Representative Zach Nunn Leading on Legislation to Protect Dogs

Des Moines, Iowa — Representative Zach Nunn (IA-03) is joining with bipartisan Members in the House of Representatives to support legislation aimed at protecting dogs from puppy mills. The Goldie’s Act would close legal loopholes that have allowed puppy mills to continue to operate under U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) watch and the Puppy Protection Act would enshrine best practices for living environments to protect dogs from cruelty. 

“Dogs are family members, and they deserve the best defense from people who would do them harm,” Rep. Nunn said. “These bipartisan bills are important to ensure better protection for dogs and to hold individuals accountable for cruel behavior.” 

The Goldie’s Act is named in honor of Goldie, a golden retriever who was neglected and abused at a USDA-licensed puppy mill in Wayne County, Iowa. This puppy mill received 120 USDA violations in 6 months, and yet Goldie remained in the puppy mill, and it took more than a year for USDA to seize the remaining 514 dogs after knowing about the violations. The Goldie’s Act would require more frequent USDA investigations, ensure thorough reporting of violations, and empower USDA inspectors to remove dogs from harmful situations. 

The Puppy Protection Act will likewise protect dogs by enshrining standard operating procedures to ensure healthy living environments, including requiring adequate housing, regular veterinary checkups, and a healthy diet. 

The legislation is supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Wayne County Sherriff Keith Davis: 

“Goldie’s Act – named after a dog who endured months of agony and pain under the USDA’s watch and suffered a preventable death in an Iowa puppy mill – will prevent thousands of other vulnerable dogs from meeting the same tragic and unacceptable fate at the hands of the federal agency obligated to protect them,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “We urge Congress to include Goldie’s Act in the upcoming Farm Bill to ensure the USDA fulfills its responsibility under the law – and to taxpayers – to protect dogs bred and warehoused for the pet trade.” 

“Puppy mill cruelty like I saw in Wayne County should have never happened on the USDA authorities’ watch. It was a horrific case of abuse with hundreds of dogs in distress and filthy conditions that should never be repeated,” said Sheriff Davis of Wayne County. “I am optimistic that under the bipartisan Goldie Act, we can avoid future animal abuse and hold the USDA accountable as well. I thank my representative Zach Nunn for taking this on in order to improve puppy treatment in our state.” 

The full text of the Goldie’s Act can be found here.

The full text of the Puppy Protection Act can be found here.