Iowa Puppy Mill Update: The USDA Is Keeping It in the Family

April 29, 2022

an ASPCA responder carrying a rescued dog

One of over 500 dogs removed from the horrific USDA-licensed puppy mill in Iowa last fall. 

Six months ago this week, the ASPCA, along with Animal Rescue League of Iowa, removed over 500 dogs from a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-licensed dog breeding facility belonging to Daniel Gingerich. We are happy to share that almost all of those dogs are now in loving homes, while a few others are still receiving necessary medical and behavioral care. 

We hoped to share how the Gingerich case prompted the USDA to implement immediate reforms, review agency directives and protocols, or to at least recognize that their hands-off, licensee-friendly policies only kept Gingerich in business longer, profiting and abusing animals for years. 

What should have been a day of reckoning for the federal agency responsible for “ensuring humane care” in commercial breeding facilities only seems to have further exposed the deep, systemic failures of the USDA’s broken system

One month after the dogs were removed from Gingerich’s properties, the USDA issued a license to his sister, Alice Nisley, permitting her to buy puppies in bulk and resell them, despite the fact that she lived at the one of the many undisclosed properties where Daniel Gingerich was keeping dogs. 

And in February 2022, we informed the USDA that Gingerich’s father, Ura Gingerich, was selling puppies over the internet to customers “sight unseen” without a license. The USDA confirmed that indeed, Ura Gingerich was housing breeding dogs and selling their puppies online. The USDA told him that he needed a commercial breeding license and sent him an application. Over a month later, he remains unlicensed and is still offering puppies for sale online.

Unfortunately, the USDA’s inaction goes far beyond Daniel Gingerich and his family. In the past six months, the USDA, despite observing hundreds of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, has not revoked a single license for violations and hasn’t even issued one monetary fine. We know that their inspectors have documented and photographed emaciated and sick dogs without clean food or water, dogs kept in freezing temperatures and dogs with painful and untreated wounds. But the USDA did not confiscate a single animal, leaving dogs and puppies to suffer in dangerous and cruel conditions.

It seems the USDA, like its licensees, can’t be educated into change. It’s time for Congress to step in and pass legislation that will hold the USDA accountable. Goldie’s Act can do that—but we need YOUR help. Please urge your U.S. representative to support Goldie’s Act today.