Minnesota’s Scariest Breeders Under Fire from Animal Advocates

Posted on October 30, 2013

Animal Legal Defense Fund Calls on USDA to Shut Down State’s Animal Horror Houses

For immediate release:

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund

kennel-cc-Jeff-Youngstrom-article-image-500pxMINNESOTA — After extensive review of inspection records for commercial breeders in the state of Minnesota, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has singled out those with the most ghoulish violations of federal law—and today, ALDF sent a formal letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), demanding that the agency enforce the law against Minnesota breeders for horrific violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). ALDF’s review revealed that animal cruelty has routinely gone unpunished across the state. ALDF’s letter implores the USDA to transfer suffering animals to reputable shelters so they can receive veterinary attention, and to apply civil penalties and revoke the licenses of the following frightening facilities:

  • Moulton’s Chinchilla Ranch in Rochester, Minn., Facility No. 41-B-0239, which sells animals to pet stores and laboratories, has violated sanitation guidelines with soiled food bins and water lines—in addition to inadequate veterinary care and illegal transportation. On June 23, 2011, the facility’s improper transportation routine caused six chinchillas to die from heat stroke and suffocation.
  • Deloris and Dick Richards in Marshall, Minn., Facility No. 41-A-0016 have been cited for failing to maintain clean facilities or provide adequate veterinary care. Inspectors observed an immense buildup of excrement and an infestation of flies that resulted in scabbed ears and open sores on the bodies of several dogs.
  • Larry and Carole Harries, Harries K-9 Ranch in Alpha, Minn., Facility No. 41-A-0023, were allowed by the USDA to close their doors without punishment—despite numerous documented violations that include not providing adequate veterinary care for sick and injured dogs, failing to give facility access to inspectors, and filthy, dangerous enclosures.
  • Wanda Kretzman, of Clearwater Kennel Inc. in Cushing, Minn., Facility No. 41-B-0190, a commercial dog breeding facility with more than 1,000 animals, has also repeatedly violated the AWA without punishment since 1997. According to APHIS inspections, animals in this facility were found in standing water. Inspectors documented a foul odor so strong it burned their own eyes and noses. At least eighteen enclosures, affecting thirty-six dogs, had excessive feces. Several animals had swollen, bloody feet, and one dog could not bear weight on her foot. More than 24 dogs were kept in enclosures with beetles crawling upon them and their food.

“Hundreds of animals are suffering in these houses of horror,” said Stephen Wells. “The USDA must act on these reports and protect animals under the law—as Congress intended when it established the Animal Welfare Act.”

ALDF’s letter is available by request.

Take Action

Contact John Kinsella at the USDA and demand that the violators listed above be held accountable.

E-mail: aceast@aphis.usda.gov
Phone: (919) 855-7100

34 thoughts on “Minnesota’s Scariest Breeders Under Fire from Animal Advocates

  1. Patricia Anderson says:

    “The USDA must act on these reports and protect animals under the law—as Congress intended when it established the Animal Welfare Act.”

  2. penny says:


  3. cudjo says:

    I hate Zoo’s and Dog Pounds. My best Pit Bull LaBuda was put to sleep in one of these. She was only 2 and a half months old.

  4. Lynn Hancock says:

    Puppy mills and breeders should be banned. There are too many animals in shelters being killed because there are not enough people to give them forever homes.

  5. Doris says:

    Close puppy mills, adopt! There are many dogs in shelters awaiting a forever home.

  6. Caroline Pavlinik says:

    The USDA is yet another example of the woeful inadequacy of a federal agency.

  7. Klara Larsen says:

    We need people who have a soul to check those places out. If you can feel your own beating heart,think of their little beating hearts. They need you.

  8. Robyn Schwerdt says:

    Close them all!!!

  9. Karin McGuire says:

    My letter has been sent! :-)

  10. Joi Ansley says:

    I dont have a problem with reputable breeders, the ones that you can visit and meet both parents, pick out the puppy you want and visit it until its ready to go. I agree we should adopt but some people want pedigreed dogs and those breeders are not the problem. These puppy mills are down right abuse and we need federal regulations to make them illegal. Animals bred for food are kept in better conditions than these poor animals, dog mans best friend? Im sure these wouldnt agree. These farms are in violation of state and federal health codes if nothing else and should be held accountable. At least until we can shut them down for good.

    1. melissa smith says:

      joi, the dogs where you meet the parents and visit the puppy are just one step above a mill, they are called backyard breeders and are only in it for profit. The only people that need a “pedigree” are people who plan on showing the dog and most are not. We have 100’s of breed rescues with purebred dogs of every variety if people want a certain breed. Not to mention you can find any kind of purebred in any animal control in this state and others. you cannot call someone reputable or responsible when 1000’s of homeless animals die in our state alone daily

      1. Jody says:

        Right on girl! It’s a shame to see so much misinformation out there. People actually believe the dogs are well taken care of. With all of the pets dying in dhelters, breeding dogs is criminal. Ick.

  11. ashley says:

    This is so disturbing that these precious dogs have been treated in such a inhumane way. Where is the compassion and Justice for these beautiful dogs? The people involved in this need to be punished..Moulton’s Chinchilla Ranch in Rochester, Minn., Facility No. 41-B-0239, Deloris and Dick Richards in Marshall, Minn., Facility No. 41-A-0016, Larry and Carole Harries, Harries K-9 Ranch in Alpha, Minn., Facility No. 41-A-0023, Wanda Kretzman, of Clearwater Kennel Inc. in Cushing, Minn., Facility No. 41-B-0190. These people i have listed are a discrace to humans!! I am so sick and tired of puppy mills, they all need to be shut down now! It’s not okay to do humans this way so it is not okay to do animals this way

  12. monique williams says:

    why isnt anyone rescuing these innocent dogs? they are being mistreated and they cant speak for themselves. We need to help them be rescued and get a loving safe home they all deserve

  13. Margaret Southwell says:

    One of the lowest forms of making money is the job of exploiting animals. Puppy mills breed genetically defective dogs. This is bad for dogs and people. WHEN IS THE EXPLOITATION OF AN ANIMAL OK? Oh, yeah, when someone can make a profit. You are the lowest of the low to allow it.

