Missouri’s Worst Animal Breeders Revealed

Posted on December 6, 2013

Animal Legal Defense Fund Calls on Government to Shut Down Law-Breaking Kennels in “Puppy Mill Capital of America”

For immediate release:


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


See slideshow below for more images.

ST. LOUIS — After extensive review of the inspection records of commercial breeders in the state of Missouri—notoriously known as the puppy mill capital of America—the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sent a formal letter this week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), singling out the worst of these breeders and demanding the agency enforce the law against horrific violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). ALDF’s review shows animal cruelty routinely goes unpunished by federal authorities in Missouri, and the group is urging the USDA to move suffering animals to reputable shelters where they can receive veterinary attention. Furthermore, the letter calls on the USDA to apply civil penalties and revoke the licenses of commercial dealers that have violated the AWA on multiple, documented occasions, including:

  • Antech, Inc. (Barnhart) injected carbon dioxide into a 55-gallon drum to euthanize 60-90 pound dogs who could barely fit into the container.
  • Simply Puppies (Hannibal) kept a dog living in an outdoor enclosure with a dead dog. In addition, the breeder failed to provide bedding in 52 enclosures containing a total of 94 dogs, though the temperature was well-below freezing.
  • Hill Top Kennel (Clark) allowed 15 puppies to live in wire-floored cages with holes large enough that their feet fell through. On August 18, 2011, the kennel did not provide adequate veterinary care to a dog who gave birth to a litter of puppies during the night and ate most of them by the morning.
  • Valente Rios (Galt) failed to provide adequate veterinary care to a dog with a bone protruding from his tail. The breeder admitted the tail was recently docked using scissors without sanitation or anesthesia.
  • Cloverleaf Kennel (Willow Springs) failed to provide dogs with access to water in an outdoor facility with temperatures registering 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Inspectors observed mouse droppings on every surface and at least one dead mouse in a food receptacle.

“The failure to provide basic care for these animals is shocking,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “We implore the USDA to act on violations documented by their own agency, and to do their job to protect Missouri’s animals. Until then, puppy mills will continue to profit while dogs suffer behind closed doors.”

ALDF’s letter and a complete list of abusive breeders are available by request.

Hover over the slideshow below and click “next” to view all images.

53 thoughts on “Missouri’s Worst Animal Breeders Revealed

  1. Lorie Obradovich says:

    What can be said. It’s horrifying in every way. I can only hope, when all is said and done, that these “people” are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  2. christine bunton says:

    It’s bad enough people make lots of money out of breeding animals but to treat them as they do is barbaric.These places should be closed down.

  3. PAMELA says:


  4. Barbara says:

    Please protect these unwilling victims of greed!Currently, the federal animal cruelty laws offer little punishment for puppy mill owners; therefore the breeders pay the fine and continue breeding Many people are unaware that when they purchase dogs at certain pet stores, they were bred in puppy mills. these puppies often develop genetic defects or other health problems due to over-breeding, inbreeding, and unsanitary conditions at the puppy mills. The government inspectors are not doing their job to allow these breeders to stay in business.

    1. christi says:

      you are totally correct.most of the puppies go to the pet stores at the malls. I worked at one of those and was able to get things changed, puppy mill closed, at least the supplier for that store. Now here in Arizona I am seeing that the once pet stores of the malls are becoming the rescue centers instead.

      1. Karen says:

        Christi, can you list some of the stores who have changed over to rescue? We would love to know if they have been successful with this business model. Thanks!

  5. Debbie Richardson says:

    Barbaric humans they do not feed care or love these dogs just breed breed and breed them to death its disgusting…

  6. Katie Desmond says:

    There are too many unwanted animals that need good, loving homes. If people are breeding animals that don’t have enough time to take care if them and clean up after them, why are they bothering to have them at all? Don’t support puppy mills! Adopt a pet that needs you now!

  7. Susan White says:

    This country should be more than ashamed at the way it allows our animals to be treated. Too much apathy in this county. Why on earth is the USDA overseeing dogs and cats? They are a lackluster governmental agency and are not animal friendly. We are no better than third world countries.

  8. Brigitte Stern says:

    What a living hell…. Can’t you see what’s really going on? – it’s America’s dirty little secret! PUPPY MILLS are an American disgrace! Take a stand against this industry. It is high time to put an end to the pain and suffering forced upon the wonderful creatures that we call “man’s best friends”. We must continue the fight to shut down the puppy mills in America! Without fight for animals be entitled to basic legal rights in our society, without legal protection animals are defenseless against exploitation and abuse…

  9. Beverly says:

    Companion animals are NOT “AGRICULTURAL Products” !!!
    When animals and profit collide, the animals always lose.
    Please keep up the pressure.
    USDA cannot and will not do the oversight correctly. It is up to us animal lovers to do what is right to prevent suffering.

  10. Shelagh says:

    So why are they still open!!!!!! Please continue to push to close these disgusting places.

