As an Iowan, I have always been proud to live in this state. The scenery is beautiful, and the people are amazing. I have always believed that there is no better place than here….
Since starting Bailing Out Benji in 2011, my eyes have been opened to the world of misery and torture in our own back yard. I had no idea that is Iowa is the SECOND WORST state in America when it comes to puppy mills, with over 250 puppy mills (and over 17,000 adult dogs trapped)! Since Bailing Out Benji was founded, the number of puppy mills in Iowa has dropped from over 400 to just over 250- which is fantastic news! But we have a long way to go… And we can’t do it without YOUR help!
In this article, I have included a few “fast facts” about Iowa puppy mills, so you can share and help us educate! We firmly believe that through education we can put an end to this industry!
Counties with the most puppy mills in Iowa
Sioux County (with 28!)
Lee County (With 21!)
Davis County (with 14!)
Lyon County (With 7!)
Worth County (With 7! )
Remember, these are just a few of the worst counties when it comes to puppy mills… It does not mean that they are the only counties with puppy mills and it doesn’t mean these are the puppy mills with the most number of dogs. If you are curious about puppy mills in your area, please contact us!
2015 Breeders with DIRECT USDA Violations.
In 2015 alone, there were 24 USDA inspections done that included direct violations of the Animal Welfare Act. A direct violation is one that puts an animal in immediate distress (illness, open wounds, inadequate cage size, etc)
Of those 24 inspections:
-5 USDA licensed breeders had more than one inspection last year with direct violations on each inspection
-1 USDA licensed breeder had three inspections done and had a direct violation on each
-25 direct violations were handed out in total.
Iowa USDA Licensed Breeders Make 2015 HSUS Horrible Hundred List
Each year, the Humane Society of the United States puts out their list of the worst puppy mill owners in the country, and each year Iowa makes the list! Sadly, in 2015 Iowa made quite the impact, with 11 puppy mills making the cut.
Puppy mills in the following counties made the list: Calhoun, Crawford, Franklin, Johnson, Lee, Marion, Mitchell, Plymouth,Sioux, Van Buren.
These puppy mills alone have over 903 adult dogs trapped in their facilities and they are living in some of the worst conditions in the entire country. The HSUS does a “Horrible Hundred” list each year, and Iowa is always represented. Here are the links to the 2014 and 2013.
Iowa USDA Licensed Breeders with the Most Adult Dogs
The top five breeders in Iowa have overwhelming amounts of dogs. Totaling over 2,000 adult breeding dogs, these facilities have numerous violations and many have made the HSUS horrible hundred list in previous years.
J. Maasen- Sioux County. Latest USDA Count- 282 adult dogs, 158 puppies. THIS BREEDER MADE THE 2015 HORRIBLE HUNDRED PUPPY MILL LIST.
Marvin and Joanna Newswanger- Maple Tree Kennels, Chickasaw County. Latest USDA count- 331 adult dogs
Ed VanDoorn- Squaw Creek Kennels, Mahaska County. Latest USDA Count- 387 adult dogs, 152 puppies.
Steve Kruse- Stonehenge Kennels, Lee County. Latest USDA count- 823 adult dogs, 584 puppies. THIS BREEDER HAD FIVE INDIRECT VIOLATIONS ON THEIR LATEST INSPECTION.
And Lastly, Iowa has over 10 pet stores that buy from puppy mills, but even more Iowa puppy mills shipping puppies to stores out of the state. For more information on them, please click here.
Bailing Out Benji is the only organization in Iowa that actively protests these pet stores and we would LOVE your help! Ames, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City are three cities that we host protestsin each weekend. If you know of a pet store in your area that sells puppies, please contact us! We would love to help you educate the citizens in your town! Remember, Pet store puppies ARE puppy mill puppies: don’t buy the lies!
The dogs in the puppy mills need YOUR help today. Help us educate your family, friends and coworkers by sharing this article! With each new person learning about puppy mills, we are one step closer to putting an end to the industry altogether!
Hello, All! As you know, at Bailing Out Benji we are dedicated to helping puppy mill dogs in various ways…. One of which is by outing puppy mills and the pet stores they sell to. If you have been following our educational efforts at all, you will have seen that we have been protesting one pet store, Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, in Ames, Iowa for almost 4 years now. Dyvig’s hasadmitted to buying puppies from two puppy mills here in Iowa. While we have a presence in front of the store every Saturday and Sunday (with surprise weekday protests sprinkled in), we have stepped up our game for Puppy Mill Awareness Month. Our #ThirtyDaysThirtyProtests campaign is back for the month of September and we have been able to reach a lot of new people with our message. Most days, it is hard to see the direct fruits of our efforts… But other days, we are given the best “thanks”. Today is that day.
