Puppy mill owner ordered to immediately return dogs to “acute distress”

A federal judge has ordered Wayne County dog ​​breeder Daniel Gingerich to immediately return all dogs in his possession that are in “acute distress” and in need of medical attention.

The order from United States District Court Judge Stephanie Rose follows a court hearing last week in which Gingerich signaled his willingness to relinquish at least some of the hundreds of dogs in his possession.

“I mean, I know there were some sick puppies that weren’t treated because I had too many dogs,” he said during Friday’s hearing. “I owe $ 600,000 on these dogs… I’d love to wash my hands of the whole thing.”

During the hearing, Rose approved the US Department of Agriculture’s injunction request against Gingerich over dozens of alleged violations of federal animal welfare law. Rose granted this request last Friday.

Around this time, Gingerich admitted in court that some of the dogs in his care had died or suffered, and he expressed his regret. “Okay so I owe these dogs a lot of money,” he told the court. “I bite more than I can chew … It’s no one else’s fault but mine.”

The order issued by Rose Tuesday night states that Gingerich must “immediately and permanently abandon all dogs in his possession, control or care at his licensed or unlicensed sites that a veterinarian from the United States Department of Agriculture United finds it in acute distress. . “

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The order also reiterates the demands first imposed on Gingerich by a September 28 order issued by Rose. This order gave Gingerich and all those who work for him seven days to provide the US Department of Justice with a “list of all the places they have dogs for breeding or sale”, as well as a complete inventory of all its animals, indicating the breed, sex, age and unique identification number of each animal.

Dog breeder Daniel Gingerich arrived at the Des Moines Federal Courthouse on October 8, 2021, pulling a large trailer of the type often used to transport animals. (Photo by Clark Kauffman / Iowa Capital Dispatch)

He also gave Gingerich 14 days to ensure that each of the dogs underwent a “complete head-to-tail physical examination” by a licensed veterinarian other than William McClintock or any veterinarian associated with the Country Village Animal Clinic in Town center.

As of Monday of this week, Gingerich had yet to comply with those elements of the Sept. 28 order, USDA officials told court.

During last week’s hearing, government attorneys told Rose that at some point this summer USDA officials gave Gingerich the required notice that specific animals were on the verge. to be seized. This only resulted in Gingerich euthanizing the dogs, said Mary Hollingsworth, a lawyer with the US Department of Justice. “So we stopped trying to go down that route because we didn’t want more dead dogs,” Hollingsworth told the court.

Rose told Hollingsworth and Gingerich she was open to a “creative” resolution of the matter – even if that means “bailing out Mr. Gingerich legally” so that the animals still in her care can be transferred to others who will take care of them.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recently fined Gingerich $ 20,000 and suspended his Iowa license for 60 days, although this suspension has not yet taken. effect.

State and federal government records indicate that Gingerich operates as Maple Hill Puppies and operates kennels or breeding facilities in 10 different locations across Iowa. While it is still unclear how many dogs Gingerich owns, records suggest that at one point he had at least 1,000 dogs and puppies on hand.

Inspectors counted 675 dogs at Gingerich’s two Seymour properties during site visits last summer. Dead dogs were found at both sites – some in the grass, outdoors and others in kennels kept indoors. After these visits, the USDA gave Gingerich special permission to begin selling his dogs. According to state records, 53 dogs were donated to another breeder and approximately 250 dogs were transferred to a facility in Missouri for auction.

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