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PUPPY MILLS: Breeders Push Back On Bill

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Animal rights activists believe Iowa lawmakers need better protection for animals raised by large breeders.

Mary LaHay, who founded Iowa Friends of Companion Animals, is pushing legislation to bring those changes. LaHay maintains she doesn't have anything against breeders, "It's the treatment. I and our organization have no issues with breeding. We just have an issue with animals being mistreated in the course of that breeding."

SF2254 would force some breeders to make changes like using bigger kennels, allowing animals to have access to the outdoors and requiring annual state inspections.

The Iowa Pet Breeders, Iowa Federation of Animal Owners and Iowa Veterinary Medical Association all have concerns about the bill. Lobbyist Rob Hurd said the changes could make Iowa too much like Missouri, where similar changes could force nearly 2/3 of breeders out of business because of the costs associated.


    • AJ

      Actually it won’t help starving animals. The situations in Davis County or even Drakesville recently call under Iowa Code 717.

  • taralynnehansen

    Nice to see that this so called news program gave equal time….
    I would have concerns that many of so called rules are ready in place.. it is the breeders that do not have a licisens that will still lead to more animals thay are not cared.for

  • Elizabeth

    7 Things You Didn’t Know About Puppy Mills

    1) In our modern day of instant access to information it is almost impossible for anyone to raise dogs without being under scrutiny. Those horrendous photos you see in commercials for the “Humane Society” are mostly outdated or a 1 in one million exception to the care given animals by breeders everywhere. The photos are intended to shock and horrify you into giving money. Any photo can be photo shopped into looking really bad. Be skeptical. If you didn’t see it with your own eyes take it with a grain of salt.
    2) There is no such thing as a “puppy mill”. “Puppy mill” is not a legally defined term, it is slang used by the “animal rights” community to denigrate any and all breeders — small or large, standard or substandard. It’s the “N-word” of breeders. The phrase “puppy mill” has been promoted in the media by the animal “rights” movement, people who want to end all animal ownership. It is applied indiscriminately by these fanatics to anyone who breeds dogs.
    3) There are three main types of breeders: Commercial, Pet and Hobby/show breeders. Every one of these can be a large-scale breeder, every one of these could be a substandard breeder. Commercial kennels are subject to state and/or federal oversight. Substandard care can be found with all types of breeders. It is about the standard of care, NOT the numbers. Most commercial breeders have state of the art kennels that meet USDA standards and the standards of their state laws. They are inspected at least yearly and must meet or exceed standards far higher than those expected of the average hobby breeder.
    4) “Sick” puppies do not sell. It is counterproductive for any industry to produce a defective product and expect to stay in business. Any dog can have health issues. Its about Mother Nature NOT lack of care or numbers.
    5) Passing laws intended to outlaw “puppy mills” will not solve any problem. Most substandard breeders are already in violation of existing laws. New, stricter laws will only affect those who are already working to follow the laws. The only way to have any effect is to enforce the laws that are already on the books.
    6) All the hobby breeders in this country cannot produce enough puppies to meet the demands of the American market. A shelter dog is NOT for every family. Shelter dogs come with baggage that can require an EXPERIENCED owner.
    7) BREEDERS are NOT responsible for the presence of dogs in shelters. We have a problem with a lack of responsible ownership, poor shelter management and poor pet distribution. Education is the key to improvement in this area.

    For more information:

  • Dana Queue

    I wonder if people realize that over 300,000 dogs were imported into the US from third-world countries to fill shelters in the US last year. By making it tough for small breeders, we are creating and fueling a foreign puppymill industry in which the dogs are raised in appalling conditions just for US shelters. I’d rather have a dog lovingly raised by a small breeder with knowledge of structure and health than a dog raised in a filthy cage in an unknown place (disease, anyone?) by someone who wouldn’t know a strongly structured dog if it fell on him, and wouldn’t care.

