Wisconsin Facilities Listed in 'Horrible Hundred' Exposing Cruelty at Puppy Mills

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 | The Humane Society of The United States |


2018 marks the sixth year in a row that the Humane Society of the United States has published a list of 100 problem puppy mills and dog sellers. Their past Horrible Hundred reports have garnered widespread awareness about cruel conditions at puppy mills, which are large pet breeding operations that focus on profit over animal welfare.

We have posted the Wisconsin facilities below.


New Auburn, Wisconsin: Jeffrey and Angela Kellen, J.A.K. Kennel – Mother dog and puppies found in the cold; excessive feces; compliance actions issued twice in two months by state authorities.

J.A.K. Kennel in New Auburn, WI had repeat issues with excessive feces in December 2017 and January 2018, among other problems cited by state inspectors. Due to the multiple violations at these two inspections, the WI Department of Agriculture issued two notices of non-compliance. (WI Dept of Ag/2017)


In December 2017 and January 2018, Wisconsin state inspectors attempted to inspect J.A.K. Kennel in New Auburn on three separate occasions, yet no one was available to let the inspectors inside. After contacting the breeder on the second attempt on Dec. 20, 2017, the state was able to conduct a brief inspection, and found multiple violations. Violations included housing in disrepair with sharp metal points that could injure the dogs, a mother dog and a four-day-old litter of puppies who were found without an adequate heat source when temperatures were 38 degrees Fahrenheit, accumulations of feces, poor sanitation, and two dogs with a “significant amount of matted hair.” 

When inspectors returned in January 2018, some of the violations had not been corrected, and they observed new issues. Once again, enclosures were found to be unsafe, and inspectors noted excessive feces and other sanitation problems. New issues cited at the Jan. 12, 2018 inspection included: water buckets that were empty and/or filled with frozen water (the licensee admitted the dogs had been without fresh water since the evening before), dirty feed containers, lack of enrichment objects, insufficient bedding in outdoor shelters, and inadequate lighting in one of the kennel rooms, which could make it difficult for the caretakers to adequately check on the dogs. Due to the multiple violations in December and January, the department issued two notices of non- compliance. WI#274480. 


Augusta, Wisconsin: David Kurtz – Sick puppy sold without a veterinary visit; parvovirus linked to kennels; limping dog had not been taken to a veterinarian.

David Kurtz operates his dog breeding facility between two locations in Wisconsin. In May 2017, inspections were conducted at both locations and uncovered multiple violations. At one of the properties, an open gutter was found running through four enclosures that was accessible to the dogs and was accumulating shavings and feces (WI Dept of Ag/ 2017).


David Kurtz operates his dog breeding facility between two locations in Wisconsin. A customer filed a complaint in February 2017 regarding a puppy who appeared to be suffering symptoms of parvovirus. The puppy had been sold by the licensee. That puppy’s diagnosis could not be confirmed, but the buyers’ friend had also purchased a puppy from Kurtz who was diagnosed with parvovirus. When questioned about the complaint by inspectors, Kurtz denied the disease was present his facilities and claimed he had not had any deaths at his kennel recently, according to state records obtained by the Humane Society of the United States. But after reviewing litter records at the kennel, inspectors noted that four out of five puppies in one litter had died, with the licensees having no recollection of what caused their deaths. 

Regarding the complaint, Kurtz argued he sent fecal samples to a veterinarian in Tennessee and they believed it was coccidiosis. He reportedly later told state inspectors that he had heard that the complainants were making false accusations about the health of their puppies and that test results must have been inaccurate. A few days later, inspectors made contact with the primary veterinarian and she stated that she was aware that his brothers’ kennel had recently had issues with parvovirus and the puppy could have come from his kennel. She believed the source of the virus in both kennels could be connected to their father (Harvey Kurtz) liquidating dogs to each of the brothers, according to state records. 

