With the battle over Prop B in Missouri in its final week, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs today released a follow-up report to its Oct. 5 exposé on 12 of the worst licensed puppy mills in the state-a “Dirty Dozen” review that leaves no doubt that Missouri is in fact the “puppy mill capital of America.” This latest set of findings-released at press events today in four cities-zeroes in on the widespread and illegal dumping of dead dogs, sometimes buried or burned in mass graves, by Missouri puppy mills and the middlemen who profit from their sale.
We have long known that mills impose unrelieved and extreme confinement on dogs in small, often overcrowded and squalid wire cages. We also know that the dogs never get a glimpse or even a sniff of a licensed veterinarian, and are essentially left on their own when their health fails them. And they are also often left to suffer the harsh effects of the elements-confined in outside cages that hardly shelter them from the fierce winds of winter or the unrelenting heat of summer. Now, we have unearthed yet another ugly side of a system rife with cruelty from cradle to grave-the huge number of dogs who die before they can even be shipped to a pet store.
The report examines state and federal documents, including graphic photographs from public agencies and the Humane Society of Missouri, that reveal large numbers of dead dogs and illegal disposal of their bodies. In terms of volume, it appears that nobody beats the Hunte Corporation, the largest broker of puppy mill dogs in the nation. According to reports, Hunte may have illegally disposed of hundreds of pounds of dead dogs each month, and that could amount to more than 1,000 dogs a year from this one facility. Here’s the full report and some troubling images.
It’s yet another body of evidence that Prop B is the right policy reform for Missouri, and that the puppy mill industry has lost any semblance of decency in its treatment of animals. A correction is long overdue, and if the good people of Missouri see the issue clearly, there will be a moral and political reckoning for this cruelest of industries on Tuesday.
Wayne Pacelle is president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. This post originally appeared on Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation.