You hear the horror stories of what puppy mills are like, but do they really exist in Iowa? The answer is a resounding YES!
In an effort to inform the public and bring awareness to just how bad some of some of Iowa's puppy mills, we have created the Iowa Friends "Watch Dog List".
Black Diamond Kennels (Gary Felts, breeder)
Kingsley, IA (NW Iowa)
During a 2009 inspection there were 228 adult dogs and 153 puppies here. He was cited for violations to the Animal Welfare Act in 2010 and fined $15K. But he’s back in business now!
(Read more in the USDA report - also located at
- "On all of the metal dog feeders there was an accumulation of rust, as well as on the ceiling of all the buildings of sheltered or indoor housing."
- "There are two, approximately 10' long, pvc pipes, running from the housing to the open ground. Raw sewage from the dogs elimination is running through these pipes directly on the ground near the housing. This is resulting in a bad odor, an infestation of flies and other insects and causing a disease hazard."
- "In all sheltered kennel areas, including the whelping area, there is a lack of ventilation. The odor of excreta and ammonia levels were very high with no working fans, and closed windows. "
- "The areas under the enclosures with grill type flooring have an excess of urine and feces accumulated, with hair, and food waste. The raised runs have a large build up on the ground, of feces underneath them, causing a possible disease hazard, pests, insects, and odors."
- "In a couple of the enclosures of the sheltered housing structure ... there was a sever accumulation of fecal material inside the enclosures. In particular, there was more than a days' worth of fecal material built up on the wire mesh forming the floor of the outdoor portion of the enclosure housing two adult Cocker Spaniels... Similarly in the outdoor portion of the enclosure housing two Beagle Boxer puppies... the excessive fecal accumulation was not only being mashed into the concrete, but was also being tracked throughout the enclosure by the dogs."
- "In the outdoor portion of several of the enclosures-housing dogs of various breeds... there was a moderate/sever buildup of algae in the bottom and on the sides of the water receptacles. "
- "On the ground around all of the buildings and underneath/adjacent to the outdoor portions of the enclosures housing dogs, there was an excessive accumulation of flies. Swarms of flies could be seen as one walked through the accumulation of weeds throughout the facility or congregating around puddles of fecal material, food waste, water, and other debris that have developed because of poor drainage. "
- "Inside the sheltered portion of the sheltered housing facility … there was an excessive accumulation of cobwebs, dirt, and hair entwined the mesh forming the walls and tops of the enclosures. In the former case, cobwebs were seen hanging down from the overhead structures, and there was an excessive amount of hair and dirt that had become entwined around the wire mesh forming the East wall of the enclosure housing the three adult Cockers. "
- "In the two sheltered housing facilities-housing dogs of various breeds..., the sheltered portion of the sheltered facilities did not appear to be sufficiently heated when necessary to protect the dogs from temperature extremes. "
Brownlees Furry Friends (Robert Brownlee, breeder)
7134 Yankton Rd., Massena, Iowa (SW Iowa)
Another sorry Iowa breeder: Robert Brownlee of Massena (Cass county). This breeder has been in business since 1997. He’s been cited repeatedly for violations to the Animal Welfare Act. He received a warning letter from the USDA in July 2007. He continued to be cited for repeat and direct (the worst kind!) violations.
The USDA website shows his license was cancelled in November 2010. What took so long?? And what became of the 65+ dogs?? The USDA has a track record for simply leaving the dogs behind. This breeder wasn’t willing to take care of his dogs while they were providing income. How do you suppose he treats them when they’re no longer of use to him?? Wish we could find out if he still has dogs.
(read more in the USDA report - also located at
- "Inside of the whelping room was sweltering with one small fan and no open windows or doors... Outside temperatures were over 95-97 degrees with heat index of 107-115 on the day of this inspection."
- "…there is not enough space for the dogs to move about freely in the outside area without bumping into each other, nor is there enough room for them to all be in the sheltered housing at the same time...."
- "The cleaning process on the outside (concrete) … is not sufficient in removing the excreta but is causing a wet build up of it on the outside runs with the over spray of the water going into the housing and the dogs tracking the wet feces into their housing."
- "Under the outside runs of the trailer housing is a large build up of feces. Flies and other insects were prevalent."
- "Underneath these [whelping containment] cages is old, decaying feces havng been there for an extended period of time."
Julie's Jewels (Julie Arends, breeder)
3434 Little Wall Lake Road, Jewell, Iowa (Central Iowa)
Julie’s Jewels… take a look at their website, read their ‘About Us’ message, then open their USDA inspection reports. What a farce these breeders’ websites are. They’re glad to show aerial photographs of their property; all looks great from hundreds of yards away. And they go to great effort to pose and photograph the available puppies in sweet settings. So why no photos of the kennel areas where they house the adult dogs??? The inspection report answers that question.
Also, take note that this is yet another example of the abnormal reporting by former USDA inspector Ron Beard. He gave just about every breeder a passing grade, but inspectors who have since taken over his territory are finding problems all over the place. Mr. Beard retired from his USDA position. We’re all likely still paying him his pension or something. It does not appear that he was doing his job. Don’t you think he should have been disciplined??
(read more in the USDA report - also located at
- "In several of the enclosures housing dogs…the metal self-feeders that were being used there were rusted to the point where they cannot be properly cleaned and sanitized by the methods described in Sec. 3.11(b) of this subpart, and they should be discarded."
