Image copyright NIH Image caption Former dog owner Marena Weaver claims all the dogs she owned were given chemotherapy after being injected with virus
The presidential hopeful who co-founded the fierce response to the gentrification of Mesa, Arizona, is wasting no time in getting her message heard.
“Why don’t we just put puppies up for adoption?” asked Democratic Representative Nancy Mace this week, as she delivered a bone-chilling call to arms at an event in her rural district.
This week, Representative Mace has stormed out of an interview with CNN because of its apparent lack of co-operation with her concerns about the health of a puppy’s uterus.
“What they have basically been doing is repeating the methods of animal experimentation without people knowing it,” Representative Mace told CNN .
It began on 15 June when Representative Mace says she was driving across the Grand Canyon with her two dogs on a family trip to see her mother, who lives in a retirement community in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“As we crossed through New Mexico, my mother had an instant reaction of fear,” Representative Mace says.
“This is kind of like a crisis of conscience,” the congresswoman explains.
She recalls her mother telling her her “haunted” memory was seeing a young German shepherd baby orphaned by disease and thrown in a cage.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Neko, a German shepherd dog who was used as a biomedical experiment for three years
It was a deep personal connection with animal abuse, yet from that one moment Representative Mace says her brain lit up.
“Right there,” she says, “in the canyon, I started asking myself what was wrong with New Mexico”.
The congresswoman says she started researching puppy mills and pet stores, which sell animals with “lethality” to New Mexico – the largest state after California, for exporting dogs destined for the pet trade.
But it was the animals that were allegedly mishandled in the stocking area at a pet store in Albuquerque that really pushed her.
A store employee has told the news website El Paso Times that when a staff member noticed a puppy was visibly limp in the middle of the crowd, they brought the dog to a supply room with other sick dogs and administered intravenous antibiotics to treat the disease.
“The puppy had gone through a lot in that week of treatment,” Representative Mace says.
She claims all the dogs she owned were given chemotherapy after being injected with a virus called Parvovirus.
Image copyright NIH Image caption Pompeyo is an 18-month-old puppy seen at a pet store in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Pompeyo was just 18 months old when his ear turned red and doctors diagnosed him with Parvovirus.
Although he is well now and recovering, it took nine months of treatment and chemotherapy.
He is also expected to require follow-up antibiotics for life.
Now, Representative Mace says she is calling for an independent investigation, arguing that “there’s no question that animals are used to experiments on behalf of people”.
In her view, New Mexico’s livestock producers could use more vaccines to protect their animals from the disease – but these have to be administered in sterile conditions.
“The idea that those animals can go into crowded small cages with other starving animals – it’s just wrong,” Representative Mace says.
Image copyright US Congress Image caption Representative Nancy Mace serves on the defence panel. Her move has drawn quick support
She asks the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) why it is so difficult to speak out.
HHS has so far declined to comment to the congresswoman, calling her concerns “hypothetical”.
She is calling for a full investigation into whether New Mexico’s medical and veterinary facilities are adequately regulated.
The congresswoman says there is a desperate need for an investigation.
“What is the point of stopping at a puppy mill but then cloning those puppies and then increasing their lifespan?”
US Representative Meadows tweeted his support and referenced Pompeyo.
“Let’s all pray that he does not take his food, water, and privacy – ever,” Congressman Meadows said in his post.
Image copyright Shutterstock Image caption Representative Nancy Mace and Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan met last week
As of Thursday morning, the party leadership has not offered any support to Representative Mace, but she has drawn quick and passionate support across the world.
One tweet said, “If only… everyone on the left shared these sentiments on a daily basis”.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has since spoken out in support of Representative Mace’s concerns.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Neko is set to get a new home at the Humane Society for having suffered third-degree burns.
Representative Mace is