Tuesday, July 7, 2015

HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015: The Wall of Shame

There are estimated to be over 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. Missouri and Kansas take the prize once again in the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) Horrible Hundred 2015 report on some of the worst puppy mills in the country. According to the report, for three years running these two states have had the highest number of problem puppy mills, with 23 in Missouri and 16 in Kansas. Below is a sampling of what can be found in the report:

Quoting from page 17 of the report: "Mary Foster and Cathy Griesbauer, Country Pets- Montgomery City, MO: Massive Puppy Mill Has More Than 1,000 Dogs; Received Official Warning From USDA For Failure To Provide Medical Care To Ten Dogs. Country Pets is one of the most massive, substandard puppy mills in the country, with more than 1,000 dogs. It has been repeatedly cited by the USDA for multiple problems at the facility, including failure to let inspectors in on multiple occasions, and health, safety and sanitation issues."

Page thirteen shows: "Marilyn Soukup, Wilson, KS- Unlawfully failed to let inspectors in for ten different visits since 2011." The report goes on to say "On the occasions the inspectors were able to access the facility between 2011 and 2015, Soukup was cited at every USDA inspection for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act" and "During her most recent USDA inspection in April 2015, eleven different violations were found, mostly related to unsafe housing and unsanitary conditions."

Why would anyone buy puppies born and raised in such unhealthy conditions? Because when they see the freshly-bathed and groomed puppies in pet store windows and look into those pleading eyes, they don't realize that most puppies sold in pet shops come from puppy mills.

What about buying puppies on the internet? As an example, I encourage you to go to the website of Heaven's Gate Kennels in Georgia at The first thing I notice is two awards, one of which was given by To earn the award bestowed upon Heaven's Gate, it simply says, "Please fill in the form below as [sic] and you will win the award." It goes on to say that people who see it "will understand that you take great care in the breeding of your dogs." Wow.

The owner of the kennel writes, "Being a breeder is my life's calling that I have pursued since I was a little girl. I am so blessed to be able to fulfill my dream of caring and nurturing God's creatures all the while, bringing joy, happiness, and a little bit of God's love into your life in the form of 4 furry legs and a wet nose!" The site also states "We have a reputation of excellence and quality companion animals."

The first time I heard of Heaven's Gate Kennels was in HSUS' Horrible Hundred 2015 report. Following her name and the name of the kennel is the headline "Owner Charged With Animal Cruelty After Botched Do-It-Yourself Surgeries On Puppies' Tails". The entry goes on to say that the Georgia Department of Agriculture ordered a "stop sale" order shortly after the charges were filed, which allowed the owner "to sell some animals currently on the premises, but not to breed any more litters." It is important to note that it is unknown if or when the order expired but that HSUS staff noticed that puppies were still being offered for sale on Heaven's Gate's website, it's Facebook page, and on (noted in the report as "a notorious site for unlicensed and questionable breeders"), as of March 2015. The last sentence of this entry says, "It also appeared that (the owner) did not have a USDA license to sell puppies online, even though her page on PuppyFind listed 16 puppies for sale as of April 14, 2015 and offers worldwide shipping." (UPDATE: Today I went to the Heaven's Gate website listed earlier in the article and it is no longer up).

I chose not to include the name of the owner of Heaven's Gate Kennels in this post because I do not feel it is necessary in order to make my point. You can go to the website at the address provided above (or by Googling it like I did) and form your own opinion. I encourage you to go to the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 report and perhaps Google a couple of other kennels on the list to see how they present themselves on their websites as well.

You can read the full report of the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 by going to the web address below. There are descriptions of dogs suffering in such deplorable conditions is heartbreaking to read. But I hope you WILL read it because once you are aware of how puppy mills are allowed to operate I believe that you, like me, will want to be part of the movement to put an end to this cruel business.

Disclaimer: I have no personal knowledge of Heaven's Gate Kennels. The information presented in this blog post was taken directly from the HSUS Horrible Hundred 2015 report and from the Heaven's Gate website.

#puppymills #HSUSHorribleHundred2015 #HorribleHundred

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