  14. Tracie Skinner says:

    They need to be held accountable. Better yet treat them the way they are treating the animals.

  15. Melanie Henry says:

    Shut them all down!!!!!! Sick sick people that do this to animals and sick people that allow it!!!! They will pay the ultimate price in the end for what they are doing!!!

  16. melissa smith says:

    I personally wish there was no breeding at all. ïts a little hard to say “responsible breeder” when 1000’s die every day. responsible breeders only breed dogs with a pedigree and titles, perfect top of the line dogs. The rest are backyard breeders, even the ones where you meet the parents and visit the puppy. unless you are showing a dog you do not need a pedigree. If you want a certain breed you can find them in any shelter in the country or breed rescue. Breeders need to get a hobby other than watching their dogs hump, and exploiting them for profit. The human society or some other entity that actually cares about animals should monitor breeders not the dept. of Ag. who currently monitors puppy mills.

  17. Wendy says:

    The government needs $$…Let’s start fining these folks each time, instead of warning. With enough fines, maybe they will either clean up their act, or go out of business. Either way, it’s a win-win.

  18. Susan Baguiao says:

    Close them ALL

  19. eva weiss says:

    I am with you, Melissa Smith. Let’s end all breeding until they can sort this **** out. No one should be able to treat animals like this an profit off it.

  20. Marilyn Beidler says:

    Go to Center for Biological Diversity. Check out there attempts to save all of the species which are becoming extinct due to too many humans. We need to control the overgrowth of the human race as it is causing the production of animals for food, etc. Puppy Mills should be banned completely and no sales of puppies, kitties, rabbits should be allowed in pet stores in any city. Perhaps from licensed breeders and animal shelters could be allowed.


  21. Angelika Mazur says:

    This breaks my heart! How can anyone be this sick and twisted. Close these horror facilities down and make them pay! No poor, helpless animal deserves this kind of abuse and neglect. People need to realize how horrible puppy mills are so awareness grows. USDA needs to do more to punish these people. It’s time to save these animals!!!

  22. Sami says:

    We need people to send an email to the address listed to express our support for shutting down these places! Nothing will change if officials don’t see that there are people who want things to be different and won’t stop until they are. Sample email I wrote that you can use:

    I am a concerned citizen writing to express my disgust and concern at the fact that there are multiple dog breeding facilities across the state of Minnesota that have been allowed to continue their heinous crimes against animals, even when they have been inspected and found to be sub-standard. I cannot understand how inspectors could witness with their own eyes the cruelty that animals in these facilities are subjected to and then allow them to remain functioning. Below are four facilities who are known to have animals in them who are not receiving even the most basic care or having any needs met. I demand that we completely shut down these operations (and others like them) and ensure that the monsters behind them are never allowed to go near or breed animals again. Also, these people should be charged hefty fines for their abuses to animals, and the animals residing in these facilities should be transferred to rescues where they can finally be taken care of for the first time in their lives.

    The facilities are:

    Moulton’s Chinchilla Ranch
    Dolores and Dick Richards
    Harries K-9 Ranch
    Clearwater Kennel, Inc

    I appreciate your time.

    1. Jody says:

      Thanks for the form email!

  23. Christina Crowley says:

    Do your job inspectors, enforce the laws set forth to end the animals suffering!!!!!

  24. Darryl says:

    The USDA is the problem!! It is like beating your head against a wall:-(

  25. Alicia says:

    The people who run the mills should be locked away. They are living off of selling and breeding and mistreating god’s living creatures. Innocent lives have been destroyed. Animals are equal to that of a child, in terms of Helpless. It is up to us to protect them from scum. They should be locked away and FORCED to volunteer to animal shelters.

  26. Kris says:

    I wish someone would look into the wensman puppy mills by Sauk centre minnesota. Friends of mine purchased dogs from them not doing any research. These dogs are so deformed and have terrible problems with their health. I hope someone can out a stop to these horrible people!

  27. angie says:

    Puppy mills should be illegal, there is no need or reason to have them!

  28. Michele Pederson says:

    Please make it against the law to breed dogs and cats or any animals for profit. There are millions of animals in shelters that will be put to sleep because nobody wants them. This is very sad

  29. Jody says:

    Breeding dogs, to me, is a question of morality. Sure we CAN, but SHOULD we? Chances are, over half of the pups breeders create will end up in the shelter system and eventually be killed, but not before they are fed, housed, vetted & cared for by Animal Control. And who picks up the tab? The taxpayers, that’s who. Breeding should be illegal. Forget animal rights, just think of the money we would save on the costs of feeding, housing, vetting and euthanizing dogs! Plus wages. Maybe if instead of fighting this battle on moral ground, animal lovers should change their approach & start pointing out how breeders & the puppy mill system are negatively affecting the only thing that anyone seems to care about anymore: the bottom line. Politicians care about the bottom line. And if the amount of money is large enough, they might just get behind legislation to get rid of this destructive, evil, immoral, sick, twisted system where animals suffer so that some guy can make a buck.

  30. Rosemary homeister says:

    Ban all puppy mills. Cruel and unusual punishment for innocent creatures.

  31. Julie says:

    Thanks, ADLF, for exposing this.

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