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« Are we barking up the wrong tree with more laws and regulations when current ones aren't enforced? | Main | Top 10 Animal Welfare Stories for Kansas City for 2009 »

December 30, 2009



From Animal Law:
"the state only has about a dozen inspectors for all animal care facilities"

"Authorities believe there are several hundred commercial dog breeder operating in Missouri without a license. Animal welfare advocates say there could be as many as 2,000-3,000 unlicensed dog breeders in the state. "

"Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler and Attorney General Chris Koster launched a program known as "Operation Bark Alert". Under this program the public can report alleged violations of the Animal Care Facilities Act. As a result of this program, the Attorney General reports 50 cases are under consideration for prosecution and there are 150 fewer unlicensed dog breeders. "

The only new legislation needed AT THIS POINT is for increased penalties for unlicensed breeders. Sounds like the "Operation Bark" is doing the trick.

I'm having an issue with the fact the actual intitiative is no where to be found.


And I agree...other than the 50 dog limit which will only limit breeding for those not smart enought to register mulitple kennels in different family members names...not seeing anything on the surface that should make a huge difference. The prohibition on stacked cages is aimed at making it more expensive to operate the kennel. Shelters and rescues stack cages - that in and of itself is not the issue.

I DO think the space regulations being a mathmatical equation will make it easier to fine people for over-crowding. I like that one.

I'll have to admit I'm bitter about the puppymill outcry. Dogs are kept like this in city shelters every day while they are EXEMPT from the laws commercial breeders have to abide by. They are killing dogs based on their looks or just because they don't want to clean out a cage. They round up feral cats and kill them when we wouldn't think of doing that to squirrels or opposems. We "clean out" shelters to make room for these puppy mill busts. They are doing this WITH OUR TAX DOLLARS! And I see no outcry for these things...

H Houlahan

What is the threshold to require a breeders' license in MO?

I agree that millers will simply create multiple paper kennels to get around number limits. They always seem to have about a dozen kids who suddenly become breeders themselves.

The cage size requirements do not seem to be adequate to me, and may not be as large as the totally unacceptable USDA requirements.

The "constant and unfettered access" to the slightly larger outdoor runs could translate into dogs being exposed to the elements when either heat or cold make that inappropriate.

Conversely, this doesn't seem to allow for outdoor kenneling of dogs -- which can be much more humane than a "temperature controlled" indoor facility where there's a strong incentive to overcrowd. What's good for the schnoodle isn't necessarily good for the Malamute.

I agree that you would get more bang for your buck by putting some teeth into enforcement, both by funding inspections and by increasing fines and penalties.

One of the problems with referenda is that once something like this gets on the ballot, there's no process to amend it and potentially make it better.

kelly lange

I agree whole heartedly. According to the MDA's website, the state currently holds 13 field officers. The addition of new laws is not going to make any difference, when the ACFA cannot even regulate the current laws on the books. My cousin recently bought a dog from a man in a gas station parking lot. I could not believe her stupidity, but the experience educated me greatly on how poorly Missouri regulates the animal's care in these facilities. The puppy was sick, with coccidia and giardia. Surprise, surprise. I began to research the "breeder" and found an appalling USDA report on his facilities, that led to the dismissal of his license with the USDA. He is still licensed to breed in Missouri. My cousin did file a complaint against him with Bates county, and the deputy assigned said he saw enough to ask for a search warrant. Then, the ACFA got involved and everything came to a stop. It is quite a long story, and I will spare details unless anyone is very interested. The man is still selling tons of "designer" dogs all over the paper, and internet, shipping them across the country.

The key here is not more laws on the books that Missouri cannot or will not enforce. The public must be educated on the proper way to obtain a pet. So many have no clue what circumstances the cute puppy they purchased came from. Are people really stupid enough to pay five hundred bucks via pay pal to have a puppy sent to the nearest air port? Yup!! Or to meet in gas station parking lots to buy a puppy? Of course. As long as the public continues to purchase dogs in this manner, sub standard breeding facilities will flourish, and shelter dogs will continue to die. It is a vicious cycle, and it makes me sick.

