Children’s Gifts for Budding Animal Rescuers

Do you know a child who LOVES animals? Do you want to nurture those interests?

Well Bailing Out Benji researched a few fun children’s toys for the budding animal rescuer in your life! Scroll down to see a list of toys and where you can purchase them! 

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Rescue Runts: “Adopt Me, Love Me, Groom Me!” . Safe for Ages 3+ 

Under $20 

Varieties Include: Husky, Shepherd, Spaniel and Spotty. To view and order, click here.




Barbie Animal Rescuer Doll and Playset. Barbie loves animals so she’s setting up a rescue center where they live to give them care!


Under $30 

To view and order, click here.   


Scruff-A-Luvs Mystery Rescue Pet. Find us Scruffy, Make us Fluffy!

Find out if you have a dog, cat or rabbit after you wash, dry and groom your rescue pet

Under $20: Available in several colors and animals 


To view and order, click here.


Dalmatian Vet Kit: Portable animal clinic: a toy carrying case with all the veterinarian toys an aspiring veterinarian need.


Under $25 

To view and order, click here.



Doc McStuffins Rescue Kit: It’s Doc McStuffins to the pet rescue! the newest theme on the acclaimed Disney Junior series, Doc McStuffins, is pet rescue! with the new Doc McStuffins pet rescue mobile, kids can race to save the pets of mcstuffins ville – just like Doc! 

Under $40 

To view and order, click here.


LEGO Friends Heartlake City Pet Center: Build a 2-level pet center with pet shop, vet clinic and grooming parlor, plus and grooming van


Under $60 

To view and order, click here.


Operation ResCute: Each Book & Stuffed Animal Set Bought Helps to Rescue A Dog!!!! The Story of Hudson is the third book in the newly launched Operation ResCUTE series. The BOOK, based on the true story of a real life rescue dog ,comes in a gift set along with a STUFFED ANIMAL and Operation ResCUTE sticker.

Under $25: with several dog breeds available.

To view and order, click here.



Animal Rescue: This is a book in which you become a rescue hero. Simply turn the transparent page and rescue the animals! It’s fun, it’s simple, and it’s a gentle introduction to the  importance of animal welfare. To view and order, click here. 

Deputy Paws and the Puppy Mill Cause: Follow one young pup’s heart felt call to action empowered by the dark shadows his past…a must read for animal lovers of all ages. Capture the enthusiastic spirit of Deputy Paws as he ventures out beyond the confines of his past. To view and order, click here

Buddy Unchained: Buddy Unchained is a deeply moving look at a dog abandoned and adopted. The story is simple yet of vast importance, and at the end we want nothing more than to make sure that all the Buddys of the world are loved and cared for like this patient, easy-to-please pup.To view and order, click here

Maggie’s Second Chance: Maggie, a pregnant lab mix, is left behind in her people’s deserted house. Discovered by the realtor, Maggie is brought to the pound where her puppies are born. To view and order, click here

A Home for Dakota: After rescue, Dog No. 241 finds herself in a warm, secure foster home, with a woman named Emma who names her Dakota. To view and order, click here.

Libby Finds Vegan Sanctuary: Libby Finds Vegan Sanctuary is the story of how a turkey inspires compassion and ultimately, finds safety. To view and order, click here.

We All Love: This is a book for tender-hearted kids who want to live a compassionate lifestyle. It explores the earliest stages of empathy where we learn to recognize the things we have in common. To view and order, click here .


Riley Carson and the Cherokee Caves: Riley Carson is just an average kid…or so she thinks. Days before starting middle school, Riley’s beloved dog dies in her arms and this tragedy impacts her more than she can imagine. As Riley and her friends, Finn Murphy and Eve Rycroft, navigate the world of middle school, they stumble across something more daunting…dogs in their town are being mistreated. The kids must find out what is happening before another dog is hurt. From paranormal activity to legends of Cherokee gold, Riley, Finn, and Eve are about to begin the adventure of a lifetime!

A must-read for dog lovers! This fun adventure story aims to change the world for animals. To view and order, click here.

Riley Carson and the Quest for Justice: Can a girl and her friends save a dog on death row? Dog-lover Riley Carson wishes she could spend her free time training her new rescue dog and exploring secret and possibly haunted tunnels with her best friend Finn. But, when their town passes a law banning pit bulls, Riley, Finn, and their friend Eve must take action! To view and order, click here.

ASPCA Pet Rescue Club Series: Welcome to the Pet Rescue Club! Zach’s mom has a new patient—a giant dog named Maxi who has been helping her owner train for a marathon. Maxi’s knees can’t handle all that running and now she needs an expensive operation! Time for the kids in the Pet Rescue Club to help! Together they find a way to help Maxi. To view and Order, click here. There are several books in the series! 

Please remember, puppies and kitties are a lot of work and are a lifetime commitment. Please don’t support the puppy mill industry by purchasing a pet in a pet store. To learn more about puppy mills and their connection to pet stores, click here.


