Partners in Crime!

In December 1999, we reported that the Hunte Corporation was shipping 230 puppies weekly from their commercial breeding/brokerage facility in Missouri. It would seem that since this story was made available through Truckers News, more information has come to light. In 1997 alone, the Hunte Corporation sold nearly 35,000 puppies to their pet store customers.

Please help us to educate the public that a Pet Store is NOT where you want to buy your companions. With the current euthanasia rate so high and all the wonderful animals in the shelters and pounds, there is no reason to have to buy from a pet store. Save a life - Adopt your next friend. :-) If you must have a new puppy then go to a reputable breeder. There is information throughout this site that will guide you in doing that.


1. Where puppies in the window come from!  Hunte Corp.

2. Partners in Crime!  Pet stores/Suppliers

3. Hunte Corporation Honored for Success



Where the puppies in the window come from!

Reprinted from the Truckers News Dec. 1999 by Brendan Cooney
©1999 Randall Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Hauling puppies is a big transition for some truck drivers. Going from carrying loads of objects that you never touch to carrying a trailer full of puppies that you have to pet, feed and coddle — and not get attached to — is a challenge.
Driver Ralph Lawson cuddles up to a three-pound Chinese crested.

Lowell Thorson of Granby, Mo., used to drive flatbeds. Now he finds himself wrapping a sick Chihuahua in a towel and nursing it back to health in his cab while he drives. He and his driving partner, Russell Hambrick, stop every four or five hours to monitor the 230 puppies in their trailer. They haul their furry cargo to the East Coast for The Hunte Corporation of Goodman, Mo.

“A lot of dogs, I’d like to take home,” Thorson says. “We don’t want to get too attached to them, because we’ve got to take them off the trailer and give them away. I don’t think Andrew Hunte would like it if I took them home.”

Hunte, who says he’s “the largest supplier of pets in the world, by far,” employs 10 drivers to haul dogs from Missouri to pet stores on the East and West coasts. Drivers also unload at three major airports, from which the animals are flown to South America, Europe and Japan. Hunte’s company moves 900 puppies a week, all between 8 and 10 weeks old.

Hambrick has been driving trucks for 28 years and hadn’t touched a load for 15 years before he got a job with Hunte. Now the Pea Ridge, Ark., native unloads puppies every week at 35 pet stores in Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut. “Rottweilers and German shepherds get heavy — 30, 40 pounds,” he says. Another large puppy, the Alaskan malamute, is his favorite dog. “I enjoy the job, because I like dogs anyway.”

A crucial part of the job is knowing the breeds of dogs, according to Ralph Lawson, a Hunte driver from Neosho, Mo. “You’ve got to make sure you’re not delivering a Maltese for a Chihuahua,” he says. “If the driver drops off the wrong puppy, he has to go back and pick it up.” A driver also has to know how to handle the puppies. The driver must know, for example, that the Italian greyhound has “very fragile front legs,” Lawson says. “You gotta be real careful.”
The Hunte Corporation puts the animals first in its pooch-transporting business by teaching its drivers how to properly handle and care for the dogs.

He also watches for anxiety in the puppies and administers Nutri-Drops to the anxious ones to increase their appetite. Another cure for anxiety is more old-fashioned. “We get them out, hold them and play with them,” he says.

The best part of the job for Lawson is “to see how happy the people are when they receive their pets, especially when you deliver to malls. Everyone seems to be attracted to the dogs.” Fifteen of his 35 stops are to malls.

Hambrick agrees: “Just about everywhere we stop, we get an audience. We tell them that these dogs are better treated than we are.” Another benefit of the job is the occasional brush with fame. Lawson has delivered a Maltese for Whitney Houston and a black lab for Clint Black, both via a New York City pet store. “It’s kind of neat when they tell us where these dogs end up,” he says.

Driving for Hunte became a little easier this summer, when drivers were relieved of their roles as the primary caretakers for the puppies in transit. “I used to medicate the dogs twice a day,” Thorson says. Now Hunte has a “puppy-care technician” ride with the two drivers, who are left to drive and unload the puppies.

“We try to make our drivers puppy-care people,” Hunte explains. “But we found that was impossible.” The demands of both driving and ministering to the dogs were too overwhelming for some drivers, who welcomed the aid of the on-board technicians.

Hunte says at his company “the animals come first.” He makes all drivers go through a one-week training course in the kennel, where they learn how to identify dog breeds, how to administer medication orally and how to handle the puppies. Also, Hunte sends new drivers out with experienced partners first, so they can learn the ropes.

Because he is so demanding, Hunte finds it difficult to find drivers. “We go through driver turnover like crazy,” he says.

The drivers who stay find it difficult not to care about the dogs. Driver Gary Jones, for example, recently noticed that two puppies — a Pomeranian and a beagle — were looking a little weak, so he took them up to the cab and put them in a box lined with towels. He nursed them back to health and delivered them to a pet store.

