Dog Breeder Arrested in Iowa
UPDATE July 31, 2023: Henry Sommers pled guilty to two counts of animal neglect with serious injury or death. For each count individually, he was sentenced for two years of suspended sentence, two years of probation and fined $855 plus court fees.
February 2, 2023: Earlier this week, a dog breeder in Iowa was arrested by the Appanoose County Sheriff. Henry Sommers, a USDA-licensed breeder until he voluntarily cancelled his license in mid-January, has been charged with two counts of animal neglect with serious injury, three counts of animal neglect with injury and two counts of animal neglect without injury.
For over a decade, and while he was licensed by the USDA, Henry Sommers bred puppies to be sold in pet stores across the country, and he has been harming dogs for just as long.
Inspection reports show Sommers kept dogs in small and dirty wire cages with exposed and pointed wires. Some dogs were unable to stand. Puppies’ feet and legs were falling through the openings of the wire flooring, and the facility reeked of feces and urine. Sommers failed to provide veterinary care and even euthanized dogs himself in a manner that could cause a prolonged and painful death.
U.S. Department of Agriculture reports from 2014 to 2022 document more than 75 instances where Sommers violated the standards of care required of licensed commercial dog breeding facilities. But those violations did not prevent the USDA from issuing Sommers a commercial breeding license every year, allowing him to continue breeding and selling dogs.
The USDA’s failure to take any action against Sommers despite so many years and so many documented violations is characteristic of the agency’s practices.
Dogs are suffering because of the USDA’s inaction.
It’s time to ensure the USDA upholds its responsibilities. Goldie’s Act is critical federal legislation 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.