Missouri moves to shut down Horrible Hundred puppy mill for keeping dogs in filthy conditions

By on May 21, 2020 with 20 Comments

Just days after the release of our annual Horrible Hundred report, Missouri’s attorney general has sued to shut down one of the puppy mills named in it. The owners of Little Bit Ranch in Unionville, Missouri, failed to provide adequate veterinary care for their dogs and left them with only frozen water, or no water at all. Some of the animals had caked or moldy food available to them; one food bowl even had a maggot in it, state inspection records show. The facility had been warned in the past about dirty conditions and dogs in cages that were too small.

Altogether, state inspectors had found 50 violations of state law over the course of eight inspections at the puppy mill since August of last year.

This is the fifth puppy mill from our Horrible Hundred list that Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office has filed a lawsuit against in the last ​two years. Earlier this year, Schmitt sued Debra Ritter of Cornerstone Farms, who had appeared in five Horrible Hundred reports, for repeatedly failing to provide veterinary care and decent living conditions for her dogs. The massive puppy mill closed down soon after.

In a press release yesterday, Mr. Schmitt promised “swift action against substandard or non-compliant breeders in Missouri wherever possible,” adding that his office would continue to work with the state agriculture department to address breeders who violate the state’s animal welfare law.

We applaud the attorney general and his office for moving decisively on problem puppy mills. We also urge him to do more: Missouri has a major puppy mill problem and the state has topped our Horrible Hundred report every year that we’ve compiled it. This year, 30 of the 100 mills in our report were located in Missouri.

Vigilance by state authorities is also more important now than ever before because in recent years the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which licenses about 2,900 puppy mills nationwide, including about 800 in Missouri, has abandoned its responsibility to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. As we’ve been reporting, the USDA has drastically scaled back on issuing citations to breeders, giving them free rein to continue hurting animals even after they have been caught.

We also urge Missouri to put in place stronger penalties and better enforcement to ensure that puppy millers who hurt animals do not just go back to business as usual.

In 2019, Schmitt filed suit against two other breeders in our current report, Puppy Love Kennel, aka Cory’s Cuties (Cory Mincey) and Cedar Ridge Australians (Marlisa McAlmond), but both of the operations are still open at this time, to the best of our knowledge. Mincey, a notoriously problematic AKC breeder whose mill, Cory’s Cuties, has appeared in two of our Horrible Hundred reports, was fined $5,500 after state inspectors repeatedly found underweight animals and poor conditions on her property, but most of the fine was suspended as long as the operation does not have any new “substantial” violations for two years. We have called upon the AKC to stop supporting puppy mills like Mincey’s, but the group continues to fight laws that would better regulate puppy mills and that would make it easier for law enforcement to permanently confiscate suffering animals.

Unfortunately, the suffering of the dogs at Little Bit Ranch, the breeder that was just sued, may not be over. We have learned that the dogs are going to auction—a common problem in Missouri where breeders who are shut down can sell their dogs to other breeders at auctions and make tens of thousands of dollars, pushing the animals into yet another cycle of breeding and abuse at a different puppy mill. This is simply not acceptable. Missouri should order the owners of Little Bit Ranch and other breeders who are shut down to turn in their mistreated dogs to licensed, reputable shelters or rescue groups that can rehabilitate them and give them an opportunity to live out the rest of their lives as cherished pets.

The HSUS is working on many fronts to stop puppy mills—through legislation at the local, state and federal levels, through the courts, through our investigations, through reports like the Horrible Hundred, and by raising awareness. We are making progress every day, but stopping puppy mills for good will require support from concerned citizens and conscientious consumers. If you are aware of any puppy mill abuse, please contact your state attorney general and local humane law enforcement and file a complaint. If you have purchased a sick puppy from a problem seller in any state, please report it to us here. And if you’re in the market for a pet, do not buy a puppy from a pet store or online, because that animal is very likely to be sourced from a puppy mill. There is no doubt that the United States has a big puppy mill problem, but working together, we can end the suffering of thousands of companion animals who are now trapped in this abuse.

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Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Dena McMasters says:

    Please continue to protect these precious creatures from God. We need to be their voice. Thank you.

  2. Melinda Jordan says:

    Hurray for AG Schmidtt for keeping this on his agenda.

  3. Leigh Bekhet says:

    Missouri should ban all puppy mills. This state is loaded with these mills

    • Pam weber says:

      Every state should ban puppy mills! They are cruel and very inhumane‼They need to put the people in the cages and treat them the same wayBless the poor babies🙏❤

  4. Mary Hull says:

    ALL Puppy Mills should be shut down!!!!!☹😥😢😡😡 plus there should be Strick Laws for ANIMAL ABUSERS! These people are sick & grow up to be Serial Killers! Prosecute them ALL!

  5. Charlotte Albert says:

    I commend you and GOD Bless you.

  6. Martha McCoy says:

    Thank you for your tireless work on the mistreatment of dogs in puppy mills. I live in Missouri and will be contacting Eric Schmitt to thank him as well. Glad to see him continue to prosecute offenders.

  7. Lee J says:

    It’s about time these puppy mill states are waking up to close down these disgusting practice by low life perverts!

  8. Mary Coughlin-Shores says:

    As disturbing as it may be, thank you for posting this article. Exposure is the first step toward taking action against these monsters.

    • Tina Lawrence says:

      You should check out Waverly Dauchunds. I bought a puppy there last year and I’m pretty sure they are running a puppy mill. The puppies she showed me were terrified of humans and she informed me after I purchased the pup that he had ear mites.

  9. Eileen Varhalla says:

    Shut them all down. All dogs in puppy mills suffer. We have to be there voice.

  10. DEBRA O'Shaughnessy says:

    I BLAME USDA they never do the proper inspections they fine take there license for a couple months and there back in business!!! Also when someone is arrested for animal cruelty the draw the case out for over a year then the DA’s offer them plea deals and they walk away!! This needs to stop!!

    • Alice Cocanougher says:

      I was unaware that USDA is associated with this. SHAME on them for their lack of concern and apathy. That is disgusting of them.

  11. Ellen Knowles says:


  12. Valerie e says:

    We need so many more people who are willing to stand up for these God loving comforting wonderful animals that are defenses against these brutal attacks. Thank you so much, we need all the such brutal places shut down for good!

  13. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    No es justo que que juguemos con la vida de los animalitos solo para beneficio económico no podemos permitir que mas seres vivos sigan sufriendo

  14. Beverly says:

    Please stop these puppy mills. It makes me sick, we bought our beautiful 6yr old Shih Tzu from a puppy only store, and she came from MO. I can only hope it was a clean farm

  15. Lisa Huffman says:

    Please update us as to whats being done now 2021 in Missouri to close down puppy mills in that state.
    I worked on a petition 2 years ago to bring awareness to the issues in Missouri. I contacted the Catholic Archbishop’s office but received no reply.
    As a Catholic, I find it reprehensible the Catholic Church in Missouri does nothing to help abused animals in their state.

    • Blog Editor says:

      Thank you for taking action! Missouri’s Attorney General has taken measures to shut down some of the worst puppy mills in the state, but such action is only levied against a small handful of puppy sellers each year. Much, much more needs to be done. In some cases, even breeders who have lost their state licenses have been allowed to keep ten breeding dogs as “hobby breeders,” instead of being forced to close down. We have continued to pressure local agencies to be tougher on puppy mills by publishing our annual Horrible Hundred report, which resulted in extensive media coverage of Missouri puppy mills this year, and urged local agencies to take action. We also have a new state director in Missouri who is working hard to encourage tough enforcement.

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