Earlier this week, the AP released a story about puppy auctions in the state of Missouri. You can find it here and here (I'm providing two sources for the same story in hopes that at least one link will last awhile).
The article centers around a dog auction in which about 250 dogs were bought and sold...many were bought with the purpose of rebreeding these animals so the buyer could make back their money. At this auction, a dog was sold an average of about every 58 seconds...and the average price was about $155.
Missouri has long been known for being very lax on commercial dog breeders. This lax attitutude has caused the number of commercial auctions for dogs to rise from 10 in 1995, to 28 in 200o to 67 in 2005.
At a time when euthanasia rates are falling throughout the country, according to the Missouri Animal Control Alliance, the Missouri Euthanasia rates are going up. In 2007, Missouri has seen a 4,000 animal increase in the number of animals killed at licensed shelters throughout the state. This is nearly a 10% increase over the same timeframe in 2006.
While kill rates are a reflection of the commercial breeding that takes place in the state, there also may be another factor at play. 2006 saw three of the state's four largest cities implement some form of Breed Specific Legislation -- two cities, Springfield and Independence passed outright bans on "pit bull" type dogs, while Kansas City, MO passed a law mandating the spay/neuter of all "pit bulls". There is little doubt that this led to the death of thousands of dogs in these cities.
What can you do to help?
1) Adopt a dog from your local shelter and encourage your friends to do the same. Cutting off the $$ supply to commercial breeders will end the commercial breeding. It's a supply and demand game.
2) Tell your current city to not enact Breed Specific Legislation that causes the the needless killing of dogs. If your city has it, work to get it repealed.
3) Volunteer at your local shelter and encourage them to do more to adopt out more dogs with off-site adoption events.
It's important that we reverse what is a very negative trend of increasing the kill rates in Missouri.