ST. LOUIS — Missouri has more problem puppy mills than any other state according to a new report by The Humane Society of the United States. Missouri topped the list with 21 problem puppy mills in the 2021 Horrible Hundred report.
The report is released annually and Missouri has topped the list for 9 straight years. The report looks at federal and state inspection records for citations and instances of animal suffering. It also looks at consumer complaints and undercover footage.
While Missouri topped the list, the report found Ohio has 16 problem puppy mills, and Iowa had 11 top round out the top three states.
Some of the problems inspectors cited Missouri puppy mills for were keeping dogs in filthy conditions; injured dogs who had not received veterinary care; puppies shivering in cold temperatures without adequate protection from the elements.
The report found the Missouri Department of Agriculture recently gave a new license to a breeder whose USDA license was revoked in 2008. The report states that is when seven of her dogs were shot and killed and others were found emaciated or sick.
The Humane Society of the United States says the report illustrates that the USDA is not doing its job of ensuring humane and healthy conditions at breeders who sell to pet stores and online.
The report pointed towards Earl Light who operates Corn Creek Kennels. It says the Missouri state inspectors cited him for many violations, while during the same period the USDA didn’t cite him at all.
Some of those pets from Missouri puppy mills have been 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 internet site. They also suggest don’t buy from a breeder you have not met in person or carefully screened.
Here is a checklist for finding a responsible breeder:
- Responsible breeders only sell puppies to people they have met in person—never through pet stores or online to people they haven’t met.
- Responsible breeders encourag you to visit and see where the puppy was born and raised.
- Responsible breeders will not keep dogs in crowded spaces of cages.
- Responsible breeders breed sparingly. They specialize in only one or a few breeds and don’t always have puppies available.
- Responsible breedes will show you individual records or veterinary visits for your puppy and the parents.
- Responsible breeders will want you to sign a contract and ask you to return the puppy to them if you are ever unable to keep the dog.
You can read more about finding a responsible breeder on the Humane Society’s website.