On a rare move, Iowa regulators have fined a dog breeder whom federal officials have identified as one of the biggest repeat offenders in the country.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship fined Wayne County breeder Daniel Gingerich $ 20,000 and suspended his Iowa license for 60 days, the department said Monday. Gingerich does business as Maple Hill Puppies.
The state lawsuit coincides with a federal lawsuit in civil court where U.S. District Judge Stephanie Rose recently approved the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s motion for an injunction against Gingerich for numerous violations of federal animal welfare law.
Government action is based on the USDA’s findings and Gingerich’s alleged “non-compliance with standards of care” for the hundreds of dogs he checked in July.
Federal data shows that Gingerich operated kennels or breeding facilities in 10 different locations across Iowa, several of which are unlicensed. One unlicensed facility where dogs are alleged to have been without water for three days is in Redding, with others in Lamoni and Cantril.
Gingerich’s main base of operations appears, according to court records, to be in Seymour, where he lived before moving to Ohio in May. While it’s not clear how many dogs Gingerich owns, records suggest he had at least 1,000 dogs and puppies on hand this year.
No criminal complaint was filed in the case. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship says it has imposed only six administratively ordered penalties on state-licensed animal welfare organizations in the past two years.
Although government inspections of farms are supposed to be unannounced, IDALS records indicate that these visits are sometimes planned in advance with the owners.
In the case of Gingerich, IDALS said one of its inspectors received a call from Gingerich in July agreeing to meet the inspector on July 28 for an inspection of one of its two properties in Seymour. When the inspectors arrived there for “the pre-arranged inspection”, Gingerich was not there, IDALS says, but he came 45 minutes later after being contacted by phone.
Although the site operated without a government permit, there were 148 dogs on the premises, including some outside and some in a barn. Several dogs showed signs of heat stress and gasped and drooled, IDALS claims. The heat index in the stable was measured at 112 degrees.
A dead, rotting puppy was found out in the grass, and Gingerich was reportedly unable to provide the inspectors with any vaccination or veterinary records for the 148 dogs.
Gingerich is allowed to sell his surviving dogs
Next, the inspectors went to Gingerich’s other Seymour facility that has government approval. The inspectors found 527 dogs there, including a poodle sitting in a small crate in direct sunlight and other dogs that apparently needed immediate veterinary care. Several dogs have open, painful wounds on their heads. A dead puppy was found in one of the kennels.
Some of the dogs on the site appeared to be showing signs of heat stress and soaked in their drinking water to cool off. Dozens of puppies were housed in kennels with slatted floors, with gaps large enough for their legs to fall through.
Gingerich allegedly denied that there were other dogs on the property, but when the inspectors urged, he admitted that there were more dogs in the “old stable” on the property. When the inspectors entered the barn, they found 27 dogs in “excessively dirty horse stables” with no water in their enclosures. The heat index in the stable was measured at over 110 degrees.
Two more dead dogs around 15 weeks old were found in the stable. A golden retriever had to be euthanized on site. Gingerich later told investigators that he had to euthanize seven more dogs.
After the two inspections, the USDA gave Gingerich special permission to start selling the dogs. According to IDALS, 53 dogs were given to another breeder and about 250 dogs were brought up for auction at a facility in Missouri.
As of August 11, there were only 307 dogs left on Seymour properties.
In an administrative order accompanying the $ 20,000 civil penalty, IDALS alleges that Gingerich does not meet the minimum standard of care expected by breeders and does not have the required license or approval for any of its facilities.
According to the USDA, in the two years since it issued a license to breed and sell dogs in Iowa, Gingerich has amassed more than 100 counts of violating the law.
Dr. Heather Cole, a supervisory veterinarian for a division of the USDA, recently stated in a statement to the court that she “has never met a licensee with such a high level of chronic and repeated non-compliance in any category of animals.” Requirements of the Welfare Act. “
The judicial injunction obliges Gingerich to provide the federal authorities with a list of every place where he owns dogs intended for breeding or sale; Provide the authorities with a complete animal inventory for each location; and ensure that every dog on the inventory receives a “full head-to-tail physical exam” within two weeks.
The court ruled that veterinary care should be provided by order of someone other than Gingerich’s regular veterinarian, Dr. William McClintock, or one of the other vets at the Country Village Animal Clinic in Centerville.
Gingerich has not yet filed a response to the country’s lawsuit or ruling.