Local group says Iowa puppy mills out of control

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Iowa is on “The Horrible Hundred” List and the Quad City Area Advocacy Team is trying to change that.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, 11 of the U.S.’s 100 “problem puppy mills” are in Iowa – ranking the state 4th behind Missouri (23), Kansas (16), and Nebraska (14). Iowa has been in the Top 5 for the last 3 years.

The Iowa Friends of Companion Animals (IFCA) is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization created to “advance the humane and responsible treatment of companion animals through collaboration and public awareness,” according to a IFCA Press Release. IFCA helped pass Iowa’s 1st “puppy mill bill” during the 2010 Iowa Legislative Session.

Now, IFCA wants to pass another piece of legislation and is trying to do so by bringing more awareness and more advocates to the issue. The Quad City Area Advocacy Team, led by Tracey Kuehl, is looking for more volunteers to help with its discussions and activities.

“This is an issue that impacts all Iowans for a number of reasons,” Kuehl said. “A lot of people get a puppy that they’re absolutely in love with and find out that the dog has some health issues, some genetic issues, some behavioral issues, and often times those animals come out of a mill – so it’s a consumer protection issue. Some of these large commercial breeders that are licensed by U.S.D.A. don’t pay state sales tax – so it’s a financial issue.”

Kuehl added that the way these animals are treated, neglected, abused – and sometimes killed – is appalling.

“They live in small, cramped cages,” she described. “Sometimes, multiple dogs in cramped cages. Dog live on cages that have wire floors.”

“There are kennels stacked on top of kennels stacked on top of kennels in things like the back of semi-trailer trucks that are used as barns,” Kuehl added. “There are dogs that don’t have appropriate vet care. They have eye issues, wounds, are mangy. These animals don’t have any contact with humans.”

Kuehl said the overall goal of their group is to make people aware of what’s going on in some areas of Iowa.

“It’s so easy to get caught up in that really cute puppy that you’re going to buy, but as we like to remind people – really cute puppies can come from really horrific conditions – dogs that are sick or injured or diseased – and they still produce really cute puppies… so ask questions.”

Besides “The Horrible Hundred” List, Iowa also ranks 2nd in the U.S. for the number of USDA-licensed commercial dog breeders – with around 220 facilities. Kuehl said in 2014, 47% of them had some kind of violation with the Federal Animal Welfare Act.

“I cannot imagine why a society like ours would allow these animals to live in these kinds of conditions when we consider them companion animals,” said Kuehl. “Iowa can do better.”

Kuehl, the QCA Advocacy Team, and IFCA are working to “do better” by presenting new legislation to the Iowa General Assembly. It includes three aspects. The first would put small/hobby breeders and commercial breeders in different categories. The second would require state inspection of commercial breeders.

“State inspectors look at small facilities, but they don’t look at the big ones and we believe in order to be effective in addressing animal neglect and cruelty and invoking those laws that are already established for  that, we need to have state inspectors in the large facilities as well,” said Kuehl.

The third aspect would establish a license fee for commercial breeders, based on how many dogs they own. Money from that fee would pay for two additional state inspectors as well as fund that municipalities could use to care for animals if a facility were to shut down.

“We fully support those breeders who do a good job, who promote their breed, who want to make the breed better, who breed for correct genetics and correct health and things like that,” explained Kuehl. “It’s the folks that are skirting what they really need to be doing as responsible dog breeders and therefore putting animals out to the unaware public and having issues there.”

The QCA Advocacy Team of IFCA holds meetings the first Wednesday of the month at the Bettendorf Public Library, starting at 6:30pm.

3 comments

  • Carol Reed

    We in Indiana FULLY support your efforts. This is short portion of a letter I authored & posted on our Facebook,Indiana Ban of Puppy Mills Project, it makes the connection between puppy mills AND taxpayer. The Humane Society of the United States, 2009, “Indiana Taxpayers Pay for Puppy Mills,”
    “Indiana is losing millions of dollars in lost tax revenue each year. An Indiana puppy mill operator was charged, failing to remit $193,000 from cash sales puppies she sold in 2010. Numerous regulated and illegal unregulated puppy mills are taking advantage of cash sale selling puppies directly to the public through: websites, classified ads, or flea markets, and NOT REMITTING state taxes.
    The reality is puppy mills not only affect innocent dogs, but taxpayers as well. These facilities imprison up to hundreds of “livestock” dogs, often kept in extremely filthy and neglected conditions, with the single purpose of making a profit for the owners, without investing any money in the dog’s care or health. Female dogs are used as puppy ‘factories”, until they can no longer reproduce, when no longer productive they are disposed of, often inhumanely. The financial burden is passed on to the taxpayers for the cost of caring for discarded unprofitable dogs, dogs confiscated by authorities, both, often require extensive veterinary care and socialization. Further perpetuating the cycle, the future generations born to “sold” puppies that are placed in local taxpayer-funded shelters adding more burden to cash strapped shelters.”
    Please set a precedent for other states to follow, this cruelty to these innocent animals MUST stop.

