Eight of the worst dog breeders in the country are in Nebraska

By on January 24, 2022

Last January, we published a story about three of the country’s worst dog breeders who lived here in Nebraska. More recent information from the Humane Society of the United States’ Horrible Hundred list indicates there are even more in our state now. In fact, there are 8 of the top 100 worst puppy mills right here in the Cornhusker state.

Below, you’ll find the text about Nebraska from the report. First, take a look at some suggestions from local puppy mill advocates of Bailing Out Benji. Your actions can help lobby for an end to commercial puppy producers.

  • Contact your State legislators today, share this list with them and urge them to pass stronger laws.
  • Contact your Federal legislators, share this list with them and urge them to co-sponsor animal welfare bills and get more oversight on these federally licensed facilities.
  • Contact your local city council, share this list with them and urge them to pass a humane ordinance that would prevent these facilities from selling through stores in your town. (We have pre-drafted language to help).
  • Share, share, share puppy mill awareness news and articles to help us educate your friends and family.
  • Volunteer and/or donate to reputable nonprofits like ours and help us continue the fight against the cruel puppy mill industry.

Here’s information on the three breeders in Nebraska to make the 2021 list from the Humane Society of the United States:


Douglas and Mary Jane Brosh / Brosh’s Kennels, Pender, Nebraska: State found dog “very thin” and  required the licensee to take the dog to a vet; also found dirty conditions (repeat offender). During a  December 2020 inspection, the state rated Brosh’s Kennels only “conditionally acceptable” due to a dog who was  “very thin.” The inspector noted that the dog “Needs to go to vet either today or tomorrow” and requested a  follow-up report. The inspector also noted, “Under [the] dog pens needs cleaned. Pens need cleaned especially  the beagles, dog doors need cleaned. Adult dog buildings also need cleaned.” There were more than 80 dogs and  puppies on the property at the time of the inspection. 

Brosh’s Kennels appeared in our 2015 Horrible Hundred report after it received an official warning from the  state that year for dogs who had no water, and apparently had not had any water since the previous afternoon,  as well as a dog with a bulging eye who had not been seen by a veterinarian. Other issues noted in that report  included excessive feces, and USDA violations that had recurred for several years. 

Brosh’s Kennels was still licensed as a B dealer with the USDA as of May 6, 2021. The USDA has not inspected it  since September 2019, online records show. At that time, USDA issued two “teachable moments,” according to  its inspection report data, but there was no information on those details available in the USDA’s “teachable  moments” database. NE #KN65, USDA #47-B-0091. REPEAT OFFENDER; SECOND TIME IN THIS REPORT. 

Brenda L. Carroll / Carroll Sell Farms, Plattsmouth, Nebraska: AKC breeder has had recurring issues with  unsanitary conditions and/or humane care since 2013 (repeat offender). During a Jan. 20, 2021 inspection,  state inspectors rated Carroll Sell Farms only “conditionally acceptable” due to a need to improve cleaning and  remove feces from some pens. There were about 50 dogs present at the time of the inspection. The lack of  sanitation is a concern because of the long history of unsanitary conditions and poor housing at the facility. 

Brenda Carroll is a self-described AKC breeder of miniature American shepherds. She appeared in our 2014,  2017 and 2019 Horrible Hundred reports for similar problems.  

As we noted in our 2019 report, state inspectors found the AKC breeder’s facility “routinely non compliant,”  noting repeated problems including not having enough employees to properly care for the dogs and “piles of  feces.” The state issued an official warning and suggested major downsizing of the facility. State inspection  reports show the facility was cited for violations at four different inspections between May and September 2018,  only passing one inspection in November after being given multiple chances to come into compliance. Some of  the violations included excessive trash and clutter (July 2018); not enough employees to properly care for the  animals (May and August 2018); and a limping dog who needed to be taken to a vet (September 2018).  

The facility was rated “unacceptable” at an Aug. 29, 2018, state inspection and given an official warning for  violating Nebraska’s Commercial Dog and Cat Operator Inspection Act. During that visit, the inspector wrote:  “Facility is routinely non compliant, with program standards, sanitation issue’s17 continue, along with other non  compliant items. More employee’s are needed to properly care for the dogs, or major downsizing is needed to  get facility in total compliance. All dogs pens located inside of facility need to be cleaned, piles of feces, needs to  be removed. South outdoor pens, dogs cannot escape mud, or standing water, along with 2-3 pens located inside  of barn have mud or wet surfaces. Dogs need to be kept in a clean dry environment, with clean dry bedding.” 

During a September 2018 re-inspection, the inspector noted that the operation had planned to downsize: “Mrs.  Carroll recognized that she needed to downsize to properly care for the dogs and submitted a list of about 54  dogs that were to be released to an out of state rescue organization within about 2 weeks. With the release of  these dogs, she will be down to about 20 dogs. In the interim, Mrs. Carroll is enlisting the help of a friend to help  care for the dogs.” On Nov. 13, 2018, the operation passed one inspection and was down to 10 dogs and 21  puppies. 

The breeder’s history indicates she could only take care of about 20 dogs in 2018, so the fact that she has  increased her animal numbers to more than 50 as of January 2021 is a concern.  

Prior issues noted in our earlier reports included a dog with an injured leg (Sept. 8, 2016), inadequate shelter for the dogs (Sept. 8, 2016, and Feb. 4, 2016), filthy conditions (Sept. 8, 2016, and Feb. 4, 2016), and other citations  for not enough employees to properly maintain the kennel (Sept. 14, 2016, and Sept 8, 2016). In addition, dogs  were found without adequate weather protection in February 2016, an issue that Carroll had been repeatedly  cited for since at least 2013; state records show the breeder was found again and again to have dogs exposed to  the bitter cold and with no water or frozen water at numerous inspections between 2013 and 2016, including at  least one day when the temperature was only 4 degrees. NE #KN1109. REPEAT OFFENDER; FOURTH TIME IN  THIS REPORT.  

Clem Disterhaupt Jr. / Ponca Creek Kennels, Spencer, Nebraska: Breeder with more than 225 dogs was  rated “unacceptable” twice during January 2021 state inspections due to matted dogs, dirty conditions,  cages that were too small and more (repeat offender). Clem Disterhaupt Jr. operates a massive dog breeding  kennel with more than 225 dogs and puppies. During a Jan. 13, 2021, state inspection, his kennel was rated  “unacceptable” due to eight different issues. The problems were related to approximately seven dogs with  excessive matting, lack of a veterinary care plan, lack of proof of wellness examinations for dogs (no health  records were available at all), some dogs who did not have enough space and dirty conditions. The inspectors noted that they discussed the fact that the breeder “possibly needed to downsize or build another building to  help with space.” State inspectors returned again on Jan. 28 and again rated the kennel “unacceptable” for  approximately seven different issues, including four direct violations. The issues included many dogs — including  some mothers with puppies — who were in cages that were too small; dirty conditions; a matted dog who  needed to be groomed; health records that were out of date; and many dogs who were in the kennel with no  explanation of where they came from. When inspectors returned a third time on Feb. 8, 2021, they rated the  kennel “conditionally acceptable” because some problems still remained: acquisition records and health records  on the dogs were still incomplete, and two dogs had visible health issues, one with a wound on the neck and  another with a “sore on back.” Cleanliness still needed improvement, and two dogs also needed to be groomed  soon, according to the report. A shocking 142 dogs and 95 puppies were on the property during the Jan. 28,  2021, visit. 

Ponca Creek Kennels was once licensed with the USDA, but as of April 2021, it appears it is no longer licensed,  which means it cannot legally sell to brokers or pet stores, which leads to confusion about where it may be selling such a large number of dogs. Another breeder named Clem L. Disterhaupt is currently licensed with the  USDA, but has an address in Stuart, Nebraska, according to USDA records. It is unclear if the two are related.  

