Home > Animal Rescue, Backyard Breeders, Pet News, Puppy Mills > 100 Problem Puppy Mills – Is your state on the list?

100 Problem Puppy Mills – Is your state on the list?

Puppy mill kennelsLast Thursday the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) came out with their “Horrible Hundred” – one hundred puppy mills it feels need closer scrutiny by state and federal authorities (“A Horrible Hundred: 100 Problem Puppy Mills“).

These are not necessarily the worst puppy mills in the country, but they are indicative of many puppy mills who provide inadequate and substandard care. Most of these facilities have been repeatedly cited by federal and local officials and have at least 100 dogs or more, including one in Minnesota with 1,100 dogs. Yes. 1,100 breeding dogs.

Many, if not all, of these facilities sell their dogs at pet stores (and over the internet) all across the country. One of the four  puppy mills listed for Minnesota has been found to have sold dogs in pet stores in Michigan, Chicago, Ohio and California.

Want to see if any from your state are listed? Go here. 

You can read a more detailed report on each of these mills here


So which puppy mills were on the list from Minnesota?

Carole and Larry Harries/ Harries K-9 Ranch – Alpha, MN

Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) investigated the Harries back in 2007 and called out issues with the wire mesh flooring, which allowed the dogs legs to slip through. They also documented dirty kennels, dirty water dishes, matted fur on several dogs, feces build up and up to 5 dogs per kennel in several kennels.

Apparently, not much has changed since 2007. In February 2013, the Harries were cited for a repeat violation by USDA inspectors for several dogs in need of veterinary care, including a shih tzu whose teeth were so rotted that the inspector could see the roots of her teeth, and two dogs with excessive matting around the tail with feces matted into the fur. 

Ted Johnson / Funtime Kennels – Windom, MN

Ted appears to have a revolving door policy when it comes to his USDA licenses, often letting them lapse and then reapplying (maybe he couldn’t make it just selling over the internet or just trying to hide his business from people like me?). He has also had multiple violations at his kenneling facility.

Back in 2011, he was cited for failure to establish and maintain adequate veterinary care as is seen in this USDA inspection report.

In April 2013, USDA inspectors found two Maltese dogs his kennel that had such severe dental disease that they had lost most of their teeth. One of the dogs had only two teeth left, and one of her remaining two teeth “was loose and moved easily when touched.” The dog was seen “excessively licking its mouth with its tongue hanging out of its mouth most of the time,” according to the inspector. The USDA also noted that the ammonia (urine) smell in the facility “was strong enough to make the inspector’s eyes burn.” 

John & Lyle Renner/ Renner’s Kennel – Detroit Lakes, MN

Renner’s Kennels have been cited multiple times for violations. This is one from 2004:

“One kennel that houses three golden retrievers (199, 176, 175) has an area of kennel wire that has turned inside the cage and the ends are poking out towards the dogs in the cage. Another kennel housing three huskies (238, 184, ?) has a pipe end that protrudes to the inside of the kennel that appears that the end of the pipe is sharp and may cause injury to the dogs.”

The most recent set of violations were received in January 2013, when they were “fined more than $5,000 by the USDA for repeat violations of the Animal Welfare Act regulations.” Previous violations documented on USDA inspection reports include “dogs kept in small cages without the minimum required space; lack of proper cleaning and sanitization, violations for dogs needing vet care, including a husky who could not bear weight on his leg, a dog with a missing eye and discharge, dogs with swollen/oozing paws (common in puppy mills with wire flooring), dogs without adequate protection from extreme temperatures, strong odors and accumulations of feces.” 

Wanda Kretzman / Clearwater Kennel Inc. – Cushing, MN (has 1,124 dogs as of February 2013)

According to Animal Folks MN, Wanda’s facility is THE LARGEST BREEDER/BROKER in MINNESOTA. She has over 1100 dogs and multiple violations covering several years, including violations for incomplete records, wire mesh floors that allow dogs’ feet to go through, not enough floor or head space in pens, and buildup of feces under kennels and in outdoor pens in 2006 (St Cloud Times, Mar 3, 2007) and violations in 2012 for seven dogs with bloody, inflamed and/or swollen feet, likely from straddling the painful wire flooring (HSUS, 100 Puppy Mills Report, May 2013).

Wanda’s puppy mill puppies have been sold in California, Chicago, Michigan and at dog auctions in Ohio. In an undercover video from the January 15, 2011 Farmerstown Dog Auction in Ohio, over 300 of the 504 dogs sold were from Clearwater Kennels (see the video below to learn more about dog auctions).

It’s hard not to see how this puppy mill ended up on the list is it?


Don’t see your state on the list? Chances are you will on a previous year’s report. HSUS has been highlighting some of these awful puppy mills for seven years now.

Want to stop puppy mills?

  • Share with your friends. Pick just one person and educate them on where pet store and internet puppies come from and then ask them to share with just one friend. Spread the word.
  • Send one tweet about puppy mills today.
  • Post one story on Facebook today about puppy mills and let people know where pet store and internet puppies come from.
  • Don’t buy puppies from pet stores or over the internet. Many puppy mills are turning to the internet to sell their dogs now because they are not required to have a USDA license nor are they subject to inspection.
  • Get active. Write your legislator and ask him/her to support a law to tighten the standards of care for puppy mills.
  1. May 12, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    Thanks for sharing this info. I will tweet and FB post and hope everyone who sees it spreads the word. It’s up to us.

