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

May 12, 2013 22 comments

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

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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?

puppymillsblack

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.
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Could You Support a Pet Store Who Adopts and Sells Pets?

October 26, 2011 11 comments

Would you support a pet store that sells puppies and kitties from puppy mills?

What about a pet store that used to sell puppies and kitties but now only adopts dogs and cats from local rescues and animal shelters?

What about a pet store that sells puppies and kitties from puppy mills AND adopts animals out from a local rescue groups or animal shelters?

This is the discussion that is going on over at Animal Cafe and Dancing Dog Blog and Will My Dog Hate Me?.

Petland USA from a corporate standpoint, still sells puppies and kitties from puppy mills. You can read more about their history here (feel free to also sign the petition to ask them to stop). But, a few Petland franchisees are starting to implement a new business model, one that focuses on pet adoption and less on selling puppies. Some have chosen to stop selling puppies altogether while others are transitioning to pet adoption. I encourage you to listen to the full 24 minute interview with Mary Haight (from Dancing Dog Blog), Alan Caplan (a Petland Franchise Owner), and Pamela Hoebeck (Pet Match, a rescue group) to learn more about this controversial issue.

As anyone involved in animal welfare knows, there is rarely a black and white solution to pet over population and many other animal welfare issues in general. But Mary, Edie and Animal Cafe raise some serious questions for all of us to consider.

Is it okay for a rescue or shelter to support an organization that sells puppies and kitties when it also adopts animals to loving homes?

What if that organization is looking to get out of the puppy- and kitty-selling business, but needs time to transition the business AND needs local support from rescues and shelters to make that transition a viable one?

Do we as animal welfare advocates miss the chance at a possible solution because we are too stringent in our requirements? Do we need to look at this issue in a more balanced way?

And what about the cats and dogs sitting in a shelter now? Or the ones waiting in a foster home, just waiting for a chance at a new life? Do we deny them this chance because we need to stand on principle? Do we allow them to be euthanized instead, just so we can say that we took the high road and didn’t support Petland or another pet store?

These are all the questions running through my mind tonight. To be honest, I am conflicted. As an animal advocate, who happens to have pretty strong views on puppy mills, the thought of supporting a store still selling puppies from puppy mills is abhorrent to me. But, when that same pet store is also adopting dogs into good homes, well, that is quite a dilemma. Can I support such a move? And, what would it take to do so? It’s something I’m going to need to ponder a bit more.

What do you think?

I encourage you to comment on Mary Haight’s blog post at Dancing Dog Blog, Edie Jarolim’s blog post at Will My Dog Hate Me? and/or Animal Cafe.

Kudos to The Honest Kitchen for Taking a Stand!

October 10, 2011 13 comments

Today, I want to call out a special pet food company and say KUDOS!

Recently, The Honest Kitchen (the company who my dog’s favorite pet food) shared their thoughts on the puppy mill debate within their own industry. It seems Pet Age Magazine, a trade magazine for pet supply store owners, distributors, etc. had shared an editorial by the magazine’s Editor in Chief as she expressed her dismay with the recent legislation in several states banning the retail sale of pets.

Here is an excerpt from Pet Age Magazine:

“Today, we are sorry to say that the situation is even worse. Measures to ban retail pet sales are not just coming faster, they’re succeeding more often. Thirteen localities in eight states have passed retail pet sales bans, and three have done so in just the last six months.”

You can read The Honest Kitchen’s full response here, but here is an excerpt of their response to Pet Age Magazine:

“My company, The Honest Kitchen, is one of the fastest growing companies in the US pet food industry, even enjoying 25% growth during the recession years. We’ve built a strong ‘indie’ business by sticking strongly to our core values and principles. We have enjoyed this growth despite never having allowed our products to be sold in stores that sell live puppies and kittens. Instead, we work with 2700 pet supply stores who are committed to our ‘no puppy sales’ policy, as well as with more than 200 pre-approved responsible breeders nationwide who have been screened by our company and meet our stringent criteria regarding how their animals live, the number of litters produced each year, and the way perspective new owners are ‘vetted’ before a sale.”

How many companies in the pet industry can claim this?

I am already a big fan of The Honest Kitchen, but I am even more impressed after reading their response and for calling it out on their website. I admire a company who takes a stand like this don’t you? Kudos to The Honest Kitchen!

By the way, Be The Change for Animals is taking a stand of it’s own and it relates to puppy mills too. We’re asking people to join our petition to ask Petland to stop selling puppy mill puppies in their stores in the United States. Petland in Canada has already made this decision. Wouldn’t it be nice if Petland USA did as well? You can learn more here. As a side note: The dog on the Be The Change for Animals page is my Daisy, a puppy mill rescue.

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