Just in time for Puppy Mill Awareness Day, a puppy mill operator in Romulus, New York, has admitted to using a makeshift gas chamber to “depopulate” the kennel—in other words, to kill 93 dogs and puppies. David Yoder, who bred poodles, bichon frises, Maltese, and Boston terriers at his Black Diamond Acres kennel, told a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector that he gassed the dogs after being told that he would have to test and treat them for brucellosis. He put groups of five or six at a time into a sealed “whelping box,” which he had hooked up to a tractor engine. (Is anybody else noting the irony that these dogs were born and died in the same box?)
Yoder appears to have violated federal law, which prohibits kennel operators from performing euthanasia, as well as New York state law, which bans killing animals with exhaust fumes. Yoder has turned in his kennel license and is now under investigation by the USDA and the local sheriff’s department. Should he be found guilty of violating the Animal Welfare Act, he faces fines of up to $10,000 for each such violation.
This case is just one more reminder—as if we needed one—why people should never buy dogs from pet stores (the retail end of the puppy mill business) or people who advertise puppies for sale in newspapers or online. If an ad mentions multiple breeds for sale, it might as well say “puppy mill” in neon lights.
Written by Alisa Mullins