Via the Ottumwa Courier:
CORYDON — The Wayne County sheriff says he is considering filing criminal charges against dog breeder Daniel Gingerich for animal neglect.
“We are definitely looking at filing some criminal charges,” Sheriff Keith Davis said Thursday. “After reading the (federal inspectors’) reports, I believe some charges are warranted and that we are able to do that.”
Davis said he has been contacted by numerous individuals in recent days who are upset over Gingerich’s alleged failure to comply with animal welfare laws in running Maple Hill Puppies, which has several locations in Iowa, including two in the Wayne County town of Seymour.
“I’m getting hate emails and people on social media are threatening to string me up,” Davis said. “I’m doing everything I can, but there’s only so much we can do.”
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship recently fined Gingerich $20,000 and suspended his Iowa license for 60 days. That action coincides with federal action in civil court, where a judge recently agreed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s request for a temporary restraining order against Gingerich due to numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
The state and federal actions are based on USDA inspectors’ findings that Gingerich has repeatedly failed to meet minimum standards of care for several hundred dogs in his control. In the past two years, he has been cited for more than 100 violations of animal-welfare regulations.
Gingerich’s operation is described as “isolated”. This is the Seymour community in Iowa, the state’s fourth-largest with around 900 Amish residents:
“It’s an Amish family, and they live in an Amish community,” he said, referring to Gingerich. “And there’s nobody in that area – well, you know, it’s at the end of a dead-end road, and we don’t inspect dog breeders. The county doesn’t license dog breeders. So we would have had no way of knowing unless somebody had made a complaint.”
It sounds like a good number of loud voices are bringing this operation to the attention of the people in authority. However, they haven’t been able to deliver the temporary restraining order to Gingerich – because his whereabouts are uncertain:
Federal court records indicate authorities have had difficulty this past week locating Gingerich, who appears to divide his time between his sister’s home in Ohio, where he now lives, and his Iowa dog-breeding facilities. As of early Wednesday, federal officials had yet to serve Gingerich with the temporary restraining order issued by the federal court on Sept. 28.
Davis said he’s not sure where Gingerich is.
“I believe there are several Amish communities that are very upset with what he has done because it has given them a black eye, and normally, you know, they are really good people to deal with and they take care of their stuff. So this this is something out of the blue for them, and they’re upset about it. I am sure if he shows up there, I will be getting a phone call.”
Gingerich’s history as a dog breeder suggests he has been prolific. But it does not sound like it’s been good for dogs:
State and federal records indicate Gingerich has been operating kennels or breeding facilities in 10 different locations throughout Iowa, including Redding, Lamoni, Seymour and Cantril. Although it’s not clear how many dogs Gingerich now owns, the records suggest that at one time, he had at least 1,000 dogs and puppies on hand.
Inspectors counted 675 dogs on Gingerich’s two Seymour properties during site visits this past summer. Dogs were exhibiting signs of heat stress and were panting and drooling, with some housed inside a barn where the heat index was measured at 112 degrees.
Dead dogs were found at both sites – some in the grass, outside, and some in kennels kept indoors. Gingerich allegedly hid some of his dogs inside an old horse barn on one of the properties. When inspectors went inside the barn, they found 27 dogs confined to “excessively dirty horse stalls” with no water present in their enclosures.