Bailing Out Benji receives dozens of emails and private messages every day, not to mention all of the comments of support and shares. Tonight, however, we received a very special message. A woman, who unknowingly supported a puppy mill, by purchasing from New Design Kennels. After the first puppy she purchased from NDK died after only 7 months from an intestinal disease, her boyfriend purchased a second one. For $100 off the normal price, for their inconvenience of losing the first one. Sadly, the second dog wasn’t much healthier. He had to undergo a very expensive surgery for IVDD, a genetic disorder in which trauma to the spinal cord results from hardening of the spinal disks. Because of this woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, we were given a link to the blog written by the owner of New Design Kennels, Nancy Carlson, and we are SO excited to be sharing her words with you tonight.
Her full blog can be readhere, but we thought a point by point breakdown of her arguments was a little more fitting because, as you all know, the facts don’t lie. So here we go! “Sex, Lies, and New Design Kennel” (Screenshots have been taken directly from her blog.
Well, let’s be real. Nancy Carlson and I have been in the room together at least three times. The first time she was auctioning off her dogs. Dogs that were missing eyes, limbs and were visibly ill. She transported them to the auction in a trailer meant for a car. It was truly one of the most horrifying experiences I have ever had. The second time, I had the pleasure of defending our puppy mill awareness PSA against her, Rob Hurd and the owner of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, Dale Dyvig. She embarrassed herself in front of a room full of businessmen by claiming that I have invisible drones that fly over her property and that I threaten to rape her in the same cages that she rapes her dogs in (her words…. because… yuck.) And the final time, Nancy was- again- at a puppy mill auction. This time, buying more dogs to breed.
Also, Bailing Out Benji started long before I ever had the pleasure of coming in contact with Nancy Carlson.
In the many years of operating the kennel, I am the ONLY person who has ever complained. Really? Can anyone name a business that has 100% customer satisfaction anywhere? Then I will consider myself very lucky that the very first person that ever bought a sick puppy from New Design Kennels (bought two) and contacted me! Sadly, this just isn’t the case, and it isn’t even believable. And I am just going to put this here. Not only does Nancy Carlson operate New Design Kennels, but she runs a separate breeding website called “Illusion Japanese Chin” and even reputable breeders/ show breeders /breed enthusiasts know that something very shady is going on there. What kind of reputable breeder needs more than one name?!
Hmmm…. Not only have I personally helped rescue dogs in horrid conditions that came straight out of puppy mills, but we have ALL seen those photos. Dogs that are completely matted, dogs that are too old, dogs with open wounds… These conditions have all been backed up by USDA inspections in which the inspectors cite these violations. Those dogs are all still breeding. Being “in the mood” doesn’t matter to animals when they are in heat. You can see some of those reports here, thanks to the 2015 Horrible Hundred Puppy Mill List
As Nancy said in her own blog earlier, ” a set of predator-drone flyover photos of our property several years ago”. The photos that Bailing Out Benji has of New Design Kennels ARE of their property, she admitted it in her own blog. Never once did we say that the cages were too small, sadly, they are more spacious than some puppy mills, but the dogs are forced to live on wire their entire lives. I will let you see those photos for yourself… And you can decide.
So…. Again…. Do YOU think that New Design Kennels is a puppy mill?
There ya have it, everyone! And that’s the truth!
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Bailing Out Benji is a national, grassroots nonprofit organization that is devoted to providing the most current and accurate data regarding the puppy mill industry. If you want to get involved in our fight to expose the puppy mill industry, don’t forget to like us on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter! You can also sign up to become one of our volunteers here.
What is a “puppy mill”?
Our definition of the term “puppy mill” is a breeding facility in which the profit is more important than the welfare of the dogs. Think of it as a factory farm for puppies. The parents are bred every heat cycle until their bodies give out. They are forced to live in cramped cages their entire lives, their paws never touching the ground. These parent dogs are not always fed healthy food or clean water and they are very rarely (if ever) seen by a vet for illness or injury.
A puppy mill can be obvious, or it can be well hidden.
What are the worst states when it comes to puppy mills?
