100 Worst Puppy Mills in the U.S. Exposed

Animal advocates have been working tirelessly to raise awareness about the cruelty of puppy mills. But unfortunately, mills are still a problem across the nation.

For the fifth year in a row, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is shining a light on this issue with the release of its Horrible Hundred 2017 report, which highlights some of the worst offenders operating these mills, in addition to many of the problems that go on behind the scenes.

This year, however, their effort to research breeders was seriously hampered by the lack of records available. In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) removed animal welfare inspection and enforcement reports from its website, and while the agency restored some of what it removed last month, there is still virtually nothing available on breeding operations.

Despite the lack of USDA records, there’s still a lot of troubling information available. According to the HSUS, this year’s findings were compiled from several sources: state inspection data in states that inspect puppy mills; recent USDA records that were preserved before the agency removed reports from its website; in addition to available court records, consumer complaints, investigator visits and media reports.

Out of the top 100 breeders that have the dishonorable distinction of being featured in this report, Missouri came at the top for the fifth year in a row for being home to highest number of problem breeders, with Ohio, Kansas and Pennsylvania coming in with a three-way-tie with the second highest numbers.

According to the report, the USDA took action to shut down seven problem breeders last year, but 55 featured in the report are repeat offenders, and 45 were new on the list.

Some of the facilities were denying dogs veterinary care, leaving pets in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, failing to protect dogs from freezing weather, starving dogs, breeding sick and injured dogs, leaving dogs with broken bones, and keeping dogs in cages that are illegally small. The problems are even more offensive considering how low the minimum standards of care required are for dogs, and they’re barely being met.

While the report names some of the worst breeders in 20 states, the dogs being bred and sold by these breeders can end up anywhere in the country. Even more concerning is the fact that there are still many facilities that are operating under the radar that are never inspected at all and the role that others, including transporters and brokers, are playing in supporting this cruelty.

The HSUS hopes that its findings will encourage more people not to buy puppies from pet stores, online, or from breeders who won’t let them visit their properties in person.

For more info and ways to help, check out the full Horrible Hundred 2017 report and Puppy Mill Action Week. If you haven’t already, you can also help by adding your voice to the petition demanding the USDA restore all of its animal welfare records.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga10 months ago

so sick

natasha p
Past Member about a year ago

so sick

Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a year ago

Thank you for posting.

Danuta W
Danuta Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Ann B
Ann Babout a year ago

if they know these are the WORST why are they NOT SHUT DOWN????

Telica R
Telica Rabout a year ago

Terrible !!

Marie W
Marie Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

William C
William C1 years ago


W. C
W. C1 years ago

Thank you for the information.

Melania P
Melania Padilla1 years ago

Shared... How I despise puppy mills and the people who profit from them. Worst, it is the people who buy pets. We need to educate people, the bad thing is when you educate them and they don't care...