Saving the Pomeranian was especially important to Jones because it is his favorite breed. “They look like little fuzzballs,” he says. “It made me feel good, because I know I did something to keep him alive. I felt good because I was going above and beyond my duties. If that’s what I have to do, that’s what I have to do.”

This responsibility makes the drivers’ jobs more difficult. “There’s a little more stress involved [than in other trucking jobs],” Thorson says. “You’ve got to make sure you don’t lose any dogs. A few weeks ago, I lost a Chihuahua, and that got me a little irritated. It gets to be stressful.”

One unique aspect of the job is that it combines local and over-the-road driving. “It’s the only local driving job that takes 24 hours to get to,” says Chad Elkins, a former driver who now works in customer service. The two teammates in each truck drive around the clock in five-hour shifts, sharing the bunk bed with the puppy-care technician. Then they become local drivers, negotiating their way through traffic and mall parking lots. Fortunately, the trailers are short — 34 feet — but winding one’s way through the tight turns of a mall lot can be frustrating, he says.

Adding to the local flavor of the job is the truckers’ familiarity with customers. Truckers know all the pet store owners on a first-name basis, which helps when they have to scratch the customers’ backs to get them to accept a dog. The store owners can be more finicky than the pets. “If the dog’s too ugly, I won’t take it,” says a pet store owner who prefers to remain anonymous. Another pet store owner says, “If it’s a golden retriever with white legs, forget about it.”

“We generally have a couple of rejects,” says Vern Martin, Hunte’s transportation manager. “It’s the wrong sex, too ugly — if you can believe it — [has] a heart murmur, bad knee, hair loss, whatever.” A runny nose is another basis for rejection. When unloading the puppies, drivers carry one puppy in each hand, so that they won’t spread colds. Between handling dogs, the driver has to wash his hands with Septi-Clean hand sanitizer, a soap that dries in about 15 seconds. “You’ve got to have 20 heads on your shoulders,” Elkins says. “Keep the customers happy. You’re a driver, a salesman, a puppy-care technician, a politician; when you leave here you’re in charge.”

One initial drawback to the job is the pungent odor that fills the trailer. “The smell takes a little getting used to,” Lawson admits. The trailers are custom-designed, with ramps that collect all the puppy waste and channel it into two 200-gallon tanks, which the drivers empty at a truckstop.

The trailers also have two tanks that each carry 100 gallons of drinking water for the puppies. A Thermo-King unit keeps the air fresh and the temperature between 72 and 74 degrees. The fresh air cuts down on upper-respiratory problems, Hunte says.

One perk for drivers is that they make a base salary, because each team drives different distances. They also get a bonus for returning to Hunte with an empty trailer.

Another perk is that they get to drive new equipment. Hunte has five 1999 Volvo 610s and two 2000 660s. “They’re new trucks,” Thorson says. “You don’t have to worry about the truck breaking down. If it does, you just make a call, and they’ll be out there to fix it. You don’t have to worry about anything.”

Lawson says the job is never dull. “Every week you learn something else. It’s just like trucking. Just when you think you know dogs, you learn something new: a new breed or new ways to keep them healthy. We get to see dogs most people don’t ever get to see, like the Tosa-Ken, a breed of mastiff.” His favorite breed is the English bulldog, which grows to 70 pounds and sells for up to $3,500 in New York pet stores. The drivers agree that hauling puppies is a mixed blessing. They get to spend time with adorable dogs, and they even get to hold them and play with them. But then they have to leave them. As Jones says, “The only bad part of the job is you get attached to the dogs.”

Partners in Crime

Reprinted from ActionLine, the Friends of Animals' magazine, 777 Post Road,
Darien, CT 06820

Twenty years ago, pet store chains with puppies in the window were as common a sight in suburban shopping malls as cellular phone stores are today.  All the mall stores sold American Kennel Club (AKC) registered puppies from "puppy mills" - farms located primarily in midwestern states from which hundreds of thousands of puppies flooded the wholesale market each year.

Breeding for dollars, not health or sound temperament, puppy mills cut costs by keeping dogs in crowded dirty conditions, in chicken coops, ramshackle outbuildings, or dark cellars.  With minimal human contact and poor genetic foundations, puppy mill purebreds turned out to be the worst sort of
"impulse" purchase - with serious diseases and behavior problems included in the purchase price.

With present-day "superstore" pet supply chains such as PetsMart and Petco refusing to sell puppies or kittens, choosing instead to give space for animal shelters and rescue groups to showcase adoptable pets, one might be tempted to think that puppy mills are becoming a thing of the past.  FoA's investigation into the sale of puppies in the state of Maryland proved otherwise.

