Not so long ago we shared the horrifying story of a 26-year-old former puppy mill owner Daniel Gingerichwho has played a role in the abuse, mistreatment and neglect of hundreds of dogs at his multiple Midwest properties.
But despite the seizure of 514 dogs, many of them sick, dying or emaciated, he kind of negotiated an extremely minimum sentence.
When investigators visited Gingerich’s livestock operation last year, they were shocked to witness the horrific treatment of hundreds of animals. Videos from the visit show deeply disturbing images of investigators walking through cage after cage of emaciated, neglected and abused animals. The dogs were raised in filthy cages littered with trash and had bowls of dirty, unchanging water.
Animals raised in commercial breeding facilities are believed to be “protected from harm” because the USDA conducts inspections that can confirm compliance with animal welfare law. But in just six months, Daniel Gingrich had amassed more than 120 violations.
The cruelty, neglect and torture suffered by these animals is difficult to understand. How could anyone treat innocent dogs like that? Especially someone legally and morally charged with their protection and care.
After the authorities inspected his operation, he obtained permission to auction off hundreds of these poor puppies. Luckily for some, they were rescued before being sold to another puppy mill or just left for dead.
One of these dogs, now named “Eleanor”, was lucky to be saved. But what they found when they had to rush her to the emergency vet was deeply disturbing. Not only did Eleanor have a severe case of pyometra (infected uterus), but she had been inhumanely sewn up with fishing line, presumably after a makeshift cesarean section.
Gingrich faces sentencing
Gingrich first faced six charges of aggravated and serious misdemeanors which punishable by a potential maximum prison sentence of eight years. But he has now been offered a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to two counts, one of neglect of an animal causing serious injury or death and the other of neglect of an animal causing serious injury.
Under the plea agreement, Gingerich will spend two years on probation but only 30 days in jail. His probation fee is only $300.
According to court records, the first charge of animal neglect with serious injury or death refers to “Goldie”, an emaciated Golden Retriever who has now become the main furry face to protect dogs from puppy mills.
“If passed, the Goldie Act would require inspectors to take welfare conditions seriously and help animals that are visibly suffering. It would also require meaningful penalties for violations, and conditions involving cruelty and negligence would be shared with local law enforcement,” the ASPCA states.
It may be too late for sweet Goldie, who suffered so long and then had to be euthanized due to the severity of her neglect. But other dogs can be spared the same fate if we act now.
Animal rights groups rally
Animal rights groups have already begun rallying support for legislation that would impact criminals like Daniel Gingerich much more severe. They also hope their actions will inspire lawmakers to pass the “Goldie’s Act.”
But they need your help. Avoid buying puppies online or at pet stores, and if the breeder refuses to show you the puppy’s parents, chances are they came from a puppy mill.
We’re counting on people like you to raise awareness and help end puppy mills once and for all.