Shelters, rescues, and small hobby breeders need to band together on this. I am in full agreement with Brent on blanket non adoption policies. I know a girl who is an avid bully lover, who has owned bully breeds her entire life, who was turned down by a pit bull rescue because she was honest about the fact that one of her dogs had been hit and killed by a car. If someone wants a dog, and are turned down by a rescue, they will still get a dog some way. When rescues turn down what would be responsible pet owner for not having a fence, or other blanket reason, more dogs die in shelters. What are we solving here? I have two dogs, no fence, and they are extremely well taken care of, happy pups. My lab mix( adopted from a kill shelter) is energetic- so I walk him, and take him to doggy day camp. He is extremely well socialized with other dogs due to his Camp Bow Wow visits, and better behaved. If anything, I interact more with my pets due to the lack of fencing at my home. As for the kill facilities, there seems to be a lack of serious effort to actually get these animals into homes. The lack of off site adoption events at the KCMO shelter sickens me, especially when they disregard requests to help. I see dogs on Petfinder listed as "pit mixes", and others as "lab mixes", who look exactly the same. IMO, this contributes to idiocy of BSL.

SO many things need to change, and "puppy mills" may be the least of our problems.


H -- According to those that proposed this, the kennel sizes mirror the USDA standards. And yes, under the temperature requirements, the animals would have to be in an indoor facility as Missouri has pretty extreme high and low temperatures in season. And yes, depending on the breed of dog, that may or may not be a good thing.

Kelly, your story doesn't surprise me at all -- and it's one I've heard too often. We're not going to solve this problem by making more laws if we are unable/unwilling to enforce the ones we have. Bringing the enforcement issues to the top of the priority list is necessary so we don't pretend we're solving the issues, and actually solve them.


I agree with you all. I think more laws will definitely help but with stronger retribution! Those puppies can't fend for themselves, so I feel it's up to people like us to stand up for them.
Kelly, I am wondering if you would mind giving me some of those details about your cousin buying that dog from a guy at a gas station?

Kelly Lange

Michelle, I would not mind at all. The story is pretty long, and new details are added by the day.... just let me know how to reach you or vice versa. ;)


The law is no different then the present law. It is purposely written to confuse the laymen. With the exception of the number of dogs allowed. Limiting the amount of times a female dog can be bred. Which in reality this law is bad for the female dog. withholding breedings can cause a deadly affliction called pyometra. that will kill the female dog is she is not bred.

Already the present law dictates a breeder must have a vet out once a year, A vet has to write an excersise program for the breeder. All dogs must be supplies fresh food an water from clean bowls. a dog can not be in a facility that is too small for the dog to get up and move around in. The new law is asking for bigger space. But the present law already does not allow a dog to be in cramped spaces . The old law also in an indoor setting has temperature requirements but not to the extremes of this new law.


I am all for licensing every litter like they do in Kentucky. It stops unlicensed breeding in its tracks and unethical breeding. It would greatly reduce shelter dogs


I also have problems with this bill for the reasons Brent stated. I also am not sure why hunting dogs are exempt. Other than the fact that they must have had some representation from hunting groups to obtain the wording that they wanted.

Adding more laws and restrictions won't help anything especially when current laws cannot be enforced due to lack of manpower.

Truth's comment about registering every litter will help shelter dogs. Not so sure I agree with that as I see the KC shelter full of backyard bred dogs, rarely purebred and when I see a purebred, yes, it is a poorly bred dog maybe originating from a bad commercial breeder...

Not sure what the solution is. But, I'm pretty sure it isn't another law.

Michelle is VERY right about the same laws applying to rescues. I just adopted a dog from a rescue and due to some suspicions called the state of Missouri. They had 200 dogs removed from their property in the past and guess what?? I thought that they couldn't get a rescue license and they did. The STATE is who told me about the 200 dogs, not hearsay... go figure...


I Breed Chinese Crested' in Branson Missouri. I am appauled that hunting dogs are exempt from current laws. Hunting dogs are dogs afterall right???

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