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A Horrible Hundred: 100 Problem Puppy Mills

For Puppy Mill Action Week, report released representing widespread issues in the puppy mill industry

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As part of its seventh annual Puppy Mill Action Week, The Humane Society of the United States is releasing “A Horrible Hundred,” a report listing 100 puppy mills. The HSUS is calling on authorities to more closely monitor these and the thousands of other facilities across the country and is also urging state legislators to pass stronger laws to protect dogs in puppy mills. The puppy mills were selected based on the conditions documented in publicly available inspection reports and on evidence obtained during HSUS research and investigations.

“Every year, millions of puppies are born in horrific puppy mills and sold to unsuspecting families,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of The HSUS’s Puppy Mills Campaign. “We urge consumers to do serious homework before buying a puppy, and we ask lawmakers, law enforcement officials and the pet industry representatives to support laws that will crack down on this cruelty.”

During Puppy Mill Action Week, The HSUS asks supporters to spread the word about the realities of puppy mills by sharing this video, pledging not to buy a puppy mill dog from a pet store or Internet site and by always considering adoption from a shelter or rescue or purchasing only from a responsible breeder they have met in person.

The HSUS is not charging that these are the worst 100 mills in the nation, but these are operations with deficiencies and inadequate attention to animal welfare. They are indicative of the puppy mill culture that has become widespread and causes immense suffering for dogs.

Some states require pet stores to post the names of the breeders in a visible location, such as on the dogs’ cages, so consumers have additional information about where the puppies came from, and other large-scale commercial dog breeders sell directly to consumers over the Internet.

The HSUS found that:

  • Most of the 100 facilities have been cited repeatedly by federal or state inspectors for violations such as injured and sick dogs who had not been treated by a veterinarian, animals left in the freezing cold or blistering heat without protection, filthy conditions, and, in some cases, operators who performed surgeries on dogs without a veterinary license or shot and killed unwanted dogs.
  • States with the highest numbers of puppy mills on this list include Missouri (24), Ohio (15), Kansas (11), Iowa, (8), and Indiana and New York (6 each).
  • More than half of the puppy mills listed had more than 100 dogs and puppies on the premises according to their most recent state or federal inspection reports. At least 30 of the facilities had more than 200 dogs and puppies, and one (Clearwater Kennel in Minnesota) had more than 1,100.
  • The report covers puppy mills in 20 different states, but puppies from these breeders are shipped to pet stores and Internet buyers across the country so consumers never see the real conditions in which they were born and raised.
  • Many of the facilities in the report claim to be affiliated with the American Kennel Club. The AKC increasingly lobbies against laws that would require puppy mills to be more uniformly licensed and inspected.
  • The HSUS urges the USDA to swiftly finalize a rule to require all large-scale commercial puppy sellers to be uniformly licensed and inspected, including those that sell directly to consumers over the Internet. Additionally, the USDA needs to streamline its procedures for reporting problem operators to law enforcement and preventing operators from re-starting under a new name or license number.

See the list by state here.

Read the full report here.


  • Puppy mills are mass-breeding facilities that churn out puppies for the pet trade with an emphasis on profit over welfare. Breeding dogs in puppy mills have no real quality of life, often living continually in small wire cages with little or no personal attention, exercise or veterinary care.
  • In recent years The HSUS has assisted in rescuing nearly 10,000 dogs from more than 50 different puppy mills across the country churning out more than 2 million puppies per year for the pet trade.
  • While The HSUS stands ready to assist law enforcement with closing down illegal puppy mills whenever feasible, there remain an estimated 10,000 puppy mills across the United States, and many of them are legal. 

Media Contact: Niki Ianni, 301-548-7793, 610-999-6932, nianni@humanesociety.org

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