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Attorney General’s office cracking down on puppy mills and pet scams

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- According to the State Director of the Humane Society, Pennsylvania is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to puppy mills and pet fraud.

That's why the Attorney General's office is now training agents, to crack down on those issues.

'The Horrible Hundred 2017': A Study by the Humane Society of the United States lists Pennsylvania as one of the worst states in the country for puppy mills.

'Unfortunately, Pennsylvania has 12 puppy mills on that list, 7 are in Lancaster County," said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

Tullo says puppy mill operators overbreed and abuse dogs, preying on soon to be pet owners, either online or at retailers.

"When you see them in a pet store, they might seem healthy and happy to you, but underlying, there are a lot of issues," she explained.

Issues some pet owners don't find out about until after the dog comes home, costing them hundreds of dollars in vet fees and stress.

"Usually dental issues or other minor issues let go over a long period of time that become very chronic and very serious," explained Aspasia Yeager, Director of Resident Services with the Humane Society of Harrisburg.

Yeager is also a dog mom.

'Happy Boy' is her fur baby, a puppy mill survivor from Lancaster County.

He's just a sweet Chihuahua missing an eye as a result of puppy mill abuse.

"Happy Boy, unfortunately, had to live through the conditions of a puppy mill, and this is something we've been working really hard to crack down on," said Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania's Attorney General.

Happy Boy's story and other cases of abuse pushed Shapiro to take action.

"We're seeing more and more of those across Pennsylvania, and what we're trying to do is make sure our agents are trained, they know the signs of when a dog comes from a puppy mill. They know the signs of pet scams out there," explained Shapiro. "We're making it a priority to try and collaborate with our partners in law enforcement and shut them down."

Happy Boy is just one many dogs bred at a puppy mill in Pennsylvania. If you or someone you know experienced misrepresented puppies, sick puppies, problems with a purchase from a pet shop, contact the Attorney General's office.

Email: petscams@attorneygeneral.gov.