Bailing Out Benji is a 501c3 organization that works to expose the puppy mill industry through research and data. We have volunteers all over the country that educate about the cruel industry, while also working to save dogs from a life of misery. If you would like to make a donation in honor of someone you love or a beloved pet that has passed away, please click here.

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Buyer Beware: Hobo K9 “Rescue”

We all know that puppy mills are shady; really shady. Besides making a living off of the suffering of living, breathing dogs; their #1 job is to deceive the public. Thanks to organizations like ours, we have made their lives a little harder in both aspects. Especially when it comes to exposing their shady business practices to the public. 

In recent years, it has become a trend for cities (and now states) to pass legislation banning the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores from commercial breeders (ahem… puppy mills). Instead, these stores must get their puppies from rescues and shelters to help the homeless animals in their communities instead of aiding in the pet overpopulation problem. That sounds WONDERFUL, right? Bailing Out Benji has helped pass three retail bans in Iowa and our volunteers have helped pass bans in Minnesota, Arizona and helped with the state-wide ban in California, as well. But… Where there is a will, there is a way. And puppy mill owners sure have the will to want to make as much money as possible, while doing as little work as possible. 

Case and Point…. The “new” K9 Hobo rescue out of Britt, Iowa. Haven’t heard of them? Me either! And they are literally just a few counties over from where we are located. They don’t host adoption events, they don’t have a facility, they don’t even have a Facebook page or a website. But, do you know what they DO have? The same address as one of the country’s largest puppy mill brokering companies. That’s right! Hobo K9 rescue is JAKS puppies, they even have the same owners.

Do you know what else they have? A 501c3 license with the IRS- yep, they are also a nonprofit organization. 

FRAUD is the first word that comes to mind. The first year they filed with the IRS, they claimed less than 50,000 and that is solely because they became an official State of Iowa Business in September of 2016- so none of their reports are public. We are anxiously awaiting for their 2017 tax reports to become public, as we are certain they surpassed the $50,000 threshold. 

But why become a rescue? 

Loopholes, baby! It is all about the loopholes. Because Hobo K9 rescue is an “official” state licensed rescue AND they hold a nonprofit standing with the IRS, they can now legally sell puppies through pet stores in cities with retail bans…. Meanwhile JAKS puppies is still selling to pet stores in cities without retail bans. It’s the perfect crime. No one is going to take the time to track all of this down and expose the rescue/puppy mill- right? Wrong… Bailing Out Benji has been working on collecting all of this data since November/December of 2017 and we were actually able to work with the Chicago Tribune for a huge expose on this whole thing. Side note: one of our projects is exposing pet stores by showing exactly which puppy mills they are buying from, which is how we found this information out last year. You can view that info here

Spilling the beans.

So where is Hobo K9 selling their puppies? To several pet stores all over the country; including Illinois, New Jersey, California AND even a “shelter” in Florida. So, here’s the rub. 


Before an animal is transported out of state, a veterinarian, accredited by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), must examine the animal for signs of “infectious, contagious or communicable disease” and, if no disease is found, sign the certificate for approval to transport.

Many breeders also sell to dealers, such as Choice Puppies (formerly known as Hunte Corporation) in Missouri, J.A.K.’s Puppies, Inc. in Iowa or Nebraskaland Pets, Inc. in Nebraska, who, in turn, re-sell the animals to pet stores throughout the United States. You will see that some of the breeders below are also dealers and buy puppies from other breeders and re-sell to pet stores.

The WORST Offender (so far) Pet Luv 8057 S Cicero Ave, Chicago, IL

According to the CVI reports that we have obtained from the Iowa Department of Agriculture, these are some of the breeders that Pet Luv has purchased from in 2014 and 2015 BEFORE Chicago enacted a retail ban stopping pet stores from selling puppy mill puppies. 

  1. Steve Kruse, Stonehenge Kennel. West Point, Iowa- 156 adult breeding dogs (down from over 800 on last inspection). Kruse runs one of the largest puppy mills in the country and sells to pet stores all over the country. He was named one of the Horrible Hundred Puppy Mills  several times and has a history of violations including: Injured/Sick/New dogs (with no vet and no quarantine), extreme hairloss on dogs, open wounds, eye discharge in many dogs, abnormal eyes, matted fur, excessively chewed/worn wood in kennels, many dogs in kennels that were excessively small, no excercise plan, fecal matter mixed in with dog food. To view more information on this truly horrible puppy mill, click here
  2. Randy Stoen, Dows Iowa- 62 adult breeding dogs. Stoen is a very dangerous puppy mill owner in Iowa. Not only does he have horrible violations, but he has threatened to kill USDA inspectors that come on to his property. Some of his violations include: Threatened physical and verbal abuses to inspector. Threatened to stick needle in their neck and shoot them with a gun, No IDs on the adult dogs, Dogs had chewed holes in walls, rusty chainlink/poles/pipes, excessive feces,  medical violations including: male Japanese Chin with green mucus covering eyes, excessive matting, male cocker with neck wound and sores on nose, male golden retriever with open wound on ear from debris hitting him during a storm. Identification violations: 36 dogs with no official IDs. Housing violations including: a golden retriever in an enclosure with cattle panels that allow the dog to stick its head through the openings, excessive rusting, chewed doors with sharp edges, excessive feces build up. To view reports on the Stoen puppy mill, click here and here.
  3. J.A.Ks Puppies, Britt  Iowa-  (Broker). 97 puppies, but has had hundreds of puppies at one time before shipping them in semis to pet stores
Well if these photos don’t scream puppy mill puppies, I don’t know what else does! Thanks, PetLuv for the photos from your site 😉