The May 15, 2017 inspections at both locations had uncovered multiple violations. The puppy involved in the complaint was found to have been sold without a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI). According to state records, the licensee admitted that if he is unable to schedule an appointment with his regular veterinarian, he sometimes sells puppies without a CVI, which is a violation of state law (Wis. Stat. Ann. § 173.41). Additional violations noted during these visits include incomplete acquisition records; puppies on wire flooring (which was previously discussed with the licensee); inadequate lighting for three, eight-week old puppies where inspectors needed a flashlight to check on the welfare of the puppies and an open gutter running through four enclosures that was accessible to the dogs and was accumulating shavings and feces. Kurtz was issued a warning notice based on the May 15, 2017 violations. 

In addition to the state, the USDA also found violations linked to Kurtz. The December 2017 inspection report for an address in Augusta, Wisconsin, identified as “site #13150,” which is the address on some of Kurtz’s state inspection reports, documented a dog with a leg injury and another with a skin condition. 

Specifically, the inspector noted that a “cockashon” (cocker spaniel mix) was “limping on its left front leg.” When asked about the condition of the dog, the licensee said they had noticed the condition two days prior, but had not contacted their veterinarian about it. The inspector wrote, “a dog limping indicates that there is something medically wrong [...] The dog may be in pain and may have some kind of infection [that could] spread to other parts of the body.” During the same visit, the inspector found a female dog named Teddy who had a rash on her underside and red spots on her abdomen, some of which were scabbed over. The inspector noted that a veterinarian had diagnosed the dog with ‘hot spots’ two weeks prior, but the veterinarian’s treatment plan had not been followed and the dog’s condition was now worse. The inspector noted that both dogs were in danger of infection and that the licensee needed to communicate with their veterinarian about the dogs. USDA licensed, license # unknown. WI #402317. 

Black River Falls, Wisconsin: Ryan T. Handly, DesignerPuppy.com, and WisconsinPuppies.net (REPEAT OFFENDER) – Dogs “exposed to excrement falling from higher enclosures” per inspection report; strong odor of ammonia and feces; state inspectors issued three official warnings in 2016/2017 for multiple violations, yet Handly accumulated new violations in January 2018. After appearing in our 2017 report, Ryan Handly continued to have issues at multiple kennel locations, according to state records, and there are indications that he may have as many as four different locations in different parts of the state. During two state inspections in August 2017 (at both the Black River Falls and Vesper locations), inspectors found incomplete vaccination records and a number of other problems. 

Then, on Nov. 15, 2017, inspectors found more violations at one of Handly’s locations. Inspectors found incomplete litter and vaccination records; continued lack of a written behavior and socialization plan; four enclosures that were stacked so high that inspectors needed to stand on a stool to view inside; inadequate space in some enclosures; unapproved flooring in some enclosures and more concerns about sanitation. Based on these violations, the state issued an official warning notice. However, even after being warned by the Department of Agriculture, Handly was again cited for many more violations in January 2018. Violations included “very dirty” water containers “coated with a dark residue”; a shih-tzu with “severe matting which would likely cause discomfort and pain”; puppies on 1 by 1-inch wire flooring that could allow their feet to fall through, including one puppy “resting on its chest as one or more legs [had fallen] through the gaps up to its chest;” dogs “exposed to excrement falling from higher enclosures”; a strong odor of ammonia and feces; and dirty conditions, including trays with excessive accumulation of feces and soiled bedding. Handly was later issued a notice of non-compliance due to the January 2018 violations. 

Inspectors have found issues at Handly’s operation(s) for several years in a row. As our previous Horrible Hundred report stated, in August 2016, the state of Wisconsin issued an official warning to Ryan Handly for multiple non-compliances found during a July 2016 inspection, including a lethargic puppy who was found lying in a water bowl with pale gums. When questioned about the lethargic puppy’s condition, the owner admitted he had been aware of it, but no recent veterinary care had been provided. The puppy later tested positive for giardia and coccidia. Other violations found at the same inspection included: puppies sold without vaccination records; most of the dogs had no water and some were panting; some of the dogs who did have water had only dirty, contaminated water; multiple mother dogs with their puppies were found in cramped wire cages that didn’t give them enough space to allow sufficient movement; some dogs were very matted; conditions were dirty; some walls were made of unpainted plywood and the dogs were chewing holes in the walls large enough to stick their heads through. 