Clem Disterhaupt Jr. last appeared in our Horrible Hundred report in 2015, after he received two official  warnings from the state in October 2014 and February 2015, for a refusal to allow a kennel inspection and  unsanitary conditions, respectively. Inspectors also noted issues such as a sickly and lethargic French bulldog  who needed to be seen by a vet (January 2014), mouse feces and foul odors. NE #KN211. REPEAT OFFENDER;  SECOND TIME IN THIS REPORT. 

Clem L. Disterhaupt / Sandhills Kennel, Stuart, Nebraska: State inspector could not finish inspection due to  alleged assault by breeder (“Inspector was unsafe and had to leave the facility […] Clem grabbed the  camera”). Facility also had filthy flooring and was missing a veterinary plan. State inspectors found issues at  Sandhills Kennel twice in February 2021, state records show. On Feb. 3, 2021, the breeder reportedly interfered  with an inspection by threatening a state inspector, who had to leave the property for their safety, leaving the  inspection unfinished. The inspector wrote: “Inspection was started but not completed due to [assault] of  inspector by Clem. Inspector was unsafe and had to leave the facility. One photo was trying to be taken of the  outdoor run but Clem grabbed the camera and the photo appears black. A reinspection will need to be  completed to check for compliance or non compliance items. This inspection form only shows what the  inspector was able to see before the inspection had to stop. The number of adults and [puppies counted] were  only in the whelping building.”  

The violation that the inspector had been trying to photograph was as follows: “Floor in the whelping building  under the hutches needs cleaned. Food, dried urine and grime under there needs removed. Outdoor pens on  east side have not been cleaned since it had snowed, which was 1-25-21 over a week ago, pens need scooped and  cleaned.” The inspector counted seven dogs and 50 puppies in the portion of the kennel that was visited before  the alleged assault. Five days later (Feb. 8, 2021), a different state inspector arrived. At that visit, a violation was  found for no proof of a written veterinary care plan. The second inspector counted 77 dogs and 54 puppies.  

Disterhaupt also offers puppies for sale on PuppyFind.com, a website that the HSUS has repeatedly linked to  problem breeders. He is also USDA licensed. The USDA has not linked Sandhills Kennel to any recent violations,  but, as of May 6, 2021, USDA also has not visited the kennel since September 2019, online records show. During  that visit, USDA counted 127 dogs and puppies. NE #KN55, USDA #47-A-0427. 

Mark J. Griesman / Prairie Chesapeakes, Wood River, Nebraska: Dog found dead in February 2021 was  suspected victim of exposure to below-freezing cold, “possible neglect;” state found “extreme sanitation  issues” and repeated incidents of dogs exposed to severe weather, but state had allowed breeder to  continue to operate until March 2021 (repeat offender). Just as this report was about to be published, Prairie  Chesapeakes appeared to have closed down, after state authorities found horrific violations in February 2021,  including a dead dog. HSUS researchers decided to keep Prairie Chesapeakes in this report, because the  situation exposes a need for greater urgency in monitoring problem breeders. 

According to a February 22, 2021 state inspection report, inspectors responding to a complaint found: “Dogs in  extreme sanitation issues, [who] could not walk without stepping [in] feces. No bedding in shelters with recent  temperature with highs of negative numbers. One female found outside shelter inside pen was deceased, cause  unknown but reason for possible neglect along with issues noted.”  

On March 1, 2021, Prairie Chesapeakes reportedly closed and dropped its license, with the breeder submitting to an exit interview with the state Department of Agriculture. State officials noted that “Licensee is no longer  breeding dogs, has no dogs” on the premises. It is unclear if the licensee was charged with animal neglect, or  whether his surviving dogs were ever seized and provided with veterinary care, or whether they were euthanized  or sold to other breeders. The HSUS decided to keep this operation in the report for public information  purposes and until it can be confirmed that Griesman absolutely has no more involvement in dealing dogs; a  prior state inspection indicates he was known to “move dogs” in a short amount of time. 

