For Immediate Release:
October 5, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Grundy County, Iowa – Damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports just obtained by PETA reveal that Century Farm Puppies—a local breeding facility operated by the Meyers family that churns out puppies for sale—has been cited again for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), this time for dogs with severe dental disease and ears packed with brown buildup. This marks at least the 17th violation at Century Farm since 2017. Despite this pattern of repeated violations, the USDA has yet to rescue a single animal or seek any penalties against the facility, so PETA rushed a letter to Grundy County Attorney Erika L. Allen urging her to have a veterinarian visit the facility with investigators and file appropriate charges against those responsible for the neglect. The facility confines 285 to 350 dogs at a time.
According to the reports, on August 24 USDA veterinarians noticed one dog rubbing her ears against the floor, and further inspection revealed a buildup of dark brown material in both ears. Other dogs were found with broken, worn, or loose teeth and receding gums—and in one case, the gums were so receded that the tooth roots were visible. The inspectors also found dogs housed in rusty wire enclosures, feeders covered in brown grime, and expired medications. Similar problems were reported during a March 1 inspection that also revealed a dog whose toe pad had been torn away, leaving them unable to use that foot. Another dog’s ears were so full of hair and brown buildup that his ear canals weren’t visible, and he was observed shaking his head. A third dog’s coat was severely overgrown and matted—which had been noticed by mill personnel on February 20 but still hadn’t been addressed—and his toenails were so long that they had grown in circles and touched his toe pads.
“When dogs are warehoused by the hundreds in miserable mills like this one, filth and suffering are inevitable,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on Grundy County authorities to prosecute those responsible for this appalling pattern of neglect and urges everyone never to buy a dog from any breeder or pet store.”
PETA is pursuing charges under state law because the USDA doesn’t render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and these violations carry no federal criminal or civil penalties. In 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, Iowa led the nation in federal AWA violations at breeding mills. In the past six weeks alone, Iowa authorities have seized over 220 dogs from puppy mills.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Allen follows.
October 5, 2023
The Honorable Erika L. Allen
Grundy County Attorney
Dear Ms. Allen:
I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office (and the proper law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and, as suitable, file criminal charges against those responsible for neglecting dogs at Century Farm Puppies, operated by the Meyers family and located at 22928 270th St. near Grundy Center. PETA hopes investigators will visit the facility with a veterinarian who has expertise in canine health and welfare so that they can identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for the approximately 285 animals there.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff have documented persistent neglect at the kennel in the attached reports, the latest of which was just made public. On August 24, two USDA veterinarians and a third inspector found four dogs at the Meyers’ operation in need of veterinary care. One dog was “rubbing her ears on the floor” and had “a buildup of dark brown … material” in both ears. Three other dogs were found with “advanced dental disease.” A dog named Flower was afflicted with “severe gum recession of upper incisors, canines and cheek teeth.” Cruz was suffering from “a broken lower left incisor tooth exposing the pulp of the tooth.” And Melonia had at least three loose teeth and two teeth “worn down to the gums with exposed tooth pulp.”
Similarly, on March 1, a USDA veterinarian and a second inspector found four dogs in need of care. One dog’s teeth were “completely encased in a hard” brown material, and the dog’s ears were so matted that USDA staff “could not observe the underlying skin.” A poodle’s ear canals were so full of “dark brown” buildup and hair that his ear canals “could not be observed.” A third dog’s toe pad “had been partially torn away”—which left the animal holding the affected leg up and hopping around—and the dog had a loose tooth whose roots were exposed. Yet another dog’s feet and abdomen were matted, and his coat was “severely overgrown.”
These findings—among others at the facility—may violate Iowa’s animal neglect statute, Iowa Code § 717B.3(1)(f). The USDA renders no aid or relief whatsoever to animals on site, and these reports carry no criminal or civil penalties and don’t preempt criminal liability under state law for neglecting animals. If you’d like to learn more about the USDA’s findings, please see the contact information for its office in Riverdale, Maryland, here.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis