ALDF Investigation Reveals Violations at Maryland’s Worst Breeding Facility Routinely Goes UnpunishedPosted on May 16, 2014
Animal Legal Defense Fund Calls on Feds to Enforce Penalties for Violations of Animal Welfare Act
For immediate release:
Megan Backus, ALDF
BALTIMORE — After extensive review of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s inspection records of commercial breeders in the state of Maryland—the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent a formal letter this week to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), singling out one of the worst of these breeders—Thomas D. Morris, Inc.—and demanding the agency enforce the law against horrific violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Thomas D. Morris, Inc. is a commercial breeder of cows, goats, and pigs in Reisterstown (Baltimore County). ALDF’s review shows that Mr. Morris has committed numerous violations of the Animal Welfare Act, causing animals in his care to continuously suffer from injury and illness, without punishment by federal authorities. ALDF is urging the USDA to move suffering animals to reputable shelters where they can receive veterinary attention, and to apply civil penalties and revoke the licenses of this commercial breeder for violating the AWA on multiple, documented occasions, including:
- On August 19, 2013, Morris failed to provide adequate veterinary care and shelter to a goat unable to bear weight on her right rear leg, a goat with an egg-sized swelling on her shoulder, and a lamb with a serious limp. These injured animals had no access to shelter.
- On July 16, 2013, Morris failed to provide adequate veterinary care to three sheep with fevers. In addition, Morris failed to maintain control of at least three of six calves previously documented as missing. According to Morris staff, two died, though staff could not produce records of their death, and the whereabouts of the third were unknown.
- On July 2, 2013, Morris failed to provide adequate veterinary care to fifteen obviously lethargic unshorn sheep, in weather with a heat index of 96.5 degrees. In addition, two sheep and six calves did not have access to shelter.
“ALDF is deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of the animals confined at this Maryland breeding facility. The failure to provide basic care for these animals is shocking,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “We call upon the USDA to do their jobs and act on clear violations of federal law which have been thoroughly documented by their own agency.”
ALDF’s letter is available upon request.