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State

Iowa AG: Groups involved in puppy-laundering ring to disband

DES MOINES — Those who operated an alleged national puppy-laundering ring masquerading as pet rescues have agreed to dissolve the organizations and pay the state $60,000 as part of a settlement, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday.

Attorney General Tom Miller last year sued two nonprofit rescue groups — Hobo K9 Rescue of Britt and Rescue Pets Iowa Corp. of Ottumwa — and others, accusing them of working together to illegally transfer hundreds of designer puppies through the sham rescue groups to out-of-state pet stores.

The lawsuit said consumers were misled about the true source of the puppies and the defendants abused their Iowa non-profit status to circumvent state and local laws banning the sale of “puppy mill” dogs.

The defendants denied the allegations but agreed to the consent judgment.

Attorney general investigators said they found that the two nonprofits transferred at least 3,600 dogs to entities in California, Illinois, Florida, Missouri and New Jersey.from September 2016 to September 2019. The dogs included Pomeranians, shar-peis, Alaskan Malamutes, poodle-Yorkies and other high-priced purebred and designer breeds.

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