Our investigation began at "JUST PUPPIES", located in a strip mall on a well-traveled highway in suburban Maryland.  Approximately sixty puppies of 30 different breeds can be found there on any given day.  They are housed in children's plastic wading pools with chicken wire attached as makeshift fences.  Buyers and browsers reach in and pull out pup after pup at will - an exhausting experience for the puppies.  Newly arrived puppies are placed in the pools together, making disease control impossible.

Although the store has been open only since April 1999, FoA located several people who were dismayed to have spent hundreds of dollars on a puppy who fell ill immediately upon arrival home.  Several puppies had hacking coughs, viral infections, lungs filled with fluid and other mysterious maladies that required weeks of medication to clear up.   One 10-week-old cocker spaniel had to undergo a complete hip replacement operation, paid for at the buyer's expense.

A local veterinarian treated numerous puppies with kennel cough, a contagious disease that wouldn't be expected from puppies who are sold with a "health guarantee".   The guarantee offered by JUST PUPPIES and similar stores turned out to be unrealistic and worthless to the upset new puppy buyers.  It stipulates that the buyer must bring the sick puppy to the veterinarian
representing the pet store.  The store veterinarian then decides whether the puppy should receive treatment or be replaced with a puppy "of equal value".

Diane Shawver bought a $900 poodle from TODAY'S PET, another Maryland shopping mall pet store, last August.  When the puppy began vomiting the day after coming home, she rushed him to her veterinarian, who diagnosed an intestinal blockage with severe dehydration.  She was told by the store that the warranty was voided because she went to an outside vet.  She was told that she could return her puppy, the store would euthanize him, and she could choose a new one.

The buyers interviewed by FoA investigators were told their puppies had not come from puppy mills but rather from "private breeders".  In fact, all the pet stores investigated purchased their puppies from mills.  One of the larger suppliers, Hunte Corporation, sold nearly 35,000 puppies in 1997 alone, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.

The situation in Maryland may serve as a microcosm for the rest of the country.   According to a 1999 issue of the Pet Products News Buying Guide, a pet store trade publication, "Livestock sales of dogs rose a healthy 35.6 percent in 1998".   Sales generated from these puppies shot to $33.6 million in 1998, compared to $15.2 million in 1996.

Meanwhile, animal shelters across the country continue to kill millions of "unwanted" dogs every year for lack of good homes.  It is estimated that between 25 and 45 percent of dogs arriving in shelters are purebreds, and breed-specific rescue organizations carry the burden of uncounted additional
discarded dogs.

Many of the dissatisfied customers we interviewed are moving forward to take legal action against these stores.  Washington DC's local Fox television affiliate worked with our investigators and aired a powerful expose'.  Since the news story aired, a number of new complainants have surfaced.  FoA has also coordinated a network of volunteers who will distribute leaflets outside of JUST PUPPIES, warning potential customers to the hidden costs in supporting the puppy mill trade.

Authors - Bill Dollinger and Donna Marsden

Honored for Success????????


August 04, 2001

Hunte Corp. honored for success

By JOHN FORD / Daily News Associate Editor

GOODMAN - A major employer here was recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture for its business success.

The Hunte Corporation, which is in its 10th year of buying and selling quality puppies, was presented a plaque Friday by the USDA's Rural Development office in Neosho.

Andrew and Gina Hunte began with seven employees in a 5,000 square foot facility and now employ more than 140 in 32,000 square feet of facilities in three locations.

"This is truly a success story when the Hunte Corporation is celebrating 10 years of successful business," said Greg Branham, state director for USDA rural development. "Even more important are the employment opportunities for the many people in southwest Missouri and the Four State region. USDA is pleased to be a partner with Hometown Bank to help a local company provide jobs for deserving individuals in the rural area. Creating jobs like this provides opportunities for our children to stay in the area and work. Everyone benefits with this type of cooperation."

Hometown Bank of Carthage financed the Hunte Corporation's latest expansion with the loan being guaranteed by USDA Rural Development through its business and industry guaranteed loan program.

The company projects to buy and sell more than 65,000 puppies this year and 85,000 in 2002. The Hunte Corporation is recognized as the world's leading supplier of quality puppies.

The Huntes have many years of experience in the pet industry and have owned, managed, designed and built retail stores. Additionally, the couple have bred and shown "Best of Show" dogs in Canada, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and the United States.

"We are committed to excellence with respect to the puppy," said Andrew Hunte, company owner. "We are the world's largest supplier to pet stores. A prerequisite for anyone wanting to work at our company is they must love dogs."

With operations in Goodman and in Buffalo, Mo., the Hunte Corporation employs six full-time veterinarians. Using a sophisticated delivery system, the company delivers puppies to most major metropolitan cities throughout the United States and exports to many foreign countries including Japan, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Canada.