- "In addition, inside all of the buildings housing dogs (where the food receptacles were generally located), there was a mild/moderate/sever buildup of hair, dirt, and debris---depending on the building---that had accumulated on the top flat edges of all of the food receptacles. Some hair and dirt could also be seen on the inside top edges of some of the receptacles as well, for, in most instances, there [were] no covers present protecting the food."
- "In a number of the outdoor portions of the enclosures housing dogs…there was more than a days' worth of fecal material built up inside the enclosures. This excessive fecal material was being mashed into the concrete and was observed being tracked throughout the enclosure."
- "A similar situation was occurring with the dogs being housed in the raised hutches…The excessive fecal material there was being mashed by the dogs into the holes of the rubberized mats that were placed in the bottom of the hutches."
- "In several of the enclosures…there was a moderate/severe buildup of algae on the bottoms and sides of the water receptacles."
- "On the inside portion of one of the enclosures…housing an adult female and her five puppies---there was a one foot in diameter hole chewed into the siding in the Northeast corner. There were multiple points and edges present with this defect that could harm the dogs contained within."
- "Similarly…there were two enclosures…where a hole was made in the partitions between the side by side enclosures to increase the amount of space for the dogs. However there weremultiple sharp points and jagged edges associated with this action, and these must be removed to keep the dogs from being injured as they move between the enclosures."
- "Inside the buildings…there was a severe accumulation of hair, dirt, and other debris covering many of the flat surfaces, including the top edges of the food receptacles."
- "Not only was the old, unused equipment being stored in both of the buildings covered with dirt, hair, and other debris, but the excessive hair and dirt was also found to be entwined around the fencing forming the walls of many of the enclosures…"
(read more in the Iowa State Inspection report
- even more damning that the USDA reports. I couldn't choose just SOME of the sections to highlight, because they're all HORRIBLE
- "Building (#2) fresh air is lacking and poor ventilation, moisture condensation, rust, urine odor, and stagnant vapors. Health and comfort are insufficient."
- "Group housing - to some of the population - was restrictive and crowding apparent. Confinement for excessive periods is prohibited."
- "Frozen water a concern for more than one animal."
- "Exercise or rotation of the population for the twice daily requirement could not possibly be satisfied."
- "Insufficient to provide for general health of entire population."
- "Animal coats (some) wet, soiled, with feet saturated to the elbow. Several Bichon Frise unrecognizable by breed. Failure to provide for the health."
Kruse Kennel (Leroy and Gertrude Kruse, breeder)
3389 Hickory Avenue, Salem, IA 52649 (SE Iowa)
Another example of non USDA enforcement of the inadequate, minimal standards of the Animal Welfare Act. This kennel has used rusty cans as food and water receptacles for years. On one report dated Aug. 30, 2010 the inspection report cited them for having one dog that appeared to be blind and another that was missing its teeth and had a deformed jaw, and the dog's ability to eat and drink was questioned.
Also disturbing was the the inspection report that cites the breeder for failure to rovide diurnal light cycle; in other words- these dogs live in darkness. Also mentioned is cage sizes being too small for the dogs.
It was also cited for extreme ammonia levels in the facility. These things did not happen overnight, yet in the 2 previous inspections none of these violations were mentioned or recorded.
(read more in the Aug. 30, 2010 USDA report (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- "1 Yorkshire Terrier had abnormal eyes the owner stated that the dog is blind. The ownder needs to have the dog evaluated by the attending veterinarian to ensure that the dog does not need treatment and that the dogs is not in pain and/or distress "
- " 1 Maltese in the same pen did not have any teeth left and was not eating or drinking in a normal manner because the jaw structure is deformed. Unable to drink and eat properly the muzzle area and entire front of the dogs coat was wet and soiled from water and drool running out of the mouth."
- "No fewer then 5 dogs had long hair coats that are soiled and/or developing hair mats. The dogs need to be groomed to remove hair mats and long soiled hair."
- "The owner had Pyrantal dewormer in the facility that had expired in 2004 and is not labeled for use in dogs, and also had goat dewormer in the facility that is not labeled for use in dogs."
- "Inside of the facility is in need of a general cleaning to remove dirt, hair, spider webs, that have accumulated on the walls, floor, cages, ceiling, ledges, equiment, tables, etc. ... (affects approx. 67 animals)"
- "The bare wire cages are rusted to the point that they cannot be properly cleaned...The tin can water and food receptacles are rusted and cannot be properly cleaned and sanitized."
- "The tin can food and water receptacles have sharp or jagged edges that can injure the animals when they are eating and/or drining."
- "The facility has washouts that run into buckets at the end of the washouts. The facility does not have an effective drainage system to minmize odors, and rapidy remove animals waste."
- "At the time of the inspection there was an overwhelming odor of dog excreta and ammonia when first entering the facility. The facility is in need of increased ventilation to reduce odors, and ammonia levels."
- "The building did not have lights on when we entered the building and when the lights were turned on the lighting was not uniformly diffused (a flashlight was used to observe the back of the cages)."
Featured Pictures from Past Events
Denied veterinary care, mill dogs have many health issues - eye problems being very common...yet they are still bred over and over until they can't breed anymore. Leroy and Gertrude Kruse kennel, Salam, IA.
Many mill dogs have no shelter from the bitter Iowa winters. This dog, covered in snow, had been dead for at least a month when this picture was taken. Betty Porter kennel, Cumberland, IA.
Living in filth is the only thing they know. Randy Stoen kennel, Dows, IA.