17 Iowa dog breeders are ranked among the worst in the nation

Iowa, with a total of 17 breeders, ranks second in terms of the number of breeders on the list, just like it has in previous years. Conversely, Missouri, with a total of 26 breeders, holds the top spot on the list, as is frequently observed.

The Human Society compiles the list using reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state inspections.

Last year, after being taken to court on civil charges tied to dozens of violations of animal welfare, hundreds of dogs were relinquished by Daniel Gingerich, a formerly licensed breeder in Seymour. This year’s list does not include Gingerich.

The USDA has revoked the dog-dealer license of Gingerich’s for the first time, closing it for four years. Later, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail on misdemeanor animal neglect charges. He was also fined $60,000 in administrative penalties.

Approved by the federal government, Iowa was at the forefront of the nation in puppy mills earlier this year. During the initial months of 2022, Bailing Out Benji, the nationwide animal welfare organization, examined the comprehensive inspection reports submitted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These reports revealed that 19 breeders and intermediaries of dogs and cats in Iowa had received citations for infractions — surpassing any other state in the country.

The Iowa breeders listed by the Humane Society for 2022 are:

The examiner stated, “The gingiva beneath these teeth are receding and inflamed and bled during the examination.” An inspector observed in September 2021 that a Maltese named Micky Boy had severe dental problems with multiple teeth being unstable and easily displaced when touched. As per federal reports, Coldwater Kennel, which houses approximately 240 dogs, supplies to Petland and other retailers. The kennel received an official admonition from the USDA in November 2021 for an insufficient veterinary care program and faced further citations in March 2022. Larry Albrecht of Coldwater Kennel in Greene.

In March of this year, the USDA conducted an additional examination and discovered further problems. On hazardous wire flooring, inspectors discovered nursing mothers and their puppies, with the puppies’ paws passing through the flooring – a potentially life-threatening danger for small dogs. In enclosures, other dogs were discovered with food that was caked and covered in mold, and one dog had no access to water.

Anderson’s Yorkies, located in Mason City and owned by Carolyn Anderson, was repeatedly cited for numerous significant violations for the fourth consecutive year in 2022. The business faced issues related to unsatisfactory conditions, sick dogs, and the presence of parasites such as giardia and coccidia. Within a span of less than a year, the USDA issued a total of 34 violations against this breeder.

The puppies that were sold appeared to have untreated diseases. Most recent citations are tied to repeat violations of poor record-keeping and inadequate space in their enclosures. There were no written records indicating that any of the animals were currently receiving treatment for any health issues. The licensee was unable to provide any documentation or medical records for animals that had previously been diagnosed with coccidia or giardia or currently have these conditions. In a January 2022 report, the USDA inspector wrote that the licensee had numerous cases of coccidiosis and giardia in several dogs.

The inspector observed a dog named Finn, who was consuming food from the ground. The floor in this particular section is coated with a thick coating of dark-colored material. Additionally, the walls and nearby surfaces in this area are also coated with the same thick layer of yellowish to brownish material. According to the inspection report, there was a buildup of “dust, dirt, hair, urine, waste residue, leftover food, and various other organic fragments.” Furthermore, it was mentioned that several dogs did not have a clean area to eat.

During an October 2021 inspection, it was discovered that some of the vaccines intended for use on puppies had expired or were improperly stored for a period of five years. Additionally, inspectors found that certain dogs had received a diarrhea medication that was past its expiration date. Furthermore, the inspection revealed that several dogs were being housed in wire crates within a cluttered area, and a significant number of them had no documented information regarding their origins. In May 2021, inspectors also observed that due to inadequate space, some dogs and puppies were being kept in cramped cages, and five dogs were deprived of access to water.

The inspector wrote, “There is no rain or wind break at the entrance of the shelter. Two adult Mastiffs are housed in an outdoor enclosure made of wooden structure. At least two dogs were exposed to freezing temperatures, dipping below 6 degrees with no way to keep warm. During a USDA inspection in January of this year, officials found that some of the dogs in Centerville’s Felton did not have access to unfrozen water or any water at all.”

The investigator stated that the wood shavings were either “blended into the food” or created a coating on the surface of the food. On the same day, inspectors discovered that two enclosures, housing a combined total of 10 adult dogs and two puppies, had food that was “severely polluted with wooden shavings.” Additionally, the water within the enclosures had “solidified into a block of ice,” while the shelter lacked any form of bedding material and only had a water bowl, according to the investigator.

