Two Years After the Rescue of 500 Puppy Mill Dogs, Has Anything Changed?

November 1, 2023

White dog in cage

Two years ago, the ASPCA assisted the Animal Rescue League of Iowa with the rescue of more than 500 dogs living in terrible conditions at a federally licensed puppy mill.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed a commercial breeding facility in Iowa operated by Daniel Gingerich despite documenting over 200 violations of the Animal Welfare Act. USDA inspectors documented dead dogs on the property, dogs with untreated injuries and illnesses, dogs with painful fur-matting, and dogs in cages that were too small. The USDA took no action to stop Gingerich for months, even as the number of violations continued to grow. They didn’t issue fines or utilize other enforcement options, choosing instead to use ineffective programs [PDF] to try to get Gingerich to comply. The USDA did not inform local law enforcement or confiscate the suffering dogs. Eventually, the U.S. Department of Justice used its authority to negotiate the surrender of more than 500 dogs.

We hoped this case would be a turning point—that the clear, heartbreaking results of the USDA’s inaction would motivate meaningful change. But over the past two years, we have continued to witness the USDA fail to protect animals in commercial breeding facilities, including:

The USDA continues to turn a blind eye to violations. Though more than 500 dogs rescued from Gingerich’s puppy mill have been given the chance to live their lives free from the horrible conditions they were in, not all dogs are as lucky.

Goldie’s Act would require the USDA to uphold the law and protect animals in federally licensed facilities. We named this law in honor of a Golden Retriever who suffered and died at Gingerich’s facility under the USDA’s watch. On this two-year anniversary of the rescue of more than 500 puppy mill dogs, use this form to urge your member of Congress to support Goldie’s Act!