But NOW , they’ve “cleaned up their act”. With this retail ban in place, they can no longer sell from horrible puppy mills anymore.. Right? Wrong. 

In 2016, only a few weeks after getting their rescue license JAKS started selling puppies to PetLuv again, only this time as HoboK9 “rescue”. That first year, they sold 27 dogs from Hobo- many of which are the same breeds as the ones sold by Stoen and Kruse that we mentioned above. 

But wait, 27 dogs doesn’t sound too bad? Maybe we are reaching… Until we continued our journey down the rabbit hole that is Hobo K9 “rescue”. 

In 2017 Hobo K9 sold 608 PUPPIES to PetLuv in Chicago. 608 puppies, that is almost 2 puppies sold a day. NO reputable rescue would ever have that many puppies in one year- nor would they let pet stores sell them, but that is besides the point. (In January and February of 2018, they have already sold almost 60 puppies to PetLuv too) . 

CHERISHED PET, also known as PARK PET- 10429 S Kedzie Ave, Chicago Illinois, 60655- Cherished Pet is also in Chicago and must adhere to their retail ban. Unfortunately, they are now buying from Hobo K9 “rescue” and can skirt that law. 

ESCONDIDO PETS-  200 E. Via Rancho Pkwy, Escondido, CA 92025

In the past, Escondido pets has admitted to buying from the Hunte Corporation. Until late 2016, the Hunte Corporation was one of the largest puppy brokers in the entire country. It was said to have sold over 100,000 puppies to pet stores each year. Hunte (now Choice Puppies) is the largest supplier of Petland stores across the United States, as well as many others. To view an undercover video taken at Hunte, click here.

Did I reuse the same photo? Oh no wait… These are more puppy mill puppies looking petrified.

Now, in October of 2017 a beautiful thing happened. The Entire State of California passed a retail ban outlawing the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores! While it won’t go into effect until January 2019, pet stores like Escondido are working quick to find their own loophole… And because JAKS had their brand new rescue license, a new team was born. Escondido now has a new relationship with someone who can walk them right through that retail ban.

In only January and February of this year, Escondido has sold 30 puppy mill puppies from Hobo K9/Jaks; which is significantly lower than the PetLuv. Please keep in mind that the pet stores in California still have another 5 months until the 2019 retail ban takes full effect and is still currently able to sell puppies from other puppy mills.

As we travel further down the rabbit hole that is JAKS puppies/Hobo K9 rescue, we also found out that they are supplying Bark Boutique & Rescue 40820 Winchester Rd Suite 2320. Temecula, California with puppies in hopes of creating a partnership before the retail ban in California takes full effect. Did we mention that the puppies being sold by JAKS/Hobo to the stores in California travel over 26 hours just to arrive from puppy mill to pet store? That time doesn’t include stops the driver makes and an overnight stay somewhere- that overnight stay doesn’t mean the dogs are let out of their kennels either. 

As we have done continued research, we have also connected Hobo/JAKS to PupsRUs 6230 Pets Ranch Road, Mira Loma California

Now we move to the East Coast…

As more and more cities are passing retail bans, two states are really leading the pack on this effort- New Jersey and Florida. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that these puppy mill-turned-rescue operations are sneaking into these states before the bans are everywhere. In New Jersey, we have been working alongside Alan Braslow and his team of advocates in New Jersey to shed more light on their pet store/puppy mill problem. 

Shake A Paw 2195 US-22, Union, NJ 07083 has routinely used some of the worst puppy mills in the entire country. These are facilities with hundreds of adult breeding dogs, numerous violations and many of them have even made the horrible hundred puppy mill list over the years. To say Jeff Morton, owner of Shake A Paw, isn’t picky about where his puppies are coming from is being generous. Morton makes himself present at many city council meetings around the state of New Jersey to try and dissuade councils to pass retail bans that would stop businesses like his from supporting the puppy mills that they do. He even claims to be “not for” facilities that advocates describe as puppy mills. You can view his testimony here. Shake A Paw has been buying puppies from JAKS/Hobo since 2016, mere weeks after the puppy mill decided to become a licensed “rescue” here in Iowa. 

When you find out a “humane society” is importing puppies from a puppy mill….

What is even more tragic, is when our research led us to the next offender. This business has imported over 200 purebred/designer, 8 week old puppies in 2017 alone. In order for those puppies to arrive from puppy mill to pet store  rescue, they have to travel over 21 hours in the back of a semi or a cramped van. Yes. We meant to cross out pet store. These puppies are being imported from Iowa to Florida to be sold by a “humane society” and they only accept cash or money order.

East Coast Humane Society, 503 Tamiaimi Trail, Venice, FL 34285 . We reached out to the director of ECHS, Cindy Johnson, and she never returned our emails. As you can see, in this CVI data, the box marked “sale” was checked off, implying that money exchanged hands for the purchase of these puppies. 

We have also connected Hobo K9 “rescue” to Puppies to Go- 7335 SW 8th st, Miami , Florida and Puppies and Rescues- 8961 Taft St. Pembroke Pines, Florida. As recently as February 2019, these stores are buying from fake rescues and are still supporting other puppy mills in the Midwest

Back to the source. 

As reported by the Chicago Tribune: 

(Jolene) Noethe of (JAKS/HOBO) referred questions to a spokeswoman, who did not know about Hobo’s existence until Tribune reporters called. Initially, spokeswoman Mindy Patterson (Calvary Group) told the Tribune that the public should be wary of nonprofit dog rescues because they have no federal oversight and sometimes import diseased animals from other countries.

“The ones who you are wanting to investigate are those who consider themselves quote-unquote rescues,” said Patterson, who also is president of The Cavalry Group, a Missouri-based organization that advocates for animal-related businesses. “They are unregulated (entities) for providing these animals.”

Another Cavalry spokesperson later stated that Noethe and Dolphin opened Hobo K-9 Rescue in direct response to the Chicago ordinance, but he declined to say how the puppies come into the rescue’s possession. Like most canine dealers, J.A.K.’S purchases the puppies from breeders, has a local veterinarian clear them for interstate travel and then resells them to pet stores.

So what can be done? Now that the public has been told through legislation in these towns that puppies in pet stores CAN’T come from puppy mills, the general consensus is that it is safe to walk in and “adopt” a puppy- and that is what the pet store is banking on. As animal advocates, it is not only our job to continue exposing the shady practices of pet stores and puppy mills, but to continue with educating the public about how to humanely and ethically acquire a pet. 

Here are few tips to avoid supporting puppy mills through pet stores. 

  1. Is there signage in the store connecting the pet store to a rescue or shelter? Pet stores are proud of their rescue partners and would have flyers, business cards and signage pointing out the relationship. 
  2. Is the rescue or shelter hosting adoption events at the store? Shelters and rescues jump on the opportunity to host adoption events where the public can meet their adoptable animals face-to-face. Legitimate rescues and shelters would be actively hosting adoption events to ensure their pets are seen and find their forever homes. 
  3. Does the rescue or shelter have a Facebook page, website and use pet adoption websites? Legitimate rescues have all of these things. All of them! Fact checking their existence is as easy as picking up your phone and searching for them. But it is up to you to do just that. 
  4. Is the rescue in your area? Rescues don’t ship their puppies to other states to get adopted site unseen. And if they do, they aren’t legitimate. If you are in a pet store and the puppies are being sourced from out of state- RUN, don’t walk away. 
  5. Are there adoption contracts for the animal and are they fully vetted? Again, legitimate rescues and shelters do not send out unaltered puppies/kittens to be sold to anyone who walks in with money. They also require adoption contracts to ensure the pet is going to a forever family, with a return clause in case it doesn’t work out.  

Stay updated. Like our facebook page , twitter and instagram. Stay updated on how you can help in your area. Don’t forget to SHARE!

If you have any questions regarding the research done within this article, or you want to know more about where your puppy came from, please send us an email and we will get back to you. 

With your help, we can put an end to puppy mills! 

The cost of obtaining this CVI data can be extremely costly, if you can send a donation to help us continue our important work in exposing pet stores and puppy mills, we would greatly appreciate it!

Bailing Out Benji is 100% volunteer based, meaning that no one is reimbursed for their time or efforts. As you know, we are dedicated to raising social consciousness about various animal welfare issues, mainly puppy mills, in order to create a more informed public who can demand change.


Missouri: Puppy Mill Capital of the World

Written by: Mindi Callison, Founder of Bailing Out Benji 

If you have heard of puppy mills, then you have very likely heard that Missouri is the worst state in the entire country when it comes to them. Not because of the sheer number of puppy mills MO has (which is a lot; over 800 ), but how horrible they are, how many adults dogs are trapped and how many puppies are sold from puppy mills in this state to pet stores all over the country. Missouri is undoubtedly a very unsafe place to buy a puppy from and for the love of all that is dog, do NOT – I repeat DO NOT- ever order a puppy from a site that will ship a dog to you after putting your credit card in. Your purchases are likely coming from one of the over 800 mills in Missouri and are keeping the puppy mill industry alive and thriving. 

