An Iowa dog breeder has been cited by federal officials for performing major surgery on puppies without a veterinarian and for falsifying animal-welfare documents.
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Ed Van Doorn, the owner of Squaw Creek Kennels in Barnes City, about 75 miles east of Des Moines, was recently given an official warning by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for violations uncovered during a November 2023 inspection.
According to the USDA, Squaw Creek Kennels gives buyers the option of having a puppy neutered before it is shipped, and Van Doorn allegedly acknowledged he performed most of the neutering operations at his kennel without any veterinary supervision.
The surgeries were performed in what the USDA described as “a multi-use room used for grooming, surgeries and other procedures,” using Van Doorn’s own equipment and instruments.
The inspector noted in his report that neutering results in permanent changes to a dog’s anatomy and physiology and “is considered a major surgery that should be done by, or under the direct supervision of, a veterinarian.”
USDA records also indicate that on at least four occasions, Van Doorn filled out forms showing the disposition of dogs by indicating they had been shipped to a shelter in Florida. On the accompanying health certificate indicating the dogs were in good health, an entirely different entity was listed as having received the dogs.
When USDA officials inquired about the conflicting information, Van Doorn allegedly admitted that the dogs were not shipped to the shelter listed on the disposition forms. According to the USDA, Van Doorn’s attending veterinarian, who was required to attest to their health certificates’ accuracy by signing the documents, confirmed that Squaw Creek was filling out the health certificates for the animals with information that wasn’t accurate.
In its report, the USDA noted that the “ability to track the movement of dogs using disposition forms and/or health certificates is very important for regulation of the industry and as a tool for tracking the movement of dogs in disease outbreaks.”
During the inspection, Van Doorn was also cited for using the sedative Xylazine and the painkiller Torbugesic when neutering animals and conducting hernia repairs at the kennel without keeping any record of the drugs’ use. Labels on the drug bottles indicated they were sourced from Van Doorn’s attending veterinarian, who was not named in the USDA reports.
No fines or penalties were imposed as a result of the USDA’s findings.
There were 164 puppies and dogs at Squaw Creek Kennels at the time of the November inspection. As recently as November 2022, the business had 489 dogs on hand.
USDA officials attempted to inspect the Squaw Creek Kennels in September 2023 but were reportedly turned away by Van Doorn, who said no one was available to accompany the inspector during a tour of the facility.
Van Doorn could not be reached for comment Tuesday.