Webster County Animal Protection Paints Not so Pretty Picture of Reality Inside “Puppy Mills”

A bipartisan effort to crack down on so-called puppy mills has animal lovers and activists hoping two bills end up being more bite than bark when it comes to improving conditions for dogs.

Republican Representative Zach Nunn told Iowa PBS Friday that one of the bills, called the Puppy Protection Act, would set standards of care for federally licensed dog breeders.

In Webster County Animal Protections Officer Kaila Benson explains the kind of conditions that are typical for a puppy mill. “These dogs are stacked on top of each other in wire cages so they don’t have an even platform for their feet,” Benson said this can lead to damaging puppy pads. “A lot of times these dogs don’t have bowls of water instead they have rabbit feeders it causes really bad dental issues. Oftentimes they aren’t fed enough food. So you’re talking about poor dental, poor health, poor nutrition, which leads into all kinds of other things.”

Currently the state of Iowa is ranked as the second worst state in the nation by the Humane Society when it comes to puppy mills.

Benson said the puppy’s in a puppy mill will typically be posted for sale online with a cute background on a website or on social media, but the reality is not that pretty.

“What you’re going to see in a mill. You are going to see mom and dad, mom especially, who’s been bred over and over and over again,” she said. “They create these puppies and these breeders are selling them for large amounts of money. The commodity that you’re looking at is the puppies, the ones that are suffering is mom.”

The other bill being co-sponsored to improve conditions for dogs in Iowa is called Goldie’s Law. It is named for a golden retriever that was found emaciated by inspectors, but the U-S-D-A did not order removal of the animals from a Wayne County property until months later, when it was too late to save Goldie.

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