KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - An online tool has disappeared for people to find out whether they are buying puppies from humane breeders or callous operators of "puppy mills."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday it would return some animal welfare reports to public view online, but those reports deal with federal research facilities - not commercial pet breeders.
The Kansas City Star reported that more than 800 breeders in Missouri sell more than 100,000 dogs each year from the state.
The industry contends the removing the online reports protect breeders from being tarred by a few sloppy operations.
But animal welfare groups say the loss of the reports leaves consumers and some state regulators in the dark about how dogs are treated.