Alarming Pattern of Animal Welfare Violations at Iowa County Puppy Mill Leads PETA to Seek Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2023

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Iowa County, Iowa – A damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report just obtained by PETA reveals that an Iowa County breeding facility operated by John Beiler has been cited again—this time related to dogs with matted fur—for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, marking at least the 18th violation at the operation since 2014. Despite this pattern of repeated violations, the USDA has yet to rescue a single animal or seek any penalties against Beiler, so PETA rushed a letter to District Attorney Zachary P. Leigh urging him to have a veterinarian visit the facility with investigators and file appropriate charges against those responsible for the neglect.

According to the report, on August 1 a USDA veterinarian discovered three dogs with matted fur—a painful condition that pulls the skin tightly and can lead to skin infections and other health problems. Similarly, in October 2016 six guinea pigs were found with red and crusty skin and another animal had so much “crusted material” on her feet that most of her toes weren’t visible. Additionally, between March 2014 and April 2017, Beiler was cited on five different occasions for keeping animals in filthy conditions, including on “excessively soiled bedding,” among an “excessive amount of black flies,” and amid an odor of ammonia so strong that it burned the USDA veterinarian’s throat and eyes.

“Miserable mills like this one deny animals proper care and treat them as nothing but commodities,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is urging Iowa County authorities to prosecute those responsible for this persistent neglect and calls on everyone to avoid buying animals from breeders or pet stores, which keep operations like this one in business, and to adopt from shelters instead.”

PETA is pursuing charges under state law because the USDA doesn’t render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and—as Beiler’s nine-year history of violations show—these infractions carry no federal criminal or civil penalties.

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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Leigh follows.

September 7, 2023

The Honorable Zachary P. Leigh

Iowa County District Attorney

Dear Mr. Leigh:

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 a breeding facility operated by John Beiler at 726 Turnbull Rd. near Rewey. 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 approximately 70 dogs there.

Over at least nine years, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) veterinarian has documented neglect at the facility in the attached reports, the latest of which was just made public. On August 1, the veterinarian found three dogs with matted hair. Beiler apparently attempted to explain the mats by stating that his operation’s clippers had “stopped working.” (In October 2016—when Beiler possessed more than 1,700 guinea pigs—six animals were found in need of veterinary evaluation for red and crusty skin and so much “crusted material” on one animal’s feet that most of her toes “could not be visualized.”)

In June 2021, the veterinarian found animals exposed to “rusted out and rough” feeders in approximately 37 cages, which “could injure” them. (Beiler had been cited for similar dangerous conditions in October 2016 and March 2014.) The findings in August and in 2021 may violate Wisconsin Statute §§ 951.02 and 951.14. The latter requires that enclosures for animals be “structurally sound and maintained in good repair to protect the animals from injury.”

You may also be interested to know that in August, Beiler was cited for the use of expired medications and—for at least the fourth time—lacking proper identification and/or records of his animals. Furthermore, between March 2014 and April 2017, Beiler was cited on five different occasions for keeping animals in filthy conditions, including on “excessively soiled bedding,” among an “excessive amount of black flies” and an odor of ammonia so strong that it burned the veterinarian’s throat and eyes during an inspection.

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 agency’s findings, please see the contact information for its office in Riverdale, Maryland, here. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis


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Media Response Team.


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