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March 9, 2010

Iowa Gov. Culver Signs Bill to Combat Puppy Mills

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Humane Society of the United States applauds Gov. Chet Culver and the Iowa state legislature for enacting a bill to broaden state oversight of large-scale puppy producing operations, known as puppy mills. Ten states enacted laws last year to protect both the dogs in puppy mills and the consumers who often unwittingly purchase sick puppies.

HF 2280, sponsored by Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines, and Rep. Jim Lykam, D-Davenport, was signed today at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Inc. in Des Moines. The new legislation now gives state officials the authority to inspect mass-scale puppy production facilities that are federally licensed by the USDA upon complaint. Of the states that require kennel inspections, Iowa was one of only two, along with Kansas, where state officials were not able to inspect federally-licensed puppy mills, such as those that sell puppies wholesale to pet stores. Until now, state officials were only permitted to inspect dog breeding facilities that sell puppies directly to the public, such as over the Internet or through classified ads.

The measure does not affect responsible breeders who already raise dogs humanely.

"This is a step forward for protecting dogs in Iowa," said Carol Griglione, Iowa state director for the Humane Society of the United States. "Thanks to Governor Culver, Senator McCoy, Representative Lykam, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, the Iowa Federation of Humane Societies and Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, puppy millers will no longer be able to hide the abuse their dogs endure. Iowa is one of the top three puppy-producing states in the country, along with Missouri and Oklahoma, and we need to ensure dogs have basic protections."

Puppy Mill Facts

  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. There is little regard for the breeding dog's health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.         
  • Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles and are typically confined for years on end, without ever becoming part of a family.    
  • Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare. Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Web site; instead visit an animal shelter or screen a breeder's facility in person.         
  • Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia passed puppy mill laws in 2008, and 10 states passed laws in 2009 to crack down on abusive puppy mills.

To learn more about puppy mills, visit humanesociety.org/puppymills.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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