All the great progress in our fight against puppy mills this summer

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on August 23, 2022 with 15 Comments

Summer is a time of rest and relaxation for many of us, but there has been no lull in our fight to end puppy mills. We have made real progress in our campaign to stop inhumane dog breeders who mass-produce puppies for sale through third-party outlets like pet stores and online sites that allow their cruelty to remain hidden. Here’s a roundup of recent wins:

  • In June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture fined a puppy mill breeder in Missouri for continuing to sell puppies without an appropriate federal license. We exposed Deanna Brundage’s violations of state law in our 2021 Horrible Hundred report and the Missouri Department of Agriculture took away her license. Brundage is now prohibited from obtaining a USDA license in the future and must pay a fine of $12,000.
  • On August 1, the USDA officially ended the use of teachable moments, a watered-down enforcement approach that allowed inspectors to avoid documenting problems at puppy mills, roadside zoos and other regulated facilities. At some of those puppy mills, our researchers and investigators had uncovered inhumane conditions such as ramshackle, crowded cages, and numerous state violations linked to the same facilities where federal inspectors documented no issues. Now, every violation found by federal inspectors must be documented on breeders’ and dealers’ inspection reports, and we’re grateful to Congress for directing USDA to stop using teachable moments in the FY22 budget.
  • The last puppy-selling pet store in Maryland has shut down and its owners must pay a hefty fine. Maryland’s Attorney General sued Maryland Puppies Online for continuing to sell puppies in a retail store in violation of the state’s No More Puppy Mills Act. Maryland Puppies’ owners will have to pay at least $75,000 and must pay back consumers who were sold sick puppies. This was the second of two lawsuits filed by Attorney General Brian E. Frosh against pet stores that flouted the new law; the other one was against Just Puppies, which was fined $100,000 last year. As a result of Attorney General Frosh’s action, we can now say there are finally no more puppy stores in Maryland.
  • In early August, three Furry Babies puppy stores received notices of revocation of their dog dealer licenses in Illinois after the Illinois Department of Agriculture determined they were still selling puppy mill puppies despite the state’s new Humane Pet Store Law prohibiting that practice. We’re now pressing state authorities to take action against other pet stores, including Petland, that are claiming to be “dog dealers” instead of “pet store operators” and continuing to sell puppy mill dogs.
  • As of the end of August, U.S. localities have passed 430 local humane pet store ordinances across 33 different states, with Oregon (Bend) and Arkansas (Fayetteville) recently enacting their first ordinances.

Many other states and localities are considering humane pet store laws or breeder regulations, and we’ll be working to support them in any way we can. New York is poised to become the sixth state to prohibit the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores, with legislation headed to the Governor’s desk. We will also continue to lobby support for the Puppy Protection Act in Congress which will help improve the quality of life for puppies living in large-scale breeding facilities. To find out more about how you can become involved, contact your state director or follow us on social media. By working together to educate the public and secure better legal protection for dogs, we can hasten the day when puppy mills are little more than a bad memory.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    No podemos permitir estos abusos esto tiene que acabar ya no es justo lucrar con la vida de los animalitos y todos los seres vivos tenemos que hacer algo beato tiene que acabar ya

  2. Michelle says:

    What happened to all the dogs after they shut down the puppy mills? That’s a lot of dogs to find good homes for. Hope they didn’t out them to a forever sleep.

    • B Munro says:

      Good question Michelle. Lets not drop the ball until we know what HSUS does with puppy mill dogs saved & confirm what percentage, if any, were euthanized once retrieved from a Puppy Mill business. Thank you.

      • Blog Editor says:

        Hi Munro and Michelle, please rest assured that when the Humane Society of the United States is involved in shutting down a puppy mill, we ensure that every dog is brought to an approved placement partner to find a new home. In some cases, the dogs are not available for placement immediately due to pending judicial proceedings. If that happens, the Humane Society of the United States will help keep the dogs in a temporary shelter until a judge rules that they can be placed in new homes.

  3. D says:

    What about Ohio? There are numerous puppy mills in the Amish areas !

  4. Claudine morel says:


  5. Patricia A Bruce says:

    Why isn’t the Federal government helping these puppies ? They could do more than any state could. Puppy mills could and should be outlawed. Are they saying that the abortion issue is more important. Or, maybe it’s JUST TO HARD and It’s JUST NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO HELP PUPPIES. WRONG ! They need help. Some will die.

  6. Karin erker says:

    I Hope you can help the Dogs

  7. Kathryn Seiler says:

    I bought a puppy a year ago from an AKC breeder and the situation there reminded me of a puppy mill. I think AKC needs to have some kind of restrictions and lol into who they allow to breed. I also think it is terrible that the USA has not put a stop to ear and tail docking. Germany and England stopped years ago!

  8. Cheryl Marshall says:

    Put all these greedy people that run the hundreds of puppy mills, in cages stacked on top of each other without any clean water, food or basic care for days at a time in the sweltering heat. I’m sure they’d never run a puppy mill again!
    Revoking their license to operate isn’t working!

  9. Kathy Stahl says:

    I have tried over and over and over to home one of these dogs.I want a malimute or a Husky.Yet no one has even tried to help me ,help one of these dogs.If you get people to donate money,It would ,could,can help find homes for these babies

  10. Ulrich Stolarczyk says:

    There is so much pain and torture animals have to suffer, that is why good people have to help animals in danger. And – round the world.

  11. Linda Andrews says:

    It’s great that all this progress is being made to shut down puppy mills, but, because they don’t get the publicity the puppy mills get, I’m sure a lot of people don’t know there are KITTEN mills, too.

  12. Yvonne M Beach says:

    What can I do to help shut down Fur Babies? This is a store that despite the new Illinois law, is still open for business and selling dogs from puppy mills and large scale breeders. It makes me sad that not only are they still operating, but people are still supporting their inhumane practices by purchasing these animals from the store.

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