Iowa Puppy Mills by the Numbers


As an Iowan, I have always been proud to live in this state. The scenery is beautiful, and the people are amazing. I have always believed that there is no better place than here….

Since starting Bailing Out Benji in 2011, my eyes have been opened to the world of misery and torture in our own back yard. I had no idea that is Iowa is the SECOND WORST state in America when it comes to puppy mills, with over 200 puppy mills (and over 17,000 adult dogs trapped)! Since Bailing Out Benji was founded, the number of puppy mills in Iowa has dropped from over 400 to just over 200- which is fantastic news! But we have a long way to go… And we can’t do it without YOUR help! 


In this article, I have included a few “fast facts” about Iowa puppy mills, so you can share and help us educate! We firmly believe that through education we can put an end to this industry! 

Counties with the most puppy mills in Iowa 

Sioux County (with 28!)

Lee County (With 21!)

Davis County (with 14!)

 Lyon County (With 7!)

Worth County (With 7! )

Remember, these are just a few of  the worst counties when it comes to puppy mills… It does not mean that they are the only counties with puppy mills and it doesn’t mean these are the puppy mills with the most number of dogs. If you are curious about puppy mills in your area, please contact us


2015 Breeders with DIRECT USDA Violations.

 In 2015 alone, there were 24 USDA inspections done that included direct violations of the Animal Welfare Act. A direct violation is one that puts an animal in immediate distress (illness, open wounds, inadequate cage size, etc) 

Of those 24 inspections: 

-5 USDA licensed breeders had more than one inspection last year with direct violations on each inspection

-1 USDA licensed breeder had three inspections done and had a direct violation on each

-25 direct violations were handed out in total. 

Iowa USDA Licensed Breeders Make 2015 HSUS Horrible Hundred List

Each year, the Humane Society of the United States puts out their list of the worst puppy mill owners in the country, and each year Iowa makes the list! Sadly, in 2015 Iowa made quite the impact, with 11 puppy mills making the cut. 

Puppy mills in the following counties made the list: Calhoun, Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Lee, Marion, Mitchell, Plymouth,Sioux, Van Buren. 

These puppy mills alone have over 903 adult dogs trapped in their facilities and they are living in some of the worst conditions in the entire country. The HSUS does a “Horrible Hundred” list each year, and Iowa is always represented. Here are the links to the 2014 and 2013. 


Iowa USDA Licensed Breeders with the Most Adult Dogs 

The top five breeders in Iowa have overwhelming amounts of dogs. Totaling over 2,000 adult breeding dogs, these facilities have numerous violations and many have made the HSUS horrible hundred list in previous years. 

Larry Albrecht- Coldwater Kennels, Butler County. Latest USDA Count- 261 adult dogs, 220 puppies. 

J. Maasen- Sioux County. Latest USDA Count- 282 adult dogs, 158 puppies. THIS BREEDER MADE THE 2015 HORRIBLE HUNDRED PUPPY MILL LIST. 

Marvin and Joanna Newswanger- Maple Tree Kennels, Chickasaw County. Latest USDA count- 331 adult dogs 

Ed VanDoorn- Squaw Creek Kennels, Mahaska CountyLatest USDA Count- 387 adult dogs, 152 puppies. 

Steve Kruse- Stonehenge Kennels, Lee County. Latest USDA count- 823 adult dogs, 584 puppiesTHIS BREEDER HAD FIVE INDIRECT VIOLATIONS ON THEIR LATEST INSPECTION. 


And Lastly, Iowa has over 10 pet stores that buy from puppy mills, but even more Iowa puppy mills shipping puppies to stores out of the state. For more information on them, please click here

Bailing Out Benji is the only organization in Iowa that actively protests these pet stores and we would LOVE your help! Ames, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are three cities that we host protests in each weekend. If you know of a pet store in your area that sells puppies, please contact us! We would love to help you educate the citizens in your town! Remember, Pet store puppies ARE puppy mill puppies: don’t buy the lies! 

The dogs in the puppy mills need YOUR help today. Help us educate your family, friends and coworkers by sharing this article! With each new person learning about puppy mills, we are one step closer to putting an end to the industry altogether! 

For more ways to help, please contact us! 

— Mindi

** All Info is Current as of October 2015 and will be updated regularly**

And don’t forget to like us on facebook !!

7 thoughts on “Iowa Puppy Mills by the Numbers

  1. I came across this site by accident, but i can’t believe what I read! Thank you girls so much for letting us all know what is going on here. I would love to help in anyway that I can, because this is just terrible!

  2. Sac County should be on this list. Just today Animal Rescue League stepped in to take away 88 dogs, several pregnant. How did this one get overlooked. Also, I think there could be 2 more as I bought 2 dogs in the area there and neither one would allow me to go through all the facility-just the dogs that are ready. I was leery about that, but went ahead and bought a pup. Today’s was mostly cocker spaniels and it looked like some type of blood hound or some type of hound.

  3. My findings show that there aren’t any USDA breeders in Sac County. While the incident that you are talking about is awful, and is certainly a puppy mill- the breeder in question was not USDA licensed OR state licensed. You will see more charges following up on her.

  4. Chickasaw has 9? Where? I have lived here 35 years and only know of a few people with a pair of labs. Is it the Mennonite community?

  5. The photo link is courtesy of the Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, so I just went to the USDA website to pull up the following information.

    Lavern Nolt, Charles City, Iowa- As of March 21, 2012, Nolt currently has 128 dogs and 61 puppies. This breeder couldn’t prove that a veterinarian had been on site, he had previously been in trouble for selling pups that were too young and he was cited for having ten dog enclosures that were falling apart. The walls were flaking onto the dogs.

    Carl Hoover, Iona, Iowa- in 2010 had 79 dogs and 25 puppies on his property. The dogs had excessive matting that was causing skin irritations, excessively long toenails that caused discomfort and tearing and the enclosures were soaking up all the urine, which is a health issue.

    There were also some Janssens and a Pessek. All of this information was found on the USDA website.

  6. If there is anything I can do to help other than sharing this page let me know. I live in Bellevue, NE but I go visit my grand mother on every month and sometimes I stay more than one day. I drive by these counties every month and I always have loved Iowa but I want to have my own no kill shelter one day and I thought about having it in Iowa instead of Nebraska but idk anymore. I’d love to see the numbers for my state but I’m sure no place is safe against puppy mills. I love dogs and if someone would come and take my dogs away from me they better be ready for a fight because they’d have to pry them from my cold dead body. I love dogs please let me know if there is anything I can do to help other than sharing this page.

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