Iowa dog breeders would undergo new inspections and pay new fees to cover the cost, under a bill advancing in the Iowa Senate today by critics of so-called “puppy mills.” Des Moines Democrat Matt McCoy says the United States Department of Agriculture is not keeping up with inspections of more than 200 Iowa breeders and more than 1,500 dogs. He says nearly half of the operations the USDA inspects are cited for violations.
“Of that, more than 18 percent have violations that relate to direct animal welfare,” McCoy says. “That means the impact and wellbeing of the animal pose a serious risk to the life of an animal.”
Iowa ranks second in the nation in the number of dog-breeding operations. McCoy says the reputation of Iowa breeders is at stake.
“We want to know that when we send them out we're sending out healthy puppies,” McCoy says. “And provide an assurance that the Iowa brand means something.”
Under the bill the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship would hire two inspectors to take over enforcement from the USDA. McCoy says officials at IDALS assure him new fees in the bill will cover the cost. Small operations which produce 30 puppies or fewer a year would be exempt.