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USDA FY 2016 Enforcement Summary

The following was posted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) regarding the enforcement summary for Fiscal Year 2016 of the Horse Protection Act.

“With respect to alleged violations of the Horse Protection Act (HPA), in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, APHIS initiated 438 cases, issued 956 Official Warnings; and obtained 33 administrative orders assessing $20,400 in civil penalties and disqualifying 21 individuals from participating in activities regulated under the HPA.”

The 438 cases initiated is up 88% over 2015 when 233 cases were initiated.  The 438 cases this year is an increase of 167% from 2014.  The 956 Official Warnings are up 90% compared to last year (503) and 124% from 2014 (426).  There were 17 Administrative Complaints compared to 25 last year and 33 Administrative Decisions compared to 16 last year.

Click here to view the APHIS web site.

Below is the enforcement glossary from the APHIS Web site:

Administrative Complaints:  After IES refers a case and supporting evidence to USDA’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) with a request to institute an administrative proceeding, OGC reviews the evidence to determine whether there is reason to believe a violation of an APHIS-administered law has occurred.  If so, OGC prepares an administrative complaint that it files on behalf of APHIS to institute a formal adjudicatory administrative proceeding.  The administrative complaint identifies the alleged violator and the alleged violations, and seeks the imposition of sanctions.  If OGC proceeds with the filing of an administrative complaint, it may offer an alleged violator a consent decision (i.e., an opportunity to settle), or present the case to a USDA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the issuance of an initial decision.

Administrative Decisions:  Obtained after IES forwards a case to OGC to institute an administrative proceeding through the filing of an administrative complaint.  Final administrative decisions are issued at the conclusion of an administrative proceeding and can be issued by an ALJ, USDA’s Judicial Officer, or a U.S. Federal court.  They include (1) initial ALJ decisions (including default decisions) that mandate sanctions, remedies, or actions; (2) consent decisions (i.e., settlements), which are based on agreement between the alleged violator and APHIS; (3) decision and orders issued by the USDA Judicial Officer upon appeal of an ALJ’s initial decision; or (4) a final decision issued by a U.S. Federal court when an aggrieved party appeals or seeks review of a USDA decision.

Cases Initiated:   Unique cases opened by IES in a given fiscal year.  This does not include cases that are still open from previous years.

Civil Penalties:  Penalties assessed as part of orders APHIS obtained administratively through a USDA ALJ, USDA’s Judicial Officer, or a U.S. Federal court.

Monetary Penalties:  A specified amount that an alleged violator agrees to pay through a stipulation agreement to resolve alleged violations.  IES determines monetary penalties using guidelines that APHIS developed based on penalty provisions in the various laws that the Agency administers.

Warnings:  An official warning notifies an alleged violator of an alleged violation and warns that APHIS may seek civil or criminal penalties if the alleged violation(s) continue.

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