Public Safety

Northern Iowa puppy mill raid rescues 170 dogs

Officials find 'appalling' conditions at Worth County scene

Officials execute a search warrant Monday on a puppy mill in Worth County. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which assisted, said many of the dogs were kept in dirty and crowded conditions. (Photo supplied by ASPCA)
Officials execute a search warrant Monday on a puppy mill in Worth County. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which assisted, said many of the dogs were kept in dirty and crowded conditions. (Photo supplied by ASPCA)
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Video Credit: (ASPCA)

 

Worth County Sheriffs’ officials, assisted by animal welfare workers, rescued nearly 170 dogs Monday from a Northern Iowa “puppy mill” after its owner resisted attempts to correct “appalling” conditions there, authorities said.

The Worth County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant early Monday at the property. Workers examined the dogs — all Samoyeds in breed — and transported them to an undisclosed location to receive care.

No criminal charges were announced.

The dogs were discovered “living in appalling and overcrowded conditions and exhibiting signs of neglect with no access to clean water,” the Sheriff’s Office and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) said in a news release. “Many of the dogs were found in filthy dilapidated kennels in below freezing temperatures with minimal protection from the elements.”

Samoyeds — more popularly called Sammies — are deceptively hardworking and functional dogs. Their thick white coats and mouths upturned into what appears to be a perpetual smile can belie the fact that they were bred for pulling or herding, according to the Samoyed Club of America.

Earlier this year, Iowa got low marks in the Humane Society’s 2018 list of the “Horrible Hundred,” an accounting of the 100 worst puppy mills in the nation.

The report documented 10 puppy mills in Iowa, which it said placed the state as the third worst behind Missouri and Ohio. That list of 10 does not, however, include any puppy mills in Worth County, the scene of Monday’s raid.

The society defined a puppy mill as a large-scale dog breeding operation that puts profits ahead of animal welfare.

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In their release, the ASPCA and the Sheriff’s Office said the investigation began several months ago when local animal welfare groups alerted authorities that the breeder was unable or unwilling to care for the dogs. The breeder, whom they did not identify, was once licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture despite not providing adequate water, food, veterinary care or shelter to the dogs.

“We have tried to work with the individual in addressing the growing concerns about the welfare of her animals over the past several months and unfortunately met resistance,” Sheriff Dan Fank said in a statement.

The ASPCA said it would have experts examine the dogs and provide the appropriate care until a judge decides on custody of the animals.

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