Who, age What Where When Last known address
Gary, Hahn, 58 Puppymill - 91 dogs seized, 2 euthanized

West Liberty, IA

Muscatine County

September 19, 2003  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
Misdemeanor failure to dispose  of a dead horse 91 dogs, 14 horses, 20 hogs, 5 cows Alleged  

Gary Hahn is expecting criminal charges after sheriff's officials confiscated 91 dogs from his farm.

The 58-year-old rural West Liberty man said, however, he will fight it to the end. "I'm fighting this until I have my dogs back," he said outside his farmhouse on Eliason Avenue southwest of West Liberty.

Sheriff's officials have not commented on whether charges will be filed.

Muscatine County sheriff's officials seized the dogs after discovering the animals were being kept in an unhealthy environment, said sheriff's Capt. C.J. Ryan, who is in charge of the investigative division.

Hahn, however, said he has had a state license for about three years to breed dogs and his barn is up to standards. He added that inspectors have never found major violations at his farm.  He said he started raising dogs about 10 years ago. "These are my income," he said.

The dogs, some of them day-old puppies, were kept in a barn in the back of the property, he said. The barn is in much better shape than the red, older one closer to Eliason Avenue that was shown on Eastern Iowa television stations, he said.

The dogs were kept in a section of the barn that measured about 25 feet by 25 feet, said Annie Tye of Solon, who helped remove the dogs. There were eight rows of wire cages.

Labradors, dachshunds, miniature pinschers, Jack Russell terriers, poodles and shelties were taken in personal vehicles to the Muscatine County Humane Society.

Hahn said he was unaware of officials' moves at his farm because he had been in Branson, MO, for a few days. During his absence, chores on the farm were taken care of "day and night," he said. "Although they like to believe otherwise."

Update 9/26/03:  Hahn was charged with seven counts of animal neglect, one count of livestock neglect and one count of failure to dispose of a dead animal, sheriff's officials said.

A dead horse was found on his property during the execution of a search warrant on Sept. 19. It is unknown what caused the death of the horse.

On Sept. 19, Muscatine County sheriff's officials seized 91 dogs from the farm after receiving a tip of possible animal neglect, said sheriff's Sgt. Mark Kopf.

Hahn was charged and released on his signature. Each charge is punishable by a $500 fine and 30 days in jail. He will make a court appearance in Muscatine County District Court.

Deputies, along with a veterinarian, searched the farm a second time and looked for signs of livestock abuse.

Thirteen horses, 20 hogs and 5 cows were deemed to be neglected. The neglect stems from lack of or inadequate access to food and water, Kopf said. Much of the livestock is emaciated from lack of proper nutrition.

Hahn has 24 hours before sheriff's officials will rescue the remaining livestock from the farm, Kopf said.

Update 10/21/03:  More than one-third of the 91 dogs seized from a West Liberty puppymill last month have found new homes, and humane officials expect more to be adopted soon.

Chris McGinnis, the director of the Muscatine Humane Society, said the shelter doors opened Oct. 13 to a large crowd of people who were eager to see the 89 puppymill dogs available for adoption.

Thirty of the dogs found homes on the first day. Forty had been adopted by the next day.

Two of the dogs taken from Gary Hahn on Sept. 19 had to be euthanized shortly after they were seized by county and state authorities. Since Hahn's arrest on multiple charges of animal neglect, three litters of puppies have been born. Several other dogs are pregnant.

Volunteer veterinarians are still spaying and neutering the rescued dogs, and each has been groomed, vaccinated and given a medical checkup.

Shelter workers temporarily have stopped taking adoption applications while they sift through the 300 they already have collected, McGinnis said.


The Gazette