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« Prop B passes in Missouri with 51.6% of votes - and some thoughts | Main | Top 5+1 for October 2010 »

November 04, 2010



I think we may need some additional remedies to protect us from the tyranny of rich orgs who can buy elections.


Indeed, YB.

And also: almost every day now, you post a story on your blog about horrific conditions at a shelter. So shall we start asking the question: do we need a Prop B for shelters and rescues?

Obviously the response "but we have laws that cover inhumane conditions" cannot be the answer, since it was not the answer for the proponents of Prop B.


Over 60% of those that voted yes on Prop B did not live in the KC or St Louis (you can see the individual break down of precincts if you click on them individually, for example, More than 40,000 voters in Greene supported B, and the final tally was 46% yes, 54% no, with just 6,000 votes difference.)

Additionally, the initial cost of Prop B includes the cost of adding two more enforcement officials. With regards to the business aspect, adequate care of dogs still allows breeders operating under Prop B’s minimal humane standards to make a big profit. Under Prop B, a commercial breeder who has 40 females and 10 males can produce approximately 200 to 400 puppies a year (breeding each female twice in each 18 month period). With these sales, a commercial breeder can earn more than $100,000 a year, well over twice the median income of the average Missouri family. These breeders make a good income from their dogs and if they are not providing sufficient humane housing and care, they can, and should, make any needed improvements for the wellbeing of their animals and the overall success of their businesses. Other industries are expected to re-invest in their businesses from time to time. The commercial breeding industry should be no exception.


Brent...I have heard some reports of breeders already relinquishing dogs to shelters in record numbers...any truth to those rumors?


Sarah...while I agree with your concept of re-investment, I am not sure I totally undertand your math. The proposition limits breeding females to two litters within an 18 month period. So, if a breeder with 40 females bred all of them on January 1, 2011, the earliest he/she could bred those females again and be within the legal constraints of the proposition would be June of 2012. So that's income spread over 2 years, not just 1.

And, although your income figure of $100,000 sounds nice (400 puppies x $250 per puppy), I am not sure you took into account the costs associated with those puppies. Vaccination costs, veterinary care, food, etc etc all need to be deducted before implying that these breeders are making six figure incomes.

You also assume that 40 females all produce ltters of 10 pups each to reach your 400 puppy mark. That's a pretty large litter for most breeds.


YB, E - well said.

"increases in licensing fees and harsher penalties for repeat offenders with fines that go to enforcement" - OK, the BBB can't even take credit for this idea. This one comes from the "Well DUH!" Department of the Legislative Enforcment Agency.


Sarah, well of course 60% of "yes" votes were outside of KC and St. Louis -- 75% of the population of the state lives outside of those two areas (using the St. Louis County pop numbers).

I'm just trying to think of a single other industry that has a government regulated cap put on it about how much income they can make, or "widgets" they sell. I can't think of one. I'm wondering if HSUS would welcome a cap on the amount of revenue non-profits can raise...


Petdocs - -I've heard the rumors also -- but I've not seen any real evidence of it outside of emails and facebook comments that don't appear to be terribly reliable. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, but it seems as if the dogs would be too valuable to just dump with still a year left to comply and selling them being an option.


60% outside the cities voted for it? Really? 'Cause I look at individual counties I see 60-75% NO.

Perhaps in the issue of fairness and what is needed we should limit HSUS to collecting $500,000 per year. After all that's plenty of money to make a difference for animals. No one really needs to make more than that as that's still plenty of money per month. It would stop the abuse of power and thinking they can swing the way things work with money alone, but legitimately allow for helping animals.

I wonder how humane it is to have a Yorkshire terrier or Dachshund or toy poodle outside when it's 20 degrees in order to meet the "unfettered access to the outdoors" I can't imagine that's humane!

I wonder - and have had no one answer this - if this is about the worst places how exactly a bill addressing regulating licensed kennels is going to enforce UNLICENSED kennels. How is it going to provide for the abandoned mutts that shelters say they don't have the money to take?

If someone has 100 dogs and are taking care of them what gives people like you, Sarah, the right to say they can't continue to do so? Of course that's a win-win for organizations like HSUS because when reductions are made be it kennels or in reduction of pet limits it means pets are eliminated which feeds the "overpopulation" when the reality is we're importing thousands of dogs from Puerto Rico because apparently there aren't enough small dogs here because of spay/neuter regulations! How humane is it to be shipping 3 week old puppies without their mothers? If that was a "puppy mill" you'd be all over it but because it was a rescue for money (to win a contest) then just look the other way. Over 100 puppies died but that's ok as long as a purebred breeder in MO doesn't have over 50 dogs.