  11. Deborah E Reiss says:


  12. Kathleen Groux says:

    This is atrocious! Shut down these mills and put these people in JAIL!!!

  13. Beth Gibson says:


  14. Sharonann S. says:

    Is there a petition for this? How do we push for this? Does anyone know? I could have missed it. Please post if there is. A blog isnt going to save them.

    1. Vicky says:

      Agree, Sharonann, can someone please start a petition on one of the petition sites encouraging US citizens to contact the USDA and/or legislators about this problem. I’m not sure which would be more effective, maybe we can get a campaign started on Care 2 as well?

  15. Mary Jo Quilici says:

    Our beautiful Weimaraner came from Mettoville Kennels in Missouri, owned by Herman and Bonnie Schindler. At the time we got him, this particular puppy mill had 3,000 dogs and 100 employees. They were finally forced to shut down in 2010 by the state. It is time to put an end to the suffering of these wonderful dogs and jail the individuals making money off their backs. We owe them this and so much more.

  16. If the laws fails to protect animals, the people must. These people cannot be shamed into change, the laws are obviously ineffectual, but other types of persuasion could be quite effective.

  17. Janet in Cambridge MA says:

    How can they possibly be breeding any kind of dog that would survive to a store? They don’t seem like very “smart” business people. They’re not even taking care of their “investments.” Shut them all down. Rescue an animal from a shelter or a breed rescue.

  18. Marjorie Hass says:

    I don’t see how anyone can breed dogs with our shelters as full as they are and dogs having to be euthanized daily. But these people are not even human–they are evil. All these puppy mills need to be shut down.

  19. Cecelia Shannon says:

    Let’s shut down these hideious breeders

  20. Maggie Lynch) says:

    THANK YOU ALDF for your tireless vigilance! WE can comment here & other places. Let’s be more effective advocates. WE know it’s horrific; obviously, others don’t know about the forms of animal abuse or they continue to turn their back. It is so difficult to comprehend that most of the citizens of Missouri (for example)condone puppy mills. I am aware that they have some strong lobbying for puppy mills (beyond me!)but still. . .!
    1-Make a list of your federal, state, county board, city officials’ names, addresses, websites, phone nos.(elected and appointed, at least start w/ elected) & make it easily accessible. Then review their websites & see what their views are on animals.

    2-Draft basic letters regarding each particular issue of animal abuse/cruelty(puppy mills, dog fighting, farm animals . . .)and save them & we can even put the addresses and salutations on each one to save even more time.
    3-Stay current: continue to educate ourselves on the horrors through reading & watching the videos.
    4-It’s been suggested to choose one of the issues and work w/ established orgs. to: increase awareness of communities, particularly in election years(pages 168-170 of “The Bond…” by W. Pacelle is an example) get petitions signed, and so forth.
    I needed to review what it takes just to write a law, etc.(I missed that day in school-ha!). It just seems that “us” advocates need to become more involved. Thank you!

  21. Dana says:

    Thank you ALDF for speaking out on behalf of the voiceless!

  22. Ice Pony Girl says:


    Shut down ALL puppy mills in your state.

  23. Vicky says:

    Posted this as a reply but wanted to ask everyone..
    Can a petition be started on one of the petition sites with this info and encouraging US citizens to contact the USDA and/or legislators about this problem. I’m not sure which would be more effective, maybe we can get a campaign started on Care 2 as well?
    Thx so much.

  24. Klara Larsen says:

    POOR DOGS. My little guy came from a raid on a place like these. Most of these dogs will never be OK, because their mind IS NOT OK after living in hell.

  25. teresa says:

    Where do I sign? THIS IS LONG OVER DUE!!!
    Thank You!!!

  26. These places need to be shut down,this is pure animal cruelty,and must be dealt with.

  27. Sheryl Kutsmeda says:

    I started to develop an understanding of this reality when I read stories on social media and heard and saw dogs that have been injured , some almost beyond recognition of being a dog , that these so called breeding facilities are nothing more thsn concentrate camps for animals…Nothing less.To allow this treatment to legally continue after KNOWING the reality that is being brought to those who have the authorized power to stop it becomes a participant in it..Please review and act on this urgency without delay. THANK YOU. SHERYL KUTSMED

    1. Maggie Lynch) says:

      Sheryl,THANK YOU; WELL SAID!!!

  28. victoria says:

    PLEASE stop these people from being cruel to all of these little ones. The pain and the agony they are all in. Soooo much urine, that they sniff it all day, they eventually go blind from the burning aroma. they have nothing to sleep on but wire/never groomed/their nails are not cut/never bathed. some sit in the same cage all day for years, never touching the ground. Some throw them in insinerators when finished, and or shoot them in the head.sell the puppies and start over with another puppy. they are poked at, to shutup, kept in excessive heat/cold. this is not living, this is cruelty and all of this is for a money? HOW does anyone who does this sleep at night or not feel guilty each time they spend their “hard working” money?? PLEASE shut these people down!

