43722 Signatures Collected
Go back to the petition

Sign This Petition

Send to [email protected]. Also submit to: USDA Complaint Line: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/complaint-form

**your signature**

Sign Now
  By signing, you accept Lady Freethinker’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and agree to receive email updates on this and other issues. You can unsubscribe at any time.
43,722 signatures

Share this petition


PETITION TARGET: U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

UPDATE (4/1/2024): Blue Ridge Kennel was cited $80,000 by federal agents for housing dogs with rotting teeth and gaping wounds. However, officials are still allowing the facility to stay open, even after over 80 violations. We’ll keep monitoring the situation and report back with updates.


A pet food research company cited for multiple dogs with severe dental disease, open wounds, and malnourishment is still licensed and up and running – despite continued welfare violations at its two most recent inspections this year. 

Blue Ridge Kennel — a licensed “research” company located in Wetumpka, Alabama, that runs palatability trials for dog food — received an official warning in February from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), citing alleged inadequate veterinary care in August 2021.

The inspection report from that date noted numerous dogs with untreated medical conditions,  including Isa, a female dog with a bite wound that was reddened and “appeared raw and infected;”  Cotton, an 11-year-old yellow lab with an open wound on the side of his face, an ear covered with “dark colored debris,” and who was shaking his head excessively during the inspection; Daisey, a 13-year-old pointer with a broken tooth, excessive tarter, and reddened gums; and Kiss, a 12-year-old chocolate lab with untreated masses on her face, leg, and abdomen.

Blue Ridge Kennel

Isa. (Courtesy USDA)

Inspectors also documented seven dogs with moderate to severe dental disease, issues with fencing and excessive flies, and a lack of followup with the facility’s veterinarian for ailing dogs.

The warning — without any penalties or fines to date — for the chronic and massive neglect documented at this facility by the USDA’s own inspectors is not justice. It’s also clearly not enough to get Blue Ridge Kennel to comply with the minimum welfare rules mandated by federal law.

The USDA noted no responsible representative was available to show inspectors around when they arrived in March, and the facility wracked up an additional six violations at its most recent inspection on July 27when the kennel had 99 dogs on-site.

Blue Ridge Kennel

Daisey. (Courtesy USDA)

During that visit, a federal inspector noted continued veterinary issues – including an ailing yellow Labrador who was struggling to walk, “appeared weak,” and couldn’t get out of his own urine or feces; a “thin” coonhound whose ribs, backbone, and hip bones were visible and three other malnourished dogs; a female black Lab with ear issues; and a chocolate Lab with excessive debris in her ears.

The inspector also noted missing medical records, improper food storage, and that the animal care use committee had approved protocols without first ensuring that the proposed experiments weren’t duplicating previous work and without an adequate rationale for the number of animals being exploited.

Blue Ridge Kennel

Cotton (Courtesy USDA)

Overall, Blue Ridge Kennel has had 36 violations since 2015, with noncompliant issues noted at nine of 13 inspections – or about 69 percent.

Past violations have been egregious, with inspectors noting the facility’s animal care use committee members “lack knowledge about the Animal Welfare Act”  and that the facility was acquiring dogs from unlicensed individuals and transporting the dogs without health certificates.

Blue Ridge Kennel

Kiss (Courtesy USDA)

Licensed facilities that continuously and consistently violate the Animal Welfare Act – especially ones where multiple animals suffer seriously from preventable, chronic neglect – must immediately face concrete consequences or be shut down.

Sign our petition urging the USDA to immediately seize the dogs who have repeatedly suffered for months at Blue Ridge Kennel and send them to a reputable rescue. We’re also asking the USDA to review and revoke Blue Ridge Kennel’s license, given the repeat and serious animal welfare violations for multiple dogs documented by its own inspectors.

Blue Ridge Kennel

Candy. (Courtesy USDA)