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Report Reveals Hundreds of Horrific Puppy Mills that Continue to Breed & Sell Puppies to Pet Stores

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Despite repeated citations, years of documented abuse, and evidence of inhumane treatment of dogs, the Humane Society of the United States’ Horrible Hundred report revealed 100 problem puppy mills and brokers in the US, most of which continue to breed and sell puppies across the country.

Let the information in the report reveal the realities of the commercial dog breeding industry and serve as a harsh reminder to NEVER buy puppies from retail pet stores, 99% of which are sourced from these USDA-licensed and AKC registered breeders.

Puppy Mills
For at least four years in a row, Cedar Ridge Australians has been found with poor conditions and multiple dogs in obvious need of veterinary care. Due to repeated issues and operating without a license for a few months, in 2019 the MO Attorney General filed a suit against Marlisa McAlmond in July 2019. Yet, as recently as March 2020, several thin dogs were found at the facility, along with wet enclosures containing standing water, causing some dogs to become muddy, among other issues. Additional issues were found previously in June 2019 with additional dogs in need of veterinary care, unsanitary conditions, inadequate shelters, some dogs without protection from the wind and rain, some dogs without water or water that was contaminated with a “build up of debris and/or green algae.” From the HSUS Horrible Hundred report on problem puppy mills, May 2020. Credit: MO Department of Agriculture

Do you ever wonder where that adorable puppy looking out through the pet store window came from?

The Horrible Hundred report uncovers dogs suffering across the country at puppy mills – many of which are still in business despite years of animal care violations, including citations for injured and emaciated dogs, dogs and puppies exposed to extreme cold or heat without adequate housing, and some with dogs living in such filthy conditions that they were covered in their own waste. Some dealers even admitted to shooting dogs or puppies they no longer wanted.

For the first time since 2017, the Horrible Hundred report includes a full list of kennel names and license numbers. The report has been published every May since 2013, but since the U. S. Department of Agriculture data purge in 2017, some of the kennel names were unavailable and some puppy mills were only identified by city and state. This year, HSUS researchers again had access to complete information on each puppy mill, after Congress required the USDA to restore unredacted inspection reports to its online database, starting in February 2020.  

For the eighth year in a row, Missouri has the largest number of puppy sellers on the list (30), followed by Ohio (nine), Kansas (eight), Wisconsin (eight), Georgia (seven) and Pennsylvania (six). But because puppy mills sell to pet stores and via websites across the country, puppies from breeders included in the Horrible Hundred report are distributed throughout the country.

Hsus Photo 512203
Sonia Williams of Salem Heights Doodles was investigated for selling a puppy in poor condition in October 2019 by the WI Department of Agriculture.  During the investigation, inspectors cited poor conditions at the kennel as well, including a strong odor through the kennel and dirty conditions.  At a re-inspection in December 2019, inspectors found many of the same problems, including wet enclosures that did not give the dogs any dry place to lie down and dirty conditions. From the HSUS Horrible Hundred report on problem puppy mills, May 2020. Credit: WI Department of Agriculture

“With the Department of Agriculture failing to protect these helpless animals, and some agencies being forced to pause their inspection programs amid the pandemic, dogs rely more than ever on the public to vote with their dollar,” said John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society of the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills campaign. “Dog lovers can help by refusing to buy a puppy, or any pet supplies, from pet stores that sell puppies. In addition, it’s critical for pet lovers everywhere to contact their public officials and let them know they support stronger laws and enforcement.”

Some of the most disturbing findings in the 2020 Horrible Hundred report include:

  • Wendy Pets, a USDA-licensed dealer in Kansas, admitted that they shot and killed two dozen dogs. State inspectors cited Wendy Pets for the inhumane form of “euthanasia,” but the USDA did not. This follows a history of increasingly weak oversight at USDA, where enforcement actions have plummeted about 90% over the past few years. Wendy Pets provides puppies to pet stores across the U.S.
  • An AKC breeder in Michigan (Paul Steury) was investigated by HSUS and is currently being sued by the state’s attorney general for allegedly selling sick puppies, misleading consumers and killing unwanted puppies. Approximately a third of the dealers in the report, like Steury, claim to be affiliated with the American Kennel Club or sell AKC puppies. The AKC claims to be an organization for dog lovers, but routinely fights laws designed to crack down on bad breeders.
  • A USDA-licensed dealer in Iowa (Stonehenge Kennel), which has over 650 dogs, has been found with nearly 50 sick or injured animals since 2015, including limping dogs and dogs with open wounds, yet it remains licensed with USDA year after year. Stonehenge Kennel has been in the Horrible Hundred report three times, and continues to sell to pet stores across the U.S.
  • Two dealers in Missouri (Cedar Ridge Australians and Puppy Love Kennel, aka Cory’s Cuties) were both found with multiple emaciated dogs living in dreadfully poor conditions. Both have been taken to court by Missouri’s attorney general, and their cases are pending. In the meantime, both breeders still advertise puppies for sale on their websites to unsuspecting consumers.
  • More than half of the dealers in the report are licensed by USDA, which enables them to sell to pet stores or sell puppies online to unsuspecting consumers. At least four of the dealers in the report sold to Petland stores, the largest puppy-selling pet store chain in the country.

In the weeks and months since these issues were documented, dogs have been placed in even more danger. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the USDA and many state agencies have paused their inspection programs indefinitely.

The full report is available at

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