Friday, March 11, 2011

Missouri Dirty Dozen Puppy Mills: Urine and Feces Raining Down on the Dogs

Late last year, researchers at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spent weeks poring over state and federal inspection reports, investigators’ photographs, and enforcement records to compile a list of some of the worst puppy mills in Missouri, known as “Missouri’s Dirty Dozen.” The report included direct quotes detailing horrific care violations documented in the facilities’ federal and/or state kennel inspection reports The violations included thin-coated breeds like Italian greyhounds found shivering in the cold in temperatures as low as 9 degrees, dogs with open, oozing or bleeding sores, underweight dogs with their entire skeletal structures showing, and sick or dying puppies who had not been treated by a vet.

March 9, 2011, the HSUS released an update to this report.  The majority of the Missouri Dirty Dozen kennels are still state licensed and in operation.  On the same day, the Missouri Senate voted 20 - 14 to repeal Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.  The Missouri House will vote on this issue soon.
If there is any doubt in your mind that MO Prop B, as written and passed by voters last November, is needed and provides essential protection for dogs, please read below for details from the Dirty Dozen update.

Windsong Kennels, Shannon Plymell in Pattonsburg, MO
This facility's USDA license was cancelled in January 2011, but the operator still holds a 2011 Missouri state kennel license.  As detailed in the original HSUS Dirty Dozen report, federal and state authorities have cited Windsong Kennels repeatedly for severe animal welfare issues, including underweight and sick animals, dogs found in frigid temperatures without adequate protection from the cold, inadequate shelter and temperature control, and housing in disrepair.  Violations also included dogs requiring vet care, dogs without adequate space to turn around and move freely, dogs in stacked cages that allowed tyhe urine and feces from dogs in the upper enclosures to rain down on the dogs in lower tiers, and issues with substandard housing, incurring more than 21 pages of USDA violations since July 2008.

Plymell continued to accumulate USDA violations as recently as January 2011.  Even after she was listed in the HSUS Dirty Dozen report, she was apparently unable to unwilling to raise the standard of care at her facility;  federal inspectors cited the kennel in January 2011 for failure to provide adequarte protection from the wind and rain, failure to provide adequate bedding when temperatures had been and were expected to be, below 35 degrees F, and excessively chewed housing.

Although she cancelled her USDA license in January, Plymell is still state licensed as of February 2011.  Now that the facility is no longer USDA licensed, Windsong Kennels cannot legally sell puppies to brokers or pet stores.  However, as long as its Missouri state kennel license is current, Plymell can resume or continue breeding and selling dogs directly to the public at any time.

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