Despite the August 2016 warning, when state officials went back to re-inspect the kennel in September, they found many problems were still occurring, according to state records. Most of the dogs still had no water, and those that did have water had only dirty water; no medical records were available; no follow-up records were available on the lethargic puppy who had been seen in July; conditions were still dirty; and many of the cages with mother dogs and puppies in them were still overcrowded (Sept. 8, 2016). In November 2016, the state issued a second Official Warning notice due to the violations found during the September inspection. 

According to the state documents, “Handly sells small-breed puppies advertised on his websites. Handly owns adult breeding dogs that are housed at various locations within Wisconsin.” The Vesper location is on Raymond Hirschberger’s property, according to state records, and Hirschberger is the “caretaker” of dogs and puppies owned by Ryan Handly at that location. 

Handly sells puppies via websites such as DesignerPuppy.com and WisconsinPuppies.net. The Wisconsin Puppies website offers shipping across the U.S., although our researchers could find no indication that Handly had the federal license that is required for those who ship puppies online to unseen buyers (as of May 7, 2018). WI#268582. SECOND TIME IN THIS REPORT. 


Hillsboro, Wisconsin: Jesse W. Yutzy – State inspection found dogs and puppies shivering in the cold; licensee ordered to pay $1,499 to court; placed on conditional license due to repeated non-compliance. Between 2016 and 2017, Jesse W. Yutzy had repeated issues complying with Wisconsin dog breeder regulations. In May 2016, Yutzy was issued a stipulation agreement, and in June of that year, he was given a consent order, which placed conditions on his license for two years. If he did not comply with state regulations, he would be ordered to pay the fine laid out in the stipulation. However, starting in September 2016, inspectors found violations at every subsequent inspection, according to records received by the Humane Society of the United States. Three attempted inspections between March and April 2017 forced the department to schedule an announced inspection to ensure the licensee would be available. 

Finally, in May 2017, inspectors were able to get inside the facility. They found violations for incomplete disposition records, incomplete vaccination records and three dogs housed alone without daily contact with other dogs, which could lead to socialization and behavioral issues. Compliance agents briefly followed up 10 days later and noticed the kennel was “cool and damp” and that the “majority of the dogs with short hair and puppies were shivering and appeared cold.” Inspectors returned on July 18, 2017 and found repeat problems with the disposition and vaccination records (Records of disposition and vaccination are vital to ensuring that puppies are protected from deadly diseases). After the two routine inspections in May and July, compliance officers determined that Yutzy was still not conforming with conditions set forth in his compliance agreement from 2016. He was ordered to pay the $1,499.50 to the county court for violating his agreement (Case No. 16-C-25). USDA licensed, license # unknown. WI#283657. 


Hillsboro, Wisconsin: Joshua W. Yutzy – Inspection cut short due to sick puppy; “extreme and unacceptable accumulation of excrement,” strong odors and flies. Many repeat violations. State inspectors found violations at four separate inspections in 2017 at Joshua Yutzy’s facility. After two attempted inspections in March 2017, inspectors were able to briefly visit the kennel in April, but ended the inspection abruptly due to a puppy needing immediate veterinary care. Before ending the inspection, they noted that the kennel had a strong odor and the puppy’s enclosure also was foul. When inspectors returned in May, they found incomplete acquisition records; lack of health certificates for two litters of puppies that were sold to another dealer; no treatment records for the sick puppy identified in April and another litter mate; two dogs with matted and tangled fur; inadequate space in some enclosures with no separate exercise area; unsanitary conditions; and an “extreme and unacceptable accumulation of excrement” and other issues, according to state inspection records we obtained. 

After issuing Yutzy an official warning for violations in April and May, inspectors returned on two occasions in July 2017 to check on compliance, and found even more problems. On July 18, 2017, inspectors documented repeat violations for wire housing needing repair, and excessive feces, flies and odors. During the second inspection, treatment records for the sick puppy identified in April and his or her littermate were still missing, acquisition records were still incomplete, and flies and odor were still present due to feces accumulation. It is unclear when or if these violations were ever corrected. WI#283658. 


