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Darlington dog breeder makes notorious list
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DARLINGTON — The 2024 Horrible Hundred report lists 100 problem puppy breeders and dealers in the United States. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) publishes the report annually to educate consumers about common problems at puppy mills, and to promote enhanced laws and stronger humane law enforcement. 

“For the 12th year in a row, Missouri has the highest number of dealers in the report (23), followed this year by Ohio (20), Iowa (15) and Wisconsin (10),” the report states. “While some of these businesses may have passed recent inspections or attempted to address violations noted in recent inspection reports, concerns remain because of the severe or recurring nature of the violations.”

The Horrible Hundred is not a list of the worst dog breeders in the country, since many breeders are never inspected, and documentation of poor conditions may not be available, the HSUS clarified in the report. For more information on the violations and dealers in the report, readers can view documents in HSUS Airtable database at Information includes recent inspection reports, court documents and/or photographs.

Among the 10 Wisconsin breeders that made the list was Simeon Lapp of Darlington. Eight of the other Wisconsin breeders were in Vernon County, while another was in next door Juneau County.

The USDA issued an official warning after one puppy died and another was struggling; the licensee had not consulted a veterinarian about the issue. USDA inspectors found concerns at the Lapp facility at several visits between April 2023 and early 2024. 

In April 2023, inspectors documented a direct violation, indicating a current risk to animals, after one puppy died and another seemed to be ailing. 

“The facility had one puppy death in a litter yesterday and another puppy was observed by the facility to not be interested in suckling but has been taking some milk replacer,” the inspector wrote. “The licensee was concerned this puppy’s problems might be the same as the one that died but the attending veterinarian had not been contacted.” 

In June 2023, the agency issued a warning for the violation. The facility passed two subsequent inspections in April and July, but when inspectors tried to visit again in November, they were not given access to check on the dogs. At the next inspection, in January 2024, inspectors found excessive feces in some of the 33 outdoor enclosures, noting that they had so much waste and excreta “that dogs could not really walk around.”

At least nine of the 100 dealers have sold to Petland, the only national chain of pet stores in the U.S. that still sells puppies, according to the report.