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Albia, the owner of Gingerich Menno’s Skyline puppies, decided to perform a do-it-yourself medical procedure on an injured puppy without anesthesia or any consultation with a veterinarian. This decision was made after receiving an official warning from the USDA earlier this year regarding Puppies Skyline. It was later discovered that Gingerich had stitched up the injured puppy’s wound himself, without any veterinary oversight. USDA inspectors inquired about the puppy’s condition and found it to be injured.

The inspector confirmed later that Gingerich had used a string to sew the wound close. I asked if the puppy had been taken to the veterinarian or not. I contacted the attending veterinarian and asked if the puppy had been taken to them. The response was that they had stitched up the open wound. The puppy bit its mother on the back of its neck, sustaining an open gash. I asked the representative what happened and they did not know. In addition, the inspector described the situation of the puppy carrying its head sideways. The inspector also observed the puppy walking in a continuous motion in circles and taking staggered steps. This was when they spoke to one of the workers at the kennel.

Three dogs were found with signs of significant dental disease during a May 2021 inspection, with some of their teeth exposed and bleeding at the roots. This discovery served as a warning for potential problems. Hamrick was also cited for keeping dogs in dangerous conditions. In June of last year, the USDA issued an official warning to Ackworth: Kennel Point Wolf, run by Helene Hamrick, for failing to provide proper veterinary care.

During the 2017 inspection of Wolf Point Kennel, inspectors reported discovering dog food that was infested with live maggots and beetle larvae. Additionally, they observed that numerous enclosures were in a state of disrepair, with rusty and deteriorating conditions. Some enclosures were even decrepit, with the flooring collapsed in at least two empty enclosures. It was noted that dogs could potentially be harmed or become trapped in enclosures with gaps, as well as those with sharp points. Furthermore, the USDA identified various problems with inadequate housing during the same inspection.

Since 2018, inspectors have advised Bruce Hooyer, owner of Shaggy Hill Farm / Farm JKLM in Sioux Center, to downsize the breeding operation and retain a more manageable number of animals. On one occasion in November 2021, inspectors visited the kennel and found that there were still 135 dogs in the designated kennel area, which is noncompliant.

Every structure is overcrowded. The facility needs to decrease the number of dogs. Some of the primary enclosures are makeshift and relatively small. Although the dogs have sufficient space to lie down, stand, and turn around, there isn’t enough room for exercise. The facility has an excessive number of dogs. In August 2019, the kennel received a citation for an unsafe and cluttered condition, with an inspector stating, “The facility has an excessive number of dogs. Although the dogs have sufficient space to lie down, stand, and turn around, there isn’t enough room for exercise. Some of the primary enclosures are makeshift and relatively small. The facility needs to decrease the number of dogs.” During the last visit, it was agreed that the facility should not have more than 80 dogs. There is overcrowding in every structure.

The inspector noted that the kennel lacked proof of vaccinations for the dogs, and their eyes were severely matted. Additionally, the inspector observed that there were only two staff members working at the facility, which would not be sufficient to walk the many dogs. The inspector also pointed out that the dogs did not have enough exercise because they were not given a room for that purpose, and their cages were too small. Furthermore, the inspector specifically instructed Hooyer to walk the 115 adult dogs twice a day outside the two buildings. The inspector also found poor sanitation conditions, stating that the facility was dirty overall.

There were 300 dogs close on site at the time of inspection. The feeder had a buildup of wild bird feces and caked food on the interior. In addition, the food bowls, metal buckets, and trash containers were noted to have organic material and caked food buildup. There were also sanitation and cleaning issues such as broken metal and sharp corner edges which could potentially injure the dogs. These violations included four housing issues. The breeder who sells to Petland and other retailers was inspected in January 2022. This breeder is known as Salem Kennels and K&E or Kruse Jake.

During the USDA inspection in May of 2021, inspectors found four dogs that had abnormal appearances, with complete hair loss around their eyes and additional hair loss on the bridge of their noses. One of the dogs, the fourth one, had an abnormal appearance on her face as well. In addition, the third dog had inflamed lower legs and significant signs of dental disease. All four dogs were in need of veterinary care. Since then, inspectors have noted that more than 55 dogs in Iowa’s largest breeding kennel, Stonehenge, have been sick or injured.

