Students write letters in support of "Puppy Mill Bill" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students write letters in support of "Puppy Mill Bill"

by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) Tuesday afternoon Mary LaHay with Iowa Voters for Companion Animals presented information on puppy mills to sixth grade students at Blessed Sacrament in Waterloo.

LaHay said Iowa ranks third in the U.S. for the number of puppy mills.

"We've got more than 400 USDA licensed breeders in Iowa we know that there are more than 20,000 dogs in those puppy mills right now," said Mary LaHay with Iowa Voters for Companion Animals.

After learning about animal abuse these students are writing letters to our legislators lobbying them to support the Puppy Mill Bill.

"They are not fun places. Dogs are locked in cages, some too small for the dogs. No food or water. Very dark, never get put out. They're for breeding and that is their only responsibility," said sixth grader Abigail Staples.

LaHay said right now breeders are only inspected by the USDA. The proposed bill would allow for one inspector with the Iowa Department of Agriculture to inspect USDA licensed facilities once a complaint is received.

"59 percent have been sighted for violations to the Animal Welfare Act. Everything from cage mates killing one another, to emaciated dogs, to breeders shooting dogs as a form of euthanasia," said LaHay.

To pay for the state inspector, breeder's fees would go up from $20 a year to $175. LaHay said the fees haven't gone up since 1988.

The bill was brought up previously. It passed the Iowa Senate, but failed in the Iowa House. The students at Blessed Sacrament hope their involvement helps get the bill passed this year.

"I'm writing about how we are the third largest in the country and it basically means we support this that we want this to happen and we really don't," said Abigail Staples.

The Iowa House is scheduled to discuss the bill Wednesday.

Mary LaHay said the number one way to combat puppy mills is to not buy dogs from those breeders. She said adopt from a shelter or if you purchase a dog always ask to see the parents.

We also want to point out there are reputable breeders in the state of Iowa who take great care of their animals.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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