One of the dogs housed at Daniel Gingerich's Maple Hill Puppies, in Wayne County, Iowa, prior to being shut down by federal authorities. (Photo from U.S. District Court exhibits)
The father of Daniel Gingerich, a former Iowa puppy mill operator sentenced to jail and fined $60,000 for animal-welfare violations, has been cited for operating an unlicensed dog-breeding operation in Ohio.
Last year, federal officials pursued civil charges against Daniel Gingerich for dozens of regulatory violations at his dog breeding operation, Maple Hill Puppies, in Wayne County. That effort culminated with Daniel 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.
The federal investigation led to $60,000 in state administrative penalties as well as state criminal charges of animal neglect resulting in injury and animal neglect resulting in serious injury or death. Earlier this year, after Daniel Gingerich moved to Ohio, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail on the criminal charges. He has served his sentence in an Ohio jail.
Court records indicate Daniel Gingerich and his wife moved to Hillsboro, Ohio, while the federal case was still pending. In September of last year, a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector, Randall Coleman, visited the Hillsboro property of Daniel Gingerich’s parents, Ura and Esther Gingerich, and spoke to Daniel Gingerich’s brother, Owen.
According to papers Coleman later filed with the court, he spotted at least 10 dogs on the property, including some that appeared to be dogs that Daniel Gingerich had sold to his father while under federal investigation. Owen Gingerich said the family would soon be moving to Loudonville, Ohio, Coleman told the court.
Property records indicate that last summer, Ura and Esther Gingerich purchased a 73-acre property in Loudonville for $765,000.
According to federal records, on March 1 of this year, Coleman called Ura Gingerich at the Loudonville property and asked whether he had any puppies for sale. Ura Gingerich allegedly said he did, and then shared information on the puppies he had that were available for purchase.
Later that day, a second USDA inspector from another state contacted Ura Gingerich and asked if a puppy could be shipped by air if purchased from Ura Gingerich and was told that could be arranged for an additional fee.
The next day, Coleman reported, he visited the Loudonville facility and conducted a search of the property to determine whether it was operating as an unlicensed, unregulated breeding operation.
According to Coleman’s written report, Ura Gingerich admitted to having at least six adult dogs that he used for breeding and admitted he was selling puppies from those dogs online. He also admitted to selling puppies he had never seen and admitted shipping some of those animals to buyers, Coleman reported.
Coleman concluded the facility was operating as an unlicensed breeding operation. No fines or penalties were imposed. Instead, the USDA issued a public report of its findings and sent Gingerich a license-application packet.
Ura Gingerich told the Iowa Capital Dispatch on Friday he has no intention of applying for a license.
“If that (inspector) ever comes out here again, I’m going to call the cops and have him arrested,” he said. “He has no business being on my property.”
He added that he had only four adult dogs on his property, not six, when the inspector visited. “I’ll give up all my dogs before I ever agree to be licensed by those people,” he said, referring to the USDA.
In April 2020, before moving to Ohio, Ura Gingerich made national news when he staged a horse auction, attended by almost 600 people from six states, on his Wayne County, Iowa, farm during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The auction was allowed to proceed because the horses were deemed to be part of the food-production supply chain, Gov. Kim Reynolds said at the time, adding that those in attendance still needed to practice social distancing.
After the event, Reynolds issued a new proclamation that limited livestock auctions to no more than 25 attendees.
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