According to the organization Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, the "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act" will appear on the Missouri ballot in November.
The citizen initiative recieved more than enough signatures to make it on the ballot, however, ther was an existing lawsuit challenging the ballot language stating that the term "puppy mill" was a purposely derogetory term used to intentionally sway voters. The Secretary of State's office ruled in favor of the ballot initiative.
As the November election draws near, I expect opposition to this ordinance to spend quite a bit of money against it (the very strong agricultural community in the state has opposed this). This is problematic, as it will then also require the animal welfare/rights groups who support the bill to have to spend mightily to combat it. HSUS has already spent $450,000 on getting the ballot initiative onto the ballot -- so I expect them to throw a lot more money (probably to the tune of a couple of million dollars) to attempt to get the initiative passed.
I wouldn't normally wouldn't be opposed to spending money to stop the problem with puppy mills in the state if I thought it would solve the problem.
Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that it will.
The Missouri Better Business Bureau, a statement by the Missouri Vet Medical Association, admittance by the USDA that they are failing at enforcement, and a 2008 Audit by the State Department of Agriculture have all indicated that it hasn't been Missouri's lack of laws that have caused our problems here -- but the complete failure by the state to enforce current legislation.
The ballot initiative doesn't address the problem with enforcement. It doesn't create a mode of financing more inspectors. It doesn't mandate that the inspectors do a better job of doing their jobs. It doesn't mandate that the state funds more inspectors out of their general fund. None of that.
It mostly mirrors the USDA guidelines that aren't currently being enforced and adds a couple of other stipulations that a) won't be affective and b) won't be enforced.
So instead of addressing the real problem, HSUS and some of the other animal welfare organizations plan to throw money at the problem -- money that animal advocates want to go to actually help animals -- and try to pass through new legislation that doesn't even address what everyone is saying the actual problem is -- enforcement.
If the bill somehow provided funding for more enforcement officers I would be inclined to support it, but in its current form, there seems to be no way it can succeed -- at a huge cost to animal advocates.
And yet, come election time, we'll get to watch the money rain....