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Humane Society Announces the ‘Horrible 100’ List of Worst Puppy Mill Offenders in the U.S.

Here’s why you should rescue from a shelter instead of buying a dog.

We’ve all walked by the window of a pet store, filled with adorable furball puppies, and thought to ourselves, “Aww, how sweet!” There’s even a classic children’s song about this once beloved scenario, “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?”

Unfortunately, in many cases, the cruel reality attached to the practice of buying puppies is very different from that fluffy fantasy.

On May 9, the Humane Society of the United States released its ‘Horrible Hundred 2017’ list, which is a report filled with information compiled from records obtained from state inspection data (in states that inspect puppy mills) and from recent USDA records that the HSUS preserved before the USDA removed these reports from its website, plus available court records, consumer complaints, investigator visits and media reports. (According to, the USDA is currently “working to review and repost records as soon as possible.”)

As the HSUS notes, if you purchase puppies or dogs from a store or off the internet, you could be unwittingly supporting this inhumane business. The latest Horrible Hundred report is the fifth of its kind; highlighted below are some of the most salient and distressing findings:

For the fifth year in a row, Missouri had the most puppy dealers at 19, followed by Ohio, Kansas and Pennsylvania, which each had 12 dealers.
Of the 100 dealers listed, 45 are new to the report, while 55 are repeat offenders who have previously appeared in a HSUS puppy mill report. (Last year, the USDA shut down only seven “problem breeders.”)
At least nine dealers sell their dogs through an online site which has been linked to offending puppy mills in the past.

Overall, the trend of breeders advertising on the internet, including online classified sites and social media, appears to be on the rise and is highly disconcerting.
Although the list names the worst breeders in 20 states, the afflicted dogs can end up anywhere across the U.S. Worse yet, many puppy mills operate under the radar and are never inspected at all.

Among the disturbing findings, some of the facilities were: starving dogs, failing to protect dogs from freezing weather, repeatedly breeding sick and injured dogs, denying them veterinary care, leaving them in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, keeping dogs in illegally small cages.