Home > Animal Rescue, Backyard Breeders, Pet News, Puppy Mills > One more puppy miller bites the dust

One more puppy miller bites the dust


Sometimes the tide turns in a dog’s favor.

For 161 Malamutes in Montana it took a while for that tide to turn, but turn it did.

On October 18, 2012, the owner of the dog breeding facility (i.e., puppy mill) in which these dogs were kept, Mike Chilinski, was convicted of 91 counts of animal cruelty.

According to Jefferson County district attorney Mathew Johnson said the dogs were “were in serious poor health from lack of adequate nutrition”. Four veterinarians testified during the trial and said most of the dogs were severely underweight, and had scars and parasites.

I can’t help but be happy on behalf of the dogs that suffered and/or died under his care. Here in Minnesota, we are lucky to get an animal cruelty conviction for dogs suffering under similar conditions. Let’s face it the laws suck here.

That’s right. I’m not mincing my words today.

A many of you know, it is my never-ending plea that people stop buying puppies from pet stores or over the internet. I have shared the following information over the past few years, but it bears sharing again.

USDA-licensed does NOT mean they are not a puppy mill. 

Mike Chilinski does not appear to have been a USDA-licensed breeder, but that is not too surprising these days. Most puppy millers are choosing to forgo the USDA license to avoid inspections. Without the USDA license they cannot sell to pet stores, but they CAN sell over the internet as Mr. Chilinski did.

“This case should open people’s eyes to the fact that even people who advertise alleged ‘show-quality’ dogs may actually be operating puppy mills,” she said. “It’s easy to hide the truth behind a professional-looking website that seems to say all the right things.” (Gina Wiest, executive director of the Lewis and Clark Humane Society)

Having a dog with an AKC certification means nothing. Puppy mill dogs can also be AKC certified.

“Being a breeder that often breeds over seven litters a year puts me automatically on a list for AKC inspections,” he said under oath. “Having had two recent inspections by AKC representative Gene Brennan, I felt confident I was obeying all laws and the stricter AKC rules. The police were aware of the fact the AKC had inspected me because I often would remind them that the expert from AKC had found no health or care issues.” (testimony of Mike Chilinski)

Responsible dog breeders do not sell their dogs to pet stores or over the internet

“I have shipped dogs for 30 years and have never had an incident. I have dogs in Australia and on every continent.”(testimony of Mike Chilinski)

Puppy mills are cruel and horrible places where dogs are kept in deplorable conditions because it’s not about the dogs, it’s about the money.

Bill and Carole Peterson of Nye,  provided a deputy with photos of what they suspected of being a puppy mill. The couple went to the residence in mid-September to purchase a Malamute puppy and say they were horrified by the conditions of the dogs, which were living in kennels full of feces with little to no water. (Puppy mill and illegal pot operation busted in Jefferson City, Independent Record, 10/14/2011)

I found it a bit ironic that Mr. Chilinski was convicted without the USDA Proposed Rule Change being in place since he was opposed to it. You can see his name signed here (petitioner #2509):

Mike Chilinski - Petition to INvestigate USDA Proposed Rule Change

His comment on the petition?

Mike Chilinski - Petition Against Proposed USDA Rule

I’m guessing he still feels his 3rd amendment rights were violated, but it didn’t take the USDA to convict him, just his own cruelty caught on film. One more puppy mill closed down.

Don’t shop, Adopt.

Don’t buy over the internet, Adopt.

An update on the Malamutes rescued last October:

The dogs are now being transitioned to the care of Malamute rescue groups around the country who have offered help in placing the dogs in permanent homes. Lewis and Clark Humane Society says that the finalization of the adoption process will have to wait until after sentencing, in  about two to three weeks.

Potential adopters can email the American Malamute Assistance League (AMAL) at contact@malamuterescue.org to get on a list to adopt one of the malamutes.

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  1. October 30, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    News that is definitely cause for celebration. Thanks for writing so eloquently about it. (I can’t watch the video, despite knowing this story has a happy ending.)

    • Mel
      October 30, 2012 at 12:41 AM

      No worries Susan. It’s actually a nice video of how the dogs are doing now. Lots of playing and exercise. I am also glad the story has a happy ending. Thank you for your kind comments.

  2. October 30, 2012 at 1:30 AM

    I’m thinking the names on that petition might come in handy for inspectors…thanks for bringing this up again. People need reminders!

  3. October 30, 2012 at 6:18 AM

    I hope he rots in a cage no bigger than the one he kept the malamutes in!

  4. October 30, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    We can’t stop until all puppy mills are shut down .. forever

  5. jan
    October 30, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Hopefully this will send a strong message to other puppy millers, but until people stop buying them it is a profitable business.

  6. October 30, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Busted! It’s hard to imagine these lively, beautiful dogs in the video every living in such horrific conditions. I just cannot fathom how a person could see these dogs as merely property to sell. And I really don’t want to, honestly.

    I am so glad there is now one less puppy mill in the world.

  7. October 30, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Reblogged this on Time To Train Your Dog and commented:
    Anytime a puppy mill is shut down, it is a day to celebrate.

  8. October 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Hooray for the good news of this place being shut down. Honestly, on the other side of the equation though, I can’t imagine why a person would buy a dog over the internet. Hopefully people start to become more educated about that!

  9. October 30, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    AWESOME news Mel, there are still so many people who just don’t know where those puppy store puppies come from. I can’t believe it still happens in this day and age.

    I’m pretty sure there’s a special place in hell for people like Mr. Chilinski.

    • Mel
      October 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      Agree Jodi. That’s why I will forever continue to write about this topic – just like you.

  10. October 30, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    The guy had a grow-op, too. I’m still trying to get my head around 161 dogs!!

    • Mel
      October 30, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      What’s a grow-op Karen. Never heard of it. 161 is a larger breeder for sure.

      • Bob Sutherland
        October 31, 2012 at 2:33 AM

        Chilinski was growing pot, 300 plants were confiscated after the seizure. He plead out on the pot a couple of days ago. I bet his plants got all the water they needed, evidently the dogs did not. We know they were starved.

      • Mel
        October 31, 2012 at 6:42 AM

        Thanks for the additional info Bob. I couldn’t find any more information on the felony charges for the pot. That explains it.
        You also make a great point I hadn’t even caught while reading all the news stories – he had enough water for his pot plans but not for the pups. Just awful. I hope he gets some serious time, but I am doubtful. It seems like the laws always favor the abuser.

  11. October 30, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Glad he was convicted. Punishment should fit the crime. Let him live in the same conditions.

    • Mel
      October 30, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      Amen Lynda.

  12. November 2, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Ohhh, how incredible. How can people do this? Thanks for showing the video Mel, to see all the dedicated helpers made my day. i have wished for a Malmute since forever, but don’t have the home they would need. Listening to them all “talking” and watching them jump made me cry. Want to hug one so bad! What a horrible monster, let’s hope his sentence is fitting.

    • Mel
      November 4, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      It made my day too Natasha. I am so glad they were able to save these dogs and get them a chance at a new home.

  13. November 5, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Very well written. I agree with you that adoption is the best way to go all around. My three adopted dogs and two adopted cats would agree with you as well if they had opposable thumbs to type.

    • Mel
      November 6, 2012 at 5:57 AM

      Thanks Angel. I love teh idea of them all typing – ADOPT! 🙂

  1. November 19, 2012 at 5:52 AM

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