77,000 breeding females are “worn-out” each year and replaced with new dogs.


About half of puppies born in mills survive their first 12 weeks.


Mill puppies are 41.6% more likely to develop health issues than the general population of dogs.


Summary Statistics

It is estimated that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, fewer than 3,000 of which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

“Estimated number of puppies sold annually who originated from puppy mills: 2.6 million”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

“Roughly 90 percent of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills.”


There are 3,690 USDA Class A and B licensed facilities. The HSUS states that 2,460 of these facilities breed dogs for the pet trade.

(The Humane Society of the United States)

List of facilities:

(Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)

ClassificationAPHIS Licenses
Class A – Breeder2929
Class B – Dealer761
Class C – Exhibitor2178
Class F – Federal Research Facility57
Class G – Agricultural Research Facility ARS38
Class H – Intermediate Handler415
Class R – Research Facility883
Class T – Carrier1942
Class V – Veteran’s Administration Hospital64
StateAPHIS Class A and B Licenses 

“213,978 Estimated number of dogs kept solely for breeding purposes in USDA licensed facilities”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

“139,086 Estimated number of female dogs kept for breeding at USDA licensed facilities”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

“9.4 Estimated number of puppies per breeding female per year”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

“1,307,407 Estimated number of puppies produced by USDA licensed facilities each year USDA licensed and non-USDA licensed (not all breeders require a USDA license).”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

“Although pet stores usually claim their dogs are from “breeders,” a majority of their “breeders” are actually puppy mills. 9,10,11 An HSUS review of records for more than 6,700 puppies shipped to pet stores between 2009 and 2012 found more than two thirds of the puppies were shipped by brokers, not breeders.”

(Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association)

“There are currently around 250 USDA-licensed puppy brokers in the United States (this figure fluctuates year to year).”

(American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

“How it works is that the broker may buy the pup from the mill, or backyard breeder, for $50 to $150. They sell it to the pet store for $200 to $400. The pet store then resells the puppy for $1,000 to $1,400.

The final price of the puppy may vary depending on the breed, with rarer breeds costing more.  Since the broker does not want to spend much for the puppy (so they can make more profit) they may try to talk a seller down if the puppy has bad teeth, poor legs, or other flaws.”


“Pet stores generate between $500 and $3,000 per puppy.”

(Sentient Media)

“More than 3,000 pet stores nationwide have signed an HSUS pledge not to sell puppies, demonstrating that it is possible to have a successful pet-related business without supporting puppy mills.”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

“Estimated cost of a puppy mill bust involving 250 animals: $500,000”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

Regional Puppy Mill Statistics

In 2017, California became the first state to ban retail pet sales.

(The Animal Legal Defense Fund)

California, Maine, and Maryland have each enacted statewide retail pet sale bans.

(Best Friends)

Almost 400 cities and counties have enacted retail pet sale bans.

(Best Friends)

“There are approximately 10,000 puppy mills in 47 states and Puerto Rico, with the majority being located in the Midwestern United States and Great Plains, including Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. On the East Coast, Pennsylvania is notorious for puppy mills, with Lancaster County having the greatest concentration of puppy mills in the country.”

(International Society for Animal Rights)

“U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documents show that one Amish dog farmer sold 1,293 puppies last year for an estimated $290,000 though federal inspectors have cited his farm for numerous violations since 1992 including overcrowded cages and inadequate sanitation, pest control, feeding and watering of animals.”

(Michigan Puppy Mills)

“According to the USDA list of licensees, over 98% of Ohio’s puppy mills are run by the Amish, 97% of Indiana’s are Amish and 63% of Pennsylvania puppy mills also run by Amish. This is a drastic difference from Iowa (22% Amish run) and Missouri (17% Amish run), who both have larger pockets of Amish colonies, but have more puppy mills operated by non-Amish families.”

(Bailing Out Benji)

“In all, around 25 states have laws addressing commercial breeders.”