The Midwest has the highest concentration of puppy mills, although there are other mills across the country. The Midwest is commonly referred to as “The Puppy Mill Belt”. Missouri and Iowa are the highest offenders when it comes to the sheer number of mills, but Ohio and Pennsylvania are horrible when it comes to unlicensed mills and violations. Puppy mills operations are easily hidden among agriculture buildings. TheAmish and Menonite communities are also big into dog breeding. Lancaster County is one of the worst counties in the entire nation. However, they make up a small percentage of the total.
If puppy mills are so bad, why do they exist?
One of the most common questions we receive is, “Why are puppy mills legal”? The answer, plain and simple, is that the USDA and state agencies allow them to exist. Not every USDA licensed dog breeder runs a horrible operation. But they are all required to follow the same very lax laws the USDA set forth in the Animal Welfare Act. According to the AWA:
-Cage size: must be 6 inches larger than the size of the dog, on all sides -Up to 12 dogs can be housed in one cage -Dogs never have to be let out of their cages. Breeders only need to have an exercise plan -There is no limit to the number dogs a breeder can have—many have over 1,000 -There is no age limit for breeding dogs. If a dog is able to produce puppies for ten years, that’s how long they could be in the facility.
– The inspections are “risk based”. Meaning if there are no violations, the breeder might not see an inspector for a few years.
– The AWA does NOT cover emotional well-being.
And there are a 115 inspectors to inspect for every single USDA facility… in the entire United States. That includes breeding facilities, factory farms, zoos, circuses, transport vehicles, testing facilities, labs and more…. 115 people to cover over 12,000 facilities. Do you think that is enough?
For more information on the AWA, click here.
Where are puppy mill puppies sold?
Thousands of puppies are sold from puppy mills each year– and the general public is completely unaware of where they just got their new puppy. The breeder will “meet you half way”, so you don’t have to make the full trip, the breeder will ship the puppy on an airplane to you, or buyer doesn’t even know the purchaser because the transaction was made through a pet store. The BEST way to avoid purchasing a puppy from a puppy mill, is to adopt. But that isn’t always something the public is willing to do. So the next best way to make sure you are not buying from a puppy mill is to check out the parents, see the facility (all of it) and resist temptation from saving a puppy from a place that you deem non-reputable. You are only creating a hole for the breeder to fill with more puppies.
Pet Store: According to the ASPCA: Breeders who sell puppies to pet stores must hold a USDA dealer license, and many states also require breeders to obtain a license to have a dog-breeding kennel.So the statistic is that 99% of puppies in pet stores are from puppy mills. They come from breeders that have enough dogs to constantly keep the cages full of puppies. And the stores will sell puppies like they would a pair of jeans, to anyone with a credit card. They don’t care where that puppy is going or how it will end up. The fact of the matter is, no reputable breeder would sell through a third party. They would want to know exactly where the puppy is going, and more often than not, they require an application and the puppies are required to come back to them if the family can not care for them any longer.
Do you have a pet store near you? Click hereto see the the paper trail between your local pet store and the puppy mills they buy from. Bailing Out Benji and our volunteers have been doing the research so we can show you exactly where those puppies came from.
Internet: Fancy websites and Craigslist are a very easy way to sell a lot of puppies and keep people off of the property at the same time. The ASPCA and the HSUS both agree that you should never ever buy a puppy from the internet (alone). You MUST see the property where the puppies are born and raised. Anyone can design a fancy website, but you should look for these red flags.
– If the breeder has several breeds of dogs available.
– If they ship puppies to you
– If they offer to meet offsite.
– If they are selling their puppies on CraigsList
– If they won’t allow you to see their property
Newspapers: Classified Ads are way that puppy mills get rid of their puppies. You would have no way of knowing what kind of breeding facility they run, because they ad is only a few sentences long.
Dog Auctions: Dog Auctions are horrible events in which breeding dogs and puppies are sold to the highest bidder. The dogs are very rarely in good condition. The breeders selling the dogs may be going out of business, they could be getting rid of a certain breed, or they could be getting rid of the dogs that are too old. For an inside look on an auction, click here.
Don’t the puppies deserve homes too? What happens to them if they don’t sell?
This is another one of the most common questions that we are asked. The puppies always sell, because there is always someone that doesn’t know about the pet store/puppy mill connection. What will happen, and what has been happening, is that the public is becoming slowly more aware. This means that the puppies are staying longer in the stores, showing that there isn’t a high demand for them. When the puppies sit longer, the store puts them on sale and keeps dropping the price until they are sold. If they aren’t selling quickly, the store will order less for next month and *hopefully* the breeder will see that the demand is dropping and there isn’t a need for as many dogs on their property. But this all starts with YOU. YOU shouldn’t buy that puppy.
