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Iowa top ag official proposes new companion animal rules

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals volunteers rescue 170 dogs from a puppy mill at a home west of Manly on June 24, 2019. The dogs were found in “appalling and overcrowded conditions,” according to a news release. (Photo from ASPCA)
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals volunteers rescue 170 dogs from a puppy mill at a home west of Manly on June 24, 2019. The dogs were found in “appalling and overcrowded conditions,” according to a news release. (Photo from ASPCA)

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Agriculture is proposing a new set of administrative rules that could significantly improve the lives of dogs, cats and other companion animals in a state long regarded as among the worst in the nation for animal protection.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says Wednesday he will submit the new set of rules to the state on Friday, beginning a process that requires a legislative panel review and public comment.

Animal rights groups celebrated it as a huge victory for pets in state-licensed commercial breeding facilities, animal shelters, pet dealers, rescue organizations and boarding kennels.

The rules include increased access to water, larger cages and more stringent temperature, cleaning and sanitation requirements.

Iowa has 500 dog breeders, half licensed by the state and half by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in addition to boarding kennels, shelters and other pet care facilities.

It was ranked 48th in the nation for animal protection last year by the nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund.

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