Feds Find Neglected Dogs at Local Puppy Mill; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe


For Immediate Release:
March 27, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – Armed with damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports revealing that dogs were denied veterinary care at a puppy mill near Grovespring operated by Marjorie Walker, PETA rushed a letter today to Wright County Prosecuting Attorney John Tyrrell asking him to investigate the facility—which recently confined over 100 dogs—and file applicable charges against those responsible for the animals’ neglect.

According to the latest just-released report, on February 20 a USDA inspector found a “very thin” dog whose “spine, ribs, shoulder blades, [and] hips [were] easily felt” and another dog with scabby bumps on her body and very red skin on her throat and chest at the facility. Walker hadn’t bothered to seek veterinary care for either dog. Since 2020, Walker has been cited for seven violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act , including for excessive rust covering stacked metal dog cages, green algae coating parts of the wooden posts on each dog run, not knowing where the dogs’ exercise plan was, and missing identification for 26 puppies.

“Miserable mills like this one treat dogs as nothing but commodities to be churned out as cheaply as possible, housing them in filthy conditions and denying them proper care,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on Wright County authorities to prosecute those responsible and urges everyone never to buy an animal from a breeder or a pet store.”

PETA is pursuing charges under state law because the USDA doesn’t render relief or aid to animals during its inspections and these violations carry no federal criminal or civil penalties. While several states have recently banned the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores, Missouri legislators have introduced bills—backed by Petland, a notorious purveyor of dogs from puppy mills—that prohibit city and county governments from banning or restricting pet stores. Missouri has repeatedly been ranked as the worst state for puppy mill abuse and neglect.

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 PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Tyrrell follows.

March 27, 2024

The Honorable John A. Tyrrell
Wright County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Mr. Tyrrell:

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your agency (and the proper law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and, as suitable, file criminal charges against those responsible for neglecting dogs at Price’s Pets, a breeding facility operated by Marjorie Walker at 1651 Hwy. M near Grovespring. PETA urges investigators to visit the facility with a veterinarian who has expertise in dog health and welfare so that he or she can identify any animals in need of care and opine on the conditions of and for the approximately 100 animals there.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspector documented neglect at the facility in the attached report. On February 20, she found a dog who was “very thin” and had “an abdominal tuck.” The inspector noted that “[h]er spine, ribs, shoulder blades, [and] hips [were] easily felt.” The same day, the inspector found another dog who had “scabby bumps on her neck, back, hips and ears” and whose “skin was very red on her throat and chest.” Walker had not had a veterinarian examine or evaluate either dog for these conditions.

These findings appear to violate Missouri’s prohibition against animal neglect, RSMo § 578.009(1). The USDA’s action renders no aid or relief whatsoever to animals on site, carries no criminal or civil penalties, and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for animal neglect. If you’d like to learn more about the USDA’s findings, please see the contact information for the office in Riverdale, Maryland, here. Thank you for your time and consideration. Please let us know if we can assist you.


Elise Fisher
Evidence Analyst
Cruelty Investigations Department


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