Nearly 170 dogs were rescued on Monday from a puppy mill near the Minnesota border in northern Iowa, according to a report from the Des Moines Register.

The commercial breeding operation, known as White Fire Kennel, was keeping the dogs inside a home and in barn-like structures, Tim Rickey, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) field investigations and response, told the Register.

All of the dogs were Samoyeds, a breed of large herding dog with a thick, white, double-layer coat famous for herding reindeer in Siberia, and ranged in age from young puppies to nine years old. They were kept in overcrowded conditions with no access to clean water, the Register reported. Along with the dogs, four neglected cats were also found inside the residence.

“The investigation was set into motion by the Worth County Sheriff’s Office several months ago when local animal welfare groups became aware of the breeder’s inability to properly care for her animals and alerted local authorities,” Emily Schneider of the ASPCA told Teen Vogue in an email. “The Worth County Sheriff’s Office contacted the ASPCA for assistance with evidence collection, removal, and sheltering of 160 dogs from an inhumane commercial breeding facility often referred to as a ‘puppy mill’ in Worth County.”

“We’re pleased to be able to support the Worth County Sheriff’s Office in removing these animals from this heartbreaking situation and providing them with much-needed care and treatment,” Schneider told Teen Vogue.

Worth County Sheriff Dan Fank told the Des Moines Register that law enforcement “tried to work with the individual [operating the kennel] in addressing the growing concerns about the welfare of her animals over the past several months and, unfortunately, met resistance.”

“Many of the dogs were found in filthy, dilapidated kennels in below-freezing temperatures with minimal protection from the elements,” the ASPCA said in a statement, according to the Des Moines Register. “There is debris scattered throughout the property as responders work to safely remove fearful and under-socialized dogs.”

“Many commercial breeding operations prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals, often producing puppies that suffer from health and behavioral problems,” Schneider explained to Teen Vogue. “Dogs at these facilities are often kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions without adequate access to veterinary care, food, water, or socialization.”

The owner, a woman living alone, has criminal charges pending against her, according to another reporter from the Register. Schneider said, “Animal neglect charges are pending based on evidence collected by ASPCA experts in support of the investigation.”

The dogs are all being cared for at a temporary shelter, according to the newspaper, and none of the pups were critically injured. The ASPCA laid out what the next steps are for the rescued pooches.

“As you can imagine, these dogs have gone through a lot in the past 48 hours, but they’re settling in nicely at the temporary shelter and it’s wonderful to see these dogs enjoying treats and enrichment toys in their kennels,” Schneider wrote. “Over the next couple days, ASPCA veterinary and behavior experts will be conducting medical exams, as well as implement behavior enrichment protocols such as providing socialization, treats, and toys until disposition is determined by the court.”

“We’ve received many inquiries from pet lovers expressing interest in adopting these dogs, and we ask for their patience as these animals are considered evidence in an active case led by the Worth County Sheriff’s Office,” Schneider explained. “We hope to assist the Sheriff’s Office in giving people an opportunity to adopt when the time is right, and we plan to keep the public updated as the case goes through the court process.”

While none of the dogs can be adopted yet, you can still donate to the ASPCA in the meantime.

“The ASPCA has rescued countless dogs from puppy mills across the nation and has been active in promoting legislation at both the state and federal levels to strengthen regulations and improve oversight of the standards of care of dogs in commercial breeding facilities,” Schneider said. “The ASPCA’s Barred From Love campaign urges the public to speak out against cruel breeding and also encourages dog lovers to adopt from a local shelter or rescue group or learn how to identify a responsible breeder.”

Responses to "Nearly 170 Dogs and Puppies Rescued from Horrific Iowa Puppy Mill"

  1. Unknown says:

    put the breeder in a cage & see how she likes it

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love your posts. I learn things I had no idea about. I was wondering if they ever found the white Buffalo calf that was stolen a few years ago?

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