May 12, 2021 - News
Iowa's puppy mill problem
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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