Schumer: Feds backtracking on puppy mills online reports

In a photo provided by the Humane Society of the United States from Wednesday, May 14, 2014, several dogs are penned at a suspected puppy mill in Howell, Mich. (AP Photo/Humane Society of the United States)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer says the federal Department of Agriculture under President Donald Trump has backtracked on animal welfare by deleting an online database of inspection reports on animal facilities such as dog breeding centers.

The New York Democrat says Friday that the database helped expose puppy mills and other inhumane facilities. He has written the USDA urging it to reconsider the decision, which he says puts animals at risk. The Associated Press first reported on the USDA removing the inspection reports earlier this month.

Schumer says the USDA inspects about 9,000 breeding centers, laboratories and other animal facilities annually.

In a statement on its website, the USDA says an ongoing review of its online information began before Trump took office. It says the changes are intended to balance transparency with personal privacy and that the information can be requested through open records requests.