Great post, thank you! I think it's important for people to know that the USDA only requires the very basics be provided for the breeding stock(how they would put it) in these kennels and often let "minor" violations slide. Remember all the awful places they showed on Oprah were not breaking any laws. The USDA is there to protect the farmers(that's what these people are considered) and not necessarily the public. In the case of puppy mills, there is no major health risk to the human population if the rules are broken, so inspections aren't taken that seriously.
More than that, USDA looks at dogs as livestock - so their standards don't really extend past that. That does someone looking for a pet no good as a puppy should be started off as a pet - not as livestock.
I have a friend who lives in a state that requires USDA licensing to be a "breeder". She has to work really hard to skirt some of their rules (puppies can only be in the breeder's home until they are of weaning age and then must be in a "kennel" facility - you can only have either 4 or 6 dogs older than weaning age in your actual home). I don't think USDA licensing is a good thing on any level quite frankly. AKC does a more thorough and humane job of inspecting a kennel - which is why most puppymills are using other registries now and NOT AKC.
Abby I have heard that. Our state also has similar guidlines. I just try to make it a point not to have puppies around during an inspection, because all my puppies are raised in the house and Corgi's can have fairly large litters sometimes. I know that I would be in some infraction of some stupid "livestock" oriented rule.
I had a friend who got inspected while she had puppies and he told her she was having to handle the puppies too much and that he would rather see her broker them so they wouldnt hang around so long after 8 weeks, she raises yorkies and only had like 2 or 3 that were about 12 weeks old which is nothing for yorkie people to hold them that long.