"Our transportation service is really 10 or 15 years ahead of its time," said Andrew Hunte. "And our drivers are really puppy paramedics with a DOT [Department of Transportation] license."

The company formerly operated as Sundowner and has been in business since 1978.

Reprinted from Neosho Daily News


The Animal Welfare Act of 1966

USDA Approves Loan to McDonald County K-9 Distributor Blunt Announces 

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, September 5, 2001 

Contact: Dan Wadlington

Goodman, Missouri -- The Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved a $900,000 guaranteed rural development loan to allow the Hunte Corporation, located in northern McDonald County, to purchase equipment, restructure it’s debt and provide working capital for expansion Southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt has announced. 

Hunte Corporation Chairman Andrew Hunte said, The loan will allow us to expand business and increase employment in McDonald County. 

The company received another loan for $3.5 million from the USDA last year. 

The dog breeding industry has suffered a black eye in recent years, but we are out to change that image by putting animals first and ensuring they get the best humane professional treatment, Hunte said. We deal with breeders in several Midwest states who can meet our standards of quality care. One of our goals is to help breeders improve their operations. 

Hunte explained, We get the puppies at 8 weeks old and they undergo a week of quality care to make sure they are healthy before they are shipped to upscale pet stores around the country.

The Hunte Corporation operations near Goodman include more than 150 employees under the direction of six veterinarians. The dogs are housed in a 30,000 square foot building that is climate and odor controlled. The operation is federally and state inspected.

Hunte said, We added 18 employees this year and we hope to keep expanding. We want to be the educators of the industry. We are committed to excellence. The federal guaranteed loan will allow us to continue to move in that direction. 

Ten years ago, Hunte Corporation consisted of seven employees and a million dollars in sales. Hunte says sales this year will exceed $26 million.

Hunte Corporation is the largest distributor-wholesaler of puppies in the United States. 

The company also exports young dogs overseas.


The article that was previously in this space has been removed, due to the request of the person having written the article.  The article was also removed from their own web site??? Makes a person wonder why the article does not merit being seen, but we have abided by the author's request.  Critter Haven has apologized for having displayed the article in the first place.



Below is a letter sent to breeders from Andrew Hunte of H & H Pets (aka The Hunte Corporation).


In recent weeks there has been many rumors floating around the pet industry regarding the sale of Best Friends and Do Bo Tri to the Hunte Corporation.   We would like to put the rumors to rest.  We are pleased to confirm that we have purchased Best Friends and Do Bo Tri.  We understand that you have many questions that need answers, such as pricing, buying policies, payment, rejects, consignments and why the acquisitions?  We will attempt to address these issues in this letter.

Q.  Why the acquisitions?
A.  For many years the challenge for the Hunte Corporation has been a consistent supply of quality puppies. The Hunte Corporation purchased Honey Dew in 1996 to help overcome this challenge.  Many of the same issues facing the The Hunte Corporation today were also present then during that acquisition.  Most pet retailers associate The Hunte Corporation name with the highest quality puppy available.  Our number one hurdle has been finding a consistent supply of quality puppies.    Therefore, our acquisition of Best Friend and Do Bo Tri is a natural step in trying to secure a quality supply of puppies.  Best Friends and Do Bo Tri breeders supply the commercial pet industry with some of the highest quality puppies available.  The Hunte Corporation is excited about an opportunity to earn your trust and continue the positive relationship you have experienced in the past with Best Friends and Do Bo Tri.

Q.  What about the buying policies (including pricing, payment, rejects and consignments)?
A.  Buying policies will remain the same.  The plan is for Rocky McMahan and Doug Hughes to each remain in charge of buying operations at Best  Friends and Do Bo Tri, respectively.  The Hunte Corporation has no intentions of changing the current buying criteria at either Best Friends or Do Bo Tri.  You will continue to book your puppies at the same phone number with the same people as you have in the past.  To simplify record keeping with AKC and USDA all puppies purchased by the The Hunte Corporation will be transferred to H & H Pets which is the new registered buying name of the The Hunte Corporation.  No longer will any puppies be transferred from the breeder to Best Friends, Do Bo Tri, or the Hunte Corporation.  Please be sure that your AKC and USDA records reflect H & H Pets, effective immediately.  Best Friends and Do Bo Tri will no longer house, sell or deliver puppies, this will be done centrally by the Hunte Corporation.

Q.  What do the breeders have to look forward to?
A.  Higher prices, fewer rejects, less consignments, free veterinary services (at your request) including cultures and sensitivities on respiratory cases, health screening on adults and puppies, (once geography permits) certain prescriptions and supplies at the Hunte Corporations' cost, for example Albon at $22.00 a bottle.  In addition, The Hunte Corporation is attempting to pen up new markets and avenues to market "B" GRADE PUPPIES.    The Hunte Corporation believes these puppies deserve a home with a  family that loves them.  This is the goal and purpose of trying to develop some alternative markets.  Obviously, we cannot purchase puppies that will pose a health risk and prevent the puppy from living a normal and healthy life.

