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October 5, 2010

Dog Advocates Release New Report on Missouri’s ‘Dirty Dozen,’ Some of the State’s Most Deplorable Puppy Mills

Missourians encouraged to vote ‘Yes’ on Proposition B to curb puppy mill cruelty

  • At last count, the USDA found more than 150 adult breeding dogs living--not very comfortably--on Beverly Fields' property. HSUS

  • Windsong Kennel was cited for violations for underweight dogs and dogs found in frigid temperatures without adequate protection from the cold. HSUS

  • Dozens of pages of USDA inspection reports detail repeated Animal Welfare Act violations for dogs exposed to the cold without adequate weather protection at S & S Family Puppies. HSUS

  • A dog found at S & S Family Puppies. USDA

  • A dog found at S & S Family Puppies. USDA

  • Before dropping his USDA license, this MO commercial breeder accumulated multiple repeat violations, including dogs without food and water, injured dogs who were not being treated by a vet, sanitation issues, and serious care issues. He still holds a state kennel license. HSUS

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B, the committee supporting the statewide ballot measure to stop puppy mill cruelty, today announced the release of “Missouri’s Dirty Dozen,” a report on some of the most deplorable puppy mills in the state known as the puppy mill capital of the nation. These puppy mills were singled out from the hundreds of high-volume commercial breeders in Missouri for repeatedly depriving dogs of the basics of humane care, such as food, shelter from the heat and cold and/or basic veterinary care, according to state and/or federal inspection reports for each dealer, and based in some cases on conditions seen in photographs taken by investigators earlier this year. The investigative report, compiled by The Humane Society of the United States, was released at a press conference in St. Louis.

As of this year, every one of these puppy mills holds a current license from the USDA, the state, or both. Some sell to pet stores and others over the Internet.

 “These puppy mills have an undeniable record of unconscionable violations of the minimal humane care standards in place, according to our study of their records,” said Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/ YES! on Prop B. “The fact that some of these facilities have been licensed for more than ten years and yet continue to be repeatedly cited for cruel conditions should be a wake-up call for Missouri. This report demonstrates the urgent need for Missouri’s citizens to vote ‘yes’ on Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, in November.”

The violations, drawn directly from federal or state kennel inspection reports, include sick or dying puppies who had not been treated by a veterinarian; thin-coated breeds found shivering in the cold in temperatures as low as 9 degrees; dogs with open sores that were oozing or bleeding; puppies with their feet falling through wire cage floors; and dogs so emaciated that their bones were clearly visible through their skin.

One kennel made the list because it had noted on its proposed USDA written program of veterinary care that the licensee intended to get rid of unwanted dogs “by clubbing the dogs,” while others were cited for failing to account for animals who had died or been killed. Several operators on the “Dirty Dozen” list have been fined or had their licenses revoked by the USDA for repeatedly violating the federal Animal Welfare Act, yet they remain licensed in the state of Missouri. The list also includes eight “dishonorable mentions,” for a total of 20 dirty dealers.

All the kennels on the list are believed to still be in business, although some of them have dropped their USDA licenses and now sell only over the Internet. Some of the operators are past contributors to MoFed PAC, a recently-disbanded group that actively opposed efforts to improve the state’s animal welfare laws – including Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, on the November ballot.

The first three puppy mills on the list are:

  • S & S Family Puppies, owned by Brandi Cheney and Diana Stephenson, in Milan, Mo. This USDA-licensed facility has been the subject of more than 500 pages of USDA enforcement records detailing filthy conditions, sick or dying dogs who had not been treated by a veterinarian, dogs in frigid temperatures with frozen water bowls and without adequate shelter from the elements, dogs so severely matted that when the mats were removed their skin was raw and oozing, and dogs with open, bloody wounds who had not been treated by a vet.  
  • Beverly Fields, B & B Kennel, in Galt, Mo. Fields is both USDA and state licensed despite a history of problems with ramshackle housing, dogs found in temperatures as low as 9 degrees with inadequate protection from the weather, a dog smeared with feces, and a dog with “red, inflamed and oozing” skin on her feet from standing on wire flooring. Photographs taken by HSUS investigators show dogs at this facility in rusty, crooked wire cages similar to chicken coops. Fields contributed to MoFed PAC, a recently-disbanded group that actively opposed Proposition B in Missouri.
  • Shannon Plymell, Windsong Kennel, in Pattonsburg, Mo. Windsong Kennel has retained its federal and state licenses in 2010 despite dozens of Animal Welfare Act violations, including dogs found in frigid temperatures with inadequate protection from the cold, underweight dogs, and dogs with “raw and inflamed skin,” hair loss or eye discharge who were not treated by a vet. A USDA inspector last year noted stacked cages that allowed feces and urine from the top tier of cages to rain down on the animals below. Photographs taken by HSUS investigators show dogs at this facility in ramshackle wire cages propped up by PVC piping.

At puppy mills in Missouri, dogs are crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and given no exercise or human affection. These puppy mills are cruel and the way these dogs are treated is wrong. Prop B would stop puppy mill abuses by establishing common-sense standards for the care of dogs.

 Prop B would amend Missouri law to require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles. The measure would also prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets and create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations.

 Prop B is supported by Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics; animal welfare charities and organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Central Missouri Humane Society, Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, Wayside Waifs, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), Best Friends Animal Society and The Humane Society of the United States; prominent Missouri figures such as Tony La Russa and Linda Bond; as well as responsible dog breeders, elected officials, religious leaders and Missouri businesses.

More information is available at YesOnPropB.com. A summary of the report is available here.

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Paid for by Missourians for the Protection of Dogs / YES! on Prop B, Judy Peil, Treasurer

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