Beyond the generic “Missouri has a lot of puppy mills” ideology that many advocates know to be true, we wanted to share some research-based numbers with you to show you why MO is and will likely always be the puppy mill capital of the world.


Horrible Hundred Puppy Mills

Each year the Humane Society of the United States puts out a list of the worst puppy mills in the US after reviewing thousands of inspection reports and complaints made by consumers. This report is known as the Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill list. This is a painstakingly long process and requires a lot of research to narrow it down to just 100 of the worst. Would you be surprised if we told you that Missouri has topped the list every single year since 2013 when the compilation began? Many of the offenders of the HH list are repeat offenders and, you might be shocked to learn, that many of these same puppy mills are supplying pet stores with puppies. To view the lists, click here. 

Missouri has appeared on the Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill list over 118 times, equaling out to having 24% of the worst 500 puppy mills since 2013- and only 28 states have ever appeared on the list. On the latest 2017 HH compilation, Missouri appeared 19 times and 13 of those puppy mills were repeat offenders. Translation: USDA licensed dog breeders in Missouri are repeatedly written up for direct and non direct violations to the Animal Welfare Act, yet are allowed to keep their licenses, are allowed to keep their dogs and are allowed to keep profiting off of the suffering of so many. And, if you can believe it, the 800 puppy mills are what’s left over after the watered down Prop B passed in Missouri in 2010. Prop B forced over 3000 commercial dog breeding facilities in Missouri to shape up or leave the business. Sadly, the ones left are no better, they are just ‘okay’ enough to stay licensed. 

With almost 40,000 adult breeding dogs in Missouri alone, over a half a million puppies are literally being pumped out each year- but where do they go? Certainly Nick and Jane from New York City aren’t driving all the way down to Missouri just to pick up their puppy mill puppy. So how do these horrible facilities continue to stay in business? 

The Pet Store/Puppy Mill Connection

During World War 2 we saw the beginning stages of the puppy mill industry. Women needed an easy way to make money while their husbands were away at war and the farmers in the Midwest needed to find an alternate crop that would help sustain their families and their farms.   While a lot of these breeders were selling to families they knew, this created a new business model for department stores and mom and pop shops. They began bringing these puppies into their stores and selling them, inspiring the ever famous song “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?”. It wasn’t until 1966 that the USDA even stepped in to begin licensing and inspecting these facilities and the Animal Welfare Act was born- if this give you any indication on how old and outdated those standards are. 

Fast Forward over 50 years and the dog breeding industry is still like the Wild West. Puppy Mills follow trends that the public is interested in and create new breeds based off of that. But how are they reaching their buyers? Through pet stores and online websites.

Most of you reading this live in America and what do we know about our culture? When people in our society want something, they want it now. The general public isn’t going to wait to find a reputable breeder, or wait to work with a rescue or shelter to find a dog that fits their lifestyle. Instead these people are going to puppy mill websites like “” , “” or the worst “”. These websites play off of that behavior and they will not only find the exact breed, gender and color of dog you want, but they will ship it to you, easy peasy! There is no meeting the parents, no checking out their genetic history or the facility they live in. Just a cash exchange for a living, breathing soul. Much like the pet store aspect of this industry, this anonymous exchange of puppies for money protects some of the worst puppy mills in the entire country. 

Pet stores are no better. You will often hear the pet store owners say they “hand pick” their puppies to sell in the store. Translation: They look through an order form and put a check mark by the breeds/genders of dogs they want. Legitimately, that’s how they decide which puppies they are selling based off of what sells well in their store. One of the projects our volunteers work on is requesting reports from departments of Agriculture in various states to pinpoint exactly which puppy mills are selling to pet stores. To view our research in full, you can click here , however we want to show you how many horrible Missouri puppy mills are selling to pet stores all over the country. Again, this isn’t the full list, just a few examples of bad Missouri puppy mills who are selling to pet stores. 

From Puppy Mill to Pet Store: 

Kim Coleman, TLC Kennels, Clinton Missouri. 193 adult breeding dogs. Very very very ill poodles with previous violations including: Puppies found entrapped in wire flooring; white dogs appeared brown due to soiling with mud and feces, Bloodied poodle found lying on her side, unable to rise; strong odors of urine and feces.  One of the repeat offenders on the Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill List. To view USDA inspection photos from this kennel,click here.

-Sells to: Beautiful Puppies in FLORIDA , Luxury Puppies in NEW YORK,  and LC pets in WISCONSIN .

Hazel Coleman, Dog N Ass Farm.  Lebanon, Missouri- 68 adult breeding dogs. Previous violations including: puppies feet passing through wire bottom flooring, matted hair, cockroaches, mice, buckets of feces, etc. To view USDA inspection photos,click here.

