There was a 4-week-old Shih Tzu, found frozen solid in the dirt. A toothless Yorkie so underweight that his spine “was visible and palpable.” Those Golden Retriever puppies with patches of missing fur. The five beagles shot to death because their breeder considered that easier than moving them indoors, as directed by inspectors.
These are just a few examples of what occurs at America’s worst puppy mills, says the Humane Society of the United States.
Most puppies sold in pet stores, at flea markets and over the Internet come from puppy mills, where dogs are often kept in filthy, inhumane conditions without medical care, adequate food, or even an afterthought: When mothers can no longer breed, they are killed, say officials.
In revising its annual report for Puppy Mill Action Week, from May 5 to 11, the HSUS releases its annual report, 101 Problem Puppy Mills.
The report doesn’t include all puppy mills - rather, those facilities that have been cited by federal and state inspectors for the most serious animal care violations.
“Here at The HSUS, eliminating puppy mills is a job we take very seriously all year-round,” says president and CEO Wayne Pacelle. “Our legislative and regulatory staff works with lawmakers to regulate puppy mills, we conduct investigations and litigation, and we promote public awareness and education. In recent years, we have assisted in rescuing more than 10,000 dogs from approximately 60 puppy mills across the country, including the rescue of 180 animals recently from a mill in Jefferson County, Arkansas.”
Of the 22 states in the report, Missouri continues its reign as the leader in problem mills, with 22 of the 101 named. However, the HSUS notes that part of the reason is because state inspectors appear to be documenting problems at substandard kennels more carefully under the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act, which requires higher standards of care at commercial breeding kennels than Missouri previously had.
Rounding out the states with the most problem mills are: Kansas with 13; Nebraska with 12; Arkansas and Iowa, with six each; and Minnesota with five.
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