WORTH COUNTY – Nearly 170 dogs have been rescued from a commercial breeding facility referred to as a puppy mill, according to the ASPCA and the Worth County Sheriff’s Office. That area is near Mason City, in northern Iowa.
According to ASPCA, a search warrant was executed Monday where investigators discovered hundreds of dogs, all Samoyeds, living in appalling and overcrowded conditions and exhibiting signs of neglect with no access to clean water. Many of the dogs were found in filthy dilapidated kennels in below freezing temperatures with minimal protection from the elements. There is debris scattered throughout the property as responders work to safely remove fearful and under-socialized dogs. A few cats were also found inside the residence exhibiting signs of neglect.
“We have tried to work with the individual in addressing the growing concerns about the welfare of her animals over the past several months and unfortunately met resistance,” said Sheriff Dan Fank with the Worth County Sheriff’s Office. “This is a large-scale breeding operation involving many animals, and we asked the ASPCA and their affiliates for assistance in removing them from the property and ensuing that they get much-needed care and treatment as we continue our investigation.”
The investigation was set into motion by the Sheriff’s Office several months ago when local animal welfare groups became aware of the breeder’s inability to properly care for her animals and alerted local authorities to investigate the matter. The breeder was previously licensed through the USDA, despite failing to provide animals with adequate veterinary care, food, clean water, and sheltering.
The ASPCA is transporting the animals from the property to a temporary shelter where they will receive ongoing daily care until custody is determined by the court. Once medical exams are conducted, behavior experts with the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior team will be evaluating each dog and implementing enrichment protocols at the temporary shelter.