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The Humane Society has expressed that being associated with Daniel Gingerich, who had his license revoked last year, is now a “new cause for worry” for the organization. According to court records from the Gingerich case, the two dealers traded a significant amount of dogs, with Gingerich buying 612 dogs from Kruse in the previous spring and Kruse renting out one of his properties to Gingerich.

Kruse faced a 21-day suspension of his USDA license in December 2015 after he threw a bag containing two deceased puppies at a USDA inspector. From 2015 to 2017, the USDA documented at least 41 instances where Kruse neglected dogs in need of medical attention, some of which had severe cuts or infected wounds. In 2021, a USDA inspector reported six dogs under Kruse’s care that were in poor health, including a severely undernourished female Boston terrier and a terrier with severely tangled fur, causing the hair on her chest to become thick and constricted while her legs were covered in multiple layers of tangled hair.

In 2019, the USDA identified unacceptable conditions and drooping wire flooring in enclosures that had the potential to harm dogs at Lavern Nolt’s Twin Birch location in Charles City. The inspector also witnessed three Bichon puppies’ paws falling through the gaps in the flooring of their enclosure. Additionally, from September 2021 to February 2022, the facility received citations for multiple dogs requiring veterinary attention, including Fifi, a Maltese with an unusual skin condition, Maybelle, an English bulldog with an abnormality in her right eye, and Billy, a Maltese with only three remaining teeth, two of which had a “thick buildup of brown colored tartar” covering them.

The veterinarian attending the licensee stated that he is given a syringe containing a drug, which is thought to be D-Beuthanasia. He injects the drug through the abdominal wall of the animal, into its stomach, and then places the dog back into its enclosure. Later, he returns to ensure that it has died. The USDA inspector then tries to determine whether the attending veterinarian had the approval of the Humane Society for this cruel method of euthanasia.

Additional concerns comprised of a drainage system beneath the kennels that “holds animal waste and stagnant water,” a “potent smell of animal waste,” and his business being labeled as “noncompliant” during the state inspection in February 2022. Sommers faced at least four failed state inspections from January 2022 to March 2022. The veterinarian present, who confirmed that they did not administer the drug to the licensee and did not authorize euthanasia via an intra-abdominal injection, was interviewed by a veterinary medical officer from the [USDA], as documented by the inspector.

According to the report from the Humane Society, Sommers, along with his veterinarian and oversight agencies, are involved in allowing unnecessary pain and suffering of dogs to persist at Happy Puppys. The USDA cited Sommers for a direct, repeated violation because he failed to provide adequate veterinary care to his dogs during that same month. State inspectors also noted similar concerns in January 2022. When inspectors returned in March 2022, many of the same issues remained, including the overpowering smell of animal waste, unsanitary conditions, and excessive fecal matter. Sommers apparently confessed to the inspectors that some of the feces might have been present “for weeks.”

In Hull, Ken and Rhonda Van Der Zwaag from Van Der Zwaag German Shepherds were deemed “noncompliant” by state inspectors during two visits in January and February 2022. This was a result of various issues, such as multiple puppies that had seemingly passed away without proper records indicating they had received sufficient medical attention.

During the inspection follow-up, the facility was rated noncompliant again, and the inspector noted that a puppy had recently died due to complications from parvo and dehydration. The inspector also noted that a puppy, who had been treated for parvo, had not yet arrived with a certificate. “Iowa state requires a veterinary inspection certificate for imported dogs,” reported the inspector. “This breeder, who performed the activity of importing a litter of puppies for the purpose of resale, must have a veterinary inspection certificate.”

During that period, there existed over 50 canines and young dogs on the premises. During the state inspection in December 2021, inspectors observed deteriorating or hole-ridden wooden flooring, insulation that hung down into one of the dog kennels, and damaged enclosures. The operation was deemed “noncompliant” by the inspectors. In two separate instances within that same time frame, inspectors were granted access to the property and reported that the housing was in a state of disrepair. However, on two occasions in December 2021 and once again in January 2022, officials were unable to carry out inspections at the facility. Dennis and Donna Van Wyk, owners of Prairie Lane Kennel in New Sharon.

During the cold winter inspection, dogs were discovered without proper shelter, which included a pregnant dog residing outdoors without any bedding or enclosure door. In response to a complaint in November 2021, state inspectors addressed the issue. The inspector mentioned in their report that the water for the dogs is currently completely frozen. Animal waste covers a substantial portion, ranging from 50% to 80%, of both indoor and outdoor runs. With the exception of puppies housed inside the south shed, the water in all animal enclosures is frozen solid. During the inspection, dogs were observed licking ice from water buckets. Charles Vogl, from SCW Frenchies in Atlantic, is accountable for these conditions.

