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Iowa breeder banned from selling after 500 dogs are found living in filth

In July, rescuers removed over 500 dogs—many ill or injured— from extremely overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Daniel Gingerich of Seymour, Iowa has been accused of over 100 violations of the Animal Welfare Act and has been banned from breeding again.

What began as a heartbreaking discovery by animal rescuers is becoming a story of justice, love, and second chances. On November 2, 2021, Department of Justice decisions left an Iowa breeder banned from further breeding or selling. Daniel Gingerich was also ordered to surrender all of his dogs so they could receive treatment.

These dogs and puppies—over 500 of them— were found malnourished, unvaccinated, and living in unimaginable filth. Many were crowded into small kennels or horse stalls and were found with feces, bugs, and mats in their fur. Before you feel too heartbroken, though, know this story has a happy ending, all thanks to animal rescue organizations and amazing veterinary heroes. The dogs are receiving treatment and finding their forever homes now that they are in the care of rescuers.

Rescued from a living nightmare

The rescue efforts began in July when inspectors discovered over 500 dogs living in overcrowded and disgusting conditions on Gingerich’s property. In a September complaint filed by the Department of Justice, Gingerich is accused of over 100 separate violations of the Animal Welfare Act, many of which occurred since March 2021.

When a rescue organization purchased 13 dogs and pups from Gingerich in September as part of the investigation, 3 of those canines required emergency veterinary care. Unfortunately, one passed away from complications with Parvovirus, which could have been prevented with puppyhood vaccinations and proper living conditions.

In October, when rescue efforts officially began, authorities learned the extent of the situation on Gingerich’s property. The Animal Rescue League found over 30 dogs in critical medical condition, while dozens of others suffered from untreated illnesses or injuries—most of which were easily preventable. The animals had access only to moldy food and water, and many did not have adequate space to move around or lie down.

A woman plays with several dogs in the yard of an animal shelter

Happily ever after

Once agreeing to surrender his dogs, Daniel Gingerich was slapped with a permanent ban on his license to breed and sell animals. The Wayne County Sherriff’s Office told USA Today that, while no criminal charges have been filed as of yet, Gingerich is expected to be charged once significant evidence is gathered.

Thanks to rescue efforts from The Animal Rescue League and ASPCA, over 200 dogs had been rescued from the Seymour, Iowa property as of November 2, though the largest phases of the project had just begun. Official statements note that any animals who remain on the property are receiving daily care from veterinary professionals.

Once rescued and transported away, the dogs receive medical care and enter shelter systems overseen by the ASPCA. While it’s not immediately clear whether the dogs are or will be up for adoption, The Animal Rescue League of Iowa is accepting donations on their website if you’d like to help rescue efforts.

Just as the ARL mentions on their site, situations like the one on Gingerich’s property are happening more often than we think. This is just one reason to consider adopting your next furry friend instead of taking a breeder route, though of course, not all breeders abuse the system like Gingerich. Adopting a pet not only saves that dog’s life, but it makes room in the shelter for one more animal, too. It’s a win-win!

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