(Animal Law)

“A few state laws (namely Louisiana, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington) limit the maximum number of dogs a breeder is allowed to possess at one time to 50, or in the case of Louisiana, 75.”

(Animal Law)

“This type of fraud is so prevalent that 22 states have “puppy lemon laws.” These laws provide some protections for people who have purchased puppies who soon after become ill or die.”

(The Animal Legal Defense Fund)

Puppy Mill Studies/Reports

“Puppy mill stats reveal that 30 people were infected with Campylobacter jejuni. The disease was contracted by puppies in a pet store. (CDC) These reports come from 13 different states. The outbreak most likely began due to contact with infected puppies in Petland stores. It’s suspected that the puppies arrived at the store already infected. The outbreak then spread to 5 Petland employees and 12 other individuals, all of which reported some kind of contact with said puppies.”


(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

“A kennel owner in Romulus faces possible animal cruelty-related charges for fatally poisoning 93 of his dogs in a makeshift gas chamber, officials said today.”

(The Philadelphia Inquirer)

According to the HSUS’s report on 2,479 puppy buyer complaints, received from 2007 to 2011, the most commonly reported problems were:

Buyer Complaints – Reported Problems%
Illness (intestinal parasites, respiratory issues, parvovirus, ear issues, skin disorders, urinary infections, hypoglecemia)40
Congenital Defects (seizures, skeletal disorders, hernias, heart murmurs, liver disease, eye issues, deafness, spinal disorders)34
Death (often due to parvovirus, pneumonia, congenital conditions)15
Temperament Issues (fearful, aggressive, abnormal)3
Returned due to illness2
Other (registration, sanitation, breed/size issues, etc.)6

According to the USDA’s Dog Breeder Resource Guide, dog kennel height must be 6 inches higher than the head of the tallest dog and the floor space must accommodate the dog’s length plus 6 inches.

“The Animal Welfare Act Regulations require that primary enclosures for adult dogs without nursing puppies or weaned puppies must have adequate space to allow the dogs to turn about freely, to stand, sit and lie in a comfortable, normal position and to walk in a normal manner. 9 CFR 3.6(a)(2)(xi) Additionally, the interior height of the primary enclosure must be at least 6 inches higher than the head of the tallest dog in the enclosure, measured when the dog is standing in a normal comfortable standing

position. 9 CFR 3.6(c)(1)(iii)”

(Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)

For cages with nursing puppies, 5% extra floor space is required for each puppy.

“The additional space required for dams with nursing puppies is determined by the dog’s breed and behavioral characteristics, the veterinarian’s approval and the minimum space requirement calculation. 9 CFR 3.6(c)(1)(ii) Each puppy requires a minimum of 5% of the dam’s minimum space requirement.”

2020 Horrible Hundred

“Despite cracking down on some of its most notorious repeat offenders, Missouri continues to have the largest number of puppy mills in this report for the 8th year in a row (30), followed by Ohio (9) and Kansas and Wisconsin (eight each). However, it’s important to note that HSUS researchers are unable to get local inspection records from states that don’t have kennel inspection laws, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee, so states without strong laws may have fewer entries in the report. States that have transparent kennel inspection programs, or that do a better job of enforcement, often have more dealers in the report.”

“The 2020 Horrible Hundred is a list of problem puppy breeders and sellers in the United States, published annually to warn consumers about common problems at puppy mills.”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

State# of Dealers
New York4
North Carolina1
South Dakota2

“About one third of the sellers in this report were offering American Kennel Club puppies or promoting themselves as AKC breeders.”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

“The USDA is responsible for inspecting dog breeding kennels in every state if they have five or more breeding females and sell sight-unseen, for example through pet stores or online. But over the past three years, as The Washington Post reported in August, enforcement actions at USDA-licensed facilities have plummeted more than 90%.”

(The Humane Society of the United States)

About half of the dealers in the report are USDA licensed

(The Humane Society of the United States)

43 puppy dealers from 2020 are repeat offenders from the previous 2019 Horrible Hundred list.

(The Humane Society of the United States)