Jenny, I think the information on the list comes from USDA inspection reports, but the HSUS picks out the inspections they consider the worst and make up the list. At least, that’s my understanding. That’s why, in some cases, the kennels aren’t listed; because the USDA changed its rules a couple of years ago and no longer is required to list the names of kennels or owners because of privacy concerns. They do sometimes list the kennels, though, so I don’t know why they sometimes do and sometimes don’t. (Personally, I understand not listing kennels that have been a accused of something, but not convicted, but once they are convicted, I think they should lose the right to anonymity. But that’s just my opinion. I would make an exception if minors are involved, but I don’t think a lot of minors own kennels. Though I suppose families with young children may own them. Well, now I’ve digressed.)
Anyway, I think that’s one one of the questions dog buyers have to decide: what constitutes a puppy mill? Everybody makes mistakes. Having a puppy born occasionally with a genetic defect doesn’t automatically make someone an irresponsible breeder, but how many genetic defects are allowed before this becomes a kennel I don’t want to support? Having some urine and poop sometimes in areas where dogs live (especially puppies who can’t yet be house trained) doesn’t make someone neglectful, either, but how much poop and urine is acceptable? Anyone can have a bad day when the toilet overflowed and one of the kids is sick and my drug addict brother is back in the hospital after another overdose and is calling me to pay his bills, and I did not have time to clean the kennels and didn’t notice that one of the dogs is limping, but what point is this more than a bad day, and has become neglect? Some of these breeders probably genuinely love their dogs and mean well, and have just taken on more than they can handle, but, still, do I want to support someone who seems to not be properly caring for his dogs, even with good intentions? People have to decide what is acceptable to them, and what isn’t.
Most of the kennels on this list I think anyone would agree are irresponsible breeders, though. These are dogs knee-deep in urine for their entire lives, and with serious injuries and illnesses going untreated for months and kept in cages where they can’t even turn around for their entire lives. And I don’t think the USDA even gets into irresponsible breeding (like dogs with genetic issues that shouldn’t be bred). They only deal with care issues, so breeding practices aren’t in this report.
I just thought it was useful information to be aware of, and to be generally aware that this sort of thing happens at a lot of kennels not on this list, too, so you always want to do as much research as you can before buying a pet. And be very wary of anyone who doesn’t let you see where their animals are living or who doesn’t have medical records. And be aware that people can lie on the internet. Those photos may be doctored or of dogs and properties they don’t own. I suppose the same is true of medical records; they can be doctored.