Are there puppy mills near me?
At Bailing Out Benji, we work tirelessly to educate about the horrors of puppy mills, without sharing the graphic photos. One way we have been successful in educating about and exposing these puppy mills is by showing YOU, the consumer, what is really in your back yard. Through the USDA website and, when easily accessible, state department of Agriculture websites, we have pinpointed and color-coded the puppy mills that are lurking in the United States. To view our puppy mill maps, click here. You can also view our new interactive website here.
How can I help?
There are many ways you can help the dogs trapped in puppy mills. They vary from being active, to just being an advocate.
1. If you SEE something, SAY something. If you were someone that unknowingly stumbled upon a bad breeding facility to purchase a puppy, you need to report it! You can either report it to the USDA, your state agency, your local rescue or shelter, or you can contact us and we can point you in the right direction!
2. Be an educator. One of the best ways you can help is by educating your friends, family and coworkers. By sharing this article and making a status about where you shouldn’t buy a dog could deter someone you know! Our organization firmly believes that educating the general public will be the end to puppy mills. Join our growing list of teams and help us fight the industry through education and advocacy!
3. Be an advocate. Look in your area for pet stores that sell puppies and educate about your local problem. Hang up flyers (we can help!) or even start a local protest (we can help with that too!) Getting the word out locally, will break the lies of the pet store and will bring more awareness about puppy mills to your community.
4. Contact your legislators. By letting your legislators know what you care about, it tells them how to vote. You can send a quick email to your legislator and just ask them where they stand on common sense animal issues, especially puppy mills. You may be shocked to find out that not everyone is an advocate for the animals.
5. Don’t give pet stores that sell puppies your money. By boycotting a pet store that sells puppies, you are showing them that you can’t support their business. You can even tell the owner why you are choosing not to shop at their store anymore. To view a list of pet stores across the country that are selling puppy mill dogs, click here.
6. Look for a reputable breeder in your area. If you are set on buying a puppy and you haven’t checked your local rescues or shelters, then ask your local canine club about reputable breeders. Just remember to always check out their facilities!
7. USE SOCIAL MEDIA….. Spread the Word. Use the hashtag #ShowMeTheMommy on social media to stress the importance of asking to see the parent dogs before purchasing a puppy. You can also use #EndPuppyMills and #BailingOutBenji !
We are a small nonprofit organization that makes big changes with very few resources. Our research is used by the leading animal welfare organizations across the country, because what we do is so unique and important. To make a one time donation or to sign up to be a sustaining supporter to allow us to continue our various programs that expose the puppy mill industry, click the donate button below.
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It is no secret that Iowa is one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to the number of puppy mills. We have over 220 puppy mills and we export over 100,000 puppies across state lines annually. These puppies go to other brokers (person who makes a living buying puppies and selling them at a higher price) or the puppies go straight to pet stores. The Hunte Corporation is the biggest broker in the United States, they supply approximately 80% of pet stores with their puppies (around 85,000 sold in one year alone). The Hunte Corp is simply a company of puppy buyers, and then they resell them for a profit. In the most recent issue of the Iowa Pet Breeders Association directory, the Hunte Corporation had an advertisement that said they would give you a free bag of dog food for every puppy sold. While the Hunte Corporation is located in Missouri, their puppies supply pet stores world wide.
Not all brokers are as big as the Hunte Corporation, and several of them are breeders as well. This is a side of the puppy mill world that the public never sees. In fact, pet stores go to great lengths in order to keep the public from ever finding out where the puppies really come from. In the latest article coming to you from Bailing Out Benji, we want to highlight some of the Iowa breeders that are filling the cages of pet stores near you. We desperately need more people to realize that Iowa puppy mills truly are a national problem. Thanks to the ASPCA and the USDA, all of the information in this article was very easy to find and organize to make easy for our readers. Please note that all hyperlinked words (blue and underlined) either lead to the facebook page or website of the breeder (for easy commenting!) or to the ASPCA site for more photos and information. Don’t hesitate to click around!
The puppies have to travel over 4 hours to get to the store… In a semi? In crowded vans?
