Uncovering national puppy mills

The Humane Society of the United States is reporting on problem puppy mills, including some dealers (re-sellers) and transporters. The Horrible Hundred report is a list of known, problematic puppy breeding and/or puppy brokering facilities. It is not a list of all puppy mills, nor is it a list of the worst puppy mills in the country, but rather a list of dog breeders to avoid.

We provide this updated report annually, not as a comprehensive inventory, but as an effort to inform the public about common, recurring problems at puppy mills. The information in this bad dog breeders list demonstrates the scope of the puppy mill problem in America today, with specific examples of the types of violations that researchers have found at such facilities, for the purposes of warning consumers about the inhumane conditions that so many puppy buyers inadvertently support.

2024 Horrible Hundred

Our annual report documenting 100 of the country's known puppy mills has been released for 2024. 

An injured pug from a puppy mill
2024 facts and figures
A black dog from a puppy mill is shown to have diseased eyes

In a row, Missouri has the most dealers (23) in the Horrible Hundred report.

An injured pug from a puppy mill

In this year’s report sold to Petland, the only national pet store chain in the U.S. that still sells puppies.

Puppies living in a small cage in a puppy mill

Are linked to the American Kennel Club (AKC), a dog registry group that frequently lobbies against stronger humane laws.

Pledge to protect puppies

Puppy mills force animals to live in deplorable conditions. You can stop this cruel cycle by pledging to adopt from a shelter or rescue or purchase from a responsible breeder.

B.B., a dog rescued from a Cabarrus County, North Carolina, puppy mill on 9/26/16
Amie Chou / The HSUS

Some prior Horrible Hundred dealers have been taken to court or have closed down

After we published our 2023 report, some dealers listed closed voluntarily and others have been charged with animal cruelty or neglect.

  • Our Animal Rescue Team assisted in removing 110 cats from Virginia breeders Elena and Andrey Mikirticheva, who were included in the last report after incurring dozens of U.S. Department of Agriculture violations tied to ailing dogs and cats; the USDA has now permanently revoked their license and fined them up to $300,000.
  • Mary Ann Smith (Smith’s Kennel) of Missouri dropped both her state and USDA licenses reportedly after pressure from local authorities.
  • Clem Disterhaupt, Jr. (Ponca Creek Kennel) in Nebraska and Loren Yoder (Sunset Valley Farm) in Iowa also closed after many appearances on the Horrible Hundred list; Yoder relinquished about 130 dogs to shelters and was charged with 41 counts of animal neglect.
  • One of the Kansas dealers who closed in 2022 (Samuel Roman, Tree of Life Kennels) was sentenced to serve jail time in 2023. These are just a few of many repeat offenders who are now out of the breeding business.
Sheep dogs live outside in tight quarters at a puppy mill
Dogs live in small crates stacked on top of each other with multiple dogs to a crate in a puppy mill
Illinois Department of Agriculture
Buying a puppy online or from a pet store?

You could be supporting cruelty like this.