South Dakota Puppy Mill Problem

While South Dakota isn’t one of the worst puppy mills in the nation, it is no stranger to the puppy mill industry. South Dakota has over  50 puppy mills with approximately 2,000 adult dogs trapped in those breeding facilities. Since 2013, South Dakota has appeared on the “Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill List” 9 times and several of those puppy mills are selling to pet stores across the country. All of that will be detailed below. 

2018 Horrible Hundred List

  1. Joette Peterson, Freeman, South Dakota– On this list THREE YEARS IN A ROW. While she is now sitting at 31 adult breeding dogs, her violations include: Dogs with open wounds, flies all over and  dogs with no food or water. 
  2. Elvina Johnson, Johnson Kennels. Plankinton, South Dakota- With 20 adult breeding dogs on her property, Johnson reportedly didn’t have a veterinarian inspect her dogs for more than three years. Many of her dogs were noted to have eye issues and illnesses- while her newborn puppies were house in very poor conditions. 
To view the full 2018 report, click here.


2017 Horrible Hundred List 

  1. Nancy Ogle, Irene, South Dakota– Dirty conditions, three dogs in need of veterinary care. In 2017, Ogle had 85 adult breeding dogs and was selling to various pet stores including a notorious pet store in Nebraska. 
  2. Joette Peterson, Freeman, South Dakota-  Dogs had open sores buzzing with flies. Peterson is a notorious puppy mill owner in South Dakota and shows up on various Horrible Hundred Reports.  In 2017, Peterson only had 26 adult breeding dogs, but has had a history of not being able to care for them. Joette Peterson is also guilty of selling her puppies to pet stores in Nebraska
To view the full 2017 report, click here. 


2016 Horrible Hundred List

  1. Dan De Boer, Corsica, S.D.- Dogs found living in a dark shed without any light; filthy conditions; repeated failure to let inspectors in the kennel.
  2. Joette Peterson, Freeman, S.D.- Dogs in the cold did not have enough protection from the weather.In 2017, Peterson only had 26 adult breeding dogs, but has had a history of not being able to care for them. Joette Peterson is also guilty of selling her puppies to pet stores in Nebraska
To view the full 2016 report, click here. 


2014 Horrible Hundred List

  1. Lisa Hanten, White Lake, SD – Heat index over 108 Degrees in whelping building; given two official warnings by USDA. In March 2014, Lisa Hanten was given an official warning by the USDA for five different problems, including inadequate veterinary care, unsafe conditions, animals subjected to excessively high heat and excessive feces and grime. In 2017, Hanten had over 68 adult breeding dogs on her property. 
  2. Vickie Hines, Lar-Kie Kennel, Woonsocket, SD – Pugs panting in building with a heat index up to 109 degrees; fined by USDA. Between August 2011 and August 2013, serious violations were found at Lar- Kie Kennel during six USDA inspections in a row. On August 28, 2013, USDA inspectors found dogs kept in a hot building that had a heat index over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, even though they had visited twice already during the same week and warned the licensee to correct the condition. On one of those visits, the heat index was measured by Kestrel thermometer at over 109 degrees (Aug. 27, 2013). During all three visits in August 2013, the inspector noted that dogs were showing signs of heat stress and were panting heavily. Several of the dogs were pugs, which have very low ability to tolerate heat. in 2017 Hines at 42 adult breeding dogs. 
  3. Cindy Hubers, Da-Pa Kli Kennels, Harrison, SD – Dog had greenish discharge covering entire eye. In May 2013, a USDA inspector found multiple dogs in need of veterinary care at Da-Pa Kli Kennels, including a Lhasa Apso with “green-tinged mucus covering the entire eyeball” and several other dogs with “eye discolorations and/or mucus film over the eye.” The inspector also noted a Havanese with a “golf-ball size of matted hair and fecal material dangling” from his rear which was “causing obvious discomfort” and a shih tzu with large areas of missing fur and unhealed wounds, among other problems. Earlier in the year, the facility had received an official warning from the USDA (March 2013) for repeatedly failing to make the facility available for inspection. in 2017 , Hubers had 139 adult breeding dogs and 60 puppies on her property. 
  4. Jason Riggs, Ethan, SD – USDA found thin and injured dogs. The USDA gave Riggs an official warning in November 2013 for repeated veterinary issues, but recent inspection reports show that violations continued even after the warning. In January 2014, a USDA inspector found no less than seven dogs in need of veterinary care at Jason Riggs’ facility, including dogs with foot injuries, dental problems and open wounds, and two dogs who were very thin with their ribs and skeletal structures showing. In addition, a miniature pinscher with puppies was also found on 1” by 1” wire flooring, which was causing the puppies’ legs to get trapped in the wire. In 2017, Riggs had 66 adult breeding dogs. 
To view the full 2014 report, click here. 

2013 Horrible Hundred List 

  1. Robert Engbrecht, Dakota Kennel. Marion, SD: Violations at last six inspections; dogs in the cold
  2. Gary Scheetz, Lakeview Kennels, Inc. – Parkston, SD: Dogs without water, refusing inspections
To view the full 2013 report, click here. 

Some of the breeders listed above are still actively selling to pet stores, even though those stores claim to only use the best “local” breeders. Sadly, those aren’t the only South Dakota puppy mills selling to pet stores. Here are a few more connections that we have been able to make. 

Calvin Kroger- Hudson, South Dakota. 60 adult breeding dogs.  We have confirmed that Kroger sells to pet stores in Nebraska , Nevada , and New York. These are not the only stores Kroger sells to. 

Bob/Charlene Fischer- Goodwin, South Dakota. 21 adult breeding dogs and Bob Engbrecht- Marion, South Dakota. (Can’t access dog count) and Dave Voss, Alcester, South Dakota- (Can’t access dog counts) also sell to pet stores in Nebraska

Don’t forget, South Dakota also has pet stores that are selling puppy mill puppies! Some of those include: Pets N Stuff (Mobridge) , Ed’s Pet World (Mitchell) and Critter Mart (Watertown). When you see puppies sold in pet stores, they are coming from puppy mills. No reputable breeder would ever sell puppies to someone they’ve never met just because they have cash/credit. 

We also want to note some of the largest puppy mills in South Dakota and include those that have numerous violations. 

Cynthia and James Hayes, Brule Creek Kennels. Akron South Dakota- 149 adult breeding dogs and 71 puppies at the time of last inspection. Brule Creek has a history of violations including: flithy kennels, cobwebs, brown grime everywhere

Dorothy and Gary Sanborn, Countryside Kennel. Madison, South Dakota. 117 adult breeding dogs, 284 puppies. 

Karen Veurink, Dakota Kennels. Tea South Dakota- 72 adult breeding dogs and violations that include numerous dogs with excessively long toenails. 


Since late 2017, Bailing Out Benji has had an active volunteer team in South Dakota. These wonderful advocates are working tirelessly to educate about the pet store/puppy mill connection, while pursuing local retail bans in their area. If you want to get involved, please contact our team. It takes all of us to put an end to this cruel puppy mill industry! And if you are interested in printing our flyers that you see above, click here. 

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