January 19, 2015

IowaWatch Connection: Puppy Mills and Animal Care

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We love our pets, but plenty of people are concerned about why some who raise dogs for sale to us get to keep animals, after being cited repeatedly for harming the dogs’ health.

“I guess I didn’t know that places like that existed. I was excited to work with dogs and had no idea that places like that could exist and it seemed like it was okay,” said, Penny Nuzum, of Des Moines, who worked at Weise Kennels near Altoona from 2001-03.

The facility, now closed for reasons other than its inspection record, had some 200 dogs, most of them in cages with wire floors and with swollen feet, she said.

Federal inspectors say they have increased their dog breeding facility inspections after a highly critical 2010 review that said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service was not doing enough. But the inspection service, known best by its initials APHIS, had only 120 inspectors to check some 7,300 licensed and registered animal breeding facilities, including 1,764 dog breeding facilities, in the United States as 2014 came to a close, an agricultural department official said.

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