To the Editor:
Recently, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) issued its fourth annual Horrible Hundred report, listing the 100 worst commercial dog breeding facilities in the country (http://tinyurl.com/grrkhwo).
Iowa, again, was well represented with 15 facilities included. Since 2013, 30 Iowa dog breeding facilities have been identified, collectively accounting for 362 violations to the Federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
Why does this matter? More than 220 USDA-licensed commercial dog breeding facilities are located in Iowa. While many are responsible and practice appropriate animal husbandry, many do not. In 2015, 53 percent of all USDA-licensed commercial breeding facilities were in violation of the AWA. These substandard operations continue to demonstrate, via USDA inspections, that dogs and their puppies are being injured, starved, neglected, brutalized and killed through unapproved and inhumane methods. USDA-licensed facilities in Iowa supply puppies to retail pet stores in state and nationwide and sell to the public through private treaty. USDA-licensed facilities must pay an annual fee and hold a permit from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to conduct this type of business.
Two taxpayer-funded agencies charged with permitting, oversight and enforcement of established animal welfare laws have again failed the adult dogs and puppies as well as the humans who are purchasing them. Since 2008, Iowans have been asking the legislature for state inspection of these facilitates. During the session which just ended, House leadership chose not to introduce and bring to the floor a bill that would have provided oversight by IDALS for the worst offenders of the AWA such as those listed in the 2016 Horrible Hundred report. There is no valid reason to continue to dismiss this shameful and embarrassing element of Iowa business, and to turn away from the needs of man’s best friend.
Tracey Kuehl, coordinator
Quad City Area Advocacy Team
Iowa Friends of Companion Animals
To the Editor: