Missouri again tops Humane Society's list for problem puppy mills

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COLUMBIA – For the sixth year in a row, Missouri leads the 2018 "Horrible Hundred" list from the Humane Society of the United States. The report compiles a list of 100 problem puppy mills and dog sellers nationwide.

Jennifer Young, a pet owner, says it is sad that some people have even visited a puppy mill.

"I think everybody that likes dogs don't like going to puppy mills," she said.

The Humane Society reported a total of 23 puppy mills in Missouri, four more than last year.

Dog owner Jessi Stone says puppy mills continue to operate in the state because some people who want to buy a dog do not realize where their pet is coming from.

"They see a really cute animal and they are not doing their research about where the puppy is coming from, any of the parent blood lines," she said. "They are not realizing that a lot of shelters have a large selection of puppies that need homes."

The "Horrible Hundred" is based on data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the Humane Society, USDA inspectors found "dogs with open wounds, emaciated dogs with their ribs and spines showing, and dogs with moldy food, dirty water and filthy cages" in puppy mills across the country.

Stone said she knows someone who purchased a dog from a puppy mill.

"They were fortunate enough that the dog doesn't have any medical issues," she said. "However, it's really common that a lot of dogs would come out with several different genetic issues."

Young says one solution for the problem is to encourage adoptions among potential pet owners.

"The big thing is that you can just adopt instead of buying a dog," she said. "That way you'd know, if you are going through something like the Central Missouri Humane Society or through Second Chance, that you are not getting a dog from a puppy mill."

Stone agrees that adopting pets could be a solution for the problem.

"Just adopt from a shelter, and do your best to help the animals you can," she said.

Young added that if people decide to buy a dog they should take steps to make sure they are not getting a pet from a puppy mill.

"Make sure that you are visiting where the dog is kenneled, where the dog was bred, and you should ask questions like who are the dog's parents," she said.

Behind Missouri in the "Horrible Hundred," the Humane Society reported 13 puppy mills in Ohio, 10 in Iowa, and nine in Pennsylvania.

This is the sixth year in a row the Humane Society has published the report on puppy mills and dog sellers nationwide

Missouri has reported the largest number of puppy mills every year the report has been published.