October 11, 2014

How Things Got Out Of Hand At One Iowa Dog Breeder Inspection Visit

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Hamilton County Sheriff Dennis Hagerson has been aware of Julies Jules, a dog breeding facility that Julie and Carolyn Arends owned for 30 years, since joining federal inspectors at their place while a deputy a few years back.

“It was just a poor operation,” Hagerson said. “It was like a puppy mill.”

Julies Jules, just south of Jewell in Hamilton County, is no more. The Arendses were getting rid of what remnants remained of a business for which they lost a U.S. Department of Agriculture license in 2011, Hagerson said. He added that he was glad to see it because of the way they treated their animals.

“Everybody’s so tired of dealing with them,” he said.

Records at the Better Business Bureau indicate the Arendses began doing business on Jan. 1, 1984. Two inspection visits to their facility stand out.

The first, covered in a Sept. 13, 2010, inspection report by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspector Cynthia Neis, revealed 19 noncompliance issues. Two days later things got more interesting in follow-up inspections.

That is when inspectors accused Julie Arends of making numerous threats to Neis and Supervisory Animal Care Specialist Dr. Richard Watkins, USDA Judicial Officer William G. Jensen determined when terminating the breeding facility’s USDA license in November 2011.

During a Sept. 15, 2010, exit interview with Neis and Watkins, Carolyn and husband Eldon Arends and Julie Arends were uncooperative, Jensen’s ruling states. Julie Arends informed the inspectors that she might start “packing heat like Randy,” a reference to another dog dealer, and that she was going to have a veterinarian kill 50 of her dogs, the ruling states.

A little later, Julie Arends got into a red pickup truck and spun out of the driveway onto Highway 69 at a high speed, the ruling states. Neis and Watkins said they decided it would be best to leave the premises.

Neis and Watkins saw Julie Arends on the highway after leaving the Arends facility. She was driving her truck at them from the opposite direction, the judge’s ruling states. Arends gained speed but swerved, missing the government vehicle by 10 to 15 feet, the report said.

Hagerson said charges were not filed and the case was closed because the USDA officials chose not to pursue it further. IowaWatch attempted to contact Julie Arends but received no response.

The Arendses responded in USDA documents that they had felt harassed by the inspections and cited health, hospitalization and general stress – in particular, health problems of Julie Arends – as reasons for the behavior, another USDA ruling on a procedural matter filed by Administrative Law Judge Janice Bullard states.

Hagerson said state and federal officials decide whether or to file animal cruelty charges in cases involving breeders and none were filed against the Arendses.

He said he had no criticism of state or federal inspectors. The Arendses knew when inspectors were coming and did just enough with their facility to keep from being re-inspected, he said.

“I’ll be glad when this book is closed,” he said.

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