Long before the horrific issues were found in February 2021, Prairie Chesapeakes was rated “unacceptable” after a July 10, 2020, state inspection for insufficient weather protection, an issue he had failed to fully resolve  even after being warned about it at a prior inspection. State records show Griesman was warned on July 8, 2020, with a “conditionally acceptable” rating, and told to repair issues with sharp points that “may cause injury to  animals,” and to fix an issue with a dog who did not have acceptable shelter. The breeder claimed he had  removed a structure from the dog’s pen for repair. But when the state followed up a few days later, the kennel  was rated “unacceptable” because the breeder was found with “exposed wires that may cause injury,” and a dog  was running at large with the dog’s pen door open. At least one dog still had no shelter even though the breeder  had been notified to fix the issue a few days prior. The inspector wrote: “Inspection on July 8, 2020 revealed  shelter had been removed evening prior for repairs, since that time severe weather has been in area with winds  recorded over 70mph. On this date no shelter had yet been provided for the dog even after Mr. Griesman  claimed to have two new shelters to be assembled and planned on repairing the shelter for that pen.” 

Prairie Chesapeakes appeared in two of our prior Horrible Hundred reports due to similar issues. In 2018, the  state fined Griesman $2,000 for repeated violations, including an injured, paralyzed dog who went days without  veterinary care and was later euthanized, water bowls that contained ice, “poor conditions throughout” the  facility, as well as repeated issues with underweight dogs, state records show. 

During an April 17, 2018, state inspection, the operation was rated “acceptable,” despite its egregious history  and the following notes by the inspector: “Blondie the partial paralyzed dog was euthanized along with Sky the  thin dog which is claimed to have had cancer. Blondie had suffered an injury a week prior to 4-16-18 inspection  without vet care. Several others appear thin and will advise to have examined for cancer. Mr. Griesman’s ability  to clean/sanitize and move dog’s in such a short amount of time shows his ability to take care of the animals but  his continued non-compliance issues and lack of providing dogs in need of care shows the disregard of the  animals. Request administrative hearing.”

In 2017, Griesman was cited for a number of issues, including a repeated failure to obtain adequate veterinary  care records, unsanitary conditions and strong odors of urine and feces. Former NE #KN1342. REPEAT  OFFENDER; THIRD TIME IN THIS REPORT.  

Michael and Megan Kopf Jr. / Star Bullies, Dewitt, Nebraska: State inspector found a dead dog at AKC  breeder’s facility, told breeder to “remove the dead dog, and dispose in a proper manner.” During a Sept. 14, 2020, state inspection, Star Bullies was rated “conditionally acceptable” after an inspector found a dead dog  in an outdoor pen on the property. The inspector noted: “One dead dog was observed in [an] outdoor pen, the  dog did appear to have just recently died. Remove the dead dog, and dispose in a proper manner.” The breeder  was given an indirect violation for the incident, and as of April 14, 2021, there were no follow-up notes indicating  what may have killed the dog or whether the dog’s lonely death was ever investigated. It appears that the state  inspector regarded the dead dog as a cleaning violation. The operation had 33 dogs and puppies on the property  at the time, according to the state report. Star Bullies advertises French and English bulldog puppies online at  starbullies.weebly.com, where some puppies are offered for sale for about $3,000 for “pet only” and $4,000 with  full AKC registration. According to the Star Bullies website, all the puppies come from AKC registered parents,  and the puppies can be AKC registered for an additional fee. The AKC link is significant because the AKC regularly  opposes state laws that would require better oversight and conditions at dog breeding kennels. NE# KN1555. 

Roy T. Schrunk / Rocking T Kennel, Friend, Nebraska: Breeder was found with dirty conditions for at least  four years in a row; operation has downsized but state still finds unclean conditions at almost every visit  (repeat offender). Although Rocking T Kennel has downsized over the years, state inspectors have found dirty  conditions there in 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018, indicating work still needs to be done to ensure the dogs are in  safe and clean conditions.  

