HOLMES COUNTY, Ohio- A national animal rights organization on Tuesday released its latest ranking of states with problem so-called puppy mills and dog sellers.
Once again Ohio ranks near the top.
For the seventh year, the Humane Society of the United States published a list of 100 problem so-called puppy mills and dog sellers.
Missouri has the largest number of problem "puppy mills" according to the HSUS report. Ohio was ranked number 4.
John Goodwin, of the HSUS, points out that it's difficult to track all of the problem large volume dog breeders because some states don't have kennel inspections, and he believes there has been a decline in enforcement from the USDA.
"The USDA is not doing their job, ever since they started redacting inspection reports we have seen a steady decline in enforcement with a 60 percent decline in citations from 2017 to 2018," Goodwin told FOX 8.
He also noted some breeders don't get licensed so they are not inspected.
"Since our last report was released, we continued to find some of the same types of egregious violations on federal and state inspection reports, including violations for dogs found shivering in the cold, dogs with only frozen water buckets available or no water at all, dogs with untreated wounds, sick puppies who had not been treated by a veterinarian, and underweight dogs with their ribs and spines showing," the report states. "Twenty-seven of the dealers in this report are repeat offenders who have appeared in one or more of the HSUS's prior reports on puppy mills."
In the 2019 report, the HSUS named 8 problem large volume dog breeders in Ohio, including one in Fredericksburg were puppies were found in a cage that was too small for them, and mouse feces were located through the kennel.
The report also includes large volume dog breeders Daniel and James Miller. The FOX 8 I-Team stopped at Daniel Miller's property in the fall during our investigation on large volume dog breeders. Daniel Miller refused to let us look at where he keeps the dogs. He insisted he follows all rules.
The Millers also have a license under the name of Happy Mountain Canine Facilities, according to the HSUS.
According to the HSUS report and state department of agriculture, the Millers were found non-compliant due to "multiple puppies " found to be sold less than 8 weeks of age. There were also violations for Happy Mountain Canine Facilities for not having enough space in their enclosures, and not having a written health care plan provided by a veterinarian.
Another breeder in Millersburg Ohio was listed on the HSUS report after a June 2018 USDA inspection found two dogs with eye disorders not being treated by a veterinarian.
"We publish this report annually to warn consumers about common problems at puppy mills," Goodwin said. "We also want to urge government oversight agencies, such as the United States Department of Agriculture, to live up to their enforcement obligations."