US Humane Society Calls Out Problematic Puppy Mill Inspections In Oklahoma

Monday, May 10th 2021, 9:48 pm
By: Grant Stephens

TULSA, Oklahoma -

The Humane Society of the United States recently put out its list of the worst puppy mills in the country.

Oklahoma is not on the list, but just because Oklahoma didn't make the 'Horrible Hundred,' doesn't mean the state is doing a good job cracking down on illegal puppy mills.

In fact, John Goodwin with the Humane Society said it's just the opposite.

"The fact is, there are some horrible puppy mills in Oklahoma, and it doesn't look like anybody is doing anything to try to help those dogs," Goodwin said.

Goodwin is the senior director of the Humane Society of the United States' Stop Puppy Mills Campaign. He takes issue with how the state inspects breeders and puppy mills.

"It looks like instead they're only going out when there's a complaint, and even then, they're not doing their job," Goodwin said.

Erin Shackelford with the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals agrees.

"By no means does this mean Oklahoma is on the up and up in terms of this. It's still a terrible situation," Shackelford said.

Teena Gunter oversees the Department of Agriculture team that inspects puppy mills and breeders. She said this year, things are beginning to change.

"We were kind of hamstrung for a long time and just had to prioritize with what we could," she said.

Gunter said for nearly a decade the department fought an uphill battle with a single inspector covering the entire state.

"But we have recently remedied this problem," Gunter said.

She's brought on eight more inspectors - two in the last couple of months - and increased their training.

"We are looking forward to being able to do a better job at that now. So that we know that we're going to be able to catch any problems that are out there," Gunter said.

The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals said Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for the number of puppy mills. Goodwin hopes the state truly starts cracking down on illegal mills.

"You can have more staff, but they've got to uphold the law,” Goodwin said. “They can't just wave these things away.”

The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals said Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation for the number of puppy mills and hopes the state starts cracking down.