At the state’s most recent inspection on record in January 2021, state inspectors rated the kennel “conditionally  acceptable” and instructed the breeder to “clean outdoor pens, remove feces from pens” and add door flaps to  outdoor shelters. The temperatures in Friend, Nebraska on the date of the inspection (Jan. 19, 2021) were as  low as 21 degrees, according to historic weather data. The operation was also found “conditionally acceptable”  in September 2020 due to cleaning issues and weeds.  

As we noted in our 2020 report, Schrunk had been repeatedly ordered to downsize or hire more employees due  to unacceptable conditions. It appears he has finally downsized after years of warnings, but the conditions are  still poor. In July, 2019, the licensee was given an official warning for violations found a few days prior. During  that inspection, on July 8, 2019, Schrunk’s kennel was rated “unacceptable” by a state inspector for the following  issues: a lack of adequate staff to “properly care for dogs,” unclean conditions with excessive flies, a matted dog  and some dogs who didn’t have adequate shelter. At that time, the facility had more than 100 dogs and puppies.  When the state inspector returned for a second visit on July 15, 2019, the inspector rated the kennel  “conditionally acceptable,” even though the same number of dogs was still present on the property, and the  inspector still found an insufficient number of employees. The inspector once again noted that more staff were  needed to properly care for the dogs or the facility should downsize. In 2018, the facility was issued a warning  letter for lacking a sufficient number of employees and many other issues, and at that time, the operation had 97  dogs and puppies. 

Prior to 2019, Schrunk was repeatedly cited for many of the same issues. State inspectors marked the kennel  “unacceptable” during a May 23, 2018, inspection, and sent an extensive warning letter to the facility. The  inspection noted violations for two dogs with open wounds and fresh blood on the dogs, dirty water in some of  the water dishes, excessive feces and trash and other housekeeping issues. In addition, the licensee was told that,

“More employees are needed to properly care for the dogs, and to keep standards in compliance.” At a follow-up  inspection on June 6, 2018, state inspectors found some conditions had improved but they also found new  violations. NE# KN936. REPEAT OFFENDER; THIRD TIME IN THIS REPORT.  

Jo Ann Steiger / In God’s Hands Kennel, Randolph, Nebraska: Repeated problems with dogs exposed to the  bitter cold, poor maintenance and unsanitary conditions (repeat offender). Even though this kennel has  appeared in three of our prior Horrible Hundred reports for issues such as unsanitary conditions, dogs exposed  to the bitter cold and insufficient veterinary care, state inspectors have continued to find issues at In God’s  Hands Kennel. On Jan. 12, 2021, the kennel was rated “conditionally acceptable” by state inspectors due to  several problems, including rusty areas, dogs who didn’t have enough bedding to protect them from the cold and  a lack of daily cleaning. Historical weather data shows that temperatures in the general area on that date were as  low as 25 degrees.  

As we noted in some of our prior reports, issues with poor animal care at the kennel go back to at least January  2014, when Steiger received an official warning from the state for dogs and puppies kept in “bitter  temperatures” without enough protection from the cold, dogs with frozen water who had not had potable water  for “at least 16 hours,” and accumulations of wastes and feces. Despite this warning, inspectors continued to  find poor conditions at the kennel. In February 2015, Steiger received another warning for the very same issues,  as well as the lack of a veterinary care plan, two injured dogs, and unsafe conditions. In 2016, state inspectors  found similar problems at four different inspections, and in 2017, state inspectors found issues that included two  beagles with masses or swellings that hadn’t been treated by a veterinarian, unsanitary conditions and rusty  cages.  

Steiger appears to sell puppies online via ingodshandskennel.weebly.com although she does not appear to have a  USDA license, which would be required in order to ship puppies sight-unseen. This issue was noted in our prior  reports, but on her website, Steiger still claims that puppies are available for shipping in the United States (as of  April 7, 2021). The HSUS has repeatedly urged the USDA to take a more proactive stance to license and inspect  breeders who sell online illegally. NE #KN1104. REPEAT OFFENDER; FOURTH TIME IN THIS REPORT.  

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