Annual Horrible Hundred report identifies problem puppy mills in U.S.; Reveals USDA is failing to crack down on violators

By on May 14, 2019 with 25 Comments

Our seventh annual Horrible Hundred report, which we are releasing today, reveals shocking instances of neglect and mistreatment of dogs in puppy mills, including severely underweight dogs and large numbers of puppies dying mysteriously. What it also reveals is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is failing – miserably – in its job of cracking down on the dog breeders and brokers who are responsible for numerous animal deaths and suffering.

Our Puppy Mills Campaign researchers, who combed through USDA and state inspection records for a year to create the report, found that even after state inspectors had cited breeders and brokers who sell to pet stores and online for serious violations, USDA inspectors sometimes failed to do so. For example, at Puppy Love Kennel, aka Cory’s Cuties in Elkland, Missouri, state inspectors found numerous problems in 2018 and 2019, including four dogs who had “died suddenly,” dogs with no water and some noticeably underweight dogs. But the USDA gave the facility a clean inspection report. At Tiffanie’s LLC, a massive dog broker that sells hundreds of puppies to Petland and other pet stores across the country, Missouri Department of Agriculture inspectors found 35 puppies had died within a six-month period, and dogs on the property had issues, including diarrhea, lethargy and skin disorders. But USDA inspectors who subsequently visited the site failed to document a single violation.

Increasingly, it seems, the USDA has assumed the position of adversary rather than an ally in the fight against puppy mills. For the last two years, we’ve published the Horrible Hundred report despite unprecedented challenges created after the agency, in 2017, redacted breeder names, kennel names and license numbers from most of the public inspection records available online. Our intrepid researchers have continued bringing out the report by using state inspection records to identify many of the problem dealers and breeders so you, the consumers, can have the information that the USDA has unlawfully withheld. Unfortunately, we were unable to identify several of the dealers, making it difficult to track the USDA’s oversight of those dealers over time.

A dog at a breeding operation that appears in our 2019 Horrible Hundred report. The breeder, Marilyn Shepherd/Williams, has been found with violations for seven years in a row, related to sick, underweight or injured dogs.

Last year, the USDA announced its intention to start pursuing small, cash-strapped rescues that transport pets for shelters. Meanwhile, it appeared to ignore problems at massive dog breeding operations we identified in our prior reports, including Craig Gray’s Georgia Puppies, which state authorities finally closed down in February after finding more than 700 dogs in shockingly poor conditions. Georgia Puppies had been selling puppies online with only a state license and with no apparent USDA license, which we revealed in last year’s Horrible Hundred report. But the USDA did not crack down on Georgia Puppies, or even require them to get a license.

Among our other interesting findings in this year’s report, for the seventh year running, Missouri had the largest number of problem puppy mills – 22. Iowa was second with 13, Pennsylvania had 12, Ohio had eight and Wisconsin and New York had seven problem puppy mills on the list.

Also, more than a dozen breeders in the report claim an affiliation with the American Kennel Club, a group that has routinely fought state laws designed to curb puppy mills. At a kennel in Missouri affiliated with the AKC, state inspectors found 10 underweight dogs. Another AKC-affiliated kennel in Nebraska was found “routinely noncompliant” by state inspectors for issues such as “piles of feces” and a limping dog. An AKC-affiliated German Shepherd breeder in Pennsylvania had a history of veterinary issues and repeat violations stretching back almost a decade.

The Horrible Hundred report is just one of the tools — albeit an important one — that we deploy each year to raise awareness about the dangers of puppy mills. We are also fighting for legislation, both at the state and federal level, to stop these entities who mistreat animals for their own profit. Last year, thanks to the work of the HSUS and our allies, Ohio passed one of the strongest laws in the nation to crack down on puppy mills. Bipartisan lawmakers in Congress have also introduced the Puppy Protection Act to strengthen baseline standards for puppy mills. And a proposed USDA rule would prevent breeders with uncorrected violations, or those who have had their licenses revoked, from obtaining a new license. If finalized and properly enforced, the rule could also require dog breeders to obtain individual annual veterinary examinations for each dog, as well as regular vaccinations against deadly diseases, and continual access to water.

