Dogs from suspected puppy mill doing better in shelters

Iowa News

One week after 170 dogs were taken from a kennel near Manly due to substandard conditions, nearly a third have been sent to shelters across the Midwest, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Tuesday.

Fifty dogs were cleared and released to shelters in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas this week; sixteen, including seven puppies, are currently being held at the Humane Society of North Iowa in Mason City. Their release comes as 120 more dogs wait at a temporary shelter in Worth County until receiving further veterinary and behavioral care.

The Humane Society of North Iowa has been working with the owner of White Fire Kennel for months to find new homes for the dogs, even before last week’s raid. Despite that, executive director Sybil Soukup said litters of puppies were being born faster than they or the kennel could keep up with.

“Things had gotten a bit out of control and she had at one time over 200 dogs on the property,” Soukup said.

A veterinarian first raised concerns with the humane society almost a year ago; since then, the Worth County Sheriff’s Office has sent a deputy to assess the kennel’s condition regularly, Sheriff Dan Fank said last week.

When the ASPCA and others arrived at White Fire last Monday, they found the dogs in “filthy dilapidated kennels in below freezing temperatures with minimal protection from the elements,” according to a news release. Some of the dogs were fearful and undersocialized.

Now that the humane society has custody of the dogs, they’re in the process of putting all 16 up for adoption, a process that will likely take several days.

“We’ve literally received hundreds of email inquiries, of applications, of phone calls, so it’s been really overwhelming the number of people reaching out to us that want to help these dogs,” Soukup said.

ASPCA senior manager of partnerships Jessica Rushin said the remaining 120 dogs will be moved to other shelters “soon,” as their conditions allow.

When asked why she thought things had gotten so bad at White Fire, Soukup said while she doesn’t condone the breeder’s actions, she doesn’t think the owner meant for things to escalate this far.

“She truly did love these dogs and I feel bad for the way that things happened for her, but I’m glad that these animals are now safe and secure,” she said.

The kennel’s owner could face animal cruelty charges as the sheriff’s office continues their investigation. 

Once the dogs are available for adoption, they will be listed on the humane society’s website.

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