6 million dogs put to sleep in humane societies each year.6 million puppies born in puppymills each year.
By Danny Wicentowski
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Danny Wicentowski
By Anne Valente
By Lindsay Toler
By Ray Downs
By Lindsay Toler
(For the record, neither Carabajal nor the St. Charles Humane Society has been contacted by the Schindlers or faced any legal action since that day.)
Carabajal and Backes aren't the only ones removed from the auction that day, though another ejected offender didn't violate the contract, just the delicate sensibilities of dog breeders.
When a Riverfront Times reporter approaches Herman Schindler, he immediately turns and stalks a few steps away.
He returns with a deputy at his side.
"Can I answer a few questions?" he spits. "I've been down this road before, and I'm gonna ask you something: I'm gonna ask you to leave."
Herman Schindler isn't bluffing: He has, in fact, been down this road before.
For nearly 50 years in the business, he and Bonnie operated without much in the way of scrutiny. Sure, there were inspections from both state and local officials, but they never led to much. On average, the Schindlers were visited twice each year from 2000 to 2006, but no significant discipline ever came from the visits.
Then, a volley of shots were fired: FOX 2 came calling in July, and with it the infamous camera-versus-car clash that cemented the Schindlers' status as public villains. Following the report, the Schindlers were allegedly kicked out of their commercial puppy store space in St. Peters, supposedly because the owner of the building had seen the story. (The building owner did not respond to requests seeking comment.) The channel aired several follow-up stories, and the Humane Society of the United States subsequently blasted the Schindlers in its October report.
Bonnie Schindler says that she is reluctant to pick up her phone, for fear that the caller will be an angry person accusing her of running a puppy mill or a reporter who will paint a dark image of her in the press.
Frankly, she's sick of it.
"If you want to print something positive, go ahead," she says one day. "If you want to print something negative, just forget that you've talked to me."
Yet while the Schindlers flaunt their years of spotless inspection reports, that appears to be a symptom of a system-wide problem more than of individual excellence. It wasn't only the Schindlers who prospered for years with minimal oversight.
A May 2010 audit from the USDA's inspector general found that the inspection and subsequent enforcement process were ineffective against problem dealers. Fines and penalties were reduced or made nonexistent to avoid breeders exercising their right to a hearing. The breeders, in turn, wrote off any fines as general operating expenses. "Good faith" reductions in penalties were arbitrarily applied. Not enough evidence was gathered to support claims of noncompliance, such as photographs or specific dogs' microchip numbers.
Rickey, the ASPCA inspector, saw what he called a "broken system" firsthand. Because inspectors had to give the breeders a chance to comply with the law and correct their mistakes, animals could be left in unhealthy situations until the inspector returned for an update.
"We have this horrible lag time between when these things are discovered and reported and when they're finally resolved, if they're ever resolved," he says. "And in the process of that, animals suffer and die every day. It's not acceptable; it's not necessary."
The Better Business Bureau of Missouri agreed. It published its own report, "The Puppy Industry in Missouri," in March 2010, concluding that "Missouri is so overwhelmed by the number of puppy sellers that it can't regulate the puppy industry properly."
Both the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the USDA declined comment for this story.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture has only twelve inspectors to oversee some 1,500 licensed breeders and unknowable numbers of unlicensed. Assuming there are around 3,000 total breeders in the state (the most common estimate), each inspector would have to visit 250 facilities per year, one for every single working day. This math, of course, discounts the time it takes to identify unlicensed breeders.
Making matters worse, many licensed breeders require follow-up visits to ensure that noncompliant items are rectified. For example, between September 2009 and their final inspection in July 2010, the Schindlers were visited seven times by state and federal inspectors.
Bonnie Schindler sees the flurry of inspections, some that suddenly noted as many as 50 noncompliant items, as a sign that her business was targeted by puppets of the Humane Society.
"We had no noncompliants for time after time after time," she protests.
Records show, however, that even before the Humane Society call-out and FOX 2's targeted reports, another agency had its eye on the Schindlers: the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
In an October 2009 internal memo from Matt Rold, program coodinator for Animal Care Facilities Act, to his USDA inspection counterparts, Rold urged a crackdown on the Schindlers.