I find it very dishonest to say this is the best interest of the dogs.

PAMM - People Against Masquerading Murderers

Sarah, since when does H$U$ get to decide how much others earn? They sure have no caps on what they bring in...I personally think they shouldn't be allowed to pay someone a salary from "donations to help animals" whose only purpose is to troll blogs. But hey, isn't this America?!?

"Additionally, the initial cost of Prop B includes the cost of adding two more enforcement officials." WHAT?! I *thought* this wasn't suppose to cost anything? I didn't think they needed more inspectors because now local law enforcment would take over the duties. You all are really talking in circles...

H$U$/MAAL/MOHS wrote and pushed a shitty law and this is the consequence. Did you really think the AG community was going to sit back and lick their wounds?


I really wish "all" the people (in-state & out of state) that pushed for Prop B, would put their energy into pushing for reform in our municipal and public shelters and Animal Control officials.

Municipal and public shelters are entities that are publicly supported by tax dollars that we all have an invested interest in - that deserve far more attention for their many abuses of the animals in their care and the violations perpetrated upon their many loving owners.

Susan Black

I find the regulation regarding 'resting' after a litter to be DIRECTLY against the advice of the countries best reproductive specialists. Several, the top theriogenologists included, say breeding every season while young (@ 2 years old) and then spaying to be the BEST for the female dogs.

responsible dog owner

I do not understand the "unfetterd access to outdoors" 24/7. Responsible dog owners do not leave dogs with "unfettered access to outdoors" 24/7! Dogs are brought in for the night, they are brought in during inclement weather, and usually are secure indoors when the owners are not home. Also, unfetterd access to outdoors 24/7 conflicts with the temperature requirements and also requires staff supervision 24/7 otherwise the dogs "outside" at 2am would be "unattended".

This piece of legislation, in addition to all the other obvious problems, is so fraught with contradictions as to be impossible to be in compliance with--even if people wanted to abide by it! And I also agree with other points raised concerning conditions at shelters and "rescue" operations. Why do not these same standards of "care" apply there also?


Actually Sarah... if you take into account only those counties that refused to pass Prop B, Prop B was defeated 65% to 35%. It was the "city folks" that are far removed from agriculture that allowed the measure to squeak through by a mere 3%.

Laura Sanborn

Sarah makes incorrect claims about dog breeding that are sadly the norm among those who seek to pile on more and more laws and regulations on dog breeders.

Though this has been pointed out thousands of times already, I will try again. The most common false claim is the notion that dog breeders make big profits, or that profits are what motivate most dog breeders.

Even if a commercial dog breeder grossed over $100,000 a year as Sarah claimed, they have expenses for food, shelter, employees, veterinary care, taxes, etc. etc. that use up much of that income.

The hobby breeders I know sell puppies for considerably more per pup than commercial dog breeders get, but they nevertheless almost always lose money breeding dogs because the expenses are so high. Due to economy of scale, expenses are probably not as high per pup for commercial dog breeders so their net income after expenses can be positive. But it is terribly misleading to compare GROSS income of a dog breeding operation to the median income of the average Missouri family.

Also, most female dogs come in season twice a year. If breeders must rest them every other estrus then it would be closer to two breedings in 24 months, not two breedings every 18 months as Sarah claims.

The number of puppies per breeding varies a lot, and in some breeds averages far less than what Sarah assumes.

I am not a fan of large-scale commercial dog breeding, but I adamantly oppose legislating them out of existence. To a significant extent that is what these 50 dog limits accomplish, and I believe HSUS and their allies know that.

Laura Sanborn

I found an example of a Missouri dog breeder with almost 100 dogs who explains the numbers behind gross income and expenses. Bottom line for this breeder is that expenses are higher than gross income. Click on my name to connect to the link.

While I'm sure some Missouri dog breeders manage to eke out a profit, the notion that there is "big profit" in dog breeding is nonsense. Yet we see that false claim every time and everywhere HSUS or their allies attempt to impose new laws restricting dog breeding or the ownership of intact dogs.


