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Hundreds of dogs rescued from USDA-licensed breeder in Iowa

Breeder Daniel Gingerich agreed to forfeit all of the dogs he was keeping at multiple properties, according to a consent decree filed Tuesday.
Image: One of more than 500 dogs and puppies rescued from a licensed breeder in Seymour, Iowa.
One of more than 500 dogs and puppies rescued from a licensed breeder in Seymour, Iowa.Animal Rescue League of Iowa

Hundreds of sick and mistreated dogs have been rescued from the properties of an Iowa dog breeder, whom the U.S. Department of Justice accused in September of multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Daniel Gingerich agreed to forfeit all of the dogs he was keeping at multiple properties and "permanently refrain" from activities that would require an Animal Welfare Act license, including dog breeding, according to a consent degree entered Tuesday.

Michael G. Byrne, Gingerich’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The DOJ alleged in a Sept. 28 motion for a temporary restraining order that Gingerich "repeatedly evaded, or attempted to evade," inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, until March 2021, when inspectors first gained access to some of Gingerich's properties.

Gingerich, who was licensed in October 2019 by the USDA to breed dogs, received over 100 violations of the AWA after inspectors first gained access to his properties six months ago.

"During one recent inspection, APHIS inspectors observed a severely emaciated golden retriever, several dogs with untreated and painful eye conditions, and a non-responsive puppy that died moments later," the DOJ said in a statement.

One of more than 500 dogs and puppies rescued from a licensed breeder in Seymour, Iowa.Animal Rescue League of Iowa

The DOJ further accused Gingerich of failing to provide vet care and access to potable water; of failing to identify his animals and maintain their records; and of failing to maintain a livable climate, appropriate enclosures and clean, structurally sound housing.

"The Court will not belabor the revolting quality of the food inspectors described in their citations but among some of the violations are food that is 'moldy,' 'deteriorating,' or 'excessive amount of wood shavings,'" the DOJ wrote in the restraining order document.

Puppies were also unvaccinated for parvovirus and distemper, "resulting in multiple disease outbreaks," the DOJ said.

A veterinarian with the APHIS said that she had "never encountered a licensee who has this high of a level of chronic and repeat noncompliance across every category of Animal Welfare Act requirements" and that of all the facilities she has toured, Gingerich's "are the all-around least compliant facilities,” according to the court document.

One of more than 500 dogs and puppies rescued from a licensed breeder in Seymour, Iowa.Animal Rescue League of Iowa

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Rescue League of Iowa have been working with partners to remove the canines from Gingerich's properties since Oct. 14, the groups said in a statement.

Thirty of the dogs that were in acute medical distress were taken first, and in the subsequent two weeks over 200 additional dogs and puppies have been removed, the ASPCA said.

Some dogs have remained on the properties and are being cared for daily, the ASPCA said.

“The light is shining on bad actors in the dog breeding industry as a result of this action by the Department of Justice," Tom Colvin, CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, said in the statement. "A new approach of stopping them before animals suffer is long overdue."