Department of Agriculture Transition Leader Heads a Group that Literally Protects and Defends Puppy Mills

Courtesy, HSUS

Puppy mills are lifelong torture chambers – large-scale commercial facilities, regulated by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) under the guise of “wholesale” operations.

Many USDA-licensed breeders may be fined repeatedly for violations under the Animal Welfare Act, but their licenses are rarely suspended.


The good news: According to the Humane Society of the U.S., hundreds of puppy mill facilities have been shuttered in our country in the past several years.


The bad news: The recent appointee to run the USDA transition team is Brian Klippenstein, Executive Director of “Protect the Harvest”.  Protect the Harvest was developed by Forrest Lucas. Lucas is wealthy, favors factory farming without regulations and opposed puppy mill regulations in Missouri. When Illinois voted to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in retail stores, Lucas fought the ban.


Klippenstein is NOT a friend to animal rights organizations.

Courtesy, USDA/HSUS 2013

With the appointment of Klippenstein, any progress made towards decreasing shelter intake numbers and animal suffering by shutting down puppy mills will be erased!


Kathleen Summers, Director of Outreach & Research at the HSUS Puppy Mills Campaign, tells Shelter Me,

 “Puppy mills put profit over animal welfare to produce as many puppies as possible, often in shockingly poor conditions. The puppies are often sold.. at a very young age… the parent dogs are left behind to suffer, often spending their entire lives in small, filthy wire cages without ever becoming part of a family.”

Courtesy, Michelle Riley/The HSUS


Right now, millions of animals enter shelters each year, never finding new homes.  Many of these come from pet stores and puppy mills.

Just last week, Ohio’s Governor Kasich signed a new bill that allows pet retailers to acquire their animals from large and small breeders – AKA puppy mills.


Courtesy, USDA/HSUS

Ordinances were already in place in two Ohio cities, requiring retailers like Petland to acquire their puppies from animal shelters, rescues, and humane societies. Today’s new bill overrides Senate Bill 130, which Kasich signed into law four years ago.

SB130 cracked down on puppy mills and improved conditions for animals who resided there.  With his signature, Kasich just threw a huge bone to the puppy millers.  Ohio has NINE puppy mills on the HSUS list of the “Horrible Hundred.”


Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper expressed his disappointment today:

“Governor Kasich gave in to corporate special interests and lobbyists for the puppy mill industry (with a) last-minute sneak attack on Ohio voters, (who previously) cracked down on horrific abuses against animals.”


Courtesy, USDA/HSUS


To get involved in stopping the puppy mill cycle, please contact groups such as the Humane Society, National Mill Dog Rescue, or any of the other wonderful anti-mill groups on Facebook.


If you witness deplorable conditions in person and wish to file a complaint with the HSUS, please call 1-877-MILL-TIP or report it here.

Lisa Blanck

Writing articles about animals for more than 22 years, she dove into the rescue world with the onset of Hurricane Katrina. As an outspoken advocate for animals, she's covered everything from paws to hooves, fins to feathers. She was the Orlando Animal Rescue and Worldwide Animal Issues Examiner for seven years. She's always thinking pawsitive, looking for ways to improve the lives of animals. She lives with one dog, one cat and one patient human. She welcomes your suggestions and is thrilled to be part of the family!


  1. I love it when folks come together and share views.
    Great site, continue the good work!

  2. Merlynn Petito says:

    I am saddened yet again that a politician is bought off by lobbyists and that it’s the mighty dollar that matters, us citizens be damned because it’s starting to be that the lobbyists run the country and the citizens just pay for it! I thought he would be a good leader and think with common sense unfortunately, he showed that he is just like the rest! And if you think that the depart of agriculture does their jobs, think again, they are bought off by the lobbyists so these animals lead a dreadful life of cruelty and abuse just for a few people who are narrow minded and poorly educated or ignorant. I don’t think America will ever be great again, if these type of politicians are in power! So Sad!

    1. Benjamin Tuckerman says:

      So that ‘swamp draining’ isn’t working out too well, is it?

  3. Mongoose218 says:

    The best thing written about puppy mills, is, I think, the very factual, undramatic list prepared by “Madonna of the Mills”…… (which is also an HBO documentary about Puppy mills):

    10 Things To Know About Puppy Mills | Facts and Statistics

    99% of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills.
    Nearly 100% of all puppies in pet stores have parasites when they are purchased.
    48% of puppies being sold in pet stores were ill or incubating an illness at the time of purchase, according to a recent California study.
    500,000 puppies are born in puppy mills and sold in pet stores every
    year in the United States.
    There are 35,000 pet stores in America
    Puppy millers can make more than $300,000 growing puppies every year.
    Puppy mills have been around since the early 1960s.
    Almost every Puppy sold in a pet store has a mother who will spend her entire life in a tiny cage, never being petted, never being walked, never being treated like a dog.
    Female dogs are usually bred 2x a year. At that rate, they usually burn out by age 5, at which time they are put to death.
    About 1 million breeder dogs are confined in puppy mills throughout the country.

    1. Lisa Blanck says:

      if only the average consumer placed a higher value on getting a dog or cat from a shelter than buying a high priced pet from a store/mill/irresponsible breeder. I believe local breeders need to start paying breeding fees to shelters and local rescues for perpetuating the cycle.

