Letter to the editor: Ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in IC and CR

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Maui, a German Shepherd and former resident of the Iowa City Animal Center. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

By James Morres

The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City city councils should take a leadership role in the state and ban the sale of puppy mill dogs from pet stores. Communities like St. Paul, Minnesota; Frankling, Tennessee; Atlanta, Georgia; and Salt Lake City, Utah have recently passed such ordinances, joining hundreds of cities around the country in doing so. As some of Iowa’s largest cities, our city councils have an opportunity to steer the conversation for the rest of the state.

Iowa is home to around 300 large-scale commercial dog breeders. Some have 50 breeder pairs… but a few have as many as 150 breeding dogs. These facilities may be licensed by the USDA or the state of Iowa, but the recent ASPCA raid near Manly, Iowa shows how low those standards are. Both CR and IC have stores that sells puppies from facilities licensed the same way.

The Iowa legislature has not and likely will not act to better regulate these facilities. So Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and other local communities should fill the gap by prohibiting the sale of dogs from puppy mills. To be clear, such a ban would not stop anyone from buying a puppy from a reputable breeder… and it wouldn’t stop breeders from raising puppies. But it would stop the puppy-mill-to-pet-store pipeline for the Corridor.

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