Puppy mill operator faces 30 days in jail and two years of probation

By: - March 22, 2022 3:48 pm

This female Bernese mountain dog belonging to Wayne County dog breeder Daniel Gingerich was found by inspectors with a wound or injury to its nose. (Photo from U.S. District Court exhibits)

Former Wayne County puppy mill operator Daniel Gingerich will serve 30 days in jail for animal neglect.

The sentence, handed down Monday, is tied to a plea deal that Gingerich, 26, agreed to with prosecutors a full week before his scheduled arraignment which was planned for March 29.

Gingerich, who now lives in Hillsboro, Ohio, was initially charged with two counts of animal neglect with serious injury or death, and four counts of animal neglect. Four of the six charges were dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement with the Wayne County Attorney’s Office.

Gingerich, who told the court he has an 8th grade education, was not represented by an attorney in the case.

Former Wayne County puppy mill operator Daniel Gingerich. (Photos courtesy of the Wayne County Jail)

On one of the two remaining charges, animal neglect resulting in injury, Gingerich was sentenced to pay a $430 fine and spend 30 days in the Wayne County Jail, although he will be allowed to serve his sentence in Ohio if the county sheriff there agrees. On the other remaining charge, animal neglect resulting in serious injury or death, he was sentenced to serve two years of probation and pay a fine of $855, although the judge waived that fine at sentencing.

The most serious charges were tied to allegations that in April 2021, Gingerich failed to provide adequate and proper veterinary care to an adult golden retriever that was severely emaciated, which resulted in the dog being euthanized, and with the alleged neglect of a golden-doodle puppy that died due to complications related to Parvovirus.

The four lesser charges were tied the sale of 13 dogs, five of which were later shown to have medical issues. One of the dogs died and four others had serious respiratory issues, including pneumonia.

Last September, federal authorities took Gingerich, the owner of Seymour’s Maple Hill Puppies, to civil court in an effort to shut down his rural Iowa dog-breeding operation. That effort culminated with Gingerich surrendering more than 500 dogs to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and agreeing to never again participate in a licensed business covered by the federal Animal Welfare Act.

At about the same time the federal civil action was initiated, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship imposed $20,000 in administrative penalties against Gingerich and suspended his Iowa license for 60 days. Both actions were based on more than 100 alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

Late last year, the state agency imposed an additional $40,000 in fines against Gingerich based on the findings of inspectors who toured his facilities the same day the $20,000 fine was imposed.

Gingerich has yet to pay either of the state fines. An administrative hearing on an appeal that was filed in one of the two cases is currently scheduled for late May.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.