Missouri moves to shut down Horrible Hundred puppy mill for keeping dogs in filthy conditions

Vigilance by state authorities is more important now than ever
before because in recent years the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
which licenses about 2,900 puppy mills nationwide, including about
800 in Missouri, has abandoned its responsibility to enforce the
Animal Welfare Act. Photo by Michelle Riley/The HSUS

Just days after the release of our annual
Horrible Hundred report,
Missouri’s attorney general has sued
to shut down one of the puppy mills named in it. The owners of
Little Bit Ranch in Unionville, Missouri, failed to provide
adequate veterinary care for their dogs and left them with only
frozen water, or no water at all. Some of the animals had caked or
moldy food available to them; one food bowl even had a maggot in
it, state inspection records show. The facility had been warned in
the past about dirty conditions and dogs in cages that were too
small.

Altogether, state inspectors had found 50 violations of state
law over the course of eight inspections at the puppy mill since
August of last year.

This is the fifth puppy mill from our Horrible Hundred list that
Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office has filed a lawsuit
against in the last ​two years. Earlier this year, Schmitt sued
Debra Ritter of Cornerstone Farms, who had appeared in five

Horrible Hundred reports
, for repeatedly failing to provide
veterinary care and decent living conditions for her dogs. The
massive puppy mill
closed
down soon after.

In a
press release
yesterday, Mr. Schmitt promised “swift action
against substandard or non-compliant breeders in Missouri wherever
possible,” adding that his office would continue to work with the
state agriculture department to address breeders who violate the
state’s animal welfare law.

We applaud the attorney general and his office for moving
decisively on problem puppy mills. We also urge him to do more:
Missouri has a major puppy mill problem and the state has topped
our Horrible Hundred report every year that we’ve compiled it.
This year, 30 of the 100 mills in our report were located in
Missouri.

Vigilance by state authorities is also more important now than
ever before because in recent years the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, which licenses about 2,900 puppy mills nationwide,
including about 800 in Missouri, has abandoned its responsibility
to enforce the Animal Welfare Act.
As we’ve been reporting
, the USDA has drastically scaled back
on issuing citations to breeders, giving them free rein to continue
hurting animals even after they have been caught.

We also urge Missouri to put in place stronger penalties and
better enforcement to ensure that puppy millers who hurt animals do
not just go back to business as usual.

In 2019, Schmitt filed suit against two other breeders in our
current report, Puppy Love Kennel, aka Cory’s Cuties (Cory
Mincey) and Cedar Ridge Australians (Marlisa McAlmond), but both of
the operations are still open at this time, to the best of our
knowledge. Mincey, a notoriously problematic AKC breeder whose
mill,
Cory’s Cuties
, has appeared in two of our Horrible Hundred
reports, was fined $5,500 after state inspectors repeatedly found
underweight animals and poor conditions on her property, but most
of the fine was suspended as long as the operation does not have
any new “substantial” violations for two years. We have called
upon the
AKC
to stop supporting puppy mills like Mincey’s, but the
group continues to fight laws that would better regulate puppy
mills and that would make it easier for law enforcement to
permanently confiscate suffering animals.

Unfortunately, the suffering of the dogs at Little Bit Ranch,
the breeder that was just sued, may not be over. We have learned
that the dogs are going to auction—a common problem in Missouri
where breeders who are shut down can sell their dogs to other
breeders at auctions and make tens of thousands of dollars, pushing
the animals into yet another cycle of breeding and abuse at a
different puppy mill. This is simply not acceptable. Missouri
should order the owners of Little Bit Ranch and other breeders who
are shut down to turn in their mistreated dogs to licensed,
reputable shelters or rescue groups that can rehabilitate them and
give them an opportunity to live out the rest of their lives as
cherished pets.

The HSUS is working on many fronts to stop puppy mills—through
legislation at the local, state and federal levels, through the
courts, through our investigations, through reports like the
Horrible Hundred, and by raising awareness. We are making progress
every day, but stopping puppy mills for good will require support
from concerned citizens and conscientious consumers. If you are
aware of any puppy mill abuse, please contact your state attorney
general and local humane law enforcement and file a complaint. If
you have purchased a sick puppy from a problem seller in any state,
please report it to us
here
. And if you’re in the market for a pet, do not buy a
puppy from a pet store or online, because that animal is very
likely to be sourced from a puppy mill. There is no doubt that the
United States has a big puppy mill problem, but working together,
we can end the suffering of thousands of companion animals who are
now trapped in this abuse.


Help us end animal cruelty

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Missouri moves to shut down Horrible Hundred puppy mill for keeping
dogs in filthy conditions
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Source: FS – Pets – A Humane Nation
Missouri moves to shut down Horrible Hundred puppy mill for
keeping dogs in filthy conditions