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

Above, dogs at a breeding operation, Cedar Ridge Australians,
that appeared in the HSUS’s 2018 and 2019 Horrible Hundred reports.
State inspectors have, again and again, found underweight or
injured dogs at the operation in the latter half of 2018 and in
early 2019, including a dog with bite wounds. Photo by the Missouri
Department of Agriculture

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
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.

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

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Source: FS – Pets – A Humane Nation
Annual Horrible Hundred report identifies problem puppy mills in U.S.; Reveals USDA is failing to crack down on violators