LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Note: The video is from January 2020.
The Humane Society of the United States announced Monday the release of its annual report highlighting 100 problem puppy mills.
With eight entries on the Humane Society's "Horrible Hundred" list, Pennsylvania ranks near the top, the organization said.
Of the eight Pennsylvania entries, three are located in Lancaster County and a fourth is in Lebanon County, according to the Humane Society.
The report is assembled annually by combing through federal and state inspection records for citations and instances of animal suffering, as well as consumer complaints and undercover footage, the Humane Society said.
"This year’s report uncovers dogs languishing across the country in puppy mills, many of which are licensed and still in business despite years of animal care violations," the organization said. "Pennsylvania puppy mills appear in this report for keeping dogs in dirty, unsafe and cramped conditions, dogs in poor health and without adequate veterinary care, and accumulation of rodent feces."
The Central Pennsylvania entries on the list are:
Pennsupreme Puppies, New Providence, Lancaster County: During a March 24, 2021, inspection, state inspectors issued a citation to Pennsupreme Puppies for several significant issues, the Humane Society said. Quotes from that report include: “Warden viewed multiple primary enclosures in the kennel that had an accumulation of excreta, hair, and dirt indicating the primary enclosures were not sanitized a minimum of once daily or more often as necessary to prevent an accumulation of debris or excreta or a disease hazard.”
Also, “Warden viewed multiple primary enclosures in the kennel that had an accumulation of excreta, hair, and dirt indicating they were not removed at least daily or more often if necessary to prevent an accumulation.”
The warden also noticed an accumulation of rodent feces.
The dog warden also noted that they “viewed a few primary enclosures which housed dogs that did not provide the minimum amount of floor space as required” and that some of the dogs were housed on metal strand flooring, which is not permissible under state law because it is uncomfortable and can be dangerous to the dogs. The warden also noted that some of the animals did not have access to an outside exercise area.
The facility was also issued a state citation in December 2020 for transferring at least seven dogs from out of the state without health certificates. The lack of health certificates is a concern because the certificate shows that a dog has been checked by a veterinarian, is old enough to legally sell, and shows no signs of infectious or communicable disease. The operation failed that inspection and a re-inspection was required.
An inspection in April 2021 was compliant.
Walnut Run, Strasburg, Lancaster County: In October 2020, the Humane Society said, the state issued a warning to Walnut Run kennel for “dogs observed during inspection which showed signs of poor health.” The owner was ordered to have an unspecified number of dogs examined by a veterinarian within 72 hours.
The kennel had received another warning in July 2020 for air quality issues. Although the kennel passed a re-inspection in December 2020, the fact that it had two warnings within one year is cause for concern because of a history of other problems at the kennel. Walnut Run has appeared in two of the Humane Society's prior Horrible Hundred reports (2018 and 2017) for similar problems, the organization said.
Meadow View Kennel, Ronks, Lancaster County: In July 2020, the Humane Society alleges, state inspectors issued a citation to Meadow View Kennel for a number of issues, including “data logger readings that exceeded 85 degrees in the whelping building since the last inspection,” “an excessive build-up of excreta and dirt in multiple primary enclosures at the adult kennel indicating that they were not cleaned daily,” “excessive amounts of flies in some primary enclosures at the adult kennel,” and “a wheelbarrow located along the outside exercise enclosures that occupied dogs that was filled with excreta and had an abundance of flies in and around it."
Inspectors also noted that some kennels that were too small for the dogs, at least one dog that didn’t have access to an exercise area, the kennel kept incomplete records, and other issues, the Humane Society claims.
During the inspection the warden noted that the operation had about 160 dogs on the premises, according to the Humane Society.
When dog wardens returned in August 2020, they issued another citation for incomplete records and ordered a veterinary check for an unspecified number of dogs. The wardens also noted that the kennel owner made false statements to them during the inspection, the Humane Society said.
The kennel then had two compliant inspections, one in September 2020 and one in December 2020, according to the Humane Society.
But when wardens inspected in February 2021, they issued a third citation after a “warden viewed records indicating the dogs in the kennel were not examined by a veterinarian at least once every six months as required.”
In addition, another 72-hour vet check was ordered during the inspection for an unspecified number of dogs. The kennel had 159 dogs and puppies during the February 2021 inspection, state records show.
A March 2021 state inspection was compliant, the Humane Society said.
Little Mountain Doodles, Myerstown, Lebanon County: In October 2020, the Humane Society said, the state issued a citation to Little Mountain Doodles for not keeping adequate records on some of their puppies, and for selling at least one underage puppy who was less than eight weeks old.
The issue is a concern because it was at least the third warning or citation from the state since 2018, according to the Humane Society.
In March 2019, the Humane Society said, the kennel received a warning for not possessing complete records for dogs who had been transferred in and out of the kennel, not using state forms for records, and incomplete and/or lack of bills of sale. The records issue had been cited at a November 2018 inspection as well, according to the Humane Society.
"The reason why repeated paperwork violations are a concern is because it could indicate the kennel is buying, and potentially re-selling, puppies from other, possibly unlicensed, breeders who haven’t been regulated or inspected, and buyers of the puppies might not know exactly where their puppies were born and raised," the Humane Society said. "Failing to keep accurate records on dogs moving in and out of the kennel could also pose a risk in tracking infectious disease outbreaks."
In addition, the Humane Society said, the operation’s website admits that they ship some of their puppies by air. Commercial breeders who ship puppies to buyers without meeting them in person require a USDA license. A review of the USDA’s license list on May 3, 2021, could find no breeders listed under the name Little Mountain Doodles nor any licensed dog breeders under the kennel owner's name in Myerstown, Pennsylvania.
The Humane Society's full "Horrible Hundred" list can be accessed here.