Helen, AMEN!!!!! Our city "shelters" are houses of horror and H$U$ won't lift a finger for stopping abusive shelters. In fact, they like to send out their reps to defend shelters guilty of abuse - like Deserea Bender in AR.

RDO - exactly. I talked to a MO lawyer last year that said whenever there are inconsistencies in the law the judge will rule in the defendents favor. 4.5 million was extorted from naive animal lovers to pass a bill that probably isn't even legal, or at best has a huge chance of be struck down anytime it goes to court due to the inconsistencies. It makes me sick to think of what real good that money could have done for animals.

So, who thinks H$U$ is going to raise another couple mill to fight this in court?

Kim E

Sarah is probably Sarah Barnett who is the (an) emerging media manager from the Humane Society of the United States. Sarah Barnett made a very similar post to the Columbia Missourian last week, before the vote on Prop B.

There are far too many contradictory requirements in Prop B, but the temperature/unfettered access is literally the worst of those contradictions. I am very certain that HSUS and all of the people pushing Prop B knew that from the beginning. This proposition was never about humane treatment; it was always about controlling, limiting, and ultimately eradicating dog breeding of any kind.


B rent, I can think of a few industries that come with "caps" pf how much damage these enterprises do = caps on pollutants ect.

If you take away the fifty dog limit why bother with a new law in the first place?

Other states that have grown tired of having taxpayers clean up the mess these large scale kennels create have effectively capped the number of breeding dogs at fifty.

The problem Missiouri has always had is that the state refuses to acknowledge the costs associated with puppy mills that are transferred to other states that take in these "products".

As a nation we have laws that protect consumers against industry that produces defective products so why not put a limit on the amount of "unaltered" puppies being shipped?

Regulations on puppy mills have been a dismal failure. These breeders who choose such a corrupt business practice of keeping animals in cages for their entire lives will get no sympathy from me.


Whats going to happen to all the dogs over the fifty limit? There won't be a market for them. The shelters won't take them will people be forced to put them down. What about retired dogs that a lot of breeders just maintain. They won't be able to keep them because of the number limit & space requirements. It makes me sad to think people really can do this terrible act like Prop B and say it is for the welfare of the dogs.


sorry I just don't believe that large scale breeders don't make a profit. If they didn't they wouldn't stay in business.

(this is NOT the same as "hobby" breeders who generally don't make much, if anything)

The real divide is not over whether the puppymill puppies find homes through sales, or through "rescue" after a mill has been closed down.

It's whether dogs/cats SHOULD be a business and raised in mass breeding facilities, and basically treated like livestock.

Laura Sanborn

EmilyS, I'm sure some of the commercial kennels make a profit. But profit is not gross income, as Sarah falsely claimed.

Laura Sanborn

I don't think the divide is between those who think dogs/cats should be raised in mass breeding facilities, and those who do not. For the most part it's between those who would impose their preferences on others to the point of criminalizing their behavior, and those of us who have a higher threshold before resorting to that.


Randy, can you please provide links to the data on how much puppy mills are costing tax payers? I'd really like to see this data... Which again begs the question, why licensing fee and fine increases were suggested by everyone but negligently left out of Prop B.

The regulations are not the problem, enforcment IS. (Leglislation <> Enforcement) = Something AW folks can't seem to grasp.

Apparently a lot of people think commercial breeding is OK or they'd quit buying puppies from them. Until we reduce demand we can't address the problems thru curbing supply - ECON 101.


I may be one of the few people here who has actually been to commercial breeding kennels. I just don't have a problem with the business and the kennels I've seen are a whole lot nicer than the "houses of horror" public shelters (thanks MichelleD).

Here is a link to the latest story about a potential repeal of Prop B.

The comment I found interesting was from Sen. Bill Stouffer, "Stouffer, from Lafayette County, doesn't like the tougher restrictions on dog breeders and thinks Prop B might be unconstitutional. Dogs are taxed as private property, and the state is not allowed to restrict one's property".

Seriously? Cities "restrict one's property" all the time and the courts have upheld their ability to do so. Prop B passed by the largest margins in Kansas City and St. Louis, so perhaps those two cities should pass their own "puppy mill" ordinances, enabling them to take "puppy mill dogs" and kill them along with all the intact pit bulls they slaughter. ("Ma'am, your Shi-Tzu has leaves in its water dish. And its little bow is crooked. We just don't tolerate that type of abuse here in Kansas City").

Oh, Prop B does not affect cats, as the article indicates.

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