-Sells to: Puppy Plus in FLORIDA; American Dog Club (3 locations) in NEW YORK; Selmer’s Petland in NEW YORK

Darlene Whitman,O My Heart Kennel. Mountain Grove Missouri- 112 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: evidence of dogs getting powerwashed, use of expired medications, cold kennels. To view USDA inspection photos,click here.

-Sells to: Petland Davie in FLORIDA;   Petland Plantation in FLORIDA ; American Dog Club (3 locations), The Left Paw, Pups 4 Love, Bowwow Babies, NY breeder, Teacup Pups, Gabby Pets, Astoria Pets and Westchester Puppies in NEW YORK;  Furry Babies (4 locations) in ILLINOIS.

Elaine Wilson, Everton Missouri . 196 adult breeding dogs.

-Sells to: Puppies N Love (3 locations) in ARIZONA ; Animal Kingdom (2 locations) in ARIZONA; Trendy Pet in ARIZONA

Country Pets (Mary Foster and Cathy Griesbauer)  , Montgomery City Missouri- 281 adult breeding dogs. This breeder is one of the worst puppy mills in the country. In 2016 they were cited as being a massive puppy mill with more than 900 dogs had license for one property, but found operating second unlicensed facility.

-Sells to: Pet City (Colorado)

Judy Gray, Rothville, Missouri- 97 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: dogs with severe dental issues, wire cage bottoms so wide that the feet pass through, too small of kennels, dogs with eye issues. To view USDA inspection photos of this kennel,click here. 

-Sells to: Teacup Puppies in FLORIDA

Phil Hoover, Memphis Missouri- 364 adult breeding dogs.

-Sells to: Vanity Pups in FLORIDA; The Puppy Place in MASSACHUSETTS, Laughlin Kennel in MASSACHUSETTS; Puppies Plus in NEVADA; Petland Henderson in NEVADA; Pet City Baja in COLORADO; and Many stores in New York

Mark Landers, Promises Kept Kennels. Hartville Missouri – 224 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations including: dogs with blood on their necks, outdoor dogs without adequate bedding, broken wire poking into kennels, etc. To view USDA photos of this kennel,click here.

-Sells to: Petland Davie in FLORIDA;  Petland Largo in FLORIDA; TeaCup Pups in Forest Hills New York.

Jimmy Dowyle Powell, Jimmy’s Hilltop Kennels. Missouri- 68 adult breeding dogs and is one of the 2016 Horrible Hundred Puppy Mills. His violations include: Nursing mother dogs were underweight with hip and rib bones protruding; others had fleas and lesions, dogs with excessive hairless and specifically he inspection report stated that a beagle with five nursing puppies “was noted to have bony prominences, an obvious waist, and loss of muscle mass” with a body score of only 2 out of 9 (5 is ideal). There was no indication that the dog was under treatment for her condition. 

-Sells to: Puppy in the Window in ILLINOIS

This is a very small sample of all of our CVI research but it goes to show you that pet stores are enabling the neglect going on because they are making a huge profit off of the puppies they sell. You can see all of our research here


The Solution

Thank you Puppy Mill Free US for creating this image!

There is no one thing that will solve the puppy mill problem, but there are many small ways we can create big change. Across the country we have seen a rise in retail bans, both on the city level as well as the state. These retail bans require that pet stores sell dogs and cats sourced from nonprofit rescues and shelters, instead of selling from commercial breeders. This is proving to be effective in combating the puppy mill industry, as the some major players on the puppy mill side are working like crazy to lobby against our efforts. We are also seeing puppy mills trying to get rescue licenses to find loopholes in such retail bans- but more on that later. Even if you store doesn’t have a store in town, it is important to approach your city council to try and get a retail ban passed. Be proactive and stop the problem before it starts! 

Another successful way to combat the puppy mill industry is by talking about it! Tell your friends and family what puppy mills are and how to avoid them, write letters to the editor about puppy mills and, most importantly, don’t ever shop at pet stores that sell puppies. Every day we are voting with are money and it is vital to support the stores who aren’t enabling the puppy mill industry. Do you have a pet store in your town? You can start your own peaceful protest and educate the consumers who have no idea where those puppies really come from!

For a full list of ways to get involved, click here. We also try to expose and break down the common myths and misconceptions surrounding the puppy mill industry. You can view that article here


Dog Alley- Canton, Texas

This is our NEW billboard that is right near the infamous Dog Alley in Canton, Texas.

©Bailing Out Benji 2021

Did you know that backyard breeders and puppy millers often sell their puppies at flea markets?  Did you know that in Canton, Texas there is an entire flea market dedicated to selling puppies, piglets, kittens, and other animals? 

Photo Credit: Animal Angels

This flea market, known as “Dog Alley”, is held the first weekend of every month during Canton Trade Days.  Breeders from Texas and surrounding states, many of them unlicensed, peddle their puppies to their customers.   Unsuspecting customers may end up purchasing a puppy with severe health conditions (the market is known to be infected by Parvo) and supporting a breeder that is neglecting and possibly abusing their dogs.