Consideration for the future
We are seriously considering purchasing puppies with URI [Upper Respiratory Infection] due to the stress of travel.  We realize that the breeder does not want to take a sick puppy back to the kennel and run the risk of infecting other puppies.    Now that we have extra holding facilities we fell that we should open a URI hospital, headed up by one of our 5 staff veterinarians.  We will keep you posted on the developments.  We DO NOT plan on stopping there!  We will continue to work on new and innovative ideas that will benefit you, the breeder.    We stand behind our bookings, in the last 10 years we have never unbooked any puppies.  We rarely close bookings because of the continuous demand for the The Hunte Corporation's puppies even in the summer.

Q.  What about the other rumors?
A.  We have heard that some malicious, envious, and jealous individuals have spread rumors that we are going bankrupt.  Over the last 10 years this same rumor has been spread many times and PRAISE GOD we are still going strong.  When you heard rumors please consider the source and always feel free to call us to find out the truth.   

How does J.B. Hunt fit into all of this?  
Mr. J.B. Hunt (the well known trucking magnate) has financed these 2 acquisitions;  he is our banker but not our partner.  Andrew and Gina Hunte remain the only stockholders of The Hunte Corporation. By the way, we are not being bought out by anyone!

Q.  What about the Hunte Corporation controlling such a huge share of the market?
A.  Our competitors will try to convince you not to sell to us because of our size.  Our size is the very reason why you should sell to us, because of that we can offer you higher puppy prices, lower product prices, free veterinarian services and access to a larger selling market with fewer rejects.   We will never have control of pricing.  Pricing is and always will be determined by supply and demand.  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call me....
Signed Andrew Hunte



Names you will see on registration papers from "commercial breeders" owned by Hunte Corporation (THE supplier for Petland stores) are:

HONEY DEW/ I LOVE MY PUPPY/ DOBOTRI/BEST FRIENDS are ALL "commercial breeders" for THE HUNTE CORP or H & H Pets of Elkland, MO

See a letter from Andrew Hunte to his breeders on site Illinois State Rep Cal Skinner wants puppy mill information from around the US.
    What is a puppy mill??   


By Snoop Dog Snoop

I attended one of the Hunte Corporation “Breeders Discussions”. Regrettably, it was well attended. They passed out a slick polished booklet about their operation with pretty pictures of kids, puppies and smiling employees. There was also a folder of forms and instructions. They had a video running on a big screen TV that was the same as the booklet. Everything has a religious theme behind it. With the fish symbol enclosing the word Jesus. This is depicted on their literature, the video, on their clothes, etc. They seem to flaunt this as making what they do right.

The meeting was run by Andrew Hunte, CEO. I think his evangelistic background helps in the success of this business.

The meeting started out with mention of the Puppy Protection Act as NOT part of the Farm Bill. He encouraged phone calls, e-mail and faxes to politicians; this is a big industry serving the needs of the people. He went on saying that they only accept AKC registrations that are NOT limited, they must be full registrations, alternate registrations and some non registered such as cock-a-poos. This makes me wonder, as most are sold as pets, why not limited registration? Also they will help you, the commercial breeder acquire the breeding stock you need. This puts up a BIG FLAG! Be cautious when placing your retired Champions, spay or neuter them before placement. Hunte pays bonuses for puppies out of Champions. The breeders can ship puppies at 56 days after birth. They provide the health certificates.

They accept new puppies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and have cleared out all the puppies from the previous week by Monday. Then they steam clean the entire facility to ready it for the next batch. During the week the puppies are there they are isolated from each other, given baths, health checks, maintained to avoid stress diarrhea with drugs if necessary. They are given shots, micro chipped and groomed. All in this week. They are fed individually in their cages and watered. The waste goes thru the bottom and is disposed of. They are handled by caring employees during that week. This is stressed very highly.

They are big on being politically correct. They are not puppy mills, but High Volume Breeders, the puppies are not raised on wire but suspended floors, and so on adnauseam.

They have all sorts of bonuses. There is a $10 per pup bonus for OFA hips on each side, $5 per champion in the first 4 generations. The prices of the puppies fluctuate with the supply and demand. Right now there is a $10 bonus for puppies brought in with AKC papers in hand. They reimburse you for your DNA testing by giving you a $5 credit for the first 8 puppies. There is currently a $50 bonus for new breeders. You can also earn an early booking bonus of $30 by booking your litter before a week. They do not accept puppies with heart murmurs, patella problems or hip dysplasia. Although I do not know how they can determine HD at 8 wks. They also expect min pin and mini schnauzer puppies to come with ears cropped and HEALED. They will accept under bites of 1/8 inch in small breeds and 1/4 inch in large breeds.

