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« Nine year old South Carolina girl dead form dog attack | Main | Dog Attack Fatality in Pontotoc County, MS »

January 25, 2011



love it! its easy to come up with a good idea than it is to get a group of people to agree on it tho


Good post, Brent, but there are in fact approximately 1353 licensed commercial breeders. Per the Missouri Department of Ag Web site, which is probably a more accurate source than HSUS, there are 3000 licensed "facilities", and that includes commercial breeders, hobby/registered breeders, shelters, city pounds, rescues, animal transports, brokers, pet stores, auction houses, boarding kennels, and pet sitters. There is no way on God's Green Earth we have 1500 unlicensed kennels in this state.

The Senate Ag Committee hearings on the companion bills, including SB95, SB113, and SB4 are tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. and I understand Wayne Pacelle himself is flying in for the festivities.

I'm going to add "The Will of The People" to the list of phrases I never want to hear again for the rest of my life! I'm putting it in the same basket with gems such as, "We need to be pro-active", "If it saves the life of just ONE CHILD it will be worth it", "Pet overpopulation", "Locking Jaws", "Hope and Change", and "Bait dog".


What's truly unfortunate about this whole mess is reasonable people in other states won't touch any type of breeder bill with a ten-foot pole. For example, Texas could probably use a good state law similar to our Animal Care Facilities Act so they can use something besides local cruelty laws to deal with substandard breeders, which typically results in animals being confiscated and killed. Once Prop B hit the news they said "forget it". Now they point to Missouri, which had a decent state law, yet HSUS still stepped in to put breeders out of business with Prop B, so breeders in Texas have decided they don't want any part of a state law and have decided to fight it tooth and nail.


You've never been around new born puppies, have you?


Are you asking me or Brent if we've been around newborn puppies. I have certainly been around newborn puppies - plenty of times. I can't speak for Brent, though.


I think the size of the enclosures should be looked at again. What if a hobby/show breeder has spent thousands on a nice kennel building but the enclosure size is slightly smaller than Prop B requires? They would have to rebuild or have less than 10 breeding females. Small hobby breeders rarely cover their expenses, even if they had say, 20 breeding females. What if a hobby breeder has 10 females sometimes and not at other times. for instance, they just went over the limit for a 3 month period? I've also always wondered if they were kept in the house if they could even get a license? I'm not sure a house would comply with the standards of care as written.


Wow Shelly. A really detailed thoughtful response from the leader of the "no compromise" movement.

CB -- I guess I'm not sure I'd consider someone with 10 or more breeding dogs a small hobby breeder. At that point at least they have the capacity to breed more than 100 dogs a year (I realize not all of them do). I also realize there are a fair amount of show people who have a fair number of dogs. But I agree, a house absolutely doesn't qualify within the standards of care under Prop B.


My comment does say a lot, Brent.

You've bought the line about ambient temperatures needing to be over 85, because puppies need to be around 92 degrees the first few weeks of life. What you don't seem to know is that the puppies get most of their warmth from their mother and that higher ambient temperatures are detrimental to the health of the mother.

Commonsense should have made you question the statements about this.

You talk about puppies peeing. Again, in the first few weeks of life, mothers clean up their puppies. As they get older, there are such things as pee pads, or even kennel decking.

It is the only the last few decades we've had commercial dog breeding and before that, all dogs were raised on solid surfaces. What the heck do you think happened then?

Again, commonsense should make you question all of these statements being made.

The unfettered access? You've never seen a dog door? Actually, many kennels already have these now.

Dog doors are installed so the bottom of the door comes up to the mother's shoulder. Now, it would be an amazing little puppy that could manage to get that high and still have enough strength to push that heavy door open.

Commonsense should have made you question something that has existed for decades, and been used by many people in their homes--yes, even those with puppies.

And even the AKC I believe recommends breaks from breeding, though whether every other one, or after ever second, there is some disagreement. That's why the stipulation was for the 18 months, so that people can work out with their vets the proper rest cycle.