    • Mel
      May 13, 2013 at 9:23 PM

      Thank you so much Slim Doggy. You know more than most how awful these places are and how these dogs suffer.

  2. May 13, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    This is so heart breaking. How people can do this to Gods creatures is beyond my comprehension. I will share with the hope that if it stops just one person from buying from the internet or Pet Store it will be a blessing.

    Lacy came to us with foot problems (among many other health issues) at sometime while in the mill she had a toe ripped off and of course was never treated. She has problems with that foot still and it causes her great pain.

    • Mel
      May 13, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      I could not agree more Carole. I hope it at least wakes people up to what is going on. Multiple violations over many years and nothing changes. Sigh.

      Poor Lacy. That makes me so sad! I wish she had been rescued before that could happen. Poor baby. 😦

  3. May 13, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    We hope everybody spreads the word. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

    • Mel
      May 13, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      Thanks Molly. Me too. I hope you had an awesome Monday too!

  4. May 13, 2013 at 6:54 AM

    Thank you for sharing this…I’m so happy that there’s not one place in Florida on the list

    • Mel
      May 13, 2013 at 9:20 PM

      You are so welcome Gizmo. I wouldn’t breathe too big a sigh of relief though. HSUS highlights 100 of these mills every year. This is only the ones called out this year. Sad isn’t it?

  5. May 13, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    We believe that if it were illegal to sell puppies at retail stores, there would be A LOT less puppy mills. AND if you could ONLY adopt puppies or dogs from respectable breeders, that would also cut out the puppy mills.

    • Mel
      May 13, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      I wish you could only obtain dogs from reputable breeders and rescues and no kill shelters. Unfortunately, banning sales of puppies in pet stores is only half the issue. The new way to sell puppies is over the internet and it is growing day by day. 😦

  6. May 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    This is horrific. Just awful to see. A doggy that Mummy knows (its her Aunties) is an ex puppy farm rescue. She is so damaged and still a wreck after two years (both mentally and physically). It isn’t just the immediate, get-the-poor-puppies-out that needs doing, it’s going to be years and years of rehabilitation for the mummy and daddy doggies.

    So so horrible. Whee think people should only rescue until numbers in rescues go down, instead of buying from any sort of breeder. Yes, this is an extreme view, but its an extreme issue.

    Nibbles, Nutty, Buddy & Basil

    • Mel
      May 13, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      I could not agree more. I have 3 dogs who all came from mills or backyard breeders. Daisy and Cupcake were breeder dogs and Jasper was a puppy when he came to me. I have often thought about your suggestion of people only adopting. But, there will always be mills and backyard breeders. Even in countries in Europe where puppy mills are banned, they still receive mill dogs from surrounding countries. It is a never-ending cycle. 😦

  7. Global Dachshund Crossposting (@skye613)
    May 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Just read the entire report. One point is repeated over & over. These places have been cited repeatedly and yet they are still in business. We must work to strengthen the laws and to fund the inspections.

    • Mel
      May 13, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      I know. It’s extremely disappointing. I didn’t include all the reports for all the Minnesota ones, but trust me, they are the same. Multiple violations over many, many years. It’s frustrating to see the USDA fail over and over again. You are right though, we need more, better and stronger laws. There is much work to be done.

  8. May 13, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Thanks for sharing this important info! I’m sure if more folks knew about these horrible places they’d be shut down!

    • Mel
      May 13, 2013 at 11:25 PM

      Me too Jackie.

  9. May 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I’ll share it on facebook, what these dogs go through is too horrible. I really don’t understand why more isn’t done about it.

  10. May 18, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    Shared on my Facebook page. I think spreading the word is one of the most important things we can do, and it’s so easy to also. My state is not on this list, but just the fact that there is a list is bad enough, and that there are so many more beyond this list is also just depressing.

  11. Brian201
    September 24, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    The dogs in the video are treated terribly. But I must say I have gotton a few cats from people on line that were wonderful, adjusted well with in days, socialized, and checked out very healthy. But these are people who focus on the best qualities, “Health, temperment.standards of their breed, and doing all they can for their pets happiness. So very different from those poor dogs in the video.

  12. wendy
    January 29, 2016 at 2:24 PM

    So, how do you know? I am looking for a puppy and trying to distinguish between the ones that say they are in loving homes and the ones that appear to be breeders only is very difficult.

    • Mel
      January 30, 2016 at 8:41 PM

      Great question. It is hard to know. This has some great info that you may find helpful. http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-care/how-to-find-a-good-dog-breeder?page=2
      One thing I can tell you is that 90% of those selling online are puppy mills and 99% of those puppies sold in pet stores comes from puppy mills.
      A responsible breeder will ask you to complete an application, require you to return the dog back to them if you cannot keep it, and will want you to come out to see their home, dogs and to them. They want to meet you and know who is going to care for one of their dogs.

  1. May 19, 2013 at 5:57 PM

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