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« Rethinking our approach to animal abusers | Main | 5 day old infant killed by dog in Conyers, GA »

February 23, 2010

Comments

Social Mange

Who or what exactly is MoFo?

Social Mange

Whoops, I mean MoFed.

Brent

MoFo? Ha. MoFed is a dog owner/breeder lobby -- they have been good advocates with us in many BSL issues in the state. I don't always agree with their stances on things, but I do think they are right in this case.

MDog

I'd love to take a tour of some of these "well-run" facilities with more than 50 breeding dogs. Those poor dogs.

I also love how they say "provide families with pets to love and cherish" as if the poor, poor families of Missouri have no other way to get a "pet to love and cherish" than to buy one from a puppy mill with more than 50 breeding dogs.

I'd love to know if these are the types of facilities that the pro-"responsible breeder" crowd is advocating for. Because it seems when people talk publicly about "responsible breeders" they always give examples of little family-run or small operations that breed only a few litters a year, if that, and that make all buyers sign a contract promising to return the dog if they no longer want it at some point.

Anyway, that language about "well-run" operations with more than 50 breeding dogs makes me very glad I signed the petition. I'm pretty sure my definition of "well-run" would not agree would not match the Missouri Vet Puppymill Association's definition.

Brent

MDog,

I would be interested in touring a few of these facilities too. From people I talk to who have been to some of these places, many are apparently quite nice and some have as many as 10-12 employees who care for the animals and clean kennels and such (which would be more resouces than most shelters have).

I guess it seems to me that it matters a lot more to me about how well the animals are cared for than how many of them there are.

As far as I can tell, the 50 number restriction is just going to be limiting to those who aren't smart enough to license a new breeding operation for all of their family members.

If the state inspectors are doing anything at all with their jobs, I find it completely believable that the majority of the problems -- and the deplorable conditions that you and I first envision when we hear the term "puppy mill" -- are taking place in unlicensed facilities which we need to be doing a lot more to shut down.

MDog

I see where you're coming from, Brent, but it would be hard for me to imagine a facility with 50-plus breeding dogs where the dogs are actually cared for properly and given attention, exercise, baths/grooming, as opposed to just "Well, their kennel's been cleaned."

I guess it's pretty hypothetical since neither of us have seen these facilities - and I don't even know anyone who has.

But re: the people not being smart enough to license their facility to all their family members, wouldn't an inspection solve that problem, since the inspector would be able to see if it was one breeding operation "fake licensed" to, say, five people vs. five separate operations? Or maybe I wasn't understanding what you meant.

Brent

As best as I can tell from the initiative language, there doesn't seem to be any reason someone still can't set up a huge breeding facility. Say, you, me and Michelle are in business together - and now our large scale operation is going to be downsized to 50 animals.

There doesn't appear to be anything in the initiative language that would prevent me from opening up a 50 animal operation, Michelle from opening up a 50 animal operation, and you from opening up one -- and keeping them all on the same plot of land that the 3 of us co-own. Since most of the licensing fees for operations are done on a per-animal basis, it wouldn't make a revenue impact, it would just change how the animals were incorporated.

Again, I'm not a lawyer, but there doesn't appear to be anything in that language that prevents such a loophole.

MDog

Ah, I see. That's good to know. Thanks.

Kelly

Totally agree here- the number is not the issue to me, it is how the dogs are being cared for. I had the "pleasure" of visiting one of MO's licensed facilities, with a local shelter worker,who was acting as if she was interested in a puppy. The smell inside almost knocked me out, and the dogs and puppies(some one week old), were living in their own urine and feces. The breeding dogs were matted, and one young puppy was unmoving in the cage, and I am fairly certain it was dead. I took my phone out of my purse to check it, and was immediately reprimanded by the "breeders" daughter ( the actual owner of the kennel was not home)to not take any pictures, and was told the conditions seen "were not the usual, the kennel worker was off that day." Right. The kicker is, this breeder is rumored to be great friends with the inspecting officer in her area of MO. Oh, and the breeder and Karen Strange are facebook friends. Added legislation will not change any of the conditions in these places, because MO wont even bother to enforce current legislation. My main bother is that the public still buys puppies from places like this, and do not even think about going to a shelter. This ideal I intend to change-but how? The key is one must engage and interest the public without being over bearing, or pushing things down their throats. Not an easy task....

Jennifer

I know of many licensed puppy mills that still run.. as deplorable breeding facilities. We rescue puppy mill breeder dogs that would otherwise be shot, and many of them have USDA tags on. Just because they are licensed, to me, means absolutely nothing. I have even seen USDA inspection reports that document the horrifying conditions these dogs live in, with repeated violations, yet there is no REAL enforcement action taken. This is where people should really put their foot down. Let's hold USDA more responsible for what they DO inspect.
I agree with some of the comments above regarding breeders having 50 dogs at one time. To me, it just seems unethical to be producing that many dogs at once, knowing how many dogs wind up being euthanized in shelters every day. But, I guess what is considered ethical is based on opinion. Are 50+ dogs in one breeding facility really getting everything they need? Proper amount of socialization, exercise, training, adequate housing, time outside, etc?

Anywho, I encourage everyone to visit USDA's website and look at some of the inspection reports for licensed breeders.
http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/Warning.jspx

Brent

Jennifer,

If the inspectors aren't doing their job -- and aren't really enforcing the current laws (which, I have no doubt, is true) -- that's a completely different issue than this law addresses. And in fact, is more of a reason why the law is a huge waste of time and money.

As for the 50+ dogs -- I have much less concern over how many dogs are there than how they are treated. If they're treated well. Fine. If not, then we're back to the originial problem of poor enforcement.

I agree that we DO need to hold the USDA more accountable for enforcement...

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