Stetsonville, Wisconsin: Name withheld by USDA; believed to be Aaron Hostetler33 – “Critical” violation for dog with significant leg injury; leg had gone untreated for almost a year. In July 2017, a USDA inspector gave Aaron Hostetler a “Critical” violation, the USDA’s most urgent violation category, for a female dachshund who appeared to be unable to walk with, or bear weight on, one of her front legs. When asked about the dog’s injury, the broker stated that the dog had “received an unknown injury to her leg in August 2016 while he was away from his facility,” but the inspector noted, “Veterinary care was not provided to the dog by the caretaker at the time of the injury nor the licensee upon his return.” This timeline indicates that by the time the inspector arrived on July 25, 2017, the dog’s obvious injury had gone untreated for almost a year. The inspector noted, “untreated injuries can be painful and can lead to abnormal healing and loss of use of the injured body part.” Hostetler has a “B” dealer (aka broker) license, which enables him to sell puppies bred by others, as well as puppies raised on his own property. This means he could be selling puppies to any pet store in the country, as well as online. 


Thorp, Wisconsin: Name withheld by USDA – Boston terrier puppy was listless and had swollen head; licensee resisted taking the puppy to a vet until inspector insisted. In December 2017, a Thorp, Wisconsin dog breeder, showed a shocking disregard for a seriously ill puppy pointed out by her USDA inspector. The puppy, described as a two-week old Boston terrier, was found by the inspector “listless and not moving around much.” According to the inspector, when he touched the puppy, “it felt as if the back of the puppy’s head was swollen and possibly filling with fluid.” When the inspector asked the breeder if she had contacted a veterinarian about the puppy, she claimed the puppy had recently been acting normally and so she did not know there was a problem. When the inspector offered to stop his inspection so that she could immediately take the puppy to her veterinarian, she reportedly responded that “there wasn’t much she could do for the puppy and she indicated to [the inspector] that there was no need to contact the Attending Veterinarian.” The inspector insisted, stating in his report that: “A listless puppy that isn’t moving around much indicates the puppy is probably having a serious medical problem and if left untreated the condition will most likely continue to worsen and the puppy will probably die.” Only upon the insistence of the inspector did the breeder contact a veterinarian, indicating that had the inspector not happened to come to the facility that day, the puppy would probably have been left to die. 

The licensee reportedly called the veterinarian about the sick puppy after the inspector insisted, although it does not appear that she physically brought the animal in for professional treatment. The USDA inspection report says only that “the licensee has contacted the Attending Veterinarian 

33 Although there was no name on the USDA inspection report, to the best of our knowledge, this broker was the only one licensed by USDA in the town at the time of the inspection. 

and treated the puppy per his/her instructions.” There is no note on the inspection report regarding the fate of the puppy. 


Thorp, Wisconsin: Name withheld by USDA– Puppy had scabs and cloudy eye; west highland terrier had a puncture wound on her neck. In December 2017, a USDA inspector found two dogs in obvious need of veterinary care at a Thorp, Wisconsin breeding operation. The first one was a “shipoo” (shih tzu / poodle mix) puppy who had recently been given fluids by the licensee, and who had “lost its hair in the area surrounding where the needle had been inserted under the skin” by the licensee. The puppy had “at least three scabs” near the wound, and also had one eye that was clouded over. Despite these obvious issues, the puppy had not been taken to a licensed veterinarian for treatment. In addition, the inspector found an adult female West Highland terrier who had a puncture wound on her neck that “could be painful and if left untreated could become infected,” according to the USDA inspection report. The licensee claimed they had not noticed the westie’s puncture wound or the puppy’s eye problem. Neither of the dogs had been treated by a veterinarian for their conditions. Despite the significance of their injuries, the USDA inspector did not cite the breeder with a “Direct” violation, which would have triggered faster follow-up by the agency. Instead, the licensee was given three days to “have these animals evaluated by the attending veterinarian.” 

View the full report (large file)



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