Two area kennels have been named to a report called "A Horrible Hundred," released by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which lists 100 puppy mills from 20 different states.
The facilities listed in the report were selected based on the conditions documented in publicly available inspection reports and on evidence obtained during HSUS research and investigations.
The area facilities listed — Samples Creek Kennel in Edgar Springs and Dake's Kennel in Dixon — were two of 24 facilities located in Missouri that made the list. Missouri was the state with the highest number of puppy mills in the report.
The HSUS is not charging that these are the worst 100 mills in the nation, but these are operations with deficiencies and inadequate attention to animal welfare, according to the report.
The facilities listed in the report were selected based upon a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the number and severity of state and/or federal animal welfare violations (available via public records), HSUS research and investigations, and whether or not the facility was believed to be in business at the time of publication.
The report had this to say about the two kennels:
"In May 2011, Pamela Baldwin (of Samples Creek Kennel) received an official warning from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for not providing proper veterinary treatment to dogs in her care.
"Issues included a dog known as 'Skooter' who 'had a swollen area on the left, lower lip' and two other dogs who 'had cloudy substances covering a large portion of the eyes.' A 'loose, bloody discharge' was also seen on the ground of one dog's enclosure, according to inspection reports."
The report goes on to say that "problems at Samples Creek Kennel seem to have only gotten worse since the official warning was issued. In May 2012, USDA inspectors documented a number of new, serious problems, including four dogs who were so thin that their ribs were showing, and dogs with scabs, hair loss and missing fur.
"Issues were found yet again August of 2012, when USDA inspectors found a silky terrier with a damaged, watering eye and a limping Bassett Hound, as well as 25 dogs who were 'scratching frequently' and appeared to be infested with fleas," the report states.
Regarding Kenneth Dake, of Dake's Kennels, which has been cited for recurring violations since at least 2007, the report stated, "In December 2012, USDA inspectors found 10 violations, including a Golden Retriever with sores inside her ears, excessive accumulations of trash and waste, unsafe housing and dogs without adequate protection from the weather when temperatures had been in the 30s at night.
"Prior violations include storing rat poison two feet away from the dog food, puppies found huddling together in a whelping trailer that was only 42 degrees F at the time of inspection, failure to provide adequate protection to dogs in the outdoor enclosures when the outdoor temperature was 34 degrees F at time of inspection, and excessive accumulations of feces. Dake's Kennel received an official warning from the USDA in 2011 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act regulations."
The USDA lacks the authority to enforce state laws, including animal cruelty laws. They may fine repeat violators and eventually revoke an operator's license, but the process often involves legal challenges that can drag on for years.
The HSUS is not a law enforcement agency either and cannot close down kennels without the help of local authorities.