Dog Advocates Seek Investigation into Unlawful Dumping of Dead Dogs by Puppy Mills

Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B, the committee supporting the ballot measure to stop puppy mill cruelty, has asked the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to initiate an investigation of widespread illegal dumping of dead dogs by large-scale commercial dog breeders in Missouri. 

Records and photographs obtained from public files and summarized in a report prepared by the group make clear that large-scale breeding facilities are killing or abandoning sick and dying dogs, and then failing to properly dispose of the dead animals in accordance with Missouri law. The committee released its findings and graphic images showing the dumping of dead puppy mill dogs today at simultaneous press conferences in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia.

For example, records concerning commercial dog broker The Hunte Corporation revealed that, at one facility alone, Hunte was dumping as much as 220 pounds of dead puppies each month, which could represent as many as 1,000 puppies a year dying at what is believed to be Missouri’s largest middleman for puppy mill puppies. 

In another case, more than 40 dogs were found dumped in a mass grave near Lebanon, Mo.  Although evidence at the scene suggested the dogs were connected with a local puppy mill, it appears no charges were ever filed, and the operation remains licensed to breed and sell dogs today.

“The illegal dumping of large numbers of dead dogs and puppies is a sickening and little-known byproduct of the puppy mill industry in Missouri,” said Barbara Schmitz, campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B.   “Proposition B would help address this problem by requiring individual veterinary care for sick dogs, and, where appropriate, humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian.”

The public records include disturbing  photographs and information about dead dogs and puppies being discarded like pieces of trash; including:

  • Puppies found dead outside buildings, apparently having died from the cold;
  • A puppy found lying dead in a frying pan used as a food bowl;
  • More than 40 dogs dumped in a mass grave near Lebanon, Mo.;
  • A female basset hound found unresponsive with her head “trapped between the shelter and the wire of the enclosure;”
  • A “wheel barrow full of green water [with] dogs skeletal remains in the water” and a breeder who admitted “that at least seven and possibly as many as ten animals were shot by her boyfriend” and that “some of the bodies were burned and others were hauled off to an unknown location.”

All of the commercial breeders mentioned in the report were at one time licensed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, and ten of them are still licensed today.

Sick and dying dogs are a routine occurrence at large-scale puppy mills.  Dogs are crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and given no exercise or human affection. Many dogs are deliberately killed by the puppy mill operators when they become too old or too sick to produce large litters of puppies.

Prop B will stop puppy mill abuses by establishing common-sense enforceable standards for the care of dogs in Missouri, including requirements that dogs in puppy mills be provided with clean water, adequate food, exercise and regular veterinary care. Responsible dog breeders are already complying with these standards and will not be impacted by the measure.

Prop B is supported by Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics from across the state; animal welfare charities and organizations, including the Humane Society of Missouri, the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, Humane Society of Southwest Missouri, Wayside Waifs, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), Best Friends Animal Society and The Humane Society of the United States; prominent Missouri figures such as Tony La Russa, Jack Danforth and Linda Bond; as well as responsible dog breeders, elected officials, religious leaders and Missouri businesses.

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