We will continue to fight for the day when puppy mills are wiped out forever and we no longer have to publish a Horrible Hundred report. As a consumer, you can do your part by not buying puppies from pet stores or online, or from any breeder who won’t meet you in person and show you the conditions in which a puppy was raised. But for puppy mills to truly disappear, we need our government to do its job of swiftly citing and taking action against operations with miserable conditions, where animals who are ill or injured suffer needlessly. Please comment on the USDA rule, either through our form letter until the 17th, or directly on the Federal Register until May 21. Let the USDA know you support this rule and that you want to see even stronger and much more diligent enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act at commercial dog breeding facilities.

Categories
Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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25 Comments

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  1. Kathleen Whitacre says:

    Greenfield Puppies is a broker who has many Amish puppy mills on their website.

  2. Judy Howell says:

    Great thanks to HSUS for their work and service to exposing and eliminating. Puppy mills. I believe the greater majority of Americans have no understanding of what the term puppy mill entails, the deplorable conditions of puppy mills, not only the physical abuse to the tens of thousands of puppies born in these mills but worse, the adult dogs that are completely neglected emotionally for their lifetime as their only activity is to breed. If you saw one dog, the void, feral, frightened results, we all would be up in arms. We, as Americans, are more exposed to other countries foreign puppy mill atrocities, but these American puppy mills are no different. Unforgivable.

  3. Jackie M Marsh says:

    I BELIEVE THE USDA HAS FAILED TREMENDOUSLY IN THEIR DUTY TO UPHOLD ANIMAL WELFARE LAWS DUE TO VIEWING UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION VIDEOS SHOWING USDA’S EMPLOYEE’S TAKING HUSH MONEY/BRIBES FROM LEGAL & ILLEGAL PROFITEERING BREEDER’S IN ORDER TO GAIN A PASS FOR LEGALIZED BREEDING PERMIT’ THIS IS CRIMINAL’ & HAIENUS A TRAVISTY TO THE DEVISATING CRUELTY’ IN MILLS FACTORIES FARMS & BACKYARDS ACROSS OUR NATION’ CRIMINAL IN ALLOWING LEGAL & ILLEGAL PROFITEERING BREEDER’S COMMITTING CRIMINAL’ ACT’S OF NEGLECT ABUSE & CRUELTY BY DENYING SENTIENT LIVES OF MEDICAL /HOUSED IN DUNGENESS COMPOUNDS HELD CAPTIVE TREATABLE SICK & INJURED CRAMED ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER IN WIRE CHICKEN CRATES NEVER SEEING THE LIGHT OF DAY FORCED TO BREED A LIFE TIME OF CRUELTY & NEEDLESS INHUMANE HEARTBREAKING SUFFERING’ NEVER GIVEN A CHANCE USED ABUSED & DISCARDED LIKE COMMODITIES PROVEN TO BE THE #1 REASON FOR POPULATION CRISIS HOMELESS & UNWANTED BRED & BORN TO DIE BY A SYSTEMATIC ORGANIZED LEGALIZED SYSTEM DESIGNED TO OFF SET THE #’S CRISIS BY KILLING THEM OFF’ IN SHELTER’S GIVEN ONLY DAY’S TO BE ADOPTED RESCUED & FOSTERED’ TAKING PLACE IN 99.9% OF SHELTER’S ACROSS THIS COUNTRY ALL UNDER THE GUISE OF “HUMANE EUTHANASIA” USA’S HOLOCAUST & DISGRACE’ A SHAMEFUL ACT’ & ALL FOR REASONS OF PROFITING’ OFF OUR CREATED SENTIENT LIVES PROVEN SCIENTIFICALLY TO HAVE FEELING’S EMOTIONS & INTELLECT CONSIDERED FAMILY MEMBER’S IN OVER 50% OF AMERICAN HOMES NATIONWIDE’… THIS HAIENUS PRACTICE MUST BE BANNED OUTLAWED’ & SHUTDOWN’ THESE CRIMINAL BREEDER’S NEED TO BE ARRESTED & SENTENCED FOR THEIR CRIME’S AGAINST DOMESTICATED DEPENDANT COMPANION ANIMAL’S & THE COUNTLESS LIVES BEING KILLED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS SLAUGHTERED EVERY YR’ IT’S A NATIONAL HOLOCAUST & DEFIES THE VERY LOGIC & CORE OF HUMANE CARE & ANIMAL WELFARE LAW’S UNDER THE GUISE OF “HUMANE EUTHANASIA” ITS MURDER’ SIMPLY PUT’!!!! THESE SENTIENT COMPANION FAMILY PET’S LIKENED LIKE AS CHILDREN AGES 2-5 BY EXPERTS DOMESTICATED & DEPENDANT UPON THEIR SOCIETY TO PROTECT & HUMANELY CARE FOR BORN TO A DEATH SENTENCE’ BY USA’S LAWMAKER’S & ELECTED’ POLITICLE LEADER’S IS A DISGRACE TO LEADERSHIP’ A CREATED LEGALIZED SYSTEMATIC KILL POLICY’ AT NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN BRED & BORN TO DIE’! A LIFETIME OF HORRIFIC’ CRUELTY’ & SUFFERING OF CREATED COMPANION’S IS UNCONSCIENABLE & CRIMINAL’! PLS’ STOP THE MASS KILLING OF INNOCENT HEALTHY ADOPTABLE SENTIENT LIVES BY LETHAL INJECTION’ GAS CHAMBER & HEARTSTICK IN SHELTER’ DEATH CAMP’S PROFITING OFF INNOCENCE IN THIS NATION’ ONCE SD TO BE A LIGHT UNTO ALL NATION’S NOW NO BETTER THAN CHINA INDIA SPAIN KOREA & MULTIPLE OTHER’ NATIONS FOR THE INHUMANE TREATMENT OF DEPENDENT COMPANION FAMILY PET’S MAN’S BEST FRIEND SERVING MILITARY POLICE FORCE EYES FOR THE BLIND AIDING IN SEARCH & RESCUE AMERICAN HERO’S BETRAYED BY THEIR OWN HAVING NO VOICE’ NO VOTE INNOCENT DISCRIMINATED & EXPLOITED’ BY MODERN DAY 21ST CENTURY AMERICA’!

