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State hits puppy mill owner with $ 20,000 fine and license suspension

In a rare move, Iowa regulators are fining a dog breeder whom federal officials have called one of the nation’s biggest repeat offenders.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is fining Wayne County breeder Daniel Gingerich $ 20,000 and suspending his Iowa license for 60 days, the Iowa government said on Monday. ministry. Gingerich does business as Maple Hill Puppies.

The state action coincides with federal action in civil court, where U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Rose recently granted the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s request for a temporary restraining order against Gingerich in due to numerous violations of federal animal welfare law.

The state’s action is based on the USDA’s findings and Gingerich’s alleged “non-compliance with standards of care” for the hundreds of dogs under his control in July.

Federal records indicate that Gingerich operated kennels or breeding facilities in 10 different locations across Iowa, several of which are not licensed. An unlicensed facility, where dogs would have been without water for three days, is in Redding, and others are in Lamoni and Cantril.

Gingerich’s main base of operations appears to be in Seymour, where he lived before moving to Ohio in May, court records show. While it is not clear how many dogs Gingerich owns, records suggest that at some point this year he had at least 1,000 dogs and puppies on hand.

No criminal charges have been laid in this case. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said in the past two years it has issued just six administrative penalties against state-licensed animal care facilities.

One of the dogs housed at a facility run by Daniel Gingerich of Seymour. (Photo from exhibits in United States District Court)

Although state inspections of breeding facilities are supposed to be unannounced, IDALS records indicate that sometimes these visits are scheduled in advance with owners.

In the case of Gingerich, IDALS claims that one of its inspectors received a call from Gingerich in July, during which he agreed to meet with the inspector for a July 28 inspection of one of his two properties located in Seymour. When inspectors arrived there for “the pre-arranged inspection,” Gingerich was not present, IDALS says, but he arrived 45 minutes later after being contacted by phone.

Although the site was operating without state permission, there were 148 dogs at the scene, some outside and others inside a barn. Several dogs were showing signs of heat stress and were panting and drooling, according to IDALS. The heat index in the barn was measured at 112 degrees.

A dead and decaying puppy was found in the grass outside, and Gingerich was reportedly unable to provide inspectors with vaccination or veterinary records for the 148 dogs.

Gingerich allowed to sell his surviving dogs

The inspectors then proceeded to Gingerich’s other facility in Seymour, which has a state permit. Inspectors found 527 dogs there, including a poodle sitting in full sun in a small crate, and other dogs that appeared to be in need of immediate veterinary care. Many dogs have open, painful sores on their heads. A dead puppy was found in one of the kennels.

Some of the dogs at the site appeared to be showing signs of heat stress and were lying in their drinking water to cool off. Dozens of puppies were housed in kennels with slatted floors, with spaces large enough for their legs to fall out.

Gingerich reportedly denied that there were other dogs on the property, but when inspectors insisted he admitted there were more dogs inside the property’s “old stable”. When inspectors entered the barn, they found 27 dogs there confined to “excessively dirty horse stalls” with no water in their pens. The heat index inside the barn was measured to be over 110 degrees.

Two other dead dogs, each around 15 weeks old, were found inside the barn. A golden retriever had to be euthanized on the spot. Gingerich later told investigators he had to euthanize seven more dogs.

After both inspections, the USDA gave Gingerich special permission to start selling the dogs. According to IDALS, 53 dogs were donated to another breeder and about 250 dogs were transferred to a facility in Missouri for auction.

As of August 11, there were only 307 dogs left at Seymour properties.

In an administrative order accompanying the civil fine of $ 20,000, IDALS alleges that Gingerich failed to meet the minimum standard of care expected of breeders and failed to obtain the required license or permit for one of its facilities .

According to the USDA, in the two years since issuing Gingerich a license to breed and sell dogs in Iowa, he has amassed more than 100 citations for violations of the law.

Dr Heather Cole, supervising veterinarian for a division of the USDA, said in a recent court statement that she had “never met a license holder who has such a high level of chronic and repeated non-compliance. in all categories of animals Requirements of the Social Welfare Act.

The court’s restraining order requires Gingerich to provide federal authorities with a list of every location where he has dogs for breeding or sale; provide authorities with a complete inventory of animals for each location; and ensure that, within two weeks, each dog on the inventory receives a “complete head-to-tail physical examination”.

The court ruled that veterinary care provided as a result of the order must be provided by someone other than Gingerich’s regular veterinarian, Dr William McClintock, or one of the other vets working at the Country Village. Animal Clinic in Centerville.

Gingerich has yet to file a response to the lawsuit or state administrative order.

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