Iowan puppy mill owner sentenced

July 28, 2023 by No Comments

A man from Appanoose County accused of animal neglect in running a puppy mill has received a two-year probation sentence. Henry Sommers, an 84-year-old residing in Cincinnati, was apprehended in February by the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office. He faced seven charges, including two counts of animal neglect resulting in serious injury or death, three counts of animal neglect resulting in injury, and two counts of animal neglect without injury.

After negotiations by the Appanoose County Attorney’s Office, a plea agreement was reached, leading to the dismissal of five charges. In exchange, Sommers pleaded guilty to two felony charges of animal neglect resulting in serious injury or death.

Recently, he was sentenced to two years in prison, but the court suspended the sentence. Instead, he was ordered to serve a two-year probation period and pay $1,710 in fines.

The charges originated from a complaint of potential animal neglect at Sommers’ Happy Puppy business on 141st Avenue. During the investigation, authorities discovered four dogs living in what was described as an “unhealthy environment.” The arrest report mentioned feces in a food bowl and “piles of excrement in with the dogs, as well as a pile of waste underneath them.”

A veterinarian confirmed that at least one dog had a large abscess on its shoulder, and two dogs required immediate bathing and shaving. The same veterinarian had seen some of Sommers’ dogs previously and noted that one had a lump on the stomach, and the other suffered from dental issues, both needing surgical intervention.

Records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the federal and state agencies overseeing commercial breeders, showed multiple regulatory violations cited against Sommers.

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