Activists braving brutal cold to protest Amish dog breeding oper - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Activists braving brutal cold to protest Amish dog breeding operations

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NEAR UTICA, Minn. (KTTC) -

Dog kennels granted permits in Winona County continue to make waves among the animal-loving community. Saturday, more than a dozen protesters braved below-zero wind chills to protest outside the home of LeRoy Yoder in Utica.


Yoder is one of several Amish farmers who were granted permits for dog breeding operations, despite the fact that he operated without a permit and was cited extensively by the USDA after dogs were found in disgusting and deadly conditions.

Since the Board of Commissioners made their decisions, protesters have been making their voices heard and say they won't stop until the board takes real action and answers questions.

"I think about them in there, in a cold barn, freezing, living on a wire-bottom cage, never having run around never knowing affection, more than likely having medical problems, and taking care of puppies. It breaks my heart, it breaks my heart, because it doesn't have to be this way," said protester Anne Spradley.

On Tuesday, the Winona County Board of Commissioners gave LeRoy Yoder and five other Amish farmers from the Utica and Saratoga Township area permission to each house dozens of adult dogs to breed puppies they said would be sold to a single broker from Iowa.  Yoder was given a conditional permit to have 85 adult dogs.  David Yoder, Menno Yoder, Toby Detweiler, Henry Yoder and Menno Bontrager were each given permits to each have 50 adult dogs on their farms.  County commissioners mandated that the animals be kept in sanitary conditions and that all U.S. Dept. of Agriculture codes be met.

Two of the same men had previously been cited for code violations in USDA inspections in 2011 and 2013.

People who have been protesting the "puppy mills" promised to protest outside Yoder's farm on Cemetery Road near Utica and then take their protest later on Saturday to the Winona County Courthouse.  The protestors will be braving one degree temperatures and a stiff northwest wind, creating a wind chill factor of 16 below zero.

"Please do not grant permits for these "Kennels", they are Puppy Mills!," wrote Kristi Neubauer to the County Board prior to Tuesday's meeting.  "If a person is doing anything other than Fostering neutered/spayed animals then these permits shall not be granted! MILLIONS of unwanted animals die each year, why on this Earth does this County need 6 more "Kennels". Please note that David Yoder, one who is on the agenda has received a violation from the USDA in 2013 for failing to provide adequate veterinary care to 2 dogs. Is this the type of person that should be allowed to have a so called kennel."

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