A California animal welfare group has sued an Iowa animal shelter, claiming it’s really a puppy mill masquerading as a rescue group so it can gain access to the West Coast pet market. Puppy-mil Lawsuit ALDF briefing
The Animal Legal Defense Fund calls the setup a “puppy laundering scheme” designed to get around California’s ban on pet stores selling animals from commercial breeders, or puppy mills. The organization says a California group called Bark Adoptions is buying puppies from Rescue Pets Iowa to sell at Animal Kingdom pet stores in California.
California was the first state in the nation to bar pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they come from animal shelters or rescue groups.
“Despite the ban, Animal Kingdom has continued to sell 8-week-old purebred and designer puppies for over $2,000 into 2019,” Animal Legal Defense Fund says in a statement.
The lawsuit says that Bark Adoptions of California “masquerades as a nonprofit animal rescue organization even though it actually acquires purebred and designer puppies that are only a few weeks old from puppy mills, including Rescue Pets Iowa Corp., and then conveys those puppies to pet stores for profit.”
Rescue Pets Iowa owner Russell Kirk of Ottumwa hung up the phone Wednesday when contacted by the Des Moines Register and didn’t return a voicemail message.
Animal Kingdom and Bark Adoptions couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The lawsuit seeks to stop Animal Kingdom from buying or selling dogs from Bark Adoptions, Rescue Pets Iowa or any other “sham rescue” groups in California.
It also asks that Bark Adoption and Rescue Pets Iowa no longer be allowed to sell dogs in California.