199 Dogs Were Killed at Iowa Puppy Mill in ONE Day

May 1, 2023

a tan puppy pressing its face through the grates of its kennel

Update May 1, 2023: Despite Kruse’s history of Animal Welfare Act violations and that he appears to have unlawfully auctioned off a dog during his suspension under another breeder’s name, there is no record of the USDA inspecting Kruse's dogs after issuing a 21-day suspension. The suspension has now lifted, and Steve Kruse continues to be licensed under the USDA to broker dogs without any restriction.

Update April 10, 2023: The USDA temporarily suspended Steve Kruse’s license for 21 days at the end of March 2023. Despite the suspension and a recent inspection documenting numerous dogs suffering from painful, untreated health conditions, there are no reports showing that any dogs have been removed from Kruse’s care.

While the suspension is a victory, the dogs at Kruse’s facility still remain in danger with Kruse’s history of abhorrent violations of the law. Goldie’s Act continues to be vital in the fight against puppy mills. Sign our form today to tell Congress to support Goldie’s Act! 

February 24, 2023: Public records released last week by the USDA show 199 dogs were transferred to a puppy mill operated by Steve Kruse, and soon after, they were all euthanized by his veterinarian in a single day.

Steve Kruse is no stranger to the puppy mill industry. Over the past 30 years, he has built a massive business breeding and brokering dogs. Despite a long and troubled history of animal care violations [PDF], U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to unquestioningly issue Kruse licenses to keep and sell dogs.  

Over the past two years, disturbing information has continued to come to light about Kruse, as well as his relationship with the USDA and other dog breeders in Iowa. We learned though public records requests that Kruse owns and operates multiple commercial dog breeding facilities in Iowa, and the USDA allows those facilities to be licensed under other breeder’s names. 

One breeder who operated a puppy mill under this arrangement with Kruse is the notorious Daniel Gingerich. A portion of Gingerich’s commercial breeding business was on a property owned by Kruse. Records show Kruse transferred hundreds of dogs to Gingerich, and when the USDA inspected Gingerich’s facility on that property in July 2021, they had more than enough evidence to confiscate the dogs and revoke Gingerich’s license for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Instead, the USDA agreed for the dogs to be returned to Kruse, even though he had years of documented violations of his own. 

Public records obtained from the USDA last week revealed that just a few days after the dogs were transferred back to Kruse, 199 were “euthanized” by his veterinarian in a single day [PDF] despite an inspection only four days earlier, at which time, no widespread disease concerns among the population were documented. 

We learned about the USDA-approved arrangement between Kruse and Gingerich in May 2022. At that time, we sent a formal complaint [PDF] to the USDA stating that it is improper to facilitate the transfer of dogs from one puppy mill to another in response to direct violations of care, and the USDA has no authority to broker or approve such an arrangement. In the letter, we demanded that the USDA immediately terminate Kruse’s license. The USDA took no action against Kruse.

Kruse continued to amass violations at his facilities. In September 2022, we sent another formal complaint [PDF] to the USDA. They have yet to take action.

This abhorrent lack of enforcement from the USDA must end. Dogs are dying under their watch, but you can help can change that—contact your legislators and urge them to support Goldie’s Act today

Goldie’s Act, named after a Golden Retriever who suffered and died in Gingerich’s puppy mill, is a critical federal bill that will require the USDA to enact better inspections, provide lifesaving intervention for suffering animals, issue meaningful penalties for violations, and communicate with local law enforcement when cruelty and neglect are suspected. 

Use our easy online form to tell your members of Congress to support Goldie’s Act now!