Iowa Ag Department Seeks Stronger Animal Protection Rules

The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship is proposing a new set of administrative rules that could significantly improve the lives of dogs, cats and other companion animals in a state long regarded as among the worst in the country for animal protection.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced this week that he’lll submit the new set of rules to the state, beginning a process that requires a legislative panel review and public comment.

Animal rights groups celebrated it as a huge victory for pets in state-licensed commercial breeding facilities, animal shelters, pet dealers, rescue organizations and boarding kennels.

The rules include increased access to water, larger cages and more stringent temperature, cleaning and sanitation requirements.

Iowa has 500 dog breeders, half licensed by the state and half by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in addition to boarding kennels, shelters and other pet care facilities.  It was ranked 48th in the U-S for animal protection last year by the nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund.