The Horrible Hundred Puppy Mills (Act III)

By on May 4, 2015 with 19 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

If a pet owner left her dog to freeze to death outside in the cold, or allowed an animal’s collar to become so embedded that the dog had a bleeding neck wound, or shot a dog simply because the animal couldn’t produce puppies, they’d rightly be charged with cruelty, and we’d give the prosecutor a medal for the effort. But too often, if that person is the owner of a licensed, “legal” puppy mill, they’re far more likely just to get a written warning. If we’re lucky, they get a fine.

For the third year in a row, HSUS researchers have taken on the painstaking and heartbreaking task of reviewing hundreds of pages of state and federal inspection records to uncover and expose 100 puppy mills that are responsible for some of the most shocking and persistent mistreatment of man’s best friend within that awful industry.

Our report, The Horrible Hundred 2015, revealed unspeakably cruel conditions at puppy mills in 16 different states, with Missouri and Kansas heading the dishonorable list for the third year running in having the largest number of problem dealers. They are followed, in order, by Nebraska, Iowa, and Arkansas.

Some of the violators include:

  • An Ohio breeder who was found with seven dead puppies scattered on the ground, and was only cited by his USDA inspector for a housing violation (Andy Yoder, Yoder Backroad Kennel, Millersburg, Ohio);
  • A breeder found with a Maltese in an outdoor kennel who was deceased and “frozen solid” in the bitter cold, while other dogs on the property had nothing but solid ice in their water bowls (Rachel, Virgel, and Vickie Davis, Davis Kennel, Seymour, Mo.);
  • A pair of Iowa breeders who refused to let the USDA inspector take photos of a dog with mammary tumors because she was one of several dogs they intended to have “euthanized” by gunshot (Martin and Barbara Hammen, S R K Kennel, Jolley, Iowa);
  • A breeder in Nebraska who received two official state warnings in 2014 for inadequate care of her dogs, including underweight dogs and dogs in need of veterinary care, yet who is listed on the American Kennel Club’s website as a 2015 “Breeder of Merit” (Alisa Pesek, Swanton, Neb.);
  • A Missouri breeder who has been found with more than 90 dogs and puppies in need of veterinary care by USDA inspectors since 2010 (Donald Schrage, Rabbit Ridge Kennel, Edina, Mo.).

In the states with the worst patterns of violations, we see little will among the lawmakers to correct these systemic and persistent problems – instead, just more excuse-making or indifference. Kansas failed to pass an enhanced kennel inspection law earlier this year, and Missouri lawmakers have regularly proposed bills that would weaken kennel oversight rather than enhance it.

There is some good news: approximately two dozen of the problem dealers mentioned in one or more of our past reports have closed down after being found with repeated violations. But their cases often drag on for years before effective action is taken.

That’s why consumers can and must do their part, by refusing to buy puppies from pet stores or online – both common fronts for puppy mills – or from any breeders who won’t allow them to visit the kennel and see the conditions where their puppies are born and raised. Read the full The Horrible Hundred 2015 report or a state-by-state list of dealers named in the report.

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  1. David Bernazani says:

    I’m glad the HSUS is doing what the state and federal government SHOULD be doing: trying to fix the problem of overbreeding in the U.S. Simply monitoring puppy mills does nothing to alleviate the problem, especially when they allow them to continue to breed dogs under the cruel conditions many mills have.

  2. Linda Tegarden says:

    The conditions that exist in many breeding facilities are at least as horrible as described in Pacelle’s article above. Last July a few vigilant Airedale Terrier owners became concerned with the horrible conditions we saw in photos placed in ads for the Southern Roc kennel in Torrance County, New Mexico. The investigation and collection of information was contained in a 45 page report that was sent to Sheriff Heath White of the county, the Board of Supervisors, the USDA-APHIS and finally in desperation, HSUS. The Humane Society was the ONLY organization that saw fit to correspond with us. We were told that because the 22 breeding dogs had tin roof shelters, water– however dirty- and the cheapest food manufactured, the laws of New Mexico could not touch the breeder. On inspection by the County Code Compliance Officer, the breeder did not have proof of rabies vaccinations, but they allowed her the opportunity to comply with no sanctions. 2 litters froze to death the previous winter, there was a fire that killed another litter. There were 19 rattlesnakes killed on the property in one week and there was no protection from mountain lions that regularly prowled the open areas, where dogs were only protected by light gauge wire fencing. A 13 year old female produced a litter of 7 puppies. Another female had such large mammary tumors that they dragged the ground when she was able to stand. There was NO VET care as the breeder contends that she doesn’t believe in vets! To date, to our knowledge nothing has been done by any government agency. Our only hope is that somehow the HSUS will be able to make a difference for the Airedales at the Southern Roc kennels puppymill.

    • Gwendolyn Gossert says:

      Linda, Since you have never been to Southern’s kennel and I HAVE, I am writing to correct you on several false claims you make in this post. First let me say, I was living there last summer, and I help out there often.
      I know these things for fact.
      1. There are 3 full time employees that work there. The pens are cleaned daily.
      2. I have never seen a rattlesnake or mountain lion on the property.
      3. I have never seen a female with mammary tumors like you describe.
      4. I have been with Southern to the vet, and have assisted another vet on the property.
      5. I have been with her to purchase vaccinations and worming meds for the puppies.
      6. Southern’s Kennel passed USDA inspection. As for the false claims brought up at the time, all were dismissed. Simply because they weren’t true.
      7. I do know you have made several defamatory statements without facts or merit as long as I have known Southern, therefore, I am writing this to give others another opinion from someone that ACTUALLY has been there.

      • Linda Tegarden says:

        The 3 employees are the owner, her husband and the poster who was allowed to live there in exchange for kennel cleaning. The dog with the mammary tumors died 2 years earlier after a year of suffering with no vet treatment; the inspection referred to was by a code compliance officer for the county of Torrance. Because she did not see snakes doesn’t mean they were not there. We have photographs of that snake infestation, and of the wounds on the horse which the owner said was from a mountain lion…One would have to question the motives and veracity of a person who could view the living conditions of a puppymill and defend the practitioners.

        • Denise says:

          Current info? The report is for 2015. I want to know what happened recently. I also see old photos. Would like to see current photos.

          • Pat says:

            You asked for current photos…here is a current article regarding the Southern ROC “kennel” “kennel”

        • Denise says:

          You are attacking the person commenting rather than addressing her concerns. How does that help?

    • Alisa Zapalova says:

      I will also side with Linda here- I also have personally visited Souhern’s kennel quite a few times over the past 10 years. I have dogs from her myself and all our friends who wanted Airedales got dogs from her kennel too. I am also planning to get another puppy from her in the future.
      The kennel may not be a millionaire’s mansion, but the pens are roomy enough to run and play, the dogs love to dig the dirt – (Airedale Terriers- right?). They are friendly and well socialized. Vaccinations are done, vet care is administered as needed.
      I am not aware of any of the deaths you mentioned, but again I wasn’t there – I do not judge people on other’s hearsay. My personal experience is all I am able to share and it is this:
      These dogs are genuinely Loved – this you would have seen yourself if you cared enough to visit personally.

  3. Jane Monday says:

    So glad you are exposing these criminals: their names, location, and kennel name. The more light shining on the dark, the more likely this evil will be extinguished.

  4. Preston says:

    That is terrible. What person in the right mind could do that to dogs. The diseases, injures, and conditions these dogs go through is unbelievable. Im glad your promoting helping these dogs and I think we should help these dogs from these crammed, hazardous places. And punish the cruel breeders like the ones that were listed above.

    • Denise says:

      So glaxd to see that you said “help the dogs” first. What is actually being done to help the dogs?

  5. Ziva Eliezer says:

    Absolutely horrible! The HSUS must do everything in its power to have these
    puppy mills shut down immediately, Dogs should not have to suffer from this
    kind of neglect. This is a terrible crime and I beg Mr.Wayne Pacelle to force
    the indifferent authorities to do their jobs without delay.

  6. Mel Hoyle says:

    I believe there should be laws that disallow ALL pedigree dog breeders who do not treat the parents and the litter just like a responsible dog owner treats their pets. They should have to live inside the house, have a fenced yard for relieving themselves and playing outdoors. And they should all be socialized with people (preferably children as well as adults) from the start. These breeders should be forced to produce bloodline records on every parent and every puppy to prove there is no inbreeding going on. No female dog should be allowed to have more than three litters, and there should be a minimum time period established between each of the litters. After three litters the female breeder should be spayed. Veterinarian care should be forced to be documented, just like bloodline records, and the veterinarian should be checked out to gauge his reputation. If it were up to me, these are the ONLY dog breeders that would legally exist.

    • Denise says:

      Mel, like your response as it addresses care of the animals. Now what can be done to make your suggestions happen? If what is being done is not working, what can be done differently?

  7. Denise says:

    Okay. The list is out again. Now that you have chosen the 100 worst, what is it about? Are the kennel owners being ridiculed, harassed, driven out? Okay. But is that about the humans or the dogs? How does that change the circumstances for any of these dogs? What is being done by HSUS to help the dogs TODAY? Are there offers to remove the so k dogs and get them care? Do you walk away from feces piled inches high or offer to clean it up so that dog is more comfortable? Is assistance offered for the dogs? How about a list of 100 Dogs Most in Need? Can we just once put the focus on the dog? What kind of world is it when the focus is all on the abuser and nothing for the victim?

  8. CHASC says:

    I live in the state of Iowa.
    What may I do to stop animal cruelty?
    How may I make an effort against these people?

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