America’s ASPCA Field Investigations and Response have saved nearly 170 dogs from a life of cruelty in a stunning swoop on an Iowa breeding complex. The pet detectives had been working on the case for months before they cracked it on Monday amidst a snowy morning raid.
It gets snowier still. The dogs were all Samoyeds – a Siberian breed known for looking somewhat like a snowball. They had been kept in chilly barn-like structures, some nine to a kennel. And then The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrived.
Something’s up at the puppy mill
Investigators described the scene of the crime as a “puppy mill.” The Samoyeds lived in “appalling and overcrowded conditions,” according to a statement from the ASPCA, reports the Des Moines Register.
And it wasn’t just puppers.
Dogs as old as nine years, perhaps held captive to breed against their will, were discovered “exhibiting signs of neglect with no access to clean water.”
Four cats were also found at the scene. It is not clear if they were in cahoots with the perpetrators. The fact that they also showed signs of neglect appears to clear their names.
When dog hell freezes over
“Many of the dogs were found in filthy, dilapidated kennels in below-freezing temperatures,” ASPCA’s statement continues, “with minimal protection from the elements.”
“There is debris scattered throughout the property as responders work to safely remove fearful and under-socialized dogs.”
ASPCA vice-president Tim Rickey was on the scene at 7am. Around 30 welfare workers still assessing the damage by late afternoon.
Worth County Sheriff Dan Fank said of the perp: “[we] tried to work with the individual in addressing the growing concerns about the welfare of her animals over the past several months and, unfortunately, met resistance.”
White Fire Kennel is owned by Barb Kavars of Manly, Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register.
“This is a major breeding operation, and it is a very unsanitary environment,” Rickey said.
“The dogs were competing for resources like food and water, and because of the overcrowding, were much more likely to be involved in fights. That type of environment is not acceptable.”
Fortunately, Rickey believes none of the dogs were critically injured. If you live in Iowa, it could be time to get in the market for a Samoyed with a story to tell.