Despite widespread public outcry, six farmers in Minnesota have been granted approval to breed even more dogs on their massive puppy mill farms. Under the plan approved by the Winona County Board of Commissioners, most of the farmers can now house a maximum of 50 dogs per puppy mill. One of the farmers, LeRoy Yoder, requested to house 150 dogs - but the Board curtailed his capacity to 85 dogs.
The new permits were approved despite inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which found that the farmers were operating dog breeding kennels illegally and without any regard for animal welfare. Photos showed dogs in deplorable conditions - including animals with rotten teeth, matted fur created skin injuries, and eyes that were crusted shut. Numerous dogs were too weak to stand.
While the new permits require that the farmers control animal waste and obey government regulations, few protections are available for dogs in puppy mills, as studies have shown that breeders are able to operate these facilities despite repeated animal welfare violations. Meanwhile, an estimated 90,000 unwanted animals are euthanized each year in Minnesota shelters.
It's time to protect dogs wherever they live. Urge the Winona County Board of Commissioners and the Minnesota State Legislature to adopt more stringent animal welfare standards, limit the size of dog breeding facilities to 10 dogs or less, and permanently shut down puppy mills statewide.
For more information about this case, visit the dodo article.