  4. Sharon Wilborn says:

    It is essential that stronger enforcement be created and sustained. The abhorrent conditions, lack of vet care, over breeding, general abuse and greed at the animals expense needs to be stopped.

  5. Marie says:

    Can you please tell me why South Dakota is not on the list?

  6. Martine cuisenaire says:

    Please stop Puppy mills in US now !!!

  7. Kathy panaras says:

    We need to stop puppy mills. The animals are over bred & not taken care of. This is no way for pets to be treated. There has to be someway that we can stop this even if it means we have to register our animals

  8. Michael C Florian says:

    “Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.” –Mark Twain

    What more need be said about puppy mills and their owners vs. their product!

  9. SANDRA NAQUIN says:

    Fire inspectors that are not protecting the dogs , than shut down the hell hole for good !!! They have no voice & they need to be protected just like human babies that have no voice. Nothing angers me as much as inhumane money hungry savages that abuse innocent animals. If there were stricter laws & punishment for those that neglect them, there would be less shelter animals being killed, millions every year are put down for no fault of their own, very, very sad !!!
    DO YOUR JOB & CLOSE THESE HELL HOLE OPERATIONS DOWN. BETTER YET, I THINK DOG BREEDERS SHOULD BE BANNED FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS SO PEOPLE CAN GIVE A HOME TO A SHELTER OR RESCUE ANIMAL !!! ALL OF THESE PETS DESERVE A HOME !!!
    SHUT DOWN THE BREEDERS FIR A FEW YEARS. THAN AFTERWARDS IF PEOPLE WANT TO BREED PETS, THEY SHOULD HAVE TO BE LICENCED & HAVE A PROPER FACILITY TO CARE FOR THEM. CHARGE THEM $1,000 TO GET A BREEDER LICENCE & MAJE IT A FEE EVERY YEAR TO CONTINUE BREEDING. LIMIT THE AMT. OF TIMES A DOG CAN BE BRED. ASSIGN GOOD PEOPLE THAT CARE TO POP UP UNANNOUNCED ON A REGULAR BASIS TO CHECK WHAT IS GOING ON & THE CONDITION OF PETS. DEMAND THERE IS A PLACE THEY CAN GO OUTDOORS & GET EXERCISE ON A REGULAR BASIS !!! THERE ARE MILLIONS OF DOG LOVERS IN THIS WORLD THAT WOULD BE HAPPY TO HELP WRITE A BOOK OF RULES & LAWS FOR THESE BREEDERS TO FOLLOW.
    HELL, HIRE ME, I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM TO CALL THEM OUT ON ALL THINGS & SHUT THEM DOWN !!!! MAKE IT SO TOUGH ON THEM , THAT THEY WILL BE DISCOURAGED TO KEEP IT GOING. THESE PETS ARE LIVING LOVING BEINGS THAT ARE BEING USED AS MONEY MAKING MACHINES FOR THOSE TOO LAZY TO GET A REAL JOB !!! IT IS SICKENING THAT AGENIES DO NOT CARE ENOUGH TO GET MORE INVOLVED !!!
    SHAMEFUL & DISGUSTING !!! Any pet found malnourished, sick, hurt or dead, fine them big time. There is no excuse for that !!!
    RESCUE OR ADOPT, DON’T SHOP. !!!