  4. JERRY EDELMAN says:

    The REAL issue is the way The Dept of Agriculture has been run for DECADES, NOT just this new administration coming in. Sadly the department has been under budgeted and understaffed for YEARS. There is little priority given towards STOPPING the inhumane treatment of animals by the department, which LONG predates ANY new administration coming in. The department has been used for decades as a political football to be influenced by lobbyists with large amounts of money, that “buy” influence from whatever politicians are in power, the PRESENT administration is no different. The HSUS is no different. They collect HUGE sums of money and do very little with the money except to lobby for pet projects that they feel will add to their coffers and get them publicity to raise even more money. Just within the last few days the Sixth Circuit Court basically reaffirmed a court decision that allows police to shoot dogs that they “feel” are a threat to their safety when they are executing a search warrant. Basically giving police free will to kill any dog they find on the premises, if the dog barks or possibly moves and the police feel they are in danger, the can shoot and kill the dog, LEGALLY. A total disgrace, not only for law enforcement to be given free reign to shoot an animal, but there is basically no recourse for the owners to seek justice for the animal, as you virtually CANNOT prove that the officer DIDN’T feel threatened. One has to wonder how do you keep an animal from feeling threatened by strange people charging into a residence, possibly yelling and screaming, and yet expect that animal to NOT move a muscle and get shot by the cops. And yet animal rights groups are NOWHERE to be found on this issue. Where is HSUS on this?? Yes, the situation with puppy mills should be dealt with, but expecting an under resourced and under prioritized Federal department to solve this problem is ABSURD. These types of problems need and MUST be dealt with on LOCAL LEVELS. By STOPPING stores from selling these abused animals. By STOPPING websites such as “Craigslist” from advertising animals for sale, and other such remedies that local authorities have the ability to solve.

    1. Caterina Moynihan says:

      Thanks for your comment. You are right to bring up the fact that for decades the Dept of Agriculture has been criticized and lax for decades, just look at the outcry for Nosey the Elephant. However, it is out of fear for the same old same old for this coming administration that is continuing little priority for animal welfare that has always been criticized. With the issue with cops killing animals because they feel threatened is a great issue that you brought into the forefront and NO ONE including the HSUS OR animal activists have addressed. I think this is something to be looked into as well. However if the incoming administration is the same OLD view, we really have our work cut out for us. It is something I will try to help bring light upon as I am sure Lisa Blanck will also. You would be welcome to join my website No More Animal Abuse if you have these types of issues and concerns.

      1. Lisa Blanck says:

        You bet, Caterina. I promise to hold their feet to the fire. In states where puppy-and-kitten-mills are prevalent, you bet your boots that they have a lobbyist pushing the money into pockets. No surprise there. As far as Nosey, if the people coming in contact with her knew she had a communicable disease, and I am well aware that she does, the family would have almost no recourse but to stop putting her on display.

        I’ve actually written about puppycide before, multiple times.
        The problem lies with our local elected officials, including judges, not taking cases like these seriously after the fact. And before the fact, the problem lies with almost no police departments taking advantage of the FREE programs available on a national basis to teach their officers how to safely interact with animals. Of course, you cannot teach an officer hell-bent on using an animal for target practice on how to do the right thing, how to behave humanely. Because officers, and people like that will always exist. They will always find a reason to shoot. Cats, pigs, birds, and, of course, dogs, are all moving ‘fun’ targets to those officers.
        So examine every elected official’s record, and if they let off abusers, vote elsewhere.

  5. Caterina Moynihan says:

    Thanks, Lisa, for bringing this issue once again to the fore front. Puppy mills is one big contributor to the homeless and shelter population. I do not and did not ever support Trump as I feared this man would be harmful to animals rights. The puppy mill situation MUST be stopped or at the very least regulated. Puppy breeding contributes to the OVERPOPULATION of UNWANTED animals in shelters. Over 3.7 million DOGS are euthanized yearly. These animals consequently receive below standard food, minimal if any veterinary care, and inadequate shelter which, combined with the inbreeding prevalent in puppy mills, produce animals with genetic diseases and abnormalities. Also 3.4 million CATS are euthanized yearly in America. We NEED to do better because we are their voice.

  6. Kathy Maldonado says:

    There isn’t one good person Trump has appointed to any position, no surprise here. That said now we have to fight double hard and the work everyone has done could be destroyed just like that.

  7. Alicia Bogue says:

    Inhumane and needs justice!!

  8. Lisa Sayers says:

    I support Trump, that being said, the humane treatment of animals has to be important and not reversed. Puppy mills need shut down, animals used in factory farming deserve humane treatment, those who use animals for science are horrible. Human beings suck, this is why animals are my choice. Please, we have to stop this rediculousness.
    An animal Lover forever, all God’s babies deserve love ,affection, and good home. Please help stop this.

    1. Lisa M says:

      It baffles me when people make comments like this – you love animals more than people- but you support Trump – a hunter who sport hunts with his family on a regular basis and has no regard for the environment (where animals actually LIVE)
      I wish so bad I could understand your logic, as the hypocracy is literally killing me..

  9. Lee Cox says:

    If this is not the worst sign of the apocalypse, I don’t know what is. The people of your state need to do everything possible, (morality trumps criminality) to get this overturned. And to be a thorn in the side of politicians that do not understand how we must protect sentient beings. Hound them to the point they regret ever making this decision and for ever becoming law makers in the first place. It’s time for revolution.

  10. Pamela Kramer says:

    This is going in the WRONG direction!! The next four years are scary in terms of the possible devastation to our environment and our animals.

  11. Pam Hepfer says:

    Shut these cruelty operations down..

  12. Heather Carr says:

    We can do better.

    1. Lisa Blanck says:

      I really hope so. Thanks, Heather.

Comments are closed.