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Local agency disappointed by removal of animal welfare reports from USDA website

Posted at 6:58 PM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-09 18:58:34-05

A local animal rescue and protection agency took to social media voicing concern about a move by the USDA to remove animal welfare reports from its federal website.

The SPCA of Niagara posted to Facebook calling the decision by the USDA to remove reports of nearly 9,000 animal facilities "an incredible setback for animal welfare."

The documents include violations the agency the agency says it uncovered while inspecting everything from road side zoos to puppy mills even research facilities. Those violations are then placed on the website.

A spokeswoman for the USDA says the decision to remove the items stems from several pending litigations but each document is still available by making a Freedom of Information Act request.

"The USDA sets standards of care for animal welfare and now that the information is not made public, how are we suppose to know that they are actually being truthful," Amy Lewis, Executive Director of the SPCA of Niagara tells 7 Eyewitness News.

The USDA spokeswoman says this decision was made in 2016 during the Obama administration. Lewis says her concern is not political in nature but out of concern for the animals.