ST. LOUIS – Missouri has more problem puppy mills than any other state, according to a new report from the Humane Society of the United States. Missouri tops the list with 21 problem puppy mills in the Horrible Hundred 2021 Report.
The report is released annually, and Missouri has been at the top of the list for 9 consecutive years. The report examines federal and state inspection records for citations and animal suffering cases. It also examines consumer complaints and undercover images.
While Missouri was at the top of the list, the report found that Ohio had 16 problem puppy mills, and Iowa had 11 in the top three states.
Some of the problems that inspectors cited Missouri puppy mills for were keeping dogs in dirty conditions; injured dogs not receiving veterinary care; puppies shivering in cold weather without adequate protection from the elements.
The report found that the Missouri Department of Agriculture recently re-licensed a breeder whose USDA license was revoked in 2008. The report said that was when seven of his dogs were slaughtered and that others were found emaciated or sick.
The Humane Society of the United States says the report shows that the USDA is not doing its job to ensure humane and healthy conditions for ranchers who sell to pet stores and online.
The report pointed to Earl Light, who operates Corn Creek Kennels. He says Missouri state inspectors cited him for numerous violations, while during the same period the USDA did not cite him at all.
Some of these animals from the Missouri puppy mills were supplied to Petland stores. The Humane Society of the United States says consumers can help break this cycle by refusing to buy a puppy from a pet store or website. They also suggest that you don’t buy from a breeder you haven’t met in person or carefully selected.
Here is a checklist for finding a responsible breeder:
- Responsible breeders only sell puppies to people they have met in person, never in pet stores or online to people they have not met.
- Responsible breeders encourage you to visit and see where the puppy was born and raised.
- Responsible breeders will not keep dogs in crowded cage spaces.
- Responsible breeders reproduce sparingly. They specialize in one or a few breeds and don’t always have puppies available.
- Responsible breeds will show you individual records or vet visits for your puppy and parents.
- Responsible breeders will want you to sign a contract and ask you to return the puppy to them if you ever fail to keep it.
You can read more about finding a responsible breeder at the Humane Society’s website.