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Rep. Zach Nunn introduces new bills to protect dogs from unsafe breeding, puppy mills

Nunn introduced two bills aimed at protecting dogs as part of the larger farm bill: Goldie's Act and the Puppy Protection Act.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Thirteen Iowa puppy breeders and dealers made the 2023 Humane Society of the United States “Horrible Hundred” list.

That report documents 100 problematic puppy breeders and dealers in the country. Missouri has the highest number of breeders and dealers on the list, with Ohio and Iowa tying in second place. 

Issues like these are what inspired Rep. Zach Nunn (R-03) to introduce two bills as part of the larger farm bill: Goldie's Act and the Puppy Protection Act.

"So what it aims to do is move forward a plan to ensure that USDA does their job when there is a violation, as we would anywhere else, we would expect USDA to be able to report that and help save these animals," Nunn said.

Goldie’s Act is named after a golden retriever who was found emaciated at a Wayne County breeder in 2021.

Nunn said the USDA didn't take proper action when they found the dog, instead leaving her on the property. She eventually had to be euthanized. 

"There is no reason in this day and age that USDA failure to act should result in this kind of horrific environment," Nunn said.

Preston Moore is the Iowa state director for the Humane Society of the United States.

He said the current set of regulations dog breeding and puppy mill facilities have to follow are in the Animal Welfare Act, which was signed into law in 1966.

Moore said change is needed, because right now, most violations just end up on USDA reports, with little to no consequences. 

"Both of those bills would hopefully make some good progress in the overall conditions in these facilities, but also, and maybe more importantly, in the enforcement of those regulations," Moore said. 

Furry Friends Refuge in West Des Moines also sees the positive in the legislation.

Britt Gange, who works at Furry Friends, said groups like theirs don't have the resources to take in hundreds of dogs at a time.

"It makes it very hard for the rescue organizations that are already trying to serve all of the other needs to then also essentially be left to clean up from those breeders who are not doing right by the animals," Gange said.

Nunn said the legislation is going to be passed over the next few months and hit the president's desk as well.

"As Iowans, we have fought hard to make sure that our livestock is some of the most premier in the country,” Nunn said. “So why would we put, you know, the raising of dogs at a different level."

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