  29. uta LEMCKE says:

    This is disgusting. I live in Germany and I am really very upset that nobody in the US Government cares a damn about these poor creatures. Aren’t they also God’s creatures? Don’t most Americans declare themselves to be good Christians? I just don’t want to believe a word.

  30. Theresa in CT says:

    I just don’t understand why our politicians won’t pass and enforce stricter laws against cruelty to animals. Puppy mills and backyard breeders are NOT OK!

  31. Michele Hammond says:

    Those places of torture suffering and shame should ALL be closed. There is no need for more dogs, 4 millions dogs are euthanized in the US every years. Is this the way for a civilized country to act toward its animals.
    Close those greedy bastards down and let them get a job instead of exploiting animals and the buying public.

  32. They ALL need to be closed down. We do NOT need commercial breeding facilities AKA Puppymills. There are way to many homeless dogs and the dogs in these places are neglected

  33. WENDY EASTLAND says:

    We will take away Missouri’s statehood IF they don’t clean up this disgusting breeder mess!!!!

  34. Elizabeth Nemecek says:

    Please stop this abuse and shut these mills down!!!

  35. Judy Parlin says:


  36. Karen H says:

    These people who make their money on the abuse of animals, have no compassion and are INHUMANE! CHANGE THE LAWS PEOPLE! Make this STOP now!

  37. Jann Kallas says:

    Heartbreaking and disgusting! This must be stopped immediately!

  38. Kristy says:

    Shut them down!! What kind of losers can treat these animals this way? Why must they do these things! Breaks my heart and makes me so mad.

  39. Patricia says:

    Why is the ACK still registering puppies from puppy mills? They need to stop. That would kill the industry, but oh yeah, I know why… the AKC makes too much money from registration fees.


    1. Maggie Lynch) says:

      You know it! I am looking for the interview done w/ the AKC head-it is very eye opening.

  40. Donna says:

    Theses people are the scum of the erth and should be treated the way they treat these poor innocent babies. Reading that made me sick, as all my animals surround me cozy, well fed and loved.
    The states need to crack down and start shutting these places down and incarcerate the owners. Maybe this would stop future mills!

  41. Allyson White says:

    Does this become a petition? I would sign — My first dog was from a puppy mill but I did not know anything about them until we found all the medical problems.

  42. Carol schurter says:

    The people that have done this and continue to do this should be put into cages themselves, left without water, not receive medical services or all of the above! How would that feel to them!! You call yourselves human beings? I dont think so…..SAVAGES would be a better description! I hope they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law!!!

  43. Tammie Mansfield says:

    I hope some day that these people r severly punished. No animal deserves this.

  44. bruce loucks says:

    Stop the killings

  45. Karen Satterfield says:

    Please be a leader in shutting down these despicable places! The treatment these sweet innocent animals receive is horrific all for the almighty Dollar/Greed.Throw the book at the filth that run these mills. Lead by example: shut them down, harsh penalty and community service in helping at a shelter that will be caring and rehabilitating these victims back to health(and they see the damage they caused and the cost of rehabilitating from beginning to end). You lead and other states will follow until there are no more, especially with Missouri having the most of these dreaded places..It would be a HUGE start in cleaning up this seemingly never ending circle of puppy-mills. PLEASE!!!! Thank you

  46. Maggie Lynch) says:

    “Animal welfare advocates assert that until all states adopt and enforce consistent breeding standards, irresponsible breeders will continue to skirt requirements. In fact, the state with the largest concentration of dog breeding facilities, Missouri, has been criticized for failing to amend its dog breeding legislation to include sufficient standards of care (a map of breeding facilities in the U.S. is available at http://www.maal.org/Puppy-Mills.asp). Citizens in the state are now attempting to gather necessary signatures for a 2010 ballot initiative. A combined campaign of consumer education, state legislation, and state oversight is what most experts feel will address the continuing scourge of puppy mills.”

    This is a table of the laws by state.

  47. Steve says:

    This is surely a case of useless USDA inspectors either on the take or just getting paid to do nothing. We have the laws which are selectively enforced by our officials. I worked at a big cat sanctuary and when the USDA inspectors came in it was a joke. They knew less about the care of animals then a Petsmart employee knows. It’s our useless officials that bear the responsibility here.

  48. Dee Santucci says:

    If people would stay out of pet stores that sell puppies and stop buying directly over the Internet, through newspaper ads, at Flea markets and out of the back of vehicles, we COULD shut down the MILLS. It’s supply and demand and when people buy a puppy thinking they are rescuing the puppy, they actually create demand for more puppy mill puppies.

Be a Partner in Protection!

Donate monthly to help animals.

or make a one-time gift »

ALDF's Online Store

Help fund our lifesaving work!


Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.

Join Us

Follow ALDF on these networks:

Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.