"As we discussed earlier in the week, the conditions at Herman and Bonnie Schindler's kennel are well below the [Animal Welfare Act] and ACFA standards," he writes.
The report that caught Rold's eye had been conducted a few days before. It detailed fourteen pages of violations, while a report dated six months before, and indeed, the previous three years of inspection reports, showed no violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
6 million dogs put to sleep in humane societies each year.6 million puppies born in puppymills each year.
Not so fast, Shelley. Your quote: Focusing on irrelevances has long been the hallmark from those against Proposition B. And focusing on the fact that there is no "legal definition" of puppy mill is about as irrelevant as it gets.
Then why does Prop B sneak CRIMINAL CODE into the bill using the undefined word? You know, the crime of 'puppymill cruelty' for any infraction? You forgot about that one.
I'm just happy that some dogs went to good homes, like the beautiful Cowboy--highlighted in the article. I wish that the other dogs had not been allowed to be purchased by other breeders--those dogs have been through enough--they deserve to be babied the rest of their lives.
I think with everything being said about puppymills,we don't need dingbats advertising for Michael Vick in the South county area as being their favorite football player.The advertisement in their condo window is probably more of a publicity stunt for the one who put up the poster in the window.I St.Louis we cheer for the Rams ,not individuals prosecuted for dogfighting.This gives our national symbol a bad name,too.
I love my dogs and other pets. That being said, you 'Puppy Mill Prevention Cruelty' wackos can't complain about unemployment or the economy. You just put more companies out of business and more people out of work.Get your priorities straight. Human being are more important than animals.
The writer only highlights one of the "better" mills... meaning, there are MUCH worse mills that keep dogs in deplorable conditions. Most of the dogs from the Schindler acution that went to rescue groups were pretty well socialized and ready to go to homes. But, there were also those who didn't make it, as they were too sick. The writer does not mention those.
The photo of Floyd and Cowboy is stunning. But, again, if I were to look at that photo without knowing the awful truth about the mills, I would only think that Cowboy is a good looking dog. It makes it seem like mills really aren't that bad, if Cowboy was a previous breeder. And, of course, nothing is further from the truth.
IMO, while it appears that the writer tried to remain unbiased and present both sides, I believe she showed way too much to support for the mills and the opposition and did not adequately depict the deplorable conditions those pour souls are kept in.
There wouldn't be any puppy mills, if people who aren't going to show dogs would only buy dogs from a humane society. They make better pets any way.
Puppymills need to go.There is no way humanly or humanely possible for one or two people ,especially elderly people or anyone who works to be able to care for these animals properly.Even if most a re healthy by the time they are sold,it is impossible to care for all of these animals.It was the equivalent of two full-time jobs for me to care for my sick dog after his brother died from the drug overdose precribed by the vet.We got our "two years" after heart failure but,the new vet was happy to play old-school
and let his kidneys fail.The "specialist" said don't come back if you don't give what he precribed.My dog only tolerated a little more than half and thrived for a year.He got some some dental from one caring capable vet but,needed a little more to keep going longer without antibiotics that he would have never tolerated .He needed the "specialist" again to get through the hard drugs and we would have gladly paid.He was still showing us where the fire was when it was time to eat up until the two days before he got put on hard drugs.The vet only guessed at how much he should have had.One drop was all he tolerated until the allergic reaction or CHF overcame him at home in my arms.If the pets owners are the only ones who have time to do it right,then encourage the one drop over the whole syringe.I would not have traded anything in the world for the last two years of my little heros life and would have gladly bought him more time from anyone who could have done it right.The dog breeders I grew up with never had more than 5-10 dogs at one time.To have hundreds and thousands of dogs without a full staff of expereinced animal lovers is a crime that should be punished to the full extent of the law and more severe laws need to be implemented.These animals have the right to lives with the right conditions.Stop saying that dogs and cats and all other animals give unconditional love.They are just more forgiving and consisitent but,do suffer from PTSD and eating disorders and do get their feelings hurt and it shows.It has taken two years for my sick dog to rehabilitate my rescued dog.Without his 3 1/2 pound life coach his expereince with just humans would not have been