The top dogs listed for 2002 were: Bull Terriers, Bulldogs, Papillion’s, Brussels Griffon, Maltese and Yorkies. They want Yorkies to be 1.7 to 2 lbs. at 8 wks.

They want to see the entire litter and grade them. They only reject about 1% of the puppies brought to them. Ones that do not make the grade can either be put in their “B” program and they will pay 70% for them. They also have a program for the rejects where they will pay 60 cents on the dollar. There are pick up stations thru out the area to make it easier on the breeders. They will take the puppies and transport them to the facility headquarters.

They also tout their support and education thru local chapters, give money to good causes by and for the Professional and Commercial breeder. They will be holding a breeders seminar at their corporate headquarters on Sept. 21, 2002. Last year’s was well attended by 1100 of their breeders. They even provided lunch for attendees. There is a check off on their form for $1/puppy. This goes to support legislation and education.

They are saying the AKC is aligned with them and the breed clubs and rescue groups are being pitted against each other. They are counting on this for them to use against us. They are gaining confidence and winning. We cannot let them win this war. They also touted Ms. Denny Kodner and Kodner’s Corner at Dog News. Com.

With this info in hand, I hope and pray we can fight back and WIN. We need to do this for our beloved breeds now and in the future. Be cautious when dealing with puppy buyers as some may not me who they appear. Also be extra careful in placing your older adults and retired champions and other titled dogs. Spay and neuter them if they are not to be used as breeding stock.

Copyright © 2001,

last modified: 05/08/2002 20:47:52


November 25, 2003

Hunte violates DNR regulations

By MICHELLE PIPPIN / Daily News staff writer

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently concluded an investigation into property owned by the Hunte Corporation of Goodman.

Complaints were made to the DNR regarding animal graves and the possibility of contaminated ponds at Sunrise Puppies, a kennel facility for the Hunte Corporation located on Sorrel Road in Newton County.

The investigation revealed violations of the Missouri Clean Water and Solid Waste Management Law, according to Camille Dobler with the DNR.

"The main complaint concerned disposal of dead animals," said Dobler. "Dead animals are currently buried in trenches on the south edge of the property. The trenches are constructed correctly but they need to be spread out across the property and the correct setbacks maintained."

The means of disposing of dead animals is regulated by Missouri law and guidelines are set by the Geological Survey and Resource Assessment Division. For the better part of southwest Missouri, the regulations limit the burial to no more than 1000 pounds per acre per year.

John Cupps, animal health officer with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the office charged with monitoring the safety of animals throughout the state, has conducted regular inspections of the Sunrise Puppies property for the past 5 1/2 years, including one in October following the complaints reported to the DNR.

"I checked their (Hunte Corporation's) records to see if they had exceeded the amount (of deceased dogs) buried on one acre," said Cupps in his report. "They hadn't exceeded the legal amount so they're in compliance with state law."

An earlier inspection of the property, conducted by Cupps on July 8, 2003, also indicated no violations to the dead animal burial guidelines. Cupps explained that the Sunrise Puppies property had been unused by the Hunte Corporation for 1 1/2 years up until this past summer. He said there were three dog breeders in Southwest Missouri who lost their kennels in the May 4 tornados, and Andrew Hunte, owner of Hunte Corporation, agreed to house the animals at the Sorrel Road kennels. Hunte contacted Cupps, as required by law, to inspect the property before the company began using the facility again for animals, and in that July 8, on-site inspection, no non-compliance items were identified.

Dr. Kenton Beard, DVM with the Hunte Corporation, said although the company is within the guidelines of animals burial, the Hunte Corporation has been working toward changing is animal disposal from burial to cremation.

"Whether it's a facility for people or animals, where there is health, there's sickness. Anywhere there's life, there's death and we do lose dogs sometimes; it does happen," said Dr. Beard, "but we are well within the guidelines set by the state. Nevertheless, we've been working to change to cremation and the equipment should be delivered and set up for use by the beginning of next month."

Of concern to the DNR are two other areas of violations found at the Sunrise Puppies property, a leaking septic line and a solid waste dump.

"The most severe problem observed at the time of the investigation was the discharge of wastewater from the septic tank tile lines," said the DNR's Camille Dobler. "There was a break in the sewer line above the septic tank and wastewater was also surfacing from the lateral lines below the septic tanks. These discharges will drain into a tributary of Sugar Fork Creek.

"There was a large pile of household, demolition and trade waste, as well as some appliances in an area near the animal burial site," she continued.

Specifically, the DNR investigation report indicated the dump site, approximately 30-feet by 8-feet, and 4-feet high, contains household waste, demolition waste, appliances including washer, dryer and water heater, empty drums and PVC piping.

