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

For Immediate Release:
September 27, 2023

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

Keokuk County, Iowa

A damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report just obtained by PETA reveals that a Keokuk County breeding facility operated by Scott Swanson has been cited again for violating the federal Animal Welfare Act—this time related to depriving a dog of veterinary care—marking at least the 29th violation at S & J Kennel in just two years. Despite this pattern of repeated violations, the USDA has yet to rescue a single animal or seek any penalties against Swanson, so PETA rushed a letter to Keokuk County Attorney Amber Thompson urging her 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 14 a USDA inspector found a puppy who hadn’t received any veterinary care for a “red growth” covering a quarter of the dog’s left eye. Similarly, on March 29 a USDA inspector documented that two French bulldogs had been denied veterinary care after sustaining severe injuries in a fight approximately three weeks earlier. One of the dogs, Lucky, was still bleeding from two “large wounds” on her front left leg, and “many” puncture wounds on her right hind leg still had “fresh blood.” A paw pad of the second dog, Buzz, was partially “torn off,” with blood coating the hair on the bottom of his right foot. He also had several “large injuries” along his spine that were covered in a “thick crusty material.”

“Miserable mills like this one deny dogs proper care and treat them as nothing but commodities,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is urging Keokuk 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 Swanson’s history of violations shows, 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 Thompson follows.

September 27, 2023

The Honorable Amber Thompson

Keokuk County Attorney

Dear Ms. Thompson:

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 S & J Kennel, operated by Scott Swanson, who is based at 29551 County Rd. V5G near Ollie. 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 40 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 14, a USDA inspector found a “red growth” covering part of a puppy’s eye. Even though Swanson and/or others knew about the condition, no veterinary care was sought.

Similarly, on March 29, a USDA inspector found that Swanson hadn’t contacted a veterinarian about two dogs who were severely injured in a fight approximately three weeks earlier.

One of the dogs, named Lucky, was still bleeding from two “large wounds” on her front left leg, a wound on her front left foot, and “many” puncture wounds on her right hind leg. Numerous other lesions and wounds were also found. The inspector noted that the dog’s condition “appeared to be painful” and that the dog “withdrew” her legs each time the inspector attempted to palpate them. The second dog, Buzz, had part of his right hind paw pad “torn off,” leaving a “large section” of tissue and skin missing. The dog’s foot was coated with blood and swollen. “A section of skin” had also been “torn from the dog’s back,” and several other “large injuries” were documented along his spine.

These findings 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.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis


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