  10. Donna Henderson says:

    This is a horrible scandal in our country. Please take action on this issue.

  11. Kelly Schnitker says:

    Please continue to fight against the puppy mill operations . The in humane treatment of these defenseless animals is horrific . The females are bred until they no longer can breed and are often left to die and then discarded like trash . We can’t allow this in country that is so civil. Our family had the honor to adopt a breeding dog that was rescued by the National Mill dog rescue in Colorado Springs . He often shows his mental scares left by his 5 years of neglect and abuse by the monstrous hands of the puppy mill handlers. We cuddle him and love him until he feels safe . You are the mouthpiece for our loving pets . Do good and put an end to this horrific industry !

  12. Stephanie Reitler says:

    Close puppy mills down!!!

  13. Christopher Silsbee says:

    NO PUPPY MILLS.
    Please help all our animals on this planet.

  14. Sharon Blair says:

    Fire the state inspectors of the USDA who are not enforcing rules and looking the other way! They get fired, no excuses, period!. That is rule #1. The USDA must be aggresive in finding the breeders who are not following the rules. Make the illegal breeders afraid, very afraid by throwing them in jail and severly fining them, no excuses, no looking the other way, rule #2. And lastly rule #3, use the money that is made through the fines to help the dogs. It is a solvable problem, it may take a year, maybe two, but it should be the goal if you are truly wanting to help dogs otherwise it becomes a joke. You either want to help them or you do not, make your choice already.

  15. Karen says:

    I am 100% against ALL puppy MILLS and will be doing my part supporting the Animal Welfare Act.
    I do have GREAT concerns about RESPONSIBLE “mom & pop” breeders being targeted. I have both rescue & registered dogs. Different breeds have different personalities & should RESPONSIBLY be bred to maintain that specific breed.
    I am NOT a breeder!

  16. Donna says:

    This problem has been an issue for DECADES. USDA is incompetent. I just sigh when I see these regurgitated articles.

  17. D Baird says:

    What is the reason(s) why animal cruelty laws cannot ‘touch’ the Amish? I have never understood that..or gotten a straight, good answer from anyone….They live here and yet cannot abide by the US laws. It just doesn’t make sense…Waiting for a good explanation..
    Thanks

  18. Jeannie says:

    I want to have puppy mills comply will a higher standard of living for the dogs. I want action taken if they don’t. A long jail sentence and a hefty fine

  19. Theresa M. K. says:

    What I would like to see happen can only be done on a massive scale with the help of thousands and thousands of volunteers. We MUST stop this unspeakable horror that these poor dogs go through for $$$$$$. The only way to actually stop it is to take it down all at once. No puppy mills will have time to clean up their act and warn other other puppy mills that trouble is coming before we hit them. We need to find out exactly where every single one is and with Animal Control, local police, volunteers, vets, vet employees and anyone that would love to see this happen and I am one. I would gladly volunteer to stop puppy mills. I’m sure there are operations going on all around the country that have clear evidence of this kind of environment. If nothing else you can smell it. We have to make a clear statement their cash flow through cruelty is over. This would be an undertaking like none ever conceived. The criminals will never own an animal again and monitored extremely close. There are hundreds of thousands of good hearts out there that would take animals in to help heal, train, love & find a forever home to finish out their life. I know this sounds extreme and impossible, but what is happening to our beloved canines is EXTREME, and when did the United States of American ever think something was just plain impossible.

  20. Sc says:

    There isn’t. There is no shortage. Try petfinder.com

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