Researchers from the Humane Society of the United States painstakingly reviewed hundreds of pages of state and federal inspection records to uncover and expose the worst 100 puppy mills in the United States and just released their 2015 report, according to the DoDo.
Make no mistake about it: there are no “good” puppy mills. Puppy mills are an inhumane, commercial dog-breeding facilities where female dogs are bred at every heat and the physical and behavioral health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits. Often, the dogs live in cages their entire lives in rabbit-type hutches and never touch ground, while having to endure tortuous heat and freezing cold. Others may live in dark barn-type structures or in cage-type structures and never feel grass beneath their feet or the sun on their face. They never know love or kindness. Veterinary care, if any, is minimal. Their offspring are sold through advertisements, including online, and in pet stores. Many are USDA-licensed breeders, according to the Puppy Mill Project. It’s not how we picture man’s best friend being treated.
The Humane Society of the United States’ report of the 100 worst puppy mills can be found here
In the states with the worst patterns of abuse, lawmakers often seem to attempt to weaken, rather than strengthen, the laws overseeing the puppy mills. According to Wayne Pacelle, the CEO and President of the Humane Society of the United States, in A Humane Nation, Kansas failed to pass an enhanced kennel inspection law earlier this year. And in another puppy mill-laden state, Missouri, lawmakers have regularly proposed bills that would weaken rather than strengthen kennel oversight. For example, he stated the following violations occurred–all heart-wrenching:
◾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.).
These are just the tip of the iceberg as far as how poorly dogs are treated in puppy mills. The Humane Society urges consumer not to purchase from puppy mills or their sources, commonly online and pet stores. If there were no demand, the mills would close. If buying from a good, reputable breeder, make sure that you can visit the kennel and see the conditions where the puppies are born and raised. A good breeder has nothing to hide.
At least two dozen kennels cited in the Humane Society’s last two reports are no longer in operation, according to The Horrible Hundred 2015: Puppy Mills Exposed. See the report here, which lists many horrid abuses of dogs in the puppy mills by state. Click on the link where it says “Read our full report,” and a 35-page report of the horrors of puppy mills can be seen.
Many of the dogs are inhumanely killed when they can no longer produce, are inadequately fed, unsocialized, and receive inadequate veterinary care, exercise, and nutrition. This is no way to treat man’s best friend.
What do you think should happen to the owners of puppy mills? What type of sanctions do you think that they should face? Please leave your comments below.
The San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control officers rescued 191 dogs from an animal hoarder. The dogs were just abandoned. There is even a chance that this was an abandoned puppy mill or other breeding operation, according to an Inquisitr article.
[Photographs Courtesy The Humane Society of the United States – Puppy Mills Campaign Facebook Page]