WARNING: Content may be sensitive for some readers.
For the past ten years, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has released an annual report known as “The Horrible Hundred.” It’s a list of some of the most problematic United States puppy mills that are currently operating. The report is only the beginning since there are about 10,000 puppy mills currently in the US, many of which aren’t documented.
This report is important for dog lovers because it shows the horrific reality of the puppy industry. Many people know puppy mills exist, but they don’t know how severe the issue is. So, this report is meant to educate and encourage them to get their puppies from humane operations instead of businesses that supply from puppy mills, such as pet stores and online retailers.
Puppy Mills Are an Ongoing Problem
Over the years, the Horrible Hundred report has mentioned 650 breeders in 33 states. Of those breeders, over 200 have shut down or lost their licenses. A few dozen have been criminally charged, and over 1,400 dogs have been rescued. Yet, that means the majority of these breeders haven’t been severely punished and are still operating today.
Some of the breeders on this list have appeared on it over four times, but they still haven’t shut down. Many of the biggest offenders in the 2022 report haven’t been punished because some states either don’t have humane pet breeding laws or they don’t strictly enforce the laws they have.
Every year, Missouri is the state with the most puppy mills on the Horrible Hundred list, but several other states may be just as bad. Some states like Ohio and Oklahoma are known for having many puppy mills, but they didn’t respond to HSUS’s paperwork request for this report. Other states like Arkansas and Florida don’t have kennel inspection laws.
Luckily, many cities have been banning the retail sale of puppies to limit the places puppy mills can sell to. But even with those positive efforts, puppy mills are a huge concern. So, this report is crucial for reminding the public how many horrific breeders there are.
Highlights of the Horrible Hundred 2022
Like past reports, Missouri is the state with the most Horrible Hundred puppy mills (26). At least 11 of the dealers on the list have sold to Petland, the only national pet store chain selling puppies. However, the number is likely much higher since Petland gets a lot of their puppies from people re-selling them. 40% of the breeders on the 2022 report have been on previous Horrible Hundred lists.
Here are a few breeders mentioned in the 2022 report:
- Henry Sommers, an Iowa breeder, admitted to a USDA inspector that he injected some dogs in the stomach and left them to die in their cages. His veterinarian didn’t approve the procedure or give necessary drugs. Yet, there is no evidence of Sommers being fined or losing his license.
- Menno Gingerich, an Iowa breeder who runs “Skyline Puppies,” admitted to stitching up a puppy’s neck wound by himself without using anesthesia. It seems that Gingerich hasn’t been fined or lost his license.
- Mary Moore, a Kansas breeder, running “D and M Kennel,” admitted to tossing dead puppies into a field because she was “in a hurry.” Yet, the state didn’t cite her with any violations.
- Cory Mincey, a Missouri breeder, running “Puppy Love Kennel,” was sued by the Missouri Attorney General in 2019 due to filthy cages and dying dogs. She was fined $4,500 but is still operating.
These are just a few of the many puppy mills on this list, most of which have gotten away with little to no punishments. You can click here to view the full report. Don’t forget that this list only covers some of the country’s puppy mills, but there are still thousands of others operating.
How Can You Help End Puppy Mills?
Shutting down puppy mills directly is a difficult task that the government needs to be involved in. Yet, the only reason puppy mills exist is because people keep supporting them. Most of those supporters don’t know they’re doing it. So, here are some ways that you can make a difference:
- Be cautious when getting a dog – Puppy mills will do anything to prevent you from seeing where the dogs are bred, so they often sell through puppy stores, online retailers, and remote locations like parking lots. If you can’t visit where the dogs are kept and bred, don’t trust that breeder. Here are some signs a puppy is from a puppy mill. Also, shelters and rescues are great places to find dogs.
- Spread the word – If you know someone looking to get a dog, encourage them to do their research. If they’re skeptical, you can refer them to animal welfare organization Bailing out Benji‘s website because they have a list of where puppy stores from each state source their dogs.
- Contact government officials – Every city that bans retail puppy sales helps limit where puppy mills can sell to. So, email your legislator or city council members to encourage them to introduce a humane pet store ordinance to your area if there isn’t already one. Here’s a full list of the cities with humane pet store laws.
Getting rid of puppy mills won’t happen overnight, but every person can help reduce the business these harmful breeders are getting. The Horrible Hundred is a great way to spread awareness. So, share this report with as many people as possible to encourage more dog lovers to speak up against puppy mills.
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