For Immediate Release:
August 28, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Booneville, Ark. – A damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report reveals that three dogs with red gums were at risk of losing their teeth, which inspectors found to have a buildup of “dark matter,” at a puppy mill near Booneville operated by Cindy Garner. In response, PETA rushed a letter to 15th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum II asking him to investigate the facility and file applicable charges against those responsible for the neglect.
According to the most recent report, on July 11 inspectors ordered Garner to seek veterinary care for two Yorkies (ages 4 and 6) and one poodle (age 5) who required veterinary examinations for suspected dental disease, which can lead to pain and tooth loss. Officials also discovered that she didn’t have medical records for 43 adult dogs and 15 puppies last month, despite having been ordered to set up annual exams, vaccinations, and other routine medical care in September 2022 after a USDA inspector found that she lacked “a current program of veterinary care.”
“Neglecting dogs’ dental health is standard procedure in miserable puppy factories like this one, where animals are treated as nothing but commodities,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is urging local authorities to prosecute those responsible for this neglect and calls on everyone to avoid buying animals from breeders or pet stores, which keep operations like this one in business, and to adopt from animal shelters instead.”
PETA is pursuing charges under state law because the USDA doesn’t render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and these violations carry no federal criminal or civil penalties.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Tatum follows.
August 28, 2023
The Honorable Tom Tatum II
15th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney
Dear Mr. Tatum:
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office (and the proper law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and, as suitable, file criminal charges against those responsible for neglecting dogs at a breeding facility operated by Cindy Garner at 2618 Earl Prairie Rd., near Booneville. PETA hopes investigators will visit the facility with a veterinarian who has expertise in canine health and welfare so that they can identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for approximately 60 dogs there.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors documented neglect at the facility in the attached reports, the latest of which was just made public. On July 11, inspectors found three dogs with “a buildup of dark matter on [their] teeth and red gums,” which officials noted “can lead to dental disease” and “cause pain and tooth loss.” USDA personnel instructed Garner to have a veterinarian examine the dogs. These findings may violate Ark. Code Ann. § 5-62-103.
Furthermore, USDA officials found that Garner “did not have medical records for” her 43 adult dogs and 15 puppies last month. Similarly, in September 2022, an inspector found that she lacked “a current program of veterinary care” for her dogs and required that she develop a program to include annual veterinary examinations, parasitic preventives, vaccinations, and further care to ensure the dogs’ health.
The USDA renders no aid or relief whatsoever to animals on site, and these reports carry no criminal or civil penalties and don’t preempt criminal liability under state law for neglecting animals. If you’d like to learn more about the agency’s findings, please see the contact information for its office in Riverdale, Maryland, here. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis