In the last year, two area locations have been in the news for improperly breeding and keeping dogs. In one case involving a Manly woman, all of the dogs were removed from the property despite her appeals to keep some of the Samoyeds as pets.
In recent months, two area communities have been asked to consider ordinances that would ban the purchase of commercially-raised dogs. The move followed the Horrible Hundred report by the Humane Society of the United States, that identified Iowa as the number two state for the worst puppy mills in the nation, according to inspection records by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Iowa had 13 breeders included among the worst offenders. Iowa’s Mindi Callison owns Bailing out Benji, an animal advocacy group. She says the culture of instant gratification often means people want a dog shipped to them within days, and it’s typically from a puppy mill.
Puppy-mill dogs are usually sold to pet stores, where some animals in the past two years have developed a bacterial infection that can be passed to humans, inducing flu-like symptoms. Both Cedar Rapids and Iowa City have looked into banning puppy-mill purchases.
Journalist Rory Kress wrote the book “The Doggie in the Window: How One Dog Led Me from the Pet Store to the Factory Farm to Uncover the Truth of Where Puppies Really Come From,” about the issue last year, after wondering about the origins of the dog she purchased from a puppy mill. She says her investigation turned up an obvious red flag.
While Callison advocates for adoption or rescue, she says you don’t need to roll the dice on whether you’ll get a healthy dog.
Calison notes that Iowa’s puppy mills are concentrated in the northwest and southern parts of the state.