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« Top 5 (+1) for April 2010 | Main | Putnam County, WV repeals Breed Specific Law »

May 04, 2010

Comments

Rinalia

I'm sorry. I don't want the livestock industry to be the ones to decide what is and is not humane. The fox should not get to decide what is in the best interest of the chickens in the coop. It should be a group effort and it's offensive that, once again, those who profit off of the abuse of animals want to make it even harder for cities, counties, concerned citizens, animal welfare/rights activists to stop or mitigate the disastrous effects of industrial farming. That should not be in any state's constitution.

MichelleD

I don't see how MoFed won't win its lawsuit. Every person that solicited me to sign the petition said "will you sign the petition against puppy mills" and had pictures of the worst offenders.

One thing I find interesting is a lot of people that signed this bill would love to put an end to all commercial breeding kennels. But if this bill passes, by being a petition initiative that will be all but impossible to change (unless H$U$ wants to poney up another 1/2 mill which, let's face it, their days are numbered) will ensure their existance. This measure ensures the right to have at least 50 dog breeding operations.

Brent

In fairness, it's not the livestock industry that gets to determine what is "humane" -- the legislature (or as the law states, general council) are the decision-makers on this (with some burden of evidence to make the info scientifically based not emotionally based.

It does make AW/AR folks work with the legislators to educate them on what is "humane" vs not -- vs going directly to the voters -- where presumably the legislators would institute a BS filter on the proposal -- whereas the AR groups have not in too many cases.

So it's not just the livestock industry deciding what is "humane".

MichelleD

I don't think it humane to pass a law that will instantly flood the state shelters with dogs getting thrown out to meet an arbitrary number. I'm really sick of so called "animal welfare" people "saving" animals by killing them. How many people still support MSN even though its proven time again to increase killing? How many AW folks sit by silently while they pass breed bans? How many dead pit bulls are there as a direct result of past H$U$ policies? No, the "animal welfare" folks are not beyond reproach nor do they always act in the best interest of animals.

And we do have good laws in MO - the problem is enforcement. It is NOT a lack of legislation that is the issue here and even H$U$ and MAAL admit it on their own websites.

Operation Bark Alert has been very successfull: "Koster said that since the initiative began in February (09), his inspectors have uncovered more than 200 unlicensed breeders across Missouri and have rescued 1,900 dogs in the first five months."

YesBiscuit!

I'll vote for you if you decide to run for this as yet to be named 3rd party office!

mary frances

me too!

the red dragon

Thanks for bringing such a good dialogue to such a contentious issue. There is definitely a need for regulation, but the laws that are on the books should be enforced first, then figure out if we need more. Indiana just passed a commercial breeding law which so far has been a joke because the board of animal health refuses to enforce it. Kudos to Missouri for doing something about it.

Jes

Actually that group does exist. The National Animal Interest Alliance is just such a group. They appose puppy mills, support laws and enforcement of anti cruelty, neglect, etc. and promote responsible pet ownership and breeding. They have said all along that increasing the number of laws won't have any effect on current problems. Why? Because having laws with no ability to enforce them is pure silliness. If we had budgets that supported humane or animal control officers, increased shelter budgets as well as providing the needed inspectors for farms, breeding facilities, etc we would see more effective control of these businesses. We also need to see an increase in general enforcement of responsible animal owner laws. When you look at 4 million pets annually in shelters as a direct result of owner surrender and stray animals, there is apparently a huge problem with our citizens quite literally throwing their pets away.

There needs to be a bigger push for laws that don't use arbitrary numbers to declare if you are a puppy mill or not. Some of the worse offenders are "back yard breeders" spitting out pets that they sell for a couple hundred bucks, are riddled with health issues, aren't sold with spay and neuter contracts and these breeders always fly under the radar. Then compare that to a large scale breeder whose sole purpose is to breed service dogs. They may have upwards of 50 breeding dogs and hundreds of puppies. These dogs get the best of care, are well socialized and given all the best of care. Some 40% of their dogs successfully complete training as service dogs and the rest placed as well trained spayed and neutered companions. Yet these arbitrary laws in many states would deem that facility commercial or a puppy mill simply by numbers and condone the back yard breeder. When in reality its the back yard breeder we want to put out of business and allow responsible breeding. All coming back to standards and level of responsibility to the animals; not numbers.

You will never convince me otherwise that "caps" were designed simply to control the number of dogs people can have to force breeders to breed less. There is no other argument behind caps and HSUS is the primary proponent behind caps.

If we want to stop cruelty and puppy mills we need to talk about conditions not numbers. And if we don't want people to purchase dogs from large scale breeders or back yard breeders, we need to educate owners on making better choices, followed by making societal changes that pets aren't here to throw away if they become inconvenient.

Zotzy703

If HSUS is convinced that there is cruelty happening in Missouri *right now*, don't you think they'd be concerned with helping to stop it *right now*? After all, that is the mandate in their corporate charter.

That same $500k would go a long way in hiring additional inspectors and enforcement officials *right now*. Why isn't the money going where it can help? Because that's not what HSUS actually *does*, in case no one has been watching.

Prohibition didn't stop the production of alcohol in this country, it forced producers underground and created some of our country's most notorious criminals.

Animal prohibitionists, go home!

Chris Shaughness

Legislation is worthless if it can't be enforced. As you said, there aren't enough inspectors now. If this act passes, will the inspectors be more concerned about enforcing the number of dogs in the kennels instead of how the animals are cared for which, like you indicated, is the real issue?

