The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a California animal welfare group, has filed a lawsuit against Rescue Pets Iowa, alleging it’s a puppy mill posing as a rescue group.
According to the lawsuit, Rescue Pets Iowa is conducting a puppy laundering scheme to get around California’s ban on pet stores selling animals from commercial breeders or puppy mills.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund says a California group called Bark Adoption is purchasing puppies from Rescue Pets Iowa to sell at Animal Kingdom pet stores in California.
“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 claims 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.”
The lawsuit also accuses Animal Kingdom of getting puppies from puppy mills that produce a large number of puppies as efficiently as possible without properly checking on their health and welfare.
“Puppy mills are cruel and see animals as cash crops — breeding mother dogs constantly, regardless of their health or veterinary needs,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Retail pet sales bans, like California’s, are intended to combat puppy mills and their deplorable practices. Attempts to circumvent these laws will not go unchallenged.”
The lawsuit seeks to put a stop to Animal Kingdom purchasing or selling dogs from Bark Adoptions and Rescue Pets Iowa.
California was the first state to outlaw pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they come from rescue groups or animal shelters.