  • rh

    “Confiscation of the animals from a large scale breeder”….are you kidding me, this guy in Drakesville was an animal trader, not a licensed breeder………..He had ONE dog……..and as for the dogs kept in cages that only have to be 6 inches longer then the dog……there entire lives…….That is a LIE, that is not the USDA regulation or the state regulation that licensed breeders have to comply with, not even close. Argue for a bill, but at least use Actual Facts.

  • AJ

    It saddens me that a photo of this nature is only shown. Yes there are large-scale establishments in Iowa. As well as Fanciers and Hobbyist. The conditions in Sub-Standard establishments need to be addressed and modified. That can be said about a person with one dog OR a person with many dogs. IMO, everyone that houses dogs; shelters, pounds, rescues, owners, and breeders alike should ALL be subject and NO exemptions.


    The proposed legislation is flawed in it’s wording. Laws should be precise with no room for speculation or intent.

  • JANE

    Iowa is going to put small, responsible in home hobby breeders out of business while allowing large, commercial breeders to continue to thrive.
    I would like to see this law reversed by showing the impact it will have on responsible, small hobby breeders.
    I understand the initial concept towards “puppy mills” but these Iowa laws are not going to effect large scale breeders.
    Iowa has already damaged small, in home responsible breeders by limiting them to 3 intact animals combined (male/female) So you could not breed 3 cats and 3 or the other…where the Federal law allows 4 intact FEMALES.
    This is going to have a devastating long term effect to pet owners when they realize that their choice to find a particular breed of animal may be taken away because there is no breeder in Iowa unless it comes from a mass-production commercial kennel.
    The small, responsible in home breeder will be extinct and when you want that specific breed, you will be going to a puppy mill for your pet down the road or who knows, maybe import them in from foreign countries?

  • Marie

    Watch it boys…the woman speaks with a forked tongue. This is her project after she got done with the Catholic Church. She would kick a homeless person to side of the road so that she could hold up her protest signs…

  • Linda G

    Tkdyer you are a riot. I love it. Most breeders should be closed down. Hope would they like to stand or sleep all day on those wired bottoms on those cages. That is abuse big time.

  • Petra Candeas

    I met these so called breeders.its all about the money.these people dont care about the dogs.i went to many breeders as a fake custumer to buy a dog.i dont buy from breeders.anyway out of 50 breeders and I mean so called top breeders.only 4 of them wanted to do a home check and vet lots of breeders dont give a crap were the dogs go.Its all about the Money not the dog.So And the Puppymils are worse there need to be shutdown.these dogs are lock up all there life no love no play no toys nograss under there feet.s

    • lindasbloggingnow


  • Lisa K. Kuehl

    DID YOU KNOW…that Iowa currently ranks #2 in the nation with approximately 200 USDA-licensed, inspected and approved commercial dog breeding operations? These larger-scale “factory farms for dogs” are commonly known as “puppy mills.” Only one other state, Missouri, our neighbor to the south, ranks higher. Iowa’s mills export nearly 100,000 puppies annually to pet stores and garden centers nationwide. And many puppy mill puppies are sold via on-line advertising, websites and newspaper classified ads. Puppy mills are also big business in Iowa, generating millions in revenue annually. Many Iowans are surprised to learn this information. After all, Iowa is best known for its abundance of hogs, chickens, turkeys and eggs, not dogs. Curiously, many puppy mills are co-located with what appear to be typical Iowa farmsteads. Familiar agricultural buildings are pressed into service to house 20, 50, 100, 200, 400 and even upwards of 1000 dogs. Common structures used to house puppy mill dogs, often in deplorable conditions, include “Morton buildings” and other machine sheds, poultry sheds, hog houses and corn cribs. Mills also occupy odd structures not typically used for animals, such as old mobile homes, travel trailers, semi-trucks and campers. Most of these are ill-equipped to humanely house ANY animals. Puppy mills are located in nearly every county in Iowa, with the northwest and southeast parts of the state having the highest concentrations. And most are not really hidden at all – they just go UNRECOGNIZED, blending beautifully and inconspicuously into our rural landscape.

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