PMS: Puppy Mill Syndrome-More AR Lies

Posted on 02/10/2009



HSUS Milks ‘Puppy Mill Syndrome’

In Illinois – But Here Are The Facts



American Sporting Dog Alliance


This article is archived at:


SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other radical animal rights groups use “puppy mill” as a devious mantra to push for tough laws aimed at all breeders, including the current House Bill 198, which would destroy the life’s work of some of the best dog breeders in America who call Illinois home.


The mere mention of a “puppy mill” brings vivid images to mind of suffering dogs that are starved, left in the cold to freeze, ill and untreated, infested with parasites and bred mercilessly until they are used up and thrown away.


The image evokes horror for everyone who loves dogs.


HSUS paints Illinois as rife with horrible unlicensed kennels that exploit dogs. They show photos, put out inflammatory press releases about “puppy mill” busts in Illinois, convince large numbers of good people who love animals that something must be done, and deliver a message to politicians that they would be heartless if they refuse to pass new laws.


Most dog owners know that HSUS is lying through its corporate teeth, but are afraid to challenge these allegations for fear of being tarred with the same broad brush.


It’s time to challenge them and show clearly that HSUS is basing its entire “puppy mill” campaign on distortions, fabrications and outright lies.


This report is calling their bluff with the facts. It’s time for HSUS to put up or shut up about “puppy mills.”


Instead, they have been spreading lies and distortions in the media and to the state Legislature, which is now considering two very poorly written and destructive pieces of legislation aimed at destroying the work of high quality breeders of purebred dogs.


The situation in Illinois is critical because this bill is being pushed hard and fast in the Legislature. It was hurried through the House Rules Committee last week, and now has been scheduled for a hearing tomorrow (Tuesday, February 10, 2009) before the Business/Occupational License Committee. This hurry-up scheduling is ominous. The public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. in Room 122B of the State Capitol.


In addition to reading this report, which examines the facts, please also read our report from yesterday, which examines the legislation and asks dog owners to sign an online petition. Here is a link to yesterday’s report:


Today’s report will take a hard look at every Illinois “puppy mill” or large-scale “hoarding” case over the past two years. We also will publish complete data on the actual number of federally licensed commercial kennels in Illinois, and summarize existing laws.


We will duck nothing. This report will be straight unvarnished fact.


We believe that you will see clearly that the “puppy mill” issue is highly overstated in Illinois. It’s not just a matter of the small number of actual cases. Please remember that Illinois has dozens of animal control officers and scores of animal cruelty police officers to investigate every report of poorly run or unlicensed kennels, and that HSUS has unleashed a small army of volunteers to scour the countryside for kennels, answer newspaper ads for puppies for sale and visit the kennels and homes of the breeders under false pretenses.


What have these hundreds of officers and volunteers actually found?


Here is the answer. The cases listed below represent every “puppy mill” and large-scale “hoarder” investigation in Illinois in 2008 that would fall under the scope of HB 198:


  • In November, 40 dogs and six cats were seized from an elderly couple in Will County. The dogs were smaller breeds, and the woman had a kennel license at one time but it expired. The couple, who admitted that they were having age-related problems, voluntarily surrendered the animals. The Sheriff’s Department declined to file charges. Perhaps the problem could have been found earlier if the Illinois Department of Agriculture would check out people who do not renew their kennel licenses.


  • In August, 30 dogs were taken from a Cook County residence that was condemned as unfit for human habitation. The ages of the dogs were not reported, and it cannot be determined if this situation would fall under the scope of HB 198. The owner of the dogs was charged with 30 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, and investigating officers said that felony charges of aggravated animal cruelty were under consideration. The dogs were protected and criminal charges were filed based on existing animal cruelty laws.


  • The same day in Douglas County, an alleged “puppy mill” was shut down for violating existing kennel laws, and 50 dogs were rescued from a situation described as “neglect.” Two puppies were found dead, although the causes of their death were not reported. The owner of the dogs was not charged with animal cruelty, as nothing was found to merit criminal charges in the eyes of the investigating officers.


  • The day before, on August 22, also in Douglas County, an unlicensed kennel was shut down and 55 dogs were seized by the county animal control department after an undercover sting operation by a local humane group. The state Department of Agriculture also answered a complaint two days earlier, on August 20, and ordered the owner to obtain a license and correct several deficiencies in the facility. The sheriff and county prosecuting attorney said there was no evidence to merit any kind of criminal charges, as the dogs were cared for adequately.


  • In April, 115 toy breed dogs were rescued from a Jersey County kennel, and the owners were charged and convicted of 32 counts of animal cruelty. The situation at the kennel was described as very bad, and the dogs were not being cared for adequately. Before the raid by animal control officers, the state Department of Agriculture inspected the facility and scheduled a hearing to revoke its license. The kennel owners were ordered to make restitution of $3,527 to rescue groups and $1,022 to a local veterinary clinic. The two owners each spent 11 days in jail, and were released on two years of supervised probation. They also were ordered to pay fines and court costs.