enough.He needed the love of another animal like himself ,which I'm sure he never had.This dog rescued from a puppymill never saw another dog play,and whine,and bark in a playful manner.He had never been kissed by another dog on a daily basis and shown how Chihuahuas are supposed be mischievious and get away with being demanding because it's cute.He would have never known how much fun it is to go outside and then run through the house at full speed to get to their breakfast and to gain the courage to look outside the window while eating without being afraid.now he gets to watch the snow fall from inside where it's warm and enjoy seeing it and learn to love the color white even though his favorite color is black.Let's not forget how this little dog communicates his former life as a show dog,no matter how short his career was and then abused as a stud dog.He was loved once ,temporarily,then did harder time than a convicted murderer or child rapist.This is a problem brought on by the human condition when they so desperately thrive in humane conditions
you don't give the dose of heart meds he recommended.My dog could only tolerate a little more than half of the med and thrived for a year
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This issue is like a cancer affecting every area of animals lives.The puppymills are horendous as my black Chihuahua will tell you when you look into his eyes.The verterinarian service is just as deadly as my whilte Chihuahua and chocolate Chihuahua would tell you had they survived the overdose of antibiotics and if the vets did not encourage us to end our pets lives to buy new ones.My little guys held on for as long as any vet has documented that they will but,I had to fight with several to get the correct meds,food, and info..I was constantly criticized for getting my correct info from the internet and no one encouraged us to persevere and never got any help with a difficult 3 1/2 pound dog who needed dental.These animals are caught in a Holocost.You pick up a stray cat,pay for medical attention and try to find them a home for them only to be euthanized the first day they are sent to the Humane Society.We do the work and they get thrown in the trash.This is a vicious circle at it's worst.The road kill is out of control and still no fences are put up along long stretches of highway and busy streets.Sensitivity training is a must for all individuals in this business and classes for all who adopt in order to properly care for their pets so they don't end up in a trash can or tortured through less than qualified medical attention.
OF COURSE IT'S A TRIUMPH ! IT'S EMBARRASSING LIVING IN SUCH A BACKWARD STATE AS MISSOURI ! WELCOME,WELCOME MISSOURI TO THE 21ST CENTURY,WHERE WE ARE ENLIGHTENED AND INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO TREAT ANIMALS WITH THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE. REMEMBER,YOU CAN WITNESS HOW FAR A SOCIETY AS EVOLVED BY THE TREATMENT OF THEIR ANIMALS.
puppy mills give a place for homeless veterinarians to go.with all of the tornados there has to be at least one waiting for their check from the Emerald City.follow the yellow brick road and say hi to Toto.with the insurance money coming in they can afford to buy theirself a new name and a math class.
I didn't take from this article that the author had any sympathies for the dog breeders. In fact, I think the breeders are portrayed in a very bad light- as is the auction company.
Puppy mills are horrible! These people need to live in the pathetic manner that thier dogs do. Missouri needs to be educated! Wake up people. It is a sorry human that would do the things that this elderly couple have been doing for decades. 1,000 breeding dogs. Insane!
Missouri.. I have lived here most of my life and thought we were the best... in the last few years I found out that we are top in child abuse.. meth labs and puppy mills.. we should all be ashamed :(
Matt Blunt is a poster child for abortion.Makes me just want to go have them for the hell of it.Where was the coat hanger when he was just a bun in the oven.
I guess our votes don't mean anything to some people. I say protect the animals and the majority vote counts.
I agree with Shelly Powers on most points here, and in particular her observation about the extreme secrecy with which the large-scale breeders operate. When people are afraid of journalists, you can bet that they've got something to hide, and journalists should get righteously pissed off at being denied access rather than falling for sob stories about how unfair other journalists were in the past. If you're running a large scale operation where the well-being of hundreds of animals depends on the quality of your work, you should be subjected to public scrutiny. That is true for puppy mills and for other operations.
I'm tied of the news media reporting THEIR OPINIONS rather than the facts and using their position as a tool to influence the public toward their way of thinking.They are dangerous to the well fair of our country.
The law isn't perfect, but it's a hell of a lot better than letting the bad breeders continue to operate without any apparent limits whatsoever, as they have been for many years.
