To the Editor:

The Humane Society of the United States recently reviewed 2018 and 2019 USDA inspection reports on three area dog-breeding operations — aka puppy mills — two in Dundee, one in Stanley. HSUS determined that their conditions justified including them in its 2019 “The Horrible Hundred” report on especially problematic puppy mills (accessible online).

At a Dundee facility, a USDA inspector found two dogs matted over most of their bodies. They were so badly matted in the anal areas that they had difficulty defecating. A puppy was found “visibly shivering,” while other puppies “curled next to each other for warmth.” The inspector reported that “for several of the smaller breeds of dogs, the feeders are several feet off the ground making it necessary for the dogs to continually jump up to access food.”

At another Dundee facility, a dog was matted over her nipple area while puppies were trying to nurse. Another dog had a bloody discharge from her vaginal area that hadn’t been referred to a veterinarian.

A September 2018 USDA inspection report of a facility in Stanley housing 84 dogs and puppies described “a female Maltese who was very thin with ribs, hips and spine clearly visible, her belly was rounded. Her hair coat was also in poor condition with thin patches and rough fur.” During the previous inspection, the inspector found two dogs in need of veterinary care. One dog was “badly matted behind the ears, underneath the neck, and behind the rear legs.” Another dog had “red, irritated and swollen” paw pads. The insides of both ears were “red with brownish grainy discharge.”

HSUS notes its report “is not a list of the worst operations, because many puppy mills are not inspected at all and thus operate in secrecy.” Such places exist in our state, especially in Yates County, which has been dubbed “the puppy mill capital of New York.”

On April 25, 20 dogs and a horse perished in a barn in Potter, Yates County. Whatever the cause of the fire, why were so many dogs living in a barn? What were the conditions of their confinement?

Dogs don’t belong in barns, wire cages, or at the end of a chain outdoors with no or inadequate shelter. They shouldn’t be exploited as breeding machines in terrible puppy mills. Dogs really are “man’s best friend,” but far too often humans betray this friendship.

JOEL FREEDMAN

Canandaigua

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