Missouri audit finds flaws in puppy mill inspection

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2001:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.–A Missouri Department of Agriculture audit released on February 15 found major conflicts of interest in the state breeding kennel inspection program.

Editorialized the St. Louis Post Dispatch, “State Auditor Claire McCaskill found that state inspectors did not cite a single breeder for any kind of violation in a two-year period. Worse, two men in the state inspection program,” namely chief inspector G.A. Salmon and deputy Tom Hawley, “had puppy mill money flowing directly into their family coffers from facilities run by their wives.” Hawley doubles as regional president of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association.

At a meeting of the association last year, Craig Cheatham of KMOV News 4 reported, “Salmon challenged 300 breeders not to let” anti-puppy mill activist Kim Townsend “ruin the industry. At the same meeting,” Cheatham continued, “people distributed letters with Townsend’s phone number, address, and a map to her home.” Missouri Animal Health Division chief John Hunt, DVM, said he had removed Salmon and Hawley from inspecting breeding kennels. Missouri breeders produce between 13,000 and 24,000 puppies per month.

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