Tenth annual Horrible Hundred report shows progress, continuing problems with puppy mills
By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson
Duchess is a Havanese with a wardrobe of tiny, colorful dresses. Cooper is a senior golden retriever who still has a lot of spunk and likes to go on vacations with his family. Alis is a Weimaraner who jogs with her owner and loves to catch a ball.
These dogs are finally enjoying life, and the puppy mills from which they were rescued are no longer in operation. Before they closed, each one of those mills appeared in our annual Horrible Hundred reports identifying known problem breeders in the United States.
Stephanie Davolt-King, who adopted Duchess from Havaheart Rescue after the closing of a mill, said Duchess was in poor condition at first. The former breeding dog had ear and eye infections and needed to have 19 teeth pulled. It was also clear she had never walked on grass. Three years after her rescue, Duchess is still fearful of some people, but otherwise doing well. “She now does zoomies, demands belly rubs, and loves her clothes. We are very grateful she was saved 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 closed by local authorities. As we release our 10th annual report, we again draw back the curtain 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 with only frozen water or moldy food, and/or dogs consigned to cramped, filthy and unsafe living conditions.
For the 10th year in a row, Missouri has the largest number of 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 failed to fulfill our public records requests in a timely manner, ignoring their states’ public right-to-know laws and leaving the public in the dark about whether they are making any progress to protect dogs.
Some of the most disturbing findings in this year’s report include:
- An Iowa breeder, Henry Sommers, who has now appeared six times in the Horrible Hundred reports, admitted to his U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector that he killed some unwanted dogs by injecting them in the stomach and leaving them alone in their cages to die. His veterinarian denied providing the drug Sommers used or giving approval for the procedure. Months later, it appears USDA has not fined Sommers or suspended or revoked his license. The Humane Society of the United States has urged USDA to work with local authorities on potential animal cruelty charges.
- Another Iowa breeder, Menno Gingerich (Skyline Puppies), admitted to performing a do-it-yourself procedure on a badly injured puppy with a neck wound. He admitted that he stitched the wound himself with “sewing string” and did not use anesthesia, according to the USDA report. It appears USDA has not fined him or suspended or revoked his license.
- Kansas investigators looking into a complaint found a breeder (Mary Moore/D and M Kennel) with a dead puppy on her property. The puppy was being carried in the mouth of an adult dog; when asked, Moore admitted she had tossed some dead puppies into a field that morning because she was “in a hurry.” State inspectors did not cite Moore with any violations, and USDA did not document any violations in its most recent inspection report on her facility, choosing instead to register their concerns in a “teachable moments” document. A self-described American Kennel Club dog breeder in Missouri, Cory Mincey (Puppy Love Kennel), sued by the Missouri attorney general in 2019 for failing to provide proper care for numerous filthy, emaciated and dying dogs, was found to be still accumulating severe violations within the past year; the state only fined her $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’ve also seen significant progress. More than 200 dealers featured in past reports appear to have shut down, and a few dozen have been criminally charged, fined or jailed. In addition, USDA has adopted some needed improvements to its animal care rules, such as requiring annual veterinary examinations and vaccinations for breeding dogs. Finally, since the first Horrible Hundred report appeared in 2013, at least 11 states and hundreds of localities have upgraded their dog breeder regulations and/or pet store laws.
Dog lovers can do their part to end cruelty at 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 were found to have recently sold animals to Petland, the only national chain in the U.S. 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 it only purchases from high-quality breeders. In addition, many of the dealers in this report are affiliated with the American Kennel Club, which purports to be “the dog’s champion” but in fact regularly fights against laws that would protect dogs.
You can do your part by considering shelter adoption when you’re looking to add a pet to your family. If you choose not to adopt from a shelter or rescue, please follow our tips for finding a responsible source for your puppy and visit and carefully screen a breeder in person.
You can also help by asking your lawmakers to support the Puppy Protection Act, which will improve conditions at federally licensed puppy breeding operations by requiring more space for dogs, better protection from the weather, and better housing, socialization
, and veterinary care.
Read the Full Horrible Hundred Report
Como es posible que los gobiernos permitan estos lugares que lo único que hacen es lucrar con la vida de los animalitos y demás seres vivos esto tiene que acabar en todo el mundo por favor ya no mas inhumanidad y violencia
Até quando as pessoas vão usar estes inocentes para ganhar dinheiro? Se eles “produzem” filhotes como numa linha de produção é porque também tem pessoas que compram. Infelizmente!
Why are these evil repeaters allowed to own animals. They should be in state prison.
Stop this obscene cruelly!
Please, I AM LITERALLY BEGGING YOU TO DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO SAVE THESE INNOCENT DOGS THAT DESERVE SO MUCH MORE!!
Capital letters for emphasis not yelling
How much longer must these suffering animals wait? Does greed have no end?
Stop tormenting animals!
There should be no puppy mills. This is terrible for the animals. I can’t beleive we would continue to allow this in the United States.
It’s obvious that the USDA is in need of radical changes from top to bottom!
I’ve seen their useless visits to puppy mills as well as pet stores and it’s so sad!!! How can these people see the horrible conditions and not say,do something! Where’s their sense of right and wrong and their compassion?
Our government must shut these facilities(both puppy mills and pet stores)
in every state in this country. I’m tired of signing petitions to heads of govt depts and congress and nothing is changing. Protecting those without a voice is just as important as any of the other problems we are facing in our country!
Would the people who use these precious animals do the same to their CHILDREN???? Cruelty is NOT acceptable. Puppy mills should all be CLOSED.
Please ban puppy mills
We need to save ALL the Animals now and forever.
Please inforce the puppy protection act. I believe it is absolutely necessary, because so many dogs are. Mistreated for money. Those humans should be treated as they treated those poor dogs!!!
I recently visited the Marion. IL area and learned that the Amish there have
puppy mills. One sweet puppy. acquired through a rescue group, was going
to be shot (according to the person who rescued her) because she was the
runt of the litter. The people who are raising puppies in such deplorable
conditions should be jailed as well as severely fined, and should never again
be allowed to own pets. We need stronger laws to protect innocent animals.
Please, please end the suffering of these precious animals who cannot speak for themselves. Why, in the 21st century, is this horrible abuse, neglect and suffering still happening? We as a nation have a responsible to humanely care for all living creatures.
End animal cruelty aka puppy mills
This has to come to an end. Do not allow puppy mills Stop breed all this dogs. take care of the dogs that need a good human to care for them and lov them as they also need love and care
STOP MALTRAITANCE ANIMALE
This is terrifying, that such abuse can take please. Please stop this disgusting abuse to animals now.
Kind Regards Selena
Don’t shop Adopt!
As far as I’m concerned not one of those people should have or ever be able to have any type of animals!!!! That is just plain mean inhumane sad should never be able to have any animal ever be ashamed of their self their selfs😲💔😭
How can we as a nation allow this treatment to animals to continue. We look down on other nations for their horrific acts of cruelty on people and animals. But we can see what’s going on in our own back yard. Shame on the government for letting these people to continue, even when they are filmed doing horrific things to innocent creatures. What kind of person does these kinds of things, definitely not someone I would want to know .
This is Cruel. People cant get jobs so they decide to sell dogs? If you do not have money or a job, do not decide to get dogs to cure that for you and give them disgusting food+water and do not lock them up in there own messes. the crappy cages do not help either and then you kill the mothers when they can breed anymore? How greedy are these people. Just cruel.