schachtele d/b/a Schachtele Auction Service and Kennels.

HPA Docket No. 14-0110; Andrew Simpson.

HPA Docket No. 14-0121; David C. Polk d/b/a David Polk Stables.

HPA Docket No. 15-0038; Dustin Smith.

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

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.


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).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

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