Letter: Iowa legislators must address puppy mills


puppy mills

In the coming weeks, the Iowa Legislature will once again have the opportunity to vote on improving the on-going poor conditions inside many of Iowa’s commercial dog breeding facilities. Currently, nearly 15,000 adult dogs are housed in 216 federally-licensed Iowa kennels.

These large-scale “puppy mills” are engaged in the mass production of puppies for the retail pet trade, including for pet stores and online sales. In 2015, 177 of these Iowa facilities were inspected by USDA-APHIS officials, and 43 percent were documented to be non-compliant with the care standards found in the federal Animal Welfare Act. Over half of these non-compliances dealt with inadequate veterinary care, some severe enough to lead to animal suffering and death.

Iowa ranks second in the nation for the number of puppy mills we harbor. We are also the only one of the top four puppy-producing states with no current routine state-level oversight of these commercial kennels. It’s time that our legislators address this concerning statistic once and for all and help Iowa become a leader in companion animal welfare.