Factory-style production of dogs intended to be pets is a bad idea all around. The dogs are bought by families who expect their pets to be healthy and socilaized, and the very size of these factory operations makes this impossible.
If you want a purebred dog, go to a small local breeder and check them out throughly. Look their operation over as throughly as possible. Get references from past customers.
If you don't want a purebred dog with papers, go to a shelter.
Do the math....900 dogs..give each dog 1 minute = 900 minutes / 60 minutes in an hour = 15 hours to feed, water, clean cages, collecting puppies to sell, removing puppies from mother so the mother can be bred again, inspect for disease or injury(time to take dog to trash if disease or injury really bad...like chewed foot off because foot caught in matted coat)...75 y/o.husband, wife and their son doingall the work....and it's a terrific place...get real.Thankfully, their tortureous puppy mill is gone.
That is a nice dog!!!!! this dirty dozen name doesnt seem to be working i saw the prop b ads and they held up a half dead dog. something doesnt float here.
While I work at HSUS, I have family in Missouri, and am proud to know that they voted Yes on Prop B. The fact that people are trying to convince elected officials to repeal Prop B shows how low some will go. Officials should respect the will of the people. Subverting the judgment of voters is not right, and it is anti-democratic. Like it or not, our system is built on majority rule, and a majority of Missouri citizens—including majorities in most House and Senate legislative districts—favored Prop B. The precise reason that voters acted, is because the legislature has failed to stop puppy mill abuses. It is extremely undemocratic and wrong of lawmakers to usurp the power of the people and ignore their expressed will. Additionally, Prop B was a simple measure, dealing only with setting standards for commercial dog breeding, and has no connection whatsoever to Missouri’s important agriculture and livestock economy. The opponents’ campaign was based entirely on falsehoods and misrepresentations in an attempt to confuse voters. The truth is, Prop B dealt only with dogs. It does not deal with cattle, chickens, or pigs. (I realize that there are those that disagree, but again, Prop B. only. deals. with. dogs. While many voters were wrongly told that existing regulations on dog breeding are adequate, the fact is that they are not. Under pre-Prop B rules, a dog can be in a cage just six inches longer than her body, she can be confined in that cage and never let out, she need not ever see a veterinarian, and a dog can be huddled in a wire cage in the middle of winter—exposed to freezing temperatures. All of that is legal under existing rules, and that’s why we needed Prop B.The new regulations—requiring adequate and clean food and water, exercise, properly sized and sanitary cages, veterinary care, protection from extreme heat and cold and adequate time between breeding cycles, are very reasonable, as Missourians of good will—including responsible breeders—know. Prop B also provides a one-year phase-in so breeders have plenty of time to comply with these new standards.For anyone that suspects a puppy mill to be operating, I urge you to contact the puppy mill task force, a tipline dedicated to investigative puppy mills. 1-877-MILL-TIP
By failing to consult actual practitioners of dog husbandry, the proposition's authors may have missed out on crucial knowledge.
This is the understatement of the year! What is not redundant in proposition B is certainly not geared to the welfare of breeding dogs. It is so obvious to ANY experienced dog breeder that the bill is specifically aimed at putting the good breeders out of business, by demanding expensivechanges in housing and restricting income to pay for it by limiting breeding stock and trying to play breeding police, as well.
I didn't mean to click that I "liked" this horrid entry. Pable, who employs you to write "opinions"?People are having trouble caring for themselves, let alone their pets, thanks to US financial institutions endlessly ruining the economy. We're seeing more abandoned pets everywhere, including pathetic bodies along the highway, thanks to the raging pace of home foreclosures and the rising cost of everything and the tax incentives to ship jobs and companies out of the country. Pablo, there's no excuse for cruelty.
Pablo, your post makes more sense than anything else being said here. You are totally correct in your assessment of the whole situation. Thank you!
given the pet over population in this country, if a few breeders went out of business, that would NOT be a bad thing. then again, following your logic, we *need* the breeders so we continue to have a pet overpopulation problem so that we keep people employed at the shelters too...after all, we need someone to do all the euthanizations!
yeah, pablo, i see what you mean :-)
I certainly don't want a humane society mutt with no known history for health or temperament issues. I have no desire to show. Are you calling all the rest of the dog kennels puppy mills? I would rather get my dog from a legal, licensed breeder anyday.