Dr. Beard, with Hunte Corporation, said the solid waste dump site was derived by some construction workers in the area utilizing the space as a dump site, without the knowledge of the Hunte Corporation, and that it is being cleaned up. As for the broken septic line, he said it was recently and accidentally run over by a truck and incidentally broken. The company is working to fix that problem immediately as well.

The DNR told the Hunte Corporation it had 30 days to remove the solid waste items from the property and have them disposed of elsewhere as regulated by the Solid Waste Management Laws, and 45 days to submit a plan for correcting the wastewater run off. Coupled with the corporation's pre-established intention to change its practices of deceased animal disposal to a method more environmentally friendly, Dr. Beard said all of the DNR's issues will be addressed and corrected before the deadlines.


From Rags to Riches

Johnnie was raised the son of sharecroppers.  As a young boy he picked cotton in the fields of Northern Arkansas .  In 1939, at the age of twelve, Johnnie dropped out of school and began work at his uncle's sawmill.  Odd jobs kept Johnnie a step ahead of the bread lines and in 1952 he settled down with the love of his life...a relationship that has spanned nearly half a century, and is still going strong today.

Johnnie was a dreamer and his wife Johnelle stood beside him through all the ups and downs.  In 1969 Johnnie made an investment that forever changed the course of his life.  Johnnie's name can be seen on every highway and byway in America , stenciled on the sides of those bright yellow tractor/trailers--J.B. Hunt.

Today, J.B. Hunt Trucking is a multi billion dollar company.   Although Johnnie officially retired in 1995, his life has really just begun.   Now he can relax, enjoy his family and friends, and do the things he's always wanted to do.

One of J.B.'s first dream-come-true adventures involved Harley Davidson Motorcycles.  He's a regular at the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota and he now owns five of his own Harleys.  But retirement doesn't come easy for J.B.  He dabbles in a little bit of everything.  Hunt enjoys cattle farming on his four farms located in Arkansas and Missouri and has ventured into the bottled water market after purchasing land in Missouri .  Perhaps one of Hunt's newest, and biggest adventures was the purchase of a large amount of land in McDonald County Missouri.  On December 20, 2000 Hunt formed the business of J.B. Hunt Big Horn Lodge.  Hunt will allow individuals and companies to stay at the lodge while hunting for big game which he has confined to the 4000 acre ranch.

So now that Hunt has seen 74 years, gone from rags to riches, pulled himself up by his bootstraps, become a multi-millionaire, has his wife of nearly fifty years by his side, has Harleys parked in his garage and antelope trapped in Missouri, what could this man possibly have left to accomplish in life?

Well, how about the formation of H & H Kennels?  Kennels you say?  Well that doesn't shock us, does it?  Lots of wealthy people begin buying their way into the show ring when there's nothing left to do in life.  So what type of dog is J.B.'s breed of choice?  (a) The fearless Jack Russell Terrier?  (b) The faithful Collie?  (c) The powerful Mastiff?  (d) The protective Great Pyrenees?  How about  (e)---All of the Above!

H & H Kennels?  We know what one of the H's stand for, but how about the other?  Prepare yourself...the other H stands for none other than Andrew Hunte of The Hunte Corporation/Honey Dew/Love My Puppy/Sundowner.  Hunte has already completed the buy out of DoBoTri and Best Friends (The former owner of Best Friends, Rocky McMahan, sits on the Missouri Governor's Advisory Council on Agriculture).   Andrew Hunte leases dogs to one of Missouri's largest breeding kennels.  The Hunte Corporation (which is located in McDonald County...where J.B. Hunt's new Lodge is located) reported in 1999 that they ship 900 puppies a week out of Missouri.  On just one inspection by USDA in August of 2000, Hunte had 700 puppies at his McDonald County facility.

For years the puppy mill industry has screamed about how the animal rights activist are trying to put them out of business.  At the hearing for Missouri Senate Bill 511, a representative for the Hunte Corporation testified in opposition of the bill.  The bill proposes to remove the $500 cap off of the kennel licensing fees.   The average commercial kennel would pay less than $60 more a year in fees.   However, with the removal of the cap, the Hunte Corporation (based on last year's figures...before the merger with J.B. Hunt) would pay in excess of $50,000 a year in licensing fees.  Also testifying in opposition to the bill was Rocky McMahan of Best Friends.  

At the Senate hearing in Missouri, the commercial kennels showed up by the dozens.  They testified that the fee increases would put them out of business.   The way I see it, if this bill fails, the industry itself will put them out of business. 

