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Hoosier Puppy Mills Named Among "Horrible Hundred"

Dogs with eye problems and dental disease were discovered in 2016 at an undisclosed Indiana breeding facility, according to a new report. (USDA)
Dogs with eye problems and dental disease were discovered in 2016 at an undisclosed Indiana breeding facility, according to a new report. (USDA)
May 29, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS – Four Indiana dog breeders are named in a new "Horrible Hundred," report examining so-called puppy mills and dog sellers around the nation.

The sixth annual report from The Humane Society of the United States highlights allegations of cruel conditions at the facilities, which Kathleen Summers, the organization’s director of outreach, maintains are large commercial breeding operations that emphasize quantity over quality. And she says some horrific conditions were found at the Indiana facilities on the list.

"A breeder who had a dead puppy floating in a water bowl,” she relates. “Another breeder in Montgomery, Ind. was found with underweight dogs that had their ribs and hip bones showing and crusty eyes. "

And at an Odon breeding operation, the report says puppies and dogs were found in sweltering kennel buildings with heat indexes over 100 degrees, many showing signs of heat stress.

Summers notes the report does not list every puppy mill or even the worst of the worst, but is instead a snapshot of the scope of the problem.

It's the U.S. Department of Agriculture's responsibility to inspect puppy-breeding facilities, and Summers contends the agency has slipped on enforcement. And she notes redactions on USDA reports are now hiding the names of the breeding facilities.

"Even though our tax dollars as citizens are being used to inspect the facilities, USDA is hiding the names of these violators,” she states. “So your average person who does want to buy a puppy and wants to do their homework first can't even ensure that they're not buying from people on our list."

Summers argues both state and federal enforcement should be strengthened, but notes that puppy mills wouldn't exist if they didn't have customers.

"It is very important that people who want to buy a puppy visit their breeder in person, make sure you see how many breeding dogs they have and where those breeding dogs are living,” she stresses. “If the breeder won't show you her facility or her conditions that's a huge red flag."

According to the report, Missouri has the largest number of puppy mills with 23, followed by Ohio, Iowa and Pennsylvania.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN