Watchdogs Watching Out for Dogs

Posted November 26, 2003 at 1:31pm

An animal protection organization has taken to Capitol Hill to lobby for a thorough investigation into the “deplorable conditions” in pet shops and puppy mills.

The Companion Animal Protection Society is dedicated to the improvement of puppy mill facilities that massively breed the cuddly creatures. Formed in the early 1990s, the group is a two- person lobbying shop run out of a private home in Colorado that hopes to put an end to the filthy cages, packed living conditions and poor treatment in which pet shop puppies are often bred.

“The animals live in concentration camp conditions,” said Ed Green, the pro-bono lobbyist with Crowell & Mooring who has been working with the society for the past year. “I could go on and on about things that would make your stomach turn.”

There is oversight already in place, but it has been ineffective, the group argues. The Agriculture Department employs approximately 100 inspectors to patrol the nearly 4,000 puppy mills across the country to ensure such harsh living conditions do not exist.

But by tasking too few employees to the matter, the department has allowed puppy mills ridden with violations to go on breeding the beloved terriers and labradors that Americans buy at pet shops.

Using years of data from its own investigations, the society went to the Agriculture Department with harsh evidence of the poorly run puppy mills spread throughout the country.

After meeting with Deputy Secretary James Mosley, the group now has the department’s backing, according to Green, who noted that Mosley was “horrified” by CAPS’ findings.

Now making its case in both chambers, the Companion Animal Protection Society is lobbying the Agriculture committees to step in and conduct their own investigations.

Green said animal-loving staffers on the Hill have been sympathetic to the cause.

“We’ve been pounding the walls of Congress to make our case for oversight hearings,” Green said. “We know these committees have lots of things to do. That’s why we’re making lots of noise.”

A Senior Moment? The Seniors Coalition, a powerful, pro-Republican voice on health care issues, forgot to file a required report disclosing how much money it spent lobbying in Washington in the first half of the year, according to

The coalition, which spent $9.5 million lobbying last year, receives much of its funding from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing Association and is suspected by many of being a front group for the drug industry.

According to PoliticalMoneyLine, a Seniors Coalition spokesman said the coalition would file shortly.

Comstock Stocks Up on Clients. Former Capitol Hill aide Barbara Comstock has now been on K Street for just over a month, but already she has signed up a slate of corporate clients.

According to a newly released lobbying disclosure form, Comstock — now a lobbyist with Blank Rome Government Relations — is working for embattled wireless cable firm Northpoint Technologies.

She also represents the Council of State Governments, for which she is working on issues related to inmates re-entering society.

Comstock became a lobbyist in October after working at the Justice Department for a few years. Earlier, she worked on the House Government Reform Committee and for Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.)

Andreae & Clients. Months after splitting up, lobbyists Chip Andreae and Chris Vick appear to be doing well.

The two lobbyists — once partners at Andreae, Vick and Associates — went their separate ways in May when Vick joined The Cohen Group.

Now, new lobbying forms on PoliticalMoneyLine show that Andreae has retained a bunch of his former clients, including United Defense, BP America, Shell Oil and Eli Lilly & Co.

Andreae, who spent more than a dozen years as the chief of staff to Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), now runs Andreae and Associates.

Navigators Gets Insurance. The newly formed Navigators lobbying group has registered to lobby for the American Insurance Association and Mutual of Omaha, according to the firm.

The company is run by Republicans Phil Anderson, Mike Murphy, Jim Pitts and Cesar Conda.