Cathy Speer has been cited repeatedly in the past for excessive waste, outdoor housing without wind or rain breaks, lack of vet care, and incomplete vet records. To read more in-depth violations and more photos from this breeder,click here.Both of these pet stores tell their customers that their puppies come from small, local breeders when in all reality the puppies are from five hours away.Sadly, the latest inspection reports show 26 adult dogs- but Cathy can’t bother to take adequate care of the animals in her care. I wonder what their customers would say if they actually saw where the puppies come from.
Michael Knudtson, Lake Mills, Iowa.
USDA license No. 42A1149
Supplies: Petland in Joliet, Illinois
For only having 26 adult dogs on his property, Michael Knudtson is extremely neglectful to them. Years and years of inspection reports show a long list ofviolations.His most recent violations show dogs with open wounds, inadequate heating (36 degrees in the kennels with water bowls frozen over) Once provided water, dogs drank for almost 2 minutes. But, Petland Joliet insists they sell puppies from reputable breeders…. We know the truth now, don’t we?
CW’s Quaint Critters: Connie and Harold Johnson Melvin, Iowa. License No. 42B0226
These poor, not even 8 week old puppies travel over 21 hours just to sit in a pet store cage.
Supplies The Dog House in Manchester, Connecticut
The Johnsons have had several violations in the past, including not having shelter in their outdoor facilities, not having cages that are easily cleaned, buildup of filth in cages, and one of the male beagles was seen straining to defecate and passed a thick red matter. Recent inspection reports show that this breeder currently has 121 adult dogs. To see more of these photos and violations,click here:Right on the website of “The Dog House” they say that they only work with accredited breeders to ensure that each puppy they sell will be healthy and well adjusted. They also claim to have the largest selection of breeds in the area. Check out the photos below and in the link, it is clear that they are not being honest to their customers.
The cages at the Dorothy puppy mill have been called into question several times in recent history. Several wires can be seen poking into the cages, which poses a danger to the animals, the water can be seen as a grimy green color, and the food bowls are metal with jagged edges. (see more here). However, the pet store claims that they have established relationships with the most respected breeders across the country. Does this look very respectable? How would those customers feel if they knew that these animals weren’t being taken care of? Judy Dorothy, per the latest inspection report, shows that she only has 24 dogs and repeatedly fails to care for them.
These puppies travel over 17 hours, just to sit in cages and wait for someone to buy them.
Ben and June Paxton: Greenfield, Iowa. License No. 42A0238
Supplies Animal Kingdom in Bismark, North Dakota, those pet store puppies have to sit in a van or semi for over 10 hours.
As you can see inthis linkand from the pictures below, the dogs live their entire lives on these wires cages. This can cause deformities in their feet and legs. You can also see that their food bowls are excessively chewed. Ben and June have 102 adult dogs that will live in these cages all day, every day for the rest of their lives.
Brule Creek Kennel; James and Cynthia Hayes, Akron, Iowa
USDA license # 46-B-033 (licensed in South Dakota)
Supplies: Spectrum Pets, Irvine CA; Puppy World, Greenfield WI; Best Pets, Pacifica CA; Family Pet Center, Chesapeake VA; The Pet Shop, Newark NJ; Petland, Fort Meyers FL; PetWorld Inc, Rochester NY; Bob’s Tropical Pets, Ridge NY; Pups & Pets, Santee CA; Vilaggio Family Pets, Temecula CA; The Pet Shop, Bethleham PA; Petland, Largo FL; Petland, Rome GA; Oh My Dog, Kearney GA; Russo Pets; Newport Beach CA; Petland, Dallas TX
Wow. That’s all I can say…. On puppy mill supplying over 16 pet stores with puppies. Can you imagine how many litters the parent dogs must have? And when the breeder uses photos like the ones below ON THEIR OWN WEBSITE! You know that they have zero shame in what they are doing.
Black Diamond Kennel; Gary Felts, Kingsley, Iowa
USDA License No. 42A0757
Supplies: Petland Kennesaw, Georgia
As always, Petland claims to use “reputable breeders”… Sadly, in the case of Petland Kennesaw, they chose one of the HSUS Horrible 100 worst puppy mills in the United States. Not even just one of the worst mills in Iowa. Nope, Gary Felts operates one of the worst puppy mills in the entire country. With years and years of violations, his dogs live their entire lives in the worst conditions without ever knowing proper vet care or the kindness of a human. After being born and raised in cruelty and filth, the puppies must travel over 15 hours just to sit in cages in the pet store.
High Point Country Kennel: Noah and Lashell Thomas, Garden Grove, IA License No. 42A1454
The photos below and the photos that the ASPCA received from the USDA inspection reports show that several of their dogs have excessively long nails, which hinders their ability to walk correctly. As you can see, these dogs are also forced to live on these wire floors their entire lives which, as we said before, can cause permanent injury to their feet and legs. The latest USDA reports are showing that they have 58 adult dogs on their property. The store won’t ever admit that they chose a breeder like this, instead they claim on their website that “Petland puppies must meet standards before they can become Petland puppies.”
After leaving one of the worst puppy mills in Iowa, the puppies have to endure a 22 hour trip, only to sit in a pet store cage.
Northwest Kennel- Leonard Stover: Sheldon, Iowa. License No. 42B0186
If you haven’t yet, I implore you toclick on this linkand see all of the matted dogs. Leonard Stover has been sited several times for not grooming his animals. If you are unaware, mats can be very painful, dirty and can hide wounds. The pet store claims that the customers can be sure that they are receiving puppies “from a quality location”, these photos tell another story. Not only does he breed cats, he has over 114 adult dogs on his property.
Mary Yoder: Bloomfield, Iowa. License No. 42B0283
Supplies: American Breeders in Mohegan Lake, NY, Laughlin Kennels in Oxford, MA, NY Pet Club in Flushing, NY, U.S. Pets in Astoria, NY (At least an 18 hour trip for the puppies)
Mary Yoder’s kennels are spotless, in fact they look almost sterile. She has over 400 adult dogs living in these cages all day, every day for the rest of their lives. This is where we run into problems with the definition of puppy mills. Some people will look at this breeder and think that spotless equals reputable. Others look at these kennels and see a very bleak life for the dogs. Yes, the cages appear clean, but is that the trade of for affection and exercise?Here is the link to the ASPCA site.
Yoder has supplied puppies to Petland Kennesaw. While they claim to use reputable breeders, Yoder has been cited over the years for various animal welfare violations. Her most recent inspection this year noted lack of protection from the elements (it was judged to be 14 degrees Fahrenheit that night) and a beagle and Boston terrier were noted to be shivering and lacking bedding. It was also noted that there was a lack of appropriate record keeping of USDA records on the dogs. Time and time again, these pet stores and puppy mill owners are failing the dogs… Why? Because the money is just too sweet to care about the well-being of animals.
Brad Grotewold sells to at least five pet stores, all of them claim to sell the best puppies. Steve’s Wonderful World of Pets goes as far to claim to have the “only source of screened quality bred puppies in WNY”. As you can see below andin this link, Brad has had numerous violations that were directly affecting the welfare of his animals. Excessive feces, rusty cages and feeders, excessive accumulation of feces, and cages with dirt build up. On the Petland website it states that they “start that process by selecting only the highest quality, healthy pets for our stores”. I wonder if their customers would agree with that statement? The Petland Robinson in Pittsburgh claims to help homeless animals, all while supporting this breeder. The Kicker? Brad Grotewold has over 369 adult breeding adults trapped in his facility.
After leaving one of the worst puppy mills in Iowa, many of the puppies won’t survive their 18+ hour drive to the pet store.
Laura Groeneweg: Rock Valley, IA. License No. 42A1296
Laura Groeneweg’s puppies travel over 1700 miles to get to this Seattle based pet store. The store stands behind their puppies in saying that, “Our puppies come from good, caring, reliable people. The parents and puppies are well taken care of.” Sadly, the inspection reports beg to differ. Accordingto this linkand past inspection reports their breeder has been in trouble for using expired medications on their adult dogs, the adult dogs are in cages that do not meet space requirements, the puppies feet are too small and pass through the wire flooring, and there is an excessive build-up of feces. If only the customers could really see the hell that these dogs are going through on a daily basis, maybe then they wouldn’t buy the “cute” puppy in the pet store. With all of these violations, Laura only has 34 adult breeding dogs on her property.
Nick and Tiffany Menne: Lime Springs, Iowa. License No. 42A1398
The Pet Store in Danbury, American Breeders states that their “breeders have been personally selected to provide you with the best registered purebred and hybrid puppies you can find.” As you can see below and in this link, this is one of the breeders that they personally selected. Nick and Tiffany Menne in Lime Springs, Iowa have had numerous USDA violations including excessive accumulation of dog waste (pictured below), dogs in outdoor enclosures with no shelter (pictured below), and several dogs with excessively long toe nails. You can see more photos and violations here. I wonder if American Breeders would proudly show these photos in their store, next to their guarantee of “personally selected breeders” or if The LI Puppy Experience would showcase this side of the “BEST BREEDERS WHICH OUR REPUTATION RELIES ON (taken from their website)”
. Instead, these 209 adult breeding dogs get to eat, sleep and walk around in their own feces day after day for the rest of their lives.
