For Immediate Release:
August 8, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Butler County, Iowa – Armed with damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports documenting serious problems—such as dogs with untreated and likely painful dental disease, moldy food, and no access to water—at Coldwater Kennel, a local operation that churns out puppies for sale that’s run by Larry Albrecht, PETA rushed a letter to Butler County Attorney David Kuehner asking him to investigate the facility, which houses nearly 250 dogs, and file applicable charges against those responsible for animal neglect and/or cruelty to animals.
According to the most recently released report, on June 28 government inspectors found extensive tartar buildup on dogs’ teeth and a dog with a loose tooth and several teeth “completely covered in hard, dark brown” material. In February, the kennel operator was advised to get dental cleaning procedures done on the dogs, but the June report revealed that this was not done.
Last year, USDA inspectors also found “caked and moldy food” in feeding trays, a female dog who had no access to water, and two dogs with five puppies housed on wire grates. The report notes that the puppies’ feet fell through the wires, creating a serious risk of injury and “discomfort, pain, or mobility issues.” Additionally, inspectors found five dogs kept outdoors with plastic doghouses that were so badly chewed that they couldn’t be properly sanitized.
“Filth, neglect, and suffering are par for the course in miserable puppy mills like this one, where dogs are treated as commodities to be produced as cheaply as possible,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on Butler County authorities to prosecute those responsible and urges everyone never to buy an animal from any breeder or pet store and to adopt from shelters instead.”
In the first quarter of 2023, Iowa puppy mills racked up more federal violations than those in any other state, with 26 breeders accounting for 107 total citations. PETA notes that around 70 million companion animals are homeless in the U.S. at any given time and that breeders add to the overpopulation crisis and deny animals in shelters a chance at finding a home.
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.
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, visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Kuehner follows.
August 8, 2023
The Honorable David Kuehner
Butler County Attorney
Dear Mr. Kuehner:
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 Coldwater Kennel, operated by Larry Albrecht at 12059 Camp Comfort Rd. near Greene. 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 250 animals there.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff documented neglect at the facility in the attached reports, the latest of which was just made public. On June 28, USDA officials found that three dogs had yet to receive the dental care that they were determined to need more than four months earlier. Brown material had accumulated on up to 50% of each dog’s teeth. A Pomeranian was found to have several teeth “completely covered” by such buildup and one tooth that “was loose when touched.” In September 2021, USDA staff found that a dog had “dark brown tartar buildup covering the entire surface” of several teeth. Some of the teeth were “loose and moved easily,” and their underlying gums were “inflamed and bled,” which “could cause pain … to the dog.”
In May 2022, the inspector found five dogs whose shelters had been “heavily chewed.” Two months earlier, USDA staff found that four dogs were left with “moldy” and/or “caked” food and that a fifth dog had no water. When the dog was given water, she drank it for approximately a minute.
These findings may violate Iowa’s animal neglect statute, Iowa Code § 717B.3(1). While Albrecht operates a commercial establishment he is required under Iowa Code § 162.10A to ensure that his animals don’t lack veterinary care or adequate food, water, or housing. Thus, these findings aren’t exempt from investigation. 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