By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson
A troubled Missouri breeder has admitted that at least three dogs died “due to fighting” at his facility. Other dogs appeared sick, had patches of hair loss or injuries, and state inspectors found dozens of violations for poor animal care and cramped conditions in 2021. Missouri Department of Agriculture
Duchess is a Havanese with a wardrobe of colorful little dresses. Cooper is a senior golden retriever who still has a lot of courage and enjoys going on vacations with his family. Alis is a Weimaraner who jogs with his owner and loves to catch a ball.
These dogs are finally enjoying life and the puppy mills they were rescued from no longer work. Prior to their closure, each of these factories appeared in our annual report Horrible Hundred reports identifying known problem breeders in the United States.
Stephanie Davolt-King, who adopted Duchess from Havaheart Rescue after a mill closed, said Duchess was in bad shape at first. The former breeding dog had ear and eye infections and needed to have 19 teeth pulled. It was also clear that she had never walked on grass. Three years after her rescue, Duchess is still afraid of some people, but is doing well. “She now zooms in, demands tummy massages and loves her clothes. We are very grateful that she was rescued and finally healthy,” Davolt-King said in an email.
In addition to Duchess, Cooper and Alis, more than 1,400 dogs and puppies have been rescued from puppy mills that appeared in our Horrible Hundred reports and were later permanently shut down by local authorities. As we publish our tenand Annual Reportwe pull back the curtain again and reveal the true cruelty of puppy mills that the pet industry doesn’t want you to see. Breeders in the Horrible Hundred Report have been found with injured and emaciated dogs, dogs and puppies exposed to extreme weather conditions with only frozen water or moldy food, and/or dogs consigned to harsh conditions. cramped, dirty and dangerous lives.
For the 10and consecutive year, Missouri has the most puppy sellers on the Horrible Hundred list, with 26 puppy mills in this year’s report. It is followed by Iowa (17), New York (12) and Kansas and Wisconsin (seven each). Some states, such as Ohio and Oklahoma, ranked low this year, but only because they did not respond to our requests for public records in a timely manner, ignoring public right-to-know laws. of their states and leaving the public in the dark as to whether they are making progress in protecting dogs.
Some of the most troubling findings from this year’s report include:
- An Iowa rancher, Henry Sommers, who has now appeared six times in the Horrible Hundred reports, admitted to his US Department of Agriculture inspector that he had killed unwanted dogs by injecting them into the stomach and leaving them alone in their cages to die. Her veterinarian denied providing the drug Sommers used or approving the procedure. Months later, it appears the USDA has not fined Sommers or suspended or revoked his license. The Humane Society of the United States urged the USDA to work with local authorities on possible animal cruelty charges.
- Another Iowa breeder, Menno Gingerich (Skyline Puppies), admitted to performing a DIY procedure on a badly injured pup with a neck injury. According to the USDA report, he admitted that he had sewn up the wound himself with “sewing string” and had not used anesthesia. It appears the USDA has not fined him or suspended or revoked his license.
- Kansas investigators investigating a complaint found a breeder (Mary Moore/D and M Kennel) with a dead puppy on his property. The puppy was carried in the mouth of an adult dog; When asked, Moore admitted she dumped dead puppies in a field that morning because she was “in a hurry.” State inspectors did not cite Moore for any violations, and the USDA did not document any violations in its latest inspection report on its facility, choosing instead to record their concerns in a “teaching moments” document. A self-proclaimed American Kennel Club dog breeder in Missouri, Cory Mincey (Puppy Love Kennel), for follow-up by the Missouri Attorney General in 2019 for failing to provide proper care to numerous dirty, emaciated, and dying dogs, was found to still rack up serious violations over the past year; the state only fined him $4,500.
After a decade of publishing, it is disheartening to see that many breeders who have appeared five, six or seven times in the Horrible Hundred Report due to recurring violations are still licensed and in business. But over the same period, we have also seen significant progress. More than 200 dealerships featured in earlier reports appear to have closed and a few dozen have been criminally charged, fined or jailed. Additionally, the USDA has enacted some needed improvements to its animal welfare rules, such as requiring annual veterinary exams and vaccinations for breeding dogs. Finally, since the first Horrible Hundred report came out in 2013, at least 11 states and hundreds of localities have updated their dog breeder regulations and/or pet store laws.
Dog lovers can do their part to end cruelty in puppy mills by refusing to buy a dog from a pet store or online. Dozens of pet stores across the country purchased puppies from dealers in this year’s report. At least 11 of this year’s Horrible Hundred puppy mills recently sold animals to petland, the only national chain in the United States that still sells puppies. Petland has vigorously fought laws across the country that would end the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores, falsely claiming that it buys only from high-quality breeders. Additionally, many of the dealers mentioned in this report are affiliated with the American Kennel Club, which claims to be “the dog’s champion,” but in fact routinely fights against laws that would protect dogs.
You can do your part by considering adopting from a shelter when looking to add a pet to your family. If you choose not to adopt from a shelter or rescue center, please follow our advice to find a responsible source for your pup and visit and carefully select a breeder in person.
You can also help by asking your legislators to support the Puppy Welfare Actwhich will improve conditions on federally licensed puppy breeding operations by requiring more space for dogs, better weather protection and better housing, socialization
, and veterinary care.
Companion animals, public policy (legal/legislative)