The state’s Attorney General has ordered S&S Family Puppies of Milan, Mo. to shut its doors and remain closed for at least eight years. The Humane Society of the United States named S&S Family Puppies as one of the worst puppy mills in the country in its 2010 and 2011“Dirty Dozen” reports. The kennel received this dubious honor based on 500 pages of USDA records stretching back to 2006, including violations for dogs found with oozing sores and untreated injuries, filthy and unsafe conditions, underweight animals, and inadequate protection from harsh weather conditions.
In addition to being featured in The HSUS’s “Dirty Dozen” reports, last year several plaintiffs sued Diana Stephenson and her daughter Brandi Cheney in Missouri state court alleging that the puppy dealers violated the Missouri consumer protection law by selling sick and dying puppies. USDA records list Stephenson and Cheney as co-owners of S&S Family Puppies. The duo has operated several other puppy selling businesses over the years under a litany of ever-changing names, including C C Family Puppies, Dichas Kennel and Unitedpuppies. In fact, Cheney has recently obtained a USDA license for a new kennel, Circle B Farms, LLC, which has also been cited for animal care violations as recently as January 2011.
“We applaud Attorney General Koster for taking action in this case, and hope this is just the beginning of his efforts to crack down on chronically problematic breeding kennels in Missouri” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign for The HSUS. “We are pleased that the cycle of abuse at S&S Puppies has finally ended, but saddened that it took years of documented abuse to shut this facility down. This is another example of why stronger puppy mill laws are needed in Missouri.”
Approximately 40 of Diana and Charles Stephenson’s dogs were scheduled to be auctioned off on Saturday, May 21 at Southwest Kennel Auction’s “consignment sale” in Wheaton, Mo. It is unclear at this time whether the Stephensons will be permitted to keep the profits from the sale.
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