Nearly a month ago, we told you that for the first time ever the U.S. Government had gotten a court order against an Animal Welfare Act licensed breeder. The story didn't end there. Now comes word that the breeder is surrendering hundreds upon hundreds of dogs to the Animal Welfare League of Iowa. It's not enough. It's not nearly enough.
The breeder, Daniel Gingerich of Seymour, Iowa, violated the Animal Welfare Act over 100 times in a six-month period before the Justice Department ordered that he be put under a temporary restraining order. Since that time, the courts have continued their work.
In early October, the Iowa Capital Dispatch says Gingerich told U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Rose, "OK, so I owe a lot of money on these dogs. I bit off more than I can chew... It's nobody's fault but my own... I owe $600,000 on these dogs. I would love to wash my hands of the whole deal."
During that October 8 hearing, government lawyers told the judge that while inspecting the 10 facilities run by Gingerich they were initially refused access to a building where some dogs were hidden. They also said he called another person and transferred ownership of some animals. When the inspectors left, he took them back.
Lawyers also said that when they set up times to pick up animals that needed medical attention, those dogs had already been euthanized when they arrived. U.S. Department of Justice Attorney Mary Hollingsworth said, "So we stopped trying to go that route because we didn't want more dead dogs."
The dogs are now being surrendered by Gingerich. Sixty-four dogs were taken to the Animal Rescue League earlier this week. An additional 240 dogs are scheduled to be turned over beginning on Monday, November 1.
Iowa Capital Dispatch says that Gingerich had 10 breeding facilities or kennels in Iowa. They operated as Maple Hill Puppies. KCCI reports that records from the state of Iowa and the federal government show that he once owned at least 1,000 dogs at one time. The exact number of dogs Gingerich owns at this time has not been confirmed.
Gingerich has already been fined $20,000 by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. His Iowa license was also ordered to be suspended for 60 days. That's simply not enough. Get those dogs to safety. All of them. Then press charges against Gingerich, and take steps to ensure he never owns another dog, or any animal, again.