What will the future hold for dogs in our country?  How will the breeders (both hobby/show and commercial) compete with a billion dollar company that makes the wholesale breeding and brokering of puppies their business?  How long until we see    H & H Pet Shops open up in every mall in the nation?  Who will be their dog registry of choice?  AKC, UKC, ACA, APR?  Why of course not...won't HHKCW (H & H Kennel Club of the World) will be a household name? 

Brace yourself people.  Hang on to your hats and make sure ToTo is securely in the basket.  When Kansas tightened down on commercial breeding in their state, the breeding industry spread like wildfire into Missouri.  Now that Missouri is trying to toughen their laws, the industry could move to Arkansas (where H & H Kennels incorporated).  Arkansas has no state laws that govern the production of dogs.  Even if they introduce legislation next year, it could be years before it is implemented...and that's if it can even get passed in that state. 

So...what do you think the chances of an anti-puppy mill bill has of passing in Arkansas?  Consider the fact that Hunt and Wal-Mart (both Arkansas based companies) entered into a 100 MILLION DOLLAR contract in April 2000.  JB Hunt agreed to dedicate 360 trucks and driver to manage shipping to 31 of Wal-Mart's distribution centers.  In 1969, Red Hudson (Hudson Foods) gave J.B. Hunt his start by helping him obtain 5 trucks that were used to haul chicken parts from Arkansas to Ralston/Purina in St. Louis.  Farm Bureau was the major opponent to the recent bill in Arkansas that would have made torturing a domestic animal a felony.  Farm Bureau contended that the bill could send some poor farmer to prison for putting horse shoes on his horse.

As they saying goes, "You can't fight City Hall", but in the case of the Hunte/Hunt merger, I believe we won't even have the chance to get into the ring with them...let alone fight them!  J.B. Hunt may be America's classic story of 'rags to riches' but I'll certainly choose my rags over his riches any day!  There are many things that I can't afford to buy, but the things I value most in life aren't for sale at any price. 


The above information shared from Kim Townsend’s web site:

Commercial dog breeder seeks to expand
By John Hacker
Globe Staff Writer
July 12, 2003

GOODMAN, Mo. - Goodman's largest employer is planning a $2 million expansion pending the approval of a zoning change by the Goodman City Council on Tuesday.

Andrew Hunte, owner of the Hunte Corporation, said the company has purchased several homes and businesses around the company's complex at 121 Roy Hill Blvd. and plans to create additional shops and buildings as well as more parking.

"We have expanded continuously for the past 11 years and this is another part of that expansion," Hunte said in a telephone interview. "Three years ago, we went through a major expansion, and we found ourselves really limited in parking. We plan to break ground on this expansion next month."

The Hunte Corporation distributes puppies to pet stores around the world. Hunte said the company buys puppies from USDA-licensed breeders, checks them and cares for them at the Goodman site, then ships them by truck to pet stores.

Goodman Mayor Rowdy Cooper said the council and about a dozen residents discussed the expansion at a public hearing held last Tuesday.

"Nobody had any complaints about the expansion, and nobody came out against it," Cooper said. "It won't be a dump site. He keeps his place looking good, and there is no reason to think he won't keep running a good clean place."

Cooper said the expansion hinges on the council voting to rezone the area from residential to commercial. He said the council could not vote on the issue last Tuesday because there were not enough council members present to form a quorum.

Larry Howland, 44, lives next door to Hunte's compound and said the company is a good neighbor.

Howland said he was asked to sell his house as a part of the expansion, but he declined.

"They said they really didn't need my property but if I was interested in selling, they'd buy," Howland said. "My wife and I have lived here for 23 years and raised two children here so I'm just not interested in moving."

Howland said that doesn't mean he does not support Hunte's expansion.

"I think it'll probably be pretty good for the community," Howland said. "Everything they do is pretty neat. I've talked to Mr. Hunte two or three times, and he's always said if we have a problem to come to him."

Hunte said the company is acquiring Sundowner Equipment, a manufacturing company next door to Hunte's complex and turning it into Hunte Kennel Systems and Animal Care Inc. The subsidiary will manufacture and sell kennel equipment to breeders, and Hunte said he plans to expand that company's fabrication shops.

Hunte said he also wants to build new access to his compound so large trucks do not have to turn around to exit.

He said the expansion will allow him to move animals stored at a site near Springfield to Goodman.

"We absolutely expect to add a number of jobs as a part of this expansion on the animal side and when we expand what Sundowner Equipment does," Hunte said. "When we move the animal holding facility it will, add a number of jobs for Newton and McDonald County residents."

Hunte said the seven houses will be relocated to land on one edge of town to provide residences for company workers.

Both Hunte and Cooper said the city and the company will monitor the quality and quantity of wastewater coming from the compound.

"If we start having a problem, we'll talk about it," Cooper said. "We'll talk about having Andrew put in a pre-treatment plant if needed, but that's not a problem now."

© 2003 The Joplin Globe Publishing Company