 In 2013 Humane Society of the United States performed and undercover investigation of the market and found “lethargic, underweight, and sickly-looking puppies, animals without water in the high heat, and puppies for sale who were so young that their eyes weren’t open yet.” To view this report in full, click here.  

Photo Credit: Animals’ Angels

In addition, the organization “Animals’ Angels” also did an undercover inspection of Dog Alley, in which they noted, ” Investigators noted that multiple dealers had posted signs stating “don’t let the puppies lick your fingers,” and were providing hand sanitizer to potential buyers. Upon striking up conversations with several different sellers and visitors, investigators were advised that the Trade Grounds were known to be infected with Parvo, a highly contagious viral illness.  The virus manifests itself in two different forms. The more common form is intestinal, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite. The less common form is the cardiac form, which attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies, often leading to death. The virus can easily be transmitted by just touching an infected dog and then touching another dog, as well as by simply walking over contaminated soil or infected feces.” You can read that full report here

Based on our research on the puppy mill industry, we were able to connect the following breeding facilities as having sold through Dog Alley in 2020 and 2019: 

  1. Arlene and Arlyn Swartzentruber, Country View Kennel. Hughesville, Missouri- 16 adult breeding dogs. This facility cancelled their USDA license after federal violations that included: dark green material coating water bowls; dogs with visible fleas crawling on fur. Swartzentruber still holds a state license. 
  2. Christy Doogs, Touch O’ Country Kennel. Sedalia, Missouri- this facility is a very regular supplier to Dog Alley. 
  3. Marsha Cox, Doggie Door AKA Mar-Don Kennel. Chillicothe, Missouri- This facility cancelled her USDA license after being named one of the worst puppy mills in the country in 2013. Cox changed her kennel name and is now state licensed. 
  4. Jay Blackburn and Julie Snidow, Attitudes Kennel. Galt, Missouri- 179 adult breeding dogs and 93 puppies. 
  5. Josh Headings. Buffalo, Missouri- Does not appear to be USDA or state licensed. 
  6. Kandy Hale, Kandy’s Puppies. Milan, Missouri- This facility had their USDA licensed revoked after Vincent Losacco was facing charges for his New Jersey pet store that he bred puppies in Missouri for. Over 450 dogs were auctioned off in 2016, yet the facility still remains state licensed. 
  7. Karen Highland, Rocky Ridge Kennels. Milan, Missouri- 81 adult breeding dogs. 
  8. Shellie and Shelly Weaver, Elk Horn Creek Kennel. Smithton, Missouri- 150 adult breeding dogs and 52 puppies. This facility hasn’t had a USDA inspection since 2019 but had violations at that inspection including: dogs with severe dental conditions. 
  9. Frank and Teresa Doogs, FTD Farms and Wee-Bark Kennels. Sedalia, Missouri- this facility is a very regular supplier to Dog Alley. 
  10. Tom Petersen, Petersen Farms. Buffalo, Missouri- 85 adult breeding dogs and 53 puppies. 
  11. Valente Rios, Rios Kennel. Galt, Missouri- 281 adult breeding dogs and 143 puppies, with a history of violations including: excessively thin dogs (could see hips and ribs, dogs so matted they are unable to poop, dogs with feces stuck in fur, dogs with injuries, sharp points on dog food bowls, kennels unsafe and many, many more.  Rios was also listed as one of the worst puppy mills in the entire country in 2013. 

At Bailing Out Benji we are committed to exposing this to those that may want to visit the Market.  Our newest billboard is I-20, just outside of Canton.  Everyone attending the Trade Days from the Dallas/Fort Worth area will drive past and ask themselves “what are puppy mills?”

Texas also has a huge pet store problem. To view some of the pet stores and the out-of-state puppy mills they are buying from, click here.


Do you want to get more involved? Please consider sending a tax-deductible donation to help us continue our educational efforts. 


You can also follow our efforts on Facebook.

I Can’t Fall Apart Yet

In 2017, Bailing Out Benji has rescued over 300 dogs from puppy mills across the Midwest. While our Iowa team typically handles the mill releases, breeders in Nebraska started reaching out as well. Our wonderful Nebraska volunteers handled these pick ups and got the dogs to their foster homes with our amazing rescue partners. Since this was their first time seeing a puppy mill up close, our team leader Dana wanted to document her experience.


I Can’t Fall Apart Yet 

©Bailing Out Benji , Dana Thelander


Dear Community,

I’ve met and interacted with demons, with humans that have no soul. With my stomach turning, heart pounding, and throat threatening to close up, I did it with a smile on my face and with commonplace chit-chat. Ears ringing and eyes attempting to take in my surroundings, but not able to fully comprehend that such a place existed, even though I know they do. Tens of thousands of them in our own backyards.

Smile. Breathe. Chat. Smile. Breathe. Chat. Lives depend on it.

I can’t fall apart yet.

