A group of consumers filed suit in the Randolph County Circuit Court last Tuesday against notorious Missouri puppy mill S & S Family Puppies (and its owners Brandi Cheney and Diana Stephenson) for selling consumers sick and dying puppies in violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
The news came as no surprise to the Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B campaign, which recently named S & S Family Puppies as the number-one entry in “Missouri’s Dirty Dozen,” a report on some of the most deplorable puppy mills in the state. Like many of the state’s worst puppy mills, S & S Family Puppies is licensed and routinely inspected under both state and federal law.
“S & S Family Puppies has been the subject of numerous documented animal welfare violations, as well as consumer complaints about sick and dying puppies,” said Barbara Schmitz, campaign director for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop B. “Proposition B will create clear humane standards and provide new tools for law enforcement to crack down on puppy mill cruelty. Missouri voters who want to protect dogs from inhumane treatment and protect consumers from deception should vote YES on Prop B.”
S & S Family Puppies’ history of neglect and mistreatment is documented in more than 500 pages of enforcement records. The records include photos of dogs with oozing or encrusted eyes, dogs with bleeding lacerations, puppies attempting to stand on wide-spaced wire flooring, an underweight and “unresponsive” poodle, and some dogs so badly matted with feces-encrusted hair that it was difficult to determine what sex or breed they were. USDA inspection reports further detail repeated problems with dogs exposed to the cold without adequate weather protection; problems with seriously ill, injured or malnourished dogs not being treated by a vet; housing problems; filthy, feces-laden conditions; and more.
At puppy mills in Missouri, dogs are typically crammed into small and filthy cages, denied veterinary care, exposed to extremes of heat and cold, and given no exercise or human affection. These puppy mills are cruel and the way these dogs are treated is wrong. Prop B would stop puppy mill abuses by establishing common-sense standards for the care of dogs.
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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