Dog Breeder Churns Out Deformed Puppies and Racks Up Animal Welfare Violations; PETA Calls For Shutdown

For Immediate Release:
May 22, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Hallsville, Mo.

After learning that local breeder Beverly Hargis, owner of Hargis’ Sunshine Kennel, churns out dogs with physical deformities that are highly likely to cause painful medical conditions and lifelong suffering, PETA fired off a letter today urging her to shut down the shameful facility. PETA’s letter calls out Hargis for racking up 16 alleged violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act in recent years, including for confining dogs to feces-filled enclosures and denying veterinary care to dachshunds suffering from potentially painful dental problems, including dogs with red and inflamed gums.

Due to their intentionally bred deformities, dachshunds have a higher risk of developing lifelong spinal, knee, and other joint problems and up to a quarter of them suffer from painful intervertebral disc disease. Germany recently proposed a ban on breeding dachshunds—a national symbol in the country—and other dogs with “skeletal anomalies” that cause serious health problems, who are victims of what the legislation refers to as “torture breeding.” Breeding any dog also contributes to the companion animal overpopulation crisis, in which around 70 million cats and dogs are homeless in the U.S. at any given time.

“Pumping out deliberately deformed puppies while millions of dogs in shelters are desperate for loving homes is reprehensible,” says PETA Vice President of Legal Advocacy Daniel Paden. “PETA urges Beverly Hargis to give up all these dogs immediately and reminds everyone never to buy any animal from a breeder or a pet store.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Hargis follows.

May 22, 2024

Beverly Hargis


Hargis’ Sunshine Kennel

Via e-mail

Dear Ms. Hargis:

In light of your operation’s remarkable history of failing to meet the bare minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—and dachshunds’ painful deformities—I’m writing to urge you to stop breeding these animals. We understand that this would be a radical step, but please consider the following with an open mind—and realize that you could set an inspiring, humane example for your colleagues around the world.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) records reveal that inspectors have cited you for at least 16 alleged violations of the AWA in recent years. In January, a USDA inspector found “excess build up of feces inside … the enclosures” confining approximately 22 dogs. In June 2023, a veterinary medical officer found that a dachshund had “heavy … dark brown/tan material” on his teeth and “reddened” and “receded” gums and that you had failed to provide him with care that a veterinarian had recommended more than seven months earlier. The USDA veterinarian also found a “strong ammonia odor” where puppies and their nursing mothers are kept. In October 2022, the USDA veterinarian found two dachshunds kept on flooring in disrepair. In December 2021, the same veterinarian found another dachshund with abysmal dental health—and in this case, you had evidently not even contacted a veterinarian. In January 2016, federal personnel found two more dachshunds at your operation who were missing teeth, had brown and gray material built up on their remaining teeth, and had red and inflamed gums—and hadn’t received any dental care since 2014. During the same inspection, the federal veterinarian documented that “most of the enclosures on the outdoor portion of the sheltered building contained greater than a day’s worth of fecal material.” And the list goes on.

The long spine and stubby legs dachshund breeders select for often cause these dogs to suffer from herniated and malformed discs and joint pain. Due to these painful deformities, Germany has proposed banning breeding the dogs. A Cornell University veterinarian recently said that “the miniature dachshund is the most likely breed to have an intervertebral disc displacement and … multiple [dachshunds] com[e] in for surgery every week.” Breeding these dogs causes immense suffering throughout their lifetime, and they often need costly medical care that your customers may not be aware of or cannot afford. These surgeries aren’t just costly—they’re dangerous, extremely painful, and traumatic for dogs and their human families. These deformities compromise the dogs’ health, quality of life, and emotional welfare.

Breeders are largely responsible for the homeless companion animal crisis, and there are around 70 million homeless dogs and cats in the U.S. at any given time. Times are changing, and these issues cannot be ignored. Please stop exploiting these dogs and perpetuating the myth that their deformities are something to celebrate. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Elise Fisher

Evidence Analyst

Cruelty Investigations Department


Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.