Attorney General Sues to Shut Down Alleged ‘Puppy Laundering’ Ring Based in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller filed a lawsuit Monday to shut down an alleged puppy-laundering ring, including dissolving two “pet rescue” non-profits accused of exporting designer dogs from Iowa to pet shops in other states.

The petition in equity filed in Polk County District Court alleges that one of the non-profits, Hobo K9 Rescue of Britt, sold at least 1,290 puppies to eight different entities in California, Illinois, Florida and New Jersey, from September 2016 to July 2018. The puppies — including Pomeranians, Shar-Peis, Alaskan Malamutes, Poodle-Yorkies and other breeds — were allegedly sold for $714,510.

Puppy laundering is the practice of using non-profit rescue groups to obscure the source of dogs, deceive consumers and circumvent “puppy mill” bans. California and Chicago, for example, have banned the commercial sale of some pets obtained from sources other than animal control shelters or rescue groups.

“No matter where they live, consumers should not be misled about the source of the pets they buy,” Miller said. “Puppy laundering obscures the identity of breeders who may have animal welfare violations or other problems.”

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