The owner of an Iowa dog breeding business was arrested and charged with seven counts of animal neglect.

Abandoned and stray dogs in enclosures in winter.
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Cincinnati, Iowa

Appanoose County Sheriff’s arrested Henry Sommers, the owner of Happy Puppy,141st Avenue Cincinnati, Iowa on January 31 for multiple counts of animal neglect.

According to the Ottumwa Courier, the Happy Puppy business allegedly has a long history of regulatory violations and was recently fined $12,600 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a string of violations over the past six years.

Henry Sommers, the owner of Appanoose County’s Happy Puppy dog-breeding operation
Henry Sommers, the owner of Appanoose County’s Happy Puppy dog-breeding operation. (Photo courtesy of the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office)

Among the allegations was that Sommers euthanized unwanted dogs by using unauthorized stomach injections and then leaving the animals alone to die.


The 83-year-old Iowa man has been charged with the following:

  • Two counts of animal neglect with serious injury (An aggravated misdemeanor)
  • Three counts of animal neglect with injury (A serious misdemeanor)
  • Two counts of animal neglect without injury (A simple misdemeanor)
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The Investigation

Officials conducted a search of the Sommer's property after receiving a complaint of potential animal neglect.

During the investigations, officials found four dogs (two adult Yorkshire dogs and two Yorkshire puppies) were living in what the sheriff’s office describes as “an unhealthy environment.”

One deputy found feces in a food bowl, and “piles of excrement in with the dogs, as well as a pile of waste underneath them.”

A veterinarian that examined the dogs determined that:

  • One of the dogs had a large abscess on one shoulder
  • Two of the dogs needed to be bathed and shaved immediately
Ill golden retriever on operating table in veterinarian's clinic
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On a previous occasion, a veterinarian stated that:

  • One of the animals had a lump on the stomach
  • One animal had dental issues
  • (Both of which required surgical intervention)

Attempting Action

Mindi Callison of the animal-welfare group Bailing Out Benji had contacted police attempting to get Somers charged with violating Iowa’s animal-neglect laws, however, The state veterinarian said at that point in time that "the violations did not rise to the level of the criminal violations in the Code of Iowa.”

Iowa’s animal neglect laws prohibit individuals from failing to provide basic necessities, such as food, drinkable water, veterinary care, sanitary living conditions that are free from excessive animal waste, and adequate protection from the elements. What Sommers was cited for were several failures to provide adequate veterinary care to his dogs.

Making The List

Henry Sommers has been placed on the Humane Society's list of “Horrible Hundred” – an annual, national list of dog breeders with serious violations – on at least five occasions.

Read More Here: Ottumwa Courier

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