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Missouri Named No. 1 Puppy Mill State For Sixth-Straight Year

The report found Missouri has 23 puppy mills, followed by Ohio with 13 and Pennsylvania with nine.

May 15, 2018 - 1:11 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Missouri has the most puppy mills listed in the Humane Society of the United State's annual Horrible Hundred report – for the sixth year in a row. The report is a meant to bring awareness of the cruel conditions that animals are subject to by some by breeding operations that focus on profit over animal welfare.

The report found Missouri has 23 puppy mills, followed by Ohio with 13 and Pennsylvania with nine.

Click here for the full report 

Kathleen Summer helps run the anti-Puppy Mills campaign for the Humane Society,  she says despite their efforts to crack down on them, the Show-Me State continues to be a hotbed for puppy mills. She blames the state for not taking a tough enough stance against businesses who have violations against them.

"Unfortunately, we've even found that some of the puppy mills that have had their licenses revoked by USDA are still licensed in the state of Missouri and still in business," Summer says.

She says puppy mills are such a big problem in Missouri due to its central location in the U.S. and many "transporters and brokers" set up shop here.

According to a news release from the Humane Society, the report comes from information gathered by researchers who look at federal and state inspection records:

"Over the 12 month period since we published our last report, USDA inspectors have continued to find conditions just as horrific as those in our prior reports, including dogs with open wounds, emaciated dogs with their ribs and spines showing, and dogs with moldy food, dirty water and filthy cage. The difference is that this year, we don’t always know which operators have been found with such dreadful conditions. The suffering these animals face seems even more unjust, because most of the identities of their breeders have been kept secret by the USDA — the very agency charged with protecting dogs in puppy mills and keeping bad breeders in line.

"Without this information, The (Humane Society) and the general public cannot evaluate whether USDA is meeting its charge. Additionally, consumers cannot judge whether or not they are supporting an operation which has been found employing the harmful practices described in this report. Moreover, the lack of transparency can be a hindrance to law enforcement efforts in jurisdictions that rely on inspection reports to determine compliance with state and local laws."

Since the annual reports began in 2012, Missouri has topped the list each year.

Here is the full list of Missouri offenders:

Alton, Missouri: Marlisa McAlmond, Cedar Ridge Australians (REPEAT OFFENDER) Massive operation with more than 400 dogs had repeat issues with veterinary care; 26 puppies and dogs were thin, with ribs showing, noticeable waists and/or muscle atrophy; inadequate and unsafe housing.

Anderson, Missouri: Name withheld by USDA; believed to be Joyce Walters, Select Pets* (REPEAT OFFENDER) Puppies with feces matted in their fur were in a cage that had not been cleaned in days; Yorkie had bloody stool.

Ava, Missouri: Marilyn Shepherd aka Marilyn Williams, Pup 4 U, aka Williams Kennel (REPEAT OFFENDER) Inspectors found injured dogs five years in a row; severely matted dogs; one dog was so matted the breed was unrecognizable and the dog also had lice. Breeder was permanently barred from holding a USDA license in 2006 but she is still in business under a state license and selling online.

Clark, Missouri, Name withheld by USDA 5 ©Humane Society of the United States, 2018 Shih tzu had such a tight chain around her neck that she had open lesions and “blood like matter” on neck; a second dog appeared to have a broken leg, yet USDA inspector did not cite either painful issue as “critical” or “direct.”

Clinton, Missouri: Kimberly Coleman, TLC Kennels (REPEAT OFFENDER) Direct, repeat violation for injured dog; underweight shar-pei found bloodied and severely wounded; year after year of violations.

Curryville, Missouri: Debra Ritter, Cornerstone Farms (REPEAT OFFENDER) Huge Internet seller with more than 375 dogs has been cited by state inspectors year after year for poor conditions; dogs had diarrhea, hair loss and fleas; USDA mysteriously finds no violations.