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“He reportedly claimed that he believed one of them had passed away,” but the owner was unable to provide an explanation for the absence of four puppies that had been recorded on the property.

During an October 2020 inspection, an inspector observed a building where dogs were noticeably shivering at a temperature of only 43 degrees. The inspector also discovered significant structural damage, evidence of mice in the kennel buildings, and excessive trash and clutter. Despite a reinspection later that month, it was determined that some of the housing still remained inadequate.

Inspectors stated that they “were unable to examine the garage to ensure it complied with regulations,” but they were able to hear dogs being kept in a garage on the premises. The inspectors documented that the establishment was described as “extremely disorganized with garbage, excrement, and debris both inside and outside,” as well as having an “excessive accumulation of excrement, dust, hair, and mud in the housing facilities” in January 2022. In February 2022, Unforgettable Schnauzers received a “noncompliant” rating from inspectors due to concerns regarding the presence of clutter, garbage, dirt, and weeds. Anita Wikstrom from Unforgettable Schnauzers in Ames.

“To potentially relinquish the canines in order to reduce the size of the herd.” The inspector also mentioned that he supplied the owner with a list of various licensed shelters and rescue organizations in the vicinity to get in touch with. The owner and I had a discussion about the definitions of cleaning and sanitation, as well as different cleaning/sanitation products and methods. The large number of dogs necessitates more frequent cleaning and sanitation. The bedding is dirty, there is dirt/dust present, and feces can be found throughout the area, making the floor extremely grimy. In an inspection conducted in October 2020, state inspectors reported that the facility was “extremely unclean with a noticeable odor of feces/urine.”

In February, there were veterinary concerns identified in several dogs, which included a female golden retriever experiencing hair loss on more than half of her body, a bichon frise also suffering from hair loss, a dog with an “open wound” on one shoulder, and an extremely underweight dog displaying visible ribs, backbone, and hip bones. It was reported that the inspector acknowledged the absence of medical records for the dogs in question, as well as the absence of medical records for another blind dog on the premises. During that period, there were a total of 248 dogs present. In March 2022, Woody Wiley from Cantril was issued an official warning by the USDA regarding the veterinary care issues.

In February and March 2022, representatives from the USDA conducted an investigation at Valleyview Premium Puppies in Riverside. During the inspections, they uncovered more than twelve infractions, which included unsanitary and hazardous environments. They also observed two dogs that appeared to be extremely thin and one dog that had sustained an injury. According to one inspector’s report, a severely undernourished Female Old English sheepdog had a visible spine, ribs, shoulder blades, and hip bones, without adequate fat or muscle covering its body. The dog also had loose stool beneath its tail and had not received any medical evaluation or treatment for its malnourished condition or loose stool.

“If the dogs were to gnaw on or ingest them, shotgun shells might adversely affect the dogs’ well-being. The dogs can easily reach the shotgun shells in a separate area, which houses two mature dogs and is strewn with multiple shotgun shells on the ground. It is highly probable that the plywood flooring has decayed due to rodents digging tunnels beneath the shelters and penetrating through the plywood floors in numerous enclosures. Inspectors had difficulty maneuvering through several enclosures without stepping on feces. Additionally, the inspector noted that the licensee fails to remove the dog waste from the enclosures on a daily basis.”

Inside the enclosures, there were some dogs carrying dead rats and mice in their mouths. The killer pellets of poison were scattered around them. Furthermore, some of the dogs had rodent feces and bird droppings in their food, which was inspected and found to be either moldy or contaminated.

During the USDA inspection in February 2022, Yoder Loren was cited for six violations related to housing, veterinary care, and cleanliness. The inspector noted that Yoder had one enclosure with five dogs. The inspector also observed that the plywood floor in the enclosure most likely rotted and had holes dug by rodents underneath, indicating that the floor had been buried beneath a thick layer of gravel and dirt.

The inspector observed that the facility does not remove the dog feces from the enclosures on a daily basis. In addition, the inspector observed the absence of veterinary records and insufficient veterinary advice on certain matters. Furthermore, there was a lack of preventative care and treatment plans to ensure the maintenance of healthy and untangled fur, well-trimmed nails, and clean and nourished skin. The inspector also made a note of these observations.

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