I wish that all of the energy expended on legislation could be diverted to educating the public about where not to buy dogs. Basic ecomonics - reduce the demand and you put the suppliers out of business. I've written a book of stories about dogs from mills and their adopters. I'm hoping that enough people will read it and spread the word.

PetDocsOnCall09

Red Dragon...in Indiana, the case is not a lack of will or refusal to enforce the new law, it's simply, again, a lack of funds to enforce it.

Brent

PetDocs - that's the same problem in Missouri too. 13 inspectors. 1500+ licensed commercial breeders + another 1500 non-licensed ones + they have to inspect rescues and city shelters as well. The problems isn't that they don't care, it's that they have about 1/2 the staff they need.

Chris, I agree that with all the money being spent on this (and it's about to get way worse), they could have made a big dent in this by focusing on education. If the public isn't buying pet-store puppies, then supply and demand will run them out of business.

Zotzy - I have no idea what HSUS is thinking on this one. They do have the money to solve the problem right now -- and this law has a lot of makings of making the problem worse, not better. While it normally seem like they would be using this to make a strong-hold here and say "This didn't work, we need more legislation" making this a ballot initiative makes this WAY more costly and difficult to make the 'next step'. I'm having a tough time even coming up with the logic in this one.

Jes, I'm not sure I'd call NAIA the most middle-of-the-road group out there...they aren't always wrong, but they are very much in favor of the "do nothing" approach to legislation....

PetDocsOnCall09

Just left the HSUS website...in their About Us Overview, they specifically state that

"We work to reduce suffering and to create meaningful social change for animals...and working to enforce existing laws, educating the public about animal issues"

How are they working to enforce existing laws in Missouri by continuing to push and promote this new legislation??

Former Ag Teacher

HSUS is a factory fund raising organization. They know about the exisiting regulations on commercial kennels in Missouri. But they chose to go forward with a low quality initiative petition so they could use it as a vehicle to stir up emotion in the general public to drive soliciation of donations. HSUS takes in more money from a state than they spend toward getting an initiative passed in that state.

If HSUS truly cared for animals instead of financial and political power, the organization would have carried an initiative to dedicate a proper level of funding to administer the kennel law Missouri already has.

People should figure out that no one at HSUS and affilated groups can be trusted. That starts with Wayne Pacelle and goes all the way down to their hired signature gathers.

Lori

HSUS tag, please? I'll check out the Animal Rights posts as it appears that most of the HSUS posts will fall into that category, but having an HSUS tag seems like it could be helpful too. Up to you, of course! Have a great weeekend!

Eddie

O.K., people. Let's stop the paranoid conspiracy theory ranting about the HSUS and focus on where the puppy mill ballot initiative is aimed and what local groups wholeheartedly support it. We have a MONSTROUS problem with dog breeding in this behind-the-times state. Our well-earned reputation as the puppy mill capital of the U.S. is beyond shameful. And from my first-hand experience gathering signatures, most of the citizens of the state are ignorant of the problem and the causes. It was stunning how many people weren't aware you shouldn't pick up your new pupppy at a truckstop because the breeder's place "is kinda' hard to find". The ballot inititiave alone raised awareness (victory 1) and worth some spend (I'm happy to get some of HSUS' money back here in MO to benefit our situation). The vote in November will further raise awareness and not just limit the number of breeding female dogs (which you all wrongly seem to think is the only requirement in the inititiave)... but will set standards by which dogs must be bred (victory 2). The inititiave specifies EXACTLY the minimum standards for housing/shelter, food, veterinary care, etc. And, it specifies a required funding amount by the state to help ensure enforcement improves (victory 3). Please read the whole thing before you rant on and on and on and on and on about some illogical impression you have about the HSUS and some supposed nefarious intentions rather than the benefits we've already seen here in Missouri and could well see should this be voted into law. Of course the HSUS has to raise money...that's how they pay for their work to pursue their mission to educate and enforce laws. OK...perhaps the name of the ballot initiative was a inflammatory. I'll give you that. Let's rename it the "Dog Breeding Standards Act"...it will still pass. I have no fear. My fear is that the country bumpkin, Republican-controlled, Missouri legislature will simply gut the law come next session. They did it to concealed carry (which the citizens made clear they didn't want). They did it to riverboat gambling (which the citizens only reluctantly accepted when the proceeds were earmarked for education...but then, our legislators stripped old education funding to effectively wipe out the new gains, so snookered again). At a minimum, we've educated a whole lot of people about the dog-breeding problem in this state. At maximum benefit, we'll end not only the suffering of thousands of helpless, voiceless anaimals but that of the families who adopt sickly puppies who will cost them thousands in vet bills. The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act may not be perfect...but it has already produced benefits...and promises to do even more.

Brent

Eddie,

There is little doubt that all of the efforts have had a positive impact on educating the public about the issues. But I have to wonder, if you were going to start from scratch, and spend half a million dollars and use all the legwork that went into collecting signatures if that money could not have been better spent on education.

Here's a link to the act itself -- please let me know where it says anything about required funding for better enforcement:

http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2010petitions/2010-085.asp

There's nothing in it about enforcement - -which is what everyone recognizes as the problem. And without enforcement, none of the laws really matter since even the USDA has admitted that their enforcement is embarrassingly poor.

And I do think it's fair to question HSUS's agenda on this one beyond just conspiracy theories. Their track record has created a reason for skepticism and they're not dummies over there - so putting a law into place that doesn't address the primary problem (enforcement) is reason for skepticism.

MichelleD

At least Eddie admits this is about shutting down commercial breeders, not about ending cruelty.

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