Edgar Springs, Missouri, Name withheld by USDA “Mound of feces” was 10 inches high; dogs with frozen water had been licking at solid blocks of ice seeking moisture; dogs had hardly any protection from the bitter cold when temperatures had been as low as 14 degrees F.

Edgar Springs, Missouri: Pamela Baldwin, Samples Creek Kennel (REPEAT OFFENDER) More than 30 dogs found underweight, sick or injured in 2016-2017; some were limping or had open wounds; one dog had eyes completely covered in yellow discharge; another had an enlarged, bulging eye. Breeder sells to Tiffanies LLC, a massive pet store broker.

Edina, Missouri: Donald Schrage, Rabbit Ridge Kennel (REPEAT OFFENDER) Problem puppy mill with more than 130 dogs still accumulating violations under a state license, despite revocation of its USDA license in 2016; violations have spanned more than two decades.

Elkland, Missouri, Name withheld by USDA Two dogs were so thin that they had “obvious visible waists” and visible vertebrae; excessive feces, with “mashed and caked fecal material” covering large parts of flooring; some dogs were unable to move around without stepping or standing in feces.

Elkland, Missouri, Name withheld by USDA Puppies found smeared with feces in a feces-encrusted cage; dogs with empty water bucket drank excessively after inspector instructed breeder to give them water; three dogs disappeared from facility after owner was told to obtain veterinary care for them.

Gallatin, Missouri: Pam Wilson Admitted using a cattle prod to break up dog fights; direct violation for puppy with crusty scabs and other dogs with similar issues; licensee admitted she caught a rash from the dogs, yet none of the animals with skin disorders had been seen by a veterinarian.

Granby, Missouri, Name withheld by USDA Inspector found dog with bloody discharge oozing from open surgery site; shih tzu had green crust along eyelids.

Jamesport, Missouri: Jimmie Holyfield Inspector found cluster of cockroaches in kennel; piles of feces so numerous that dogs had difficulty moving without stepping in it.  

Lebanon, Missouri: Jason and Ashlae Simmons, Simmons Farms Breeder of AKC puppies repeatedly found with sick or injured dogs yet had no proof of veterinary care for their issues; inspector found mother dog with “prominent ribs” nursing puppies.

Marshfield, Missouri: Bobbie Lyell, Oak Wood Farms Many dogs were underweight with patches of hair loss; at least one of them had lice; others had discharge from eyes or ears; veterinary issues found at three separate inspections in 2017.

Middleton, Missouri: Name withheld by USDA; believed to be Mark Ritter, Heritage Farms Kennel aka Heritage Farms, LLC* Two nursing mother dogs were found “very thin” with prominent spine and pelvic bones.

Montgomery City, Missouri: Linda Kay Butler, High Point Kennel (REPEAT OFFENDER) AKC-linked breeder had repeated problems with veterinary care; several puppies in one litter had died; others had no records of vaccines or treatments.

Neosho, Missouri: Kallie and Josh Bateman, Puppy Travelers, Inc. Twenty-four puppies seized at end of long transport to pet store were found in filthy conditions, small cages without water; the transport operation shares space with Pinnacle Pet, LLC, a massive puppy broker.

Novelty, Missouri: Michael Franke, North River Kennel (REPEAT OFFENDER) Puppies had loose, bloody stools; inspectors warned breeder four times about keeping dogs on wire flooring without adequate resting surface; one dog had hair loss and reddened ears.

Novelty, Missouri, Name withheld by USDA Dog’s wound had not been treated by a veterinarian; food was contaminated with feces; dogs did not have enough protection from the bitter cold in winter or high heat in summer.

West Plains, Missouri, Name withheld by USDA Dogs had bleeding, open wounds; Yorkie had hair loss and fleas; French bulldog was seen coughing and gagging.

West Plains, Missouri, Name withheld by USDA Boston terrier found shivering in the cold; multiple dogs had barely any protection from the cold in 29 degree temperatures.