Repeat Offenders on the 100 Worst Puppy Mills in The U.S. list – What Can We Do?

Another year, another 100 Worst Puppy Mills In The U.S. list. I wish I didn’t have to share this list again, but until everyone out there knows what goes on in the puppy mill industry, we unfortunately will have to keep hearing these stories.

I’ve written about puppy mills here and here and here. As you can see, this is an issue I feel strongly about. I think anyone who loves dogs should feel strongly about this too. We have a responsibility to protect these animals, and so far we are not doing a great job.

I think that it’s important to keep sharing the stories of these puppy mill dogs and exposing the horrible breeders. One such story is a dog named Coal that Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue, recently took in. Coal is a 2 lb Pomeranian, only 14 weeks old. Coal is a lucky one, surrendered to COPR by one of the mills on this list (it’s located in Missouri, but the rescue group didn’t want to name them for fear they wouldn’t release other dogs to them in the future). Like many dogs from puppy mills, Coal is not healthy. He has a defective heart, a valve leading out of the heart should have collapsed and closed upon him taking his first breath, but luckily it didn’t. He recently went through heart surgery and is doing well now. (COPR is collecting donations to cover the cost of his surgery:



Stories like Coal’s are not uncommon at puppy mills. Many puppies die at birth or are sold to stores even though they have serious health conditions. As you will see from the offenses on this list, the health and safety of these animals is of little concern to these breeders.

Despite some regulations on the industry, there are still many bad breeders out there, especially in the Amish community, that are only in it to make money. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for good breeders. These are not them. Good breeders do not sell puppies to stores or online sites. And as long as stores sell dogs for profit, we will keep seeing horrible offenders like these.

Marvin Burkholder, Berlin Kennel, Millersburg, OH. (Repeat Offender)
Continued repeat violations; excessive feces.

Susan Fitzgerald, Canton, OH.
Admitted to neutering puppies without a vet and without anesthesia per news reports; unlicensed dealer sells online at and

Abe Miller, Quail Creek Kennel, LLC, Charm, OH.
Bought more than 100 puppies from unlicensed breeders; supplies puppies to Petland stores.

James A. Miller, Millersburg, OH.
“Extremely lethargic, weak” spaniel found; dogs repeatedly found without solid flooring or adequate space in violation of state requirements.

Credit: The Humane Society of the United States - Puppy Mills Campaign
Credit: The Humane Society of the United States – Puppy Mills Campaign

Merle Miller, Holmesville, OH.
Unsanitary conditions; severely matted dogs found repeatedly; many needed vet care.

John J. Nisley, Loudonville, OH.
Dogs found lethargic and in pain during state inspection had not been treated by a vet.

Atlee Shetler, Millersburg, OH.
Dogs had red, inflamed lesions.

Andy Yoder, Yoder Backroad Kennel, Millersburg, OH. (Repeat Offender)
Puppy found with severe head wound had not been treated by a vet; continued to fail to give access to USDA inspectors even after $7,714 penalty.

Owen R. Yoder, Millersburg, OH.
Failed to get veterinary care for 33 dogs with advanced dental disease, more than 6 months after being directed to have them treated.

You can read more about puppy mills here:

How can you help?

Adopt don’t shop! And spread the word. As I’ve said time and again, a lot of people still don’t know or don’t believe it’s that bad.

Also, please sign this petition to urge the USDA to improve the standard of care for dogs at commercial breeding facilities.

And if you want to adopt sweet little puppy mill rescue Coal, he will soon be neutered and up for adoption. Keep an eye on the COPR Facebook site for news about him:

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