  • In March in Will County, 49 dogs were seized in what can be described only as a very confusing situation. The Sheriff’s Department and Animal Cruelty Task Force said the dogs were in very poor condition, as were the facilities. The owner was facing 14 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, and the court refused to allow the owner to get the dogs back. However, the charges reportedly were put on hold when it was learned that a state Department of Agriculture inspector had a much different assessment of conditions in the kennel. The kennel owner applied for the required state license after the raid, and was granted a license a month later after several state-mandated changes to ventilation and plumbing were completed. The state inspector said the kennel was in good shape – better than borderline – and the dogs he observed were in good condition. The state also inspected the kennel in 2005, after a complaint, and found that the owner did not have enough dogs to require a state license and that the dogs were in fine shape. In April 2008, 14 misdemeanor charges of animal neglect were filed against the kennel owner, and state officials said her kennel license will be revoked if she is convicted. The case remains before the courts, but the rescued dogs were not returned to the kennel owner. The issue seems to be differing opinions about the state of the kennel and the condition of the dogs by the various inspectors involved in the case.


Those six cases were the only “puppy mill” situations found in Illinois last year, and also the only situations where a kennel of any kind that was investigated would fall under the requirements of HB 198, according to the public record.


While several of them were bad situation, in all cases the dogs were rescued and current laws put a quick end to all neglect or suffering.


Some of the kennel owners were not charged because the investigating officers either believed that no offense was found, or that there was insufficient evidence to merit criminal charges.


In one case, a conviction was obtained under existing state animal cruelty laws, and two cases apparently remain before the courts. In those cases, however, the dogs are safe and the legal system appears to be functioning under the Constitution, which says that an accused person is presumed innocent unless guilt is proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, and every accused person is entitled to his or her day in court.


The last situation is confusing because of the difference perceptions of investigating officers from different agencies. However, the animals are safe and the case is before the courts. A judge and/or jury will decide guilt or innocence, based on the testimony and evidence. The system appears to be working despite the confusion.


Some may believe that 2008 was an abnormally slow year for Illinois “puppy mill” cases, based on the allegations of HSUS.


It wasn’t.


Thus far in 2009, no cases have been found.


In 2007, there were only four cases in Illinois that would fall under the scope of HB 198.


The four 2007 cases were: An elderly woman was committed to a mental institution after she relinquished custody of more than 200 animals of various types that were in very bad shape; an alleged fighting dog breeder was busted, 37 dogs were seized and rescued, the suspect was jailed and 37 felony charges were filed; 48 Siberian huskies were found in an unlicensed kennel, although they were said to be in excellent shape, and the owner was charged with failing to have a kennel license; and 100 animals (some were dogs) were seized in very poor condition from an unlicensed kennel, and officers announced they planned to arrest the suspect and seek multiple convictions and fines (the disposition of this case was not known).


It appears that existing laws worked in the 2007 cases, although the actual outcome of the last one is unclear.


The conclusion is clear from these actual cases. Existing Illinois laws are doing their job. The dogs are being saved, charges are being filed when they are appropriate, unlicensed and poorly operated kennels are being shut down, and the court system is functioning the way it is supposed to work.


It also is crystal clear that the HSUS campaign against “puppy mills” is a sham that has nothing to do with real problems or real situations.


HSUS clearly is misleading its supporters, animal lovers and elected officials. The sky is not falling in Illinois.


The current system of laws and enforcement agencies is able to effectively, rapidly and compassionately handle any situation that may arise.


Other HSUS “puppy mill” myths include:





  • That Illinois animal cruelty laws are inadequate. In fact, Illinois has very stringent animal cruelty laws on the books right now in comparison to other states. Please read the law and form your own opinion. Here is the text of the law and the ASPCA enforcement manual:



 Please Help Defeat HB 198


We are asking all Illinois dog owners to immediately email, fax or phone members of the House Business/Occupational Licenses Committee. We understand that that this is very short notice, but the hearing was rushed through without providing adequate time for the public to participate. In fact, the identities of several of the new committee members were not even released until today, the day before the hearing. A prompt response is urgent.


Here is a list of the members of the Business/Occupational Licenses Committee and their contact information:


  • Chairman – Representative Robert Rita (D-28) (217) 558-1000 / (217) 558-1091 FAX –


  • Vice Chairman – Representative John A. Fritchey (D-11) (217) 782-2458 / (217) 557-7214 FAX – email not available. Rep. Fritchey also is the sponsor of the bill. Letters sent to him by constituents are being answered by HSUS.




  • Rep. Daniel J. Burke (D-23) (217) 782-1117 / (217) 782-0927 FAX –





  • Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-3) (217) 782-0480 / (217) 557-9609 FAX – Email not available – Rep. Arroyo withdrew his name from the list of cosponsors of HB 198. Please thank him.


  • Republican Spokesperson:  Rep. Elizabeth Coulson,  217-782-4194,  217-782-1275 fax –


  • Rep. Franco Coladipietro, 217-782-8158,  217-557-4014 fax,


  • Rep. Michael Connelly, Home District phone:  630-579-4848, Home District Fax:  630-579-4860, use email first at






Also, please sign our online petition. Residents of Illinois should use this petition: Nonresidents should use this petition:


Thank you for helping dog owners in Illinois.


The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.


The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your donations in order to maintain strict independence.


Please visit us on the web at . Our email is .