Dogs will reflect the neuroses of their owners. Keeping terminally ill and suffering dogs alive at all costs is cruel and not in the best interest of the dog. When quality of life is compromised, you need to listen to the vet and let them go. No pat on the back here for making them suffer by prolonging their death.
O I agree completely. Hey if they banned pictures from being taken of the dogs then OBVIOUSLY there was proff of animal abuse. Theres no maybe about it. They didn't want proff of their abuse of these animals to get out.
Before you voted for Prop B did you even read the current 26 pages of law on the books or did you just go with the flow?
To the "Well Fair" of our country.Yes, they are very very dangerous, aren't they?Please just move to Texas.
If you buy a dog, you, yes, you directly actually killed another.Because you bought a dog another dog was killed.Breeding in and of itself for a profit cannot ever be an ethical behaviour.Lives should not be bought and sold. Isn't this what we did with people a few years back and now we think it it is terrible?
I hope you get to be in a cramped little room, not able to walk, and to get your own feces all over yourself. It is my nocturnal emission for the evening. So not sexy. No wonder republicans have to pay for sex.
I seem to remember reading (in a different article) that the Shindlers employed 14 or 19 people. The article said that the dogs were all fat and healthy and very social. Does not sound like a puppy mill to me. Sounds like a responsible breeder that when they got old things started slipping.....except the dogs seemed to have good care.
Typical HSUS tactic, anyone breeding dogs commercially ARE a puppy mill.
Oh my gosh, Sarah- you response above is EXACTLY the SAME response Barbara Schmitz gave in an interview a couple of weeks ago in the Spingfield NewsLeader! Like, word for word. Hmmmmm. Can we say mindless mimics of each other?
BTW, folks, that tipline number that Sarah uses above is NOT the number of any group that has any policing authority at all. It is the number of the HSUS. If anyone in MO needs to report a genuine case of abuse, they need to call Operation Bark Alert, a program administered by the Mo Department of Ag, and who has genuine authority to close down an abusive situation at a kennel. The HSUS has NO authority at all.
Sarah, you and HSUS are so full of it! You LIE about so many things. Unfortunately, your lies have been repeated so often (by design, I'm sure), that some of the clueless city folks are still buying what you are selling. I am not, of course. You need to read the ACFA regs and quit lying. Dogs can be exposed to freezing temps? No, that one is IF prop B stands as is. Then there is unfettered access.to extremes weather, and breeders can no longer protect their dogs and puppies. I have never seen dogs in any kennel housed in such small quarters. Minimums mean just that. Even then, singly housed dogs requires double space if not exercised otherwise. Why would you say the dogs are never taken out of their pen? Who would do that? You and your fellow animal rights activists know nothing about how Missouri licensed kennels operate. How many legal licensed kennels have you even seen?
Over 150 Missourian veterinarians came out for Proposition B. This included veterinarians at shelters, including the Humane Society of Missouri.
I don't know how "expert" you want people to be, but I think shelter veterinarians have a pretty good idea of the ugly side of commercial dog breeding.
So many "guest" commenters against Proposition B.
Your comment along with Pablo is the big problem here.The people who cause this problem are not more important than the animals.Any of you can go to work at McDonalds just like anybody else.You are probably the same lazy creeps that would put your own daughter on a street corner.These animals do not deserve to be used whatever sick selfish needs of a sociopath.I'm also tired of hearing sex perverts complaining if a dog gets nuetered and never has a sex life.If you can't afford the high cost of groceries ,try planting a garden and tending to that instead of abusing animals.There are Zoos in this country that lock up animals against their will and in some cases for their own good and a puppymill does not qualify as a Zoo.It qualifies as a sewer.
You still believe in the pet over-population myth? Then why do some shelters import dogs and pups from other countries just to fill the demand for shelter pets? Of course, they are bringing in health problems not seen in this country with them. Shelters transfer dogs to other shelters weekly to fill the demand elsewhere. If a shelter near you is crowded, they can send to one needing dogs. Shelters and especially rescues are BIG business these days. In fact, HSUS has stated that they have rescues standing by just waiting for the dogs that are over the limit of 50.