  • Elizabeth

    13 Things You Didn’t Know About HSUS
    1) HSUS scams Americans out of millions of dollars through manipulative and deceptive advertising. An analysis of HSUS’s TV fundraising appeals that ran between January 2009 and September 2011 determined that more than 85 percent of the animals shown were cats and dogs. However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and only gives 1 percent of the money it raises to pet shelters, and it has spent millions on anti-farming and anti-hunting political campaigns.
    2) Six Members of Congress have called for a federal investigation of HSUS. In April 2011, six Congressmen wrote the IRS Inspector General showing concerns over HSUS’s attempts to influence public policy, which they believe has “brought into question [HSUS’s] tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.”
    3) HSUS’s own donors feel deceived. A 2012 poll of over 1,000 self-identified HSUS donors found that 80 percent of HSUS’s own donors think the group “misleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters.” A second poll, conducted last year, found that 84% of donors think “HSUS misleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters.”
    4) HSUS receives poor charity-evaluation marks. CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) has issued several “D” ratings for HSUS in recent years over the group’s wasteful spending practices. CharityWatch, finding that HSUS spends as little as 50 percent of its budget on its programs. CharityWatch now gives HSUS a donor advisory and NO rating. Additionally, the 2013 Animal People News Watchdog Report discovered that HSUS spends 55 percent of its budget on overhead costs.
    5) HSUS regularly contributes more to its own pension plan than it does to pet shelters. An analysis of HSUS’s tax returns determined that HSUS funneled $16.3 million to its executive pension plan between 1998 and 2009—over $1 million more than HSUS gave to pet shelters during that period.
    6) The pet sheltering community believes HSUS misleads Americans. According to a nationally representative poll of 400 animal shelters, rescues, and animal control agencies, 71 percent agree that “HSUS misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.” Additionally, 79 percent agree that HSUS is “a good source of confusion for a lot of our donors.”
    7) While it raises money with pictures of cats and dogs, HSUS has an anti-meat vegan agenda. Speaking to an animal rights conference in 2006, HSUS’s then vice president for farm animal issues stated that HSUS’s goal is to “get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry” and that “we don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed [for food].”
    8) Given the massive size of its budget, HSUS does relatively little hands-on care for animals. While HSUS claims it “saves” more animals than any other animal protection group in the US, most of the “care” HSUS provides is in the form of spay-neuter assistance. In fact, local groups that operate on considerably slimmer budgets, such as the Houston SPCA, provide direct care to more animals than HSUS does.
    9) HSUS’s CEO has said that convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” Following Vick’s release from prison, HSUS has helped “rehabilitate” Michael Vick’s public image. Of course, a $50,000 “grant” from the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t hurt.
    10) HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California meat processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.”
    11) HSUS’s senior management includes others who have voiced support for terroristic acts. HSUS chief policy officer Mike Markarian has written that “A perfect example of effective rebellion is an Animal Liberation Front raid on a laboratory.” HSUS food policy director Matt Prescott, meanwhile, has written that “I also believe in the actions of the ALF and other such groups.” (Prescott is a former PETA activist.)
    12) HSUS just lost a lawsuit under federal racketeering law. Feld Entertainment sued HSUS and two of its in-house lawyers under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for allegedly participating in a scheme to pay a witness who lied in court. Court documents indicate that HSUS sent at least four payments to one of the witness-paying vehicles in the alleged scheme. HSUS et al. has been ordered to pay $15.75 million to Feld.
    13) CharityWatch found that HSUS violated IRS rules for three years. They have removed HSUS’s charity rating and placed them on a donor advisory list. The watchdog group pointed out in its Fall 2013 issue that HSUS had improperly inflated its revenue. HSUS has since revised its revenue THIS is very good news. Missouri House Speaker, Tim Jones sets up committee to investigate Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s corruption. That would include Koster’s “Puppy Mill Task Force” which has been targeting Missouri licensed dog breeders.

  • Jane

    Oh wake up these animal rights (liberation) groups select those on their list not by actual facts but to goat that state into passing their bills and agenda. Suddenly they will raid breeders stating deplorable conditions and you must act now.

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