Jan Budden: Maurice, Iowa. License No. 42A1413
Supplies: We Love Pets, Media, Pennsylvania
With recent inspection reports showing over 66 adult dogs and a LONG list of violations (including use of expired medications, cages having excessive feces, cages have build up of dark brown liquid and previous violations including: dogs requiring immediate vet care and use of expired medications), it makes us wonder why a pet store would purchase puppies from a place like this. It is clear that the adult dogs are not being cared for. Sadly, profit is the only thing that matters. So the puppies endure a 19+ hour ride, only to be sold to the first person who whips out their credit card.
As you can see, there is a huge problem with the breeders that these pet stores are choosing to get their puppies from. There are several pet stores in Iowa that choose to get their puppies from places just like these (you can read about Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe and the mill that has 150 dogs trappedhereand Critter nation and how they get their dogs from two huge puppy millshere). Also,Petland in Iowa City and Pet’s Playhouse in Cedar Rapidsare knowingly purchasing puppies from Iowa puppy mills. Remember, Pet store puppies ARE puppy mill puppies– don’t buy the lies.
Either these pet stores don’t know (highly unlikely) or they don’t care because business is booming. When are they going to be held accountable for the lies they are pushing on the public?We will add to this list as we come across more pet store/puppy mill connections. To read more about Iowa puppy mills by the numbers, please click here!
** UPDATE*** Since this article published, a few pet stores have chosen to go HUMANE and only offer rescued animals– Alsip Nursery in Illinois (both of their locations!!) and A Place for Pets in Washington!
They are all mutts… Really really really expensive mutts. By slapping the “designer dog” label on them, unscrupulous dog breeders and puppy mills are able to sell them at outrageous prices so the consumer feels like they are getting something “special” and “new”. When really, they are getting a high-priced mutt, that more than likely isn’t recognized by the AKC.
Some even tell buyers that these new “breeds” like yorkiepoos, buggles or jugs will be recognized by the AKC some day very soon. But people in the market for a new puppy need to realize that a cute name doesn’t turn a mongrel into a purebred. If you fall for the hype, you could pay more for a mutt than you would for a registered, guaranteed purebred.
Creating a New Breed Using Existing Dog Breeds
Ever heard of a Chusky? Yeah, me neither, not until I started doing research for this article. According to many sites, I own an expensive “designer dog”. My beautiful dog Zeppelin is a 100% purebred Chusky (sarcasm very much intended) and I got him for the low, low sale price of $0. Had his previous, abusive owners known that, they wouldn’t have surrendered him into my care at no cost! This beautiful Chow-Husky mix is absolutely one of a kind, and he is just that… One of a kind. Which is why most designer breeds haven’t been accepted by the AKC. When two purebred dogs are put together, you don’t always know what is going to come out the other end. You can’t know which traits it is going to get! It is like breeding two people. You can’t possibly know if it is going to get dad’s work ethic, or mom’s artistic abilities.
Doodles are another hot, new breed — except they aren’t a breed, either. They are a mix of Poodles and Labradors or Golden Retrievers. Most doodles you see for sale are just first generation crosses of retriever to Poodle. They are mixed breeds! There is a puppy mill owner in Altoona, Iowa that will sell you a “GoldenDoodle” for $400, while the shelter down the road will adopt it to the right family for less than $100.
Another fun fact: The “oodles” of Poodle mixes like yorkiepoos, pekapoos, schnoodles (and so on) have absolutely no breeding standards, no club, no standardized breeding records, and no plan for the future–which means no AKC acceptance letters for these doggies. So what is the point? Why go to a pet store and spend $1000 on a designer mutt, when you can go to your local shelter or www.petfinder.com and find something that is just as adorable, SO much cheaper, and that is going home with all (or most) of its vet work done?
Here is my thought for the day… If rescues and shelters started putting these designer labels on their dogs, would they be adopted more quickly? I am really curious about what you think!
How many of you have walked by the pet store and saw the adorable puppy with big eyes and a wagging tail? The puppy that is just pawing at the glass for your attention. All of us animal lovers have such a hard time just walking away because we want to save them all.. Out comes the money, and there you have it- another pet store puppy is sold to the first person with $600.
