Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller gives his acceptance speech at the Iowa Democratic election night party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Iowa sues to shut down national puppy-laundering ring

The operations sold almost 1,300 animals for more than $700,000

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is suing to shut down what it describes as a national puppy-laundering ring that sells dogs from illegal breeding operations at inflated prices while pretending the animals are rescues.

The lawsuit filed Monday seeks an injunction to dissolve breeder J.A.K.’s Puppies, and nonprofits Hobo K9 Rescue and Rescue Pets Iowa Corp, Attorney General Tom Miller’s Office said in a news release . The lawsuit also alleges four ringleaders — Jolyn Noethe, Kimberly Dolphin, Megan Peterson, and Russell Kirk — violated Iowa’s consumer fraud act.

The operations sold almost 1,300 animals in California, Illinois, Florida and New Jersey for more than $700,000 from 2016 to 2018, the lawsuit said. None of the puppies — including Pomeranians, Shar-Peis, Alaskan Malamutes, Poodle-Yorkies — were re-homed in Iowa.

“No matter where they live, consumers should not be misled about the source of the pets they buy,” Miller said. “Puppy laundering obscures the identity of breeders who may have animal welfare violations or other problems.”

The state is seeking $40,000 in fines per violation, plus reimbursement to defrauded customers.

RELATED: BC SPCA has new plan to decrease the number of animals in its care

Kirk, who is the president of Rescue Pets, declined to comment to the Des Moines Register. Noethe, Dolphin, Peterson are all officers with Hobo K9 and J.A.K.’s. The newspaper was unable to reach them for comment.

J.A.K.’s acquired the animals from puppy mills then sold them to Hobo K9, which sold them for profit, the lawsuit said. Animal welfare groups say puppy mills are cruel; they breed the animals constantly and force them to live in cramped, often dirty conditions.

Miller’s office began investigating the groups in June 2018, prompting the alleged ringleaders to create a “brand-new sham charity” called Rescue Pets Iowa Corp. in December last year, the lawsuit said.

The non-profit’s fees are “extravagant” and the animals being sold were all puppies, a vast departure from legitimate rescues that typically charge minimal fees and primarily offer older animals, the state said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

TC Energy enlists Alberta to help finish US$8-billion Keystone XL project

Alberta government has agreed toinvest about US$1.1 billion (C$1.5 billion) as equity in the project

Sylvan Lake’s Flags of Remembrance ceremonies cancelled due to pandemic

The flags will fly along the lake and Highway 11 under the name “Flags of Unity”, Sept. 12-Nov. 12

Sylvan Lake Food Bank receives nearly $5,000 from local charity group

100 Women Who Care Sylvan Lake & Area have donated more than $20,000 to local organizations

Agriculture critical during and post-epidemic, Ag Minister says

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen held a call-in town hall meeting Monday night

A message from the publisher

Consider a voluntary subscription to Sylvan Lake News

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

101 deaths COVID-19 deaths so far

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

Alberta’s energy war room to spend only on ‘subsistence operations’ due to COVID-19

Alberta’s energy war room to spend only on ‘subsistence operations’ due to COVID-19

Father of Humboldt Bronco disappointed Saskatchewan has relaxed trucking rules

Father of Humboldt Bronco disappointed Saskatchewan has relaxed trucking rules

Alberta education minister resists Opposition calls to rescind mass layoffs

Alberta education minister resists Opposition calls to rescind mass layoffs

Alberta Medical Association calls health-care changes irresponsible during pandemic

Alberta Medical Association calls health-care changes irresponsible during pandemic

Most Read