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A judge in Pottawattamie County has ruled, the owner of what authorities are calling an illegal puppy mill will not get his dogs back.

The 19 shih-tzus were seized two weeks ago from a garage in Neola.   “It smelled terrible.” says Animal Control Director Corbin Ranslem, “Odor was like ammonia.  It was warm, musty in there and the dogs were just living in filth, feces and urine.”

The dogs were taken to a shelter where they have been cleaned up and prepared for adoption.  The former owner, 35-year-old Troy Clifford Dargin, faces 37 charges including animal neglect and running an illegal breeding facility.  Dargin’s parents face the same charges because the operation was found in their garage.

Dargin is an American Kennel Club judge and authorities say he also has a long history of illegal dog breeding.