While it is partly true that we saved this dog from a life unknown, at the same time, we have just supported a puppy mill. Almost every time someone buys a dog from a pet store or online, the dog has come from a home in which the parents are merely thought of as property.
The fact is that in the US there are almost 10,000 puppy mills operating today. This means that there are hundreds of thousands of dogs bred in conditions that are completely appalling. These unfortunate dogs receive no human contact, no exercise or veterinary care and are often kept in tiny wire cages trapped in their own filth. Many of them, once rescued, are unable to walk properly when removed from their cage and placed on solid ground. The only concern of the puppy mill breeders is the bottom line profit they can make at the expense of the health, safety and disposition of their “product”. These mills do not have heat or air conditioning, so in the winters many of the dogs freeze to death, and in the summers, the dogs die from heat stroke.
Even more alarming is the fact that the ASPCA (who did a survey of 800 U.S. adults from across the US), the “vast majority of people surveyed -78% of them- told interviewers that they believe that puppies sold in pet stores come from such places as shelters, or private owners whose pet had litters, or they really had no idea where these animals came from.” That is just appalling to me! I can’t imagine that 78% of Americans have NO IDEA what a puppy mill is. This has got to change!
My goal with this post is not to use scare tactics to educate people. I just want to lay out the facts so I can raise awareness for the Pet Store/ Puppy mill connection. Education is the key. When people stop buying puppies in pet stores or through online internet ads, the puppy mill industry will no longer be in demand and the misery will end. Please join me in this fight.
How can you help right now?
NEVER EVER buy a dog. Whether it is directly from a breeder or online. You are putting money into the pockets of people who are helping the high numbers of euthanized pets each year in shelters. Do you want a purebred dog? Well statistics show that 33% of dogs in shelters are actually purebred. AND most backyard breeders aren’t selling purebred puppies! You are dishing out $600 for an adorable APRI registered dog, and that means nothing! APRI is a national registry that only has the breeder send in a photo of the dog and they take a look at the face and body. Then they decide whether or not it is purebred. There are no blood tests done. APRI also doesn’t ask that you screen the dogs for genetic defects. ANY DECENT BREEDER always wants to know exactly where the dog is going. They will want references and proof that you can have the dog where you live.
ALWAYS ADOPT from an animal shelter or rescue. These pets are not “broken” or damaged. They are simply hearts that need to be loved. I have heard so many people say that they are worried about the behavioral problems and training of a shelter dog. This frustrates me. Who is going to need more training than an 8 week old puppy?
NEVER GIVE YOUR MONEY TO A PET STORE THAT SELLS PUPPIES OR KITTENS. Not for an animal, not even for food, treats or toys. By giving this store your business and time, it is letting the owner believe that he is successful. It is important to let the owner know that you are offended that he/ she sells these animals and that your money will never go to his business. I suggest that you write a letter (make sure it is decently respectful) that explains your reasoning for not going to their store anymore. If they feel as though their business is being threatened, they might just back down!
ALWAYS try to educate. If someone you know wants to buy a dog, please tell them what their money is really going to. Even if you “do the research” and you have “seen the parents”, you likely haven’t. So many mills today have adult dogs set aside that look pretty and healthy, so buyers are relieved to see where their puppies come from. What you aren’t seeing are the dogs stashed away in that barn 100 ft. to your left. IF you are hell-bent on getting a purebred dog, go to petfinder.com. You can search for any kind of dog and it won’t cost you nearly as much to adopt him/her as it would to buy.
**I want it to be said, again, that I do not hate all breeders. If you have a small operation and you take great care of your dogs, then I am happy to see you around. It isn’t my intention to make enemies with this. I am just trying to get the world to see that by purchasing a dog from a pet store, then you are aiding in the suffering of its parents. NOT ALL BREEDERS ARE THIS WAY. But the great breeders do not sell to pet stores. I strongly suggest you look at the USDA reports for the Hunte Corporation in Missouri and the Kruse family in West Point, Iowa. These are the breeders that need to be stopped. These are the ones that clearly put profit over the welfare of the animal. **
Again, thank you friends for always reading what I have to say. I always love to read your feedback (whether it is negative or positive). And please PLEASE share with your friends! It is so important to get this information out there! Email it to family, coworkers, facebook it, tweet it… I don’t care! I just want to someday live in a world where we “Adopt, Don’t Shop!” and where people never ask, “What is a puppy mill?”