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.

Just Posted

Long awaited Kelowna murder trial is scheduled to begin Monday

Stephen Pirko is charged in the killing of Christopher Ausman in 2014

Okanagan College bring hot bats to beat Dinos

The Coyotes now top the league

Kelowna awards recognize city’s cream of the crop

The 44th Annual Civic and Community Awards were April 24

Kelowna Falcons re-sign league MVP

Trent Tingelstad will return for the 2019 baseball season

Video: Large dust devil swirls through downtown Chase

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Osoyoos among B.C. resort towns to get share of $2.5-million in tourism cash

Changes to RMI funding are bringing more money to places like Harrison and Tofino

Arrest made in off-road Okanagan park detour

RCMP air services helps track down 36-year-old suspect

Petition urges limits on retail cannabis stores in Summerland

Ban on downtown stores, increased regulations in other areas proposed

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Okanagan physician and family reflect passion for medicine with hospital gift

Dr. Paul Cobbin and family donate to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign

Most Read