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Illegally imported dogs held in a quarantine facility in the U.K. (Not a puppy mill in Iowa!) Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

The Humane Society of the United States ranked Iowa as the state with the third-highest number of puppy mills, noting 11 locations that are in "filthy, hazardous" condition.

Why it matters: We all have puppy fever, but where we spend money to get our furry friends could be perpetuating a cycle of inhumane breeding conditions.

Among the violations:

  • Mystical Cockers: Inspectors found cocker spaniels living in 2 feet by 3 feet stacked enclosures with wire floors. Business owner Mary Broderson was able to obtain a state dog breeder's license in 2020, despite being charged with animal neglect in 2012 after five dogs were found dead on her property.
  • Stonehenge Kennel: There were nearly 700 dogs found at the West Point business, and inspectors found a female Boston terrier with an "emaciated" body. Other issues included a bulldog with a leg injury and a Wheaten terrier with matted hair that was "thickened and tight."
  • Kurt and Hollie Pille: Some dogs had no protection against the cold, and inspectors found most of their water bowls had frozen over during their visit in January 2021. The Saint Anthony couple had repeatedly dodged previous state inspection attempts.

The big picture: Iowa's animal protection laws have historically been weak, especially as ag lobbyists warn that legislation protecting dogs and cats could also hurt livestock farmers.

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Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storm lashes Southeast

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes" over the weekend, per AP.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."