If I’d met them in a restaurant, or a church I would have liked them as neighbors, as regular people, as part of my community, and it hits me that you can’t always recognize the soul-less among us. My mind continues to battle with itself trying to find the best in everyone, but knowing better. After spending years mending the broken pieces and the trails of their evil – I still can’t wrap my mind around it. I really don’t want to allow the acceptance seep into, and damage MY soul.

I can’t fall apart yet.

I pulled up the country road with my son. I pulled up the country road with my partner in a van in front of us. I pulled into the driveway, stepping out aware of the faces and jagged breathing of our tiny little army of 3. I recognize that faces have paled a bit, jaws are set, lips are formed in tight little smiles. In a cinematic moment the barking slowly seeps into my brain, increasing in volume as my consciousness allows the sound to assault me. Frantic dogs literally climbing up the chain link sides of their kennels. Eyes filled with desperation, all of them looking at me. Dozens and dozens of chain link cages.

We are standing in the middle of a HSUS Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill.

I can’t fall apart yet.

Work to be done. Get to it. Get the ones we can take loaded up. Consult how to move 3 -100 pound dogs out of a kennel that they’ve never once been out of in almost a decade. See the fear. Watch as they’re grabbed by their ears, necks and tails and strong-armed into crates in the van. No kind words. Can’t give ourselves away. No time to evaluate the ones we are loading but out of the sides of my eyes I see that there are a couple bad eyes, a crooked jaw, missing fur, an infected fly-bitten nose, a broken tail, a mama being pulled away from her pups that are being kept to be sold. We only get the older, ill and spent, all the others are being sold to other breeders. Maybe a few others will get out into rescue, but most will be sold to start their misery over in the same conditions, different location. In a different neighbors backyard. Collect the paperwork. Smile. Breathe. Chat.

I can’t fall apart yet.

The vans are loaded with terrorized animals. Get out. Pull away. Fast, but not too fast. When you’re running from the devil you have to be cool about it. Don’t give yourself away. Don’t think about the ones left behind. Throat closing up, eyes blur and yet I don’t cry.

I can’t fall apart yet.

Look into the back to eyes wide, panting and pacing, small whimpers. Now come the first kind words they’ve ever heard- unrecognizable to these precious souls. We drive only so far as to feel safe and make sure there is nobody around. Recollect ourselves and start to evaluate what needs to be addressed immediately. Take pictures for the people at the other end waiting to collect them into loving arms. We get each dog fresh water, knowing that we hadn’t seen any in their kennels. Making sure each one of them has a fresh, clean blanket in the crate. They don’t know what they are but these are the first steps. Kind words, fresh water, comfortable accommodations for the long drive out of hell. Texts and phone calls, ETA’s confirmed. Hand-offs begin. More driving. I see the tension and devastation in my son’s eyes and yet he continues on. Although he is an adult I contemplate that he is still too young to face this kind of evil in our own backyard – but pray his generation will be the one to end these horrors. I know we cannot rescue our way out of this national obscenity, but he will go forward and educate his circle.

I can’t fall apart yet.

My son and I arrive home after dark with one passenger left and we welcome her into our home until she can be transported to her new foster family. A family that is willing to take in a dog that has lived in a Midwestern outdoor, gravel bottomed kennel for 8 years and been bred almost to death. It takes incredibly patient and loving people to rehab a mill dog and guide them through their journey getting healthy, learning to trust and be a dog. These are the people I surround myself with. People with amazing, bright shining souls.

Our house guest is the one that the miller chuckled with a smile and said “Yep, that ones in heat and he’s been goin’ at her hard for a week. She even went down in the back yesterday and could hardly walk. She’s full for ya.” I felt such an immediate compassion and love for this sweet girl, so…

I can’t fall apart yet.

The next days are filled with foster conversations, additional transport planning, vet reports, illness reports, evaluations, next steps and fundraising. Getting a mill dog to their best level of health is not a quick nor inexpensive trip to the vet. Spays, neuters, dentals which usually mean the loss of most of their teeth, antibiotics for infections, salves for skin conditions, too often surgeries performed by specialists.  

I spent hours and days with my girl cutting out mats, mats that limited her mobility and held infection and filth tight up against her skin. I did the best I could and then called in the professionals to do the final trimming and help with her first bath. Trying to find a food that she would eat, letting her hide but showing her that she didn’t need to. Introducing her to grass. Introducing her to a leash and coaxing her to walk because she really had no idea what I wanted from her. The distrust in her eyes was heartbreaking.

Smile. Breathe. Kind words. Kind hands.

And then I have to let her go. To the foster family who will be another lesson in love and trust.

I have to use this sadness, anger and disgust to fuel my days and nights. Turn it onto itself until it comes out as love and passion. To educate one more person.

I can’t fall apart yet…

…because within days of sending my sweet girl to continue her journey to her happily ever after, the message comes in from another breeder…

“I have ten more you can have. But they need gone by Friday.”