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Humane Society Report Exposes Puppy Mill Problem

NORTH ENGLISH, Iowa (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- The Humane Society of the United States published its report on the top 100 problem puppy mills in the United States, eight of which are right in Iowa. Two of those are in Eastern Iowa in North English and Strawberry Point.

"The idea of this report was to show the wide-spread issues in the puppy mill industry, not just with the people we selected for the report, but actually, this is happening at hundreds of puppy mills, hundreds of additional puppy mills nationwide," said Kathleen Summers, director of outreach and research for the Puppy Mills Campaign at The Humane Society of the United States.

The society said consumers perpetuate the problem by buying dogs from pet stores. Dogs from puppy mills are frequently sold there, which means you support their kennel by buying.

Instead, the society said go to an animal shelter or do your homework.

"Unfortunately, there's not any shortcuts. If you do go to a pet store or look at somebody's Web site, you're generally going to be told what they want you to hear, and you're not going to see the whole story unless you visit in person," Summers said.

So, we visited the breeder in North English to get his story on making the list.

"We're in the process of downsizing and getting out of it, having trouble keeping up anymore and fighting the system on things," he said, before declining to say anything more.

Now, the humane society is asking for tougher laws in Iowa and stricter punishments, just a few of the gaps they say allow the operations to slip through the system.

We also spoke with the Iowa and Keokuk sheriff's departments who found another gap -- they say the USDA has never contact them about problems, despite the reports indicating issues. They rely on concerned citizens making a phone call.

If you see something suspicious, like skinny dogs, dirty conditions or any other signs of poor health or treatment, call it in so the case can be investigated.
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