Eight dog breeders in Iowa are being named to the national “Horrible Hundred,” a list of so-called puppy mills put out by the Humane Society of the United States. Kathleen Summers, spokeswoman for the organization, says the facilities on the list have slews of issues including thousands of dollars in fines for Animal Welfare Act violations, dead dogs and neglected puppies in need of urgent veterinary care.
“We selected 100 puppy mills that have been cited for multiple problems over the last couple of years and in some cases, over more than a decade,” Summers says. “What we’re trying to do is show the types of problems that are out there, not just with these 100 puppy mills, but actually at hundreds and hundreds of additional puppy mills across the country.” The 100 facilities listed are located in 20 states, with many of them in the Midwest, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri.
With eight, Iowa is one of the worst states on the list. Summers says the region is home to so many puppy mills because the central location is key to shipping animals to pet stores all across the nation. In most cases, Summers says the facilities listed have been cited for violations by the U-S Department of Agriculture. “The USDA regulates puppy mills that sell to pet stores but there are hundreds of additional puppy mills that sell over the internet through websites that make it look like it’s a small family breeder,” Summers says. “They sell puppies sight unseen to people across the country and many of those puppy mills are never inspected at all.”
For Iowa families who are in the market for a canine companion, Summers recommends never patronizing a puppy farm and never buying a dog over the internet. “If you do decide to go to a breeder, make sure you visit in person and see how the puppy’s mother is living, see where the puppy was born and raised and see if it’s the kind of place you really want your dollars supporting,” Summers says. “Another fantastic option is going to an animal shelter. Your money there will be used to help save more animals instead of supporting a potentially cruel facility.”
The facilities in Iowa on the Humane Society list include: David and Joane Cline in Sully, Doug and Wendie Dettbarn at the Purple Heart Kennel in Strawberry Point, Gary Felts at the Black Diamond Kennel in Kingsley, Connie and Harold Johnson of CW’s Quaint Critters in Melvin, Kenneth and Leatrice McGuire in North English, Debra Pratt of New Sharon, Lennie and Lonnie Rumley at Tripple L Kennels in Leon, and Linda Thorpe of Sky Blue Ranch in Winterset.