Actually, the laws on the books (pre-Prop B, don't forget, Prop B WAS enacted by Missouri voters on November 2nd 2010, and will go into effect November 2nd 2011) attempt to address the puppy mills problem, but fail. That is why this situation has festered in our state for so long and why we need Prop B. For example, ACFA attempts to ensure that the dogs get veterinary care, but it only requires that a vertinarian visit each facility once a year. Prop B requires that each dog be examined by a veterinarian once a year and that injuries and illnesses be treated propmply.
ACFA attempts to prevent the dogs from being exposed to extreme temperatures, but it fails for couple of reasons. For one, it states that they cannot be exposed to extreme temperatures for more than four hours, but this is impossible for an inspector to determine, as their inspections do not last that long. Therefore, it cannot be enforced. Prop B will require that the dogs' indoor enclosure have an ambient temperature between 45-85 degrees F, which is specific enough to be enforced.
ACFA also attempts to keep the dogs from being exposed to extremes in temperature by requiring bedding should the temp fall below 50 degrees. That might help when the temperature is say 40 degrees, but is not enough when the temperature falls into the 20s, teens or below zero as it does every winter in Missouri.
ACFA attempts to ensure that dogs in breeding facilities have access to regular exercise, but there is a loophole that states if the dog has more than an extra square foot of space, then it is not necessary.Prop B will require that each dog have access to a reasonably sized exercise enclosure. Also, ACFA does not address:*Adequate rest between breeding cycles, which is essential to the health of the mother and the puppies. The AKC recommends it.Proposition B requires adequate rest between breeding cycles.*Stacked wire-floored cages, which often lead to painful foot problems and allow urine and feces from upper cages to cascade onto the dogs below.Proposition B requires that the dogs have the basic comfort of a solid floor and that cages not be stacked.*Breeders destroying dogs which are no longer producing themselves with inhumane methods.Proposition B requires that when necessary euthanasia be performed by a licensed veterinarian using a method deemed acceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association. *Real consequences for violations. Currently, there are several substandard large-scale breeding operations with pages upon pages of violations (and often repeat violations) that continue to be licensed and operate business as usual. Proposition B will create a misdemeanor crime of puppy mill cruelty for any violations.
Prop B strengthens existing law and makes it enforceable. More funding will not help if the law is too weak and vague to be enforced.
WhatwouldJesusdo: Change your name. You are being disgusting and disgracing the name of Jesus. You know nothing about this issue, have no dog in this fight, and just need to shut up.
Not all inspection reports noted number of employees, but it seemed to hover somewhere around a dozen. It wasn't just the Schindlers taking care of these dogs, but it is noted in some records that the inspectors told them to hire more employees to manage the dogs.
Are you in equal support of slavery?When something doesn't make sense just follow the money trail. What money do the animal lovers make over this? They actually have had to spend money for a cause. The reason this is a hotly debated issue is because there are people who will have to spend more money to stay in business or it might eat into their profit. They are getting paid for exploitation so they have something financial to lose. However, any job that requires to to create suffering for others is not sustainable. If it were solely about ethics or morals the answer would be easy. It's so American to turn the head the other way until it is nearly too late to change. Nothing to interfere with our capitalism. A proud, educated country.
150 MO vets for prop B and the rest of the 4600 liscensed vets againt it. Yep,should have interviewed the rest.
Shelter vets are hardly experts in knowing how to operate a dog breeding kennel, unless of course they are secretly breeding the dogs the shelters are supposed to be selling to good homes (yes, I said selling).. The true professionals are the vets who actually visit the kennels for inspections and advise and treat any problems. There are several thousand vets in Missouri, I believe. Most of them were against prop B.
Shadowlane who is paying you to write this fabrication? Hundred of animals are put to death daily due to lack of homes, especially in the summer. Or the animals are abandoned on highways. Check out the bodies on Highway 370, especially near the Third Street ramp.
Shelter vets are the ones that deal with the negative repercussions of commercial dog breeding.
Over 150 vets came out for Proposition B, and the No on Prop B had about 20.
The general body of the MVMA did not vote against Proposition B. It was a decision of the executive staff to come out against Proposition B.
After all, they can't afford to offend the agricultural interests in this state.