Iowa: Dog Breeders Under Scrutiny for Neglect

by Denise Carey-Costa

There is so much outcry and advocacy to shut down puppy mills. Large animal rights groups such as HSUS, ASPCA, and PETA all use anti-puppy mill statements and slogans as one of their main platforms.

But where is the line drawn between a puppy mill and a “bad breeder?” A breeder who has a breeder’s license or a dealer’s license yet is irresponsible and negligent in their duties as a breeder often results in sickly animals who pass away shortly after purchase.

According to an article in Bailing Out Benji, Iowa is one of the worst states in the nation for puppy mills and bad breeders. There are approximately 220 puppy mills within the state of Iowa. Surprisingly, some of the worst noted are among Amish populations. In another article also posted in Bailing Out Benji, the USDA, state agencies, and research among animal advocates Amish puppy mills are worse than most.

An Amish commercial breeder, Lloyd Yoder, located in Riverside, Iowa was approved for a breeder’s license but according to a news story, the Iowa Department of Agriculture cited several concerns. According to an Animal Welfare Inspection form completed on Lloyd’s breeding facility, known as Sunset Valley Meadows, it was noted there was not enough space for whelping, there were ventilation problems, the whelping area, and the dogs were not kept separated from the poultry. It was also stated that the number of personnel was inadequate for the amount of care needed for the animals.

The report also recommended reducing the breeding population to no more than 60 dogs with selective breeding. An insider, named Danielle Wegter, has been trying to call attention to the horrific conditions at the Sunset Valley Meadows but has been met with resistance. Wegter’s mother used to work as a photographer. During their time on the property they observed dogs being left outside in -50 degree weather.

The majority of the puppies raised are born sick and often die before they are eight weeks old.  Most of the common illnesses are parvovirus, distemper, pneumonia, giardia, coccidiosis, fleas, ear mites, blindness. Some of the pups have mange and are missing parts of their tails. The dogs generally live in their own feces, mothers are locked in whelping crates with puppies for days on end. Lloyd houses his pregnant dogs in with the chickens.

According to images captured by Wegter’s mother, dogs are kept on a hillside in large fenced in areas with no adequate shelter, or water.

One of the most disturbing photos to surface from Sunset Valley Meadows was that of a blind mother dog lying in a filthy, feces filled cage. Other photos include puppies huddled in the corner of other filth ridden cages.

Read the full story on Pet Rescue Report.

Related: Senior Dogs Frequently Abandoned and Forgotten

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