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Des Moines, Iowa – The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is suing to shut down what it describes as a national puppy laundering ring that sells dogs from illegal breeding operations at inflated prices.

The office said in a news release that puppy laundering is the use of nonprofit rescue groups to obscure the source of dogs, deceive consumers and circumvent “puppy mill” bans.

It says it filed a lawsuit Monday against breeder J.A.K.’s Puppies, and nonprofits Hobo K9 Rescue and Rescue Pets Iowa Corp. The lawsuit also alleges four ringleaders violated Iowa’s consumer fraud act.

The state is seeking $40,000 in fines per violation, plus reimbursement to defrauded customers.

It says the operations sold almost 1,300 animals in California, Illinois, Florida and New Jersey for more than $700,000.

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