If you don't rest the dogs, their health becomes compromised and they're at greater risk of developing tumors and other medical problems. If you go to a breed specific site, most will say you need the rest the dogs. Example:

Show breeders do not breed their dogs every cycle.

The point I'm making is that every statement being made against Proposition B falls apart when you fact check it.

You have access to the internet, don't take my word for it, check it out yourself.


Hobby and show breeders are exempt. Proposition B is for breeders who breed specifically for puppies to sell as pets.

Hobby and show breeders rarely have more than ten intact adults. Their focus is on the quality of breeding, not the quantity.

H Houlahan

"if anyone in the rescue community has ever fostered a litter of puppies, they know one thing: puppies pee. A lot."

Well, I'm doing that very thing right now, and yes, they do (and they do it in a spacious outdoor kennel and on newspapers in the kitchen, which are regularly freshened, not in a wire-floored pen), but that's not what I'm going to quibble with.

Please don't forget that there are those of us in the rescue community who not only foster litters of puppies, but, heaven forfend, are breeders. Our exposure to puppy biology isn't limited to our charitable work, but is also part of the labor of love that is an ethical breeding program.

On the rare occasions that our breed rescue gets a young litter or a very pregnant bitch, we prefer to foster them with experienced breeders -- you know, the people who will know what to do? Yeah, we get our learning in on the litters we deliberately bring into the world, and then apply that knowledge to helping the ones that other people carelessly let happen.

Something like a third of the core volunteers in my own rescue group are breeders. Maybe closer to half if you count the owners of intact males that might some day be used at stud.

Breeder. It's not a dirty word. I refuse to allow puppymilling creeps to define the word, either directly with their "If you don't support our right to treat dogs as widgets they will come and take your pets" bullshit, or indirectly, as when the PeTAfreaks convince all the nice animal welfare people that the puppymillers are right, and we ARE all the same.

No, we aren't.

So, while I appreciate the way you try to reach a specific audience with the way you phrased that statement, I don't appreciate an army of rescue volunteers being implicitly excluded from the "community" because their knowledge of puppy micturation comes from a breeding program rather than a more virtuous foster experience.

(OTOH, my newfound expertise with multiple parasite control is *entirely* due to my commitment to rescue. Big thanks to the "breeder" of my foster pups for the robust and diverse ecosystems they were allowed to host for the first eight weeks of their lives.)

Robert Garnett

If you think of dogs as widgets that the more a company can produce the better then no limit on breeding females is probably what you should try to achieve but if you think of them as sentient beings then producing them in puppy factories should be what you try to avoid. I always thought people who were concerned about animals would fall into the second category but it seems that those claiming they care for dogs can rationalize anything.


Yes Shelley, your comment says a lot. It says "I'm going to start this conversation in an insulting way because if people don't agree with me they're clearly idiots".

I have no idea why the animal rights groups have not been successful in Jefferson City.

For most of the criticisms you have, I noted that those were likely compromise areas. I'm hearing from real people (who I trust and who seem like decent people - not just reading stuff on the internet) that these are potential hangups and seem like legitimate concerns. If the temperature needs to be adjusted from 85 to 88 or 90 or something, then so be it -- but I'm not convinced that 85 is necessarily the "right" number.

And clearly the needs are different for 2 day old pups vs 5-6 week old ones.

As for pee pads, I confess that I've never used them, but their "success rate" based on reading online comments isn't spectacular. And I don't think being concerned about dogs standing in urine lacks 'commonsense'. Again, I understand what both sides are saying, and think there could be a solution that both sides would agree to -- and still improve things for the dogs.

And just because we USED to do something a certain doesn't mean it was the right way to do things...isn't that the whole point of the law? To make things better?

And again, didn't say we should eliminate the rest between breeding cycles....but that there may be some adjustments needed there. As you note, there is some differing opinion on the matter....

Again, I'm looking for major sticking points with the law in order to be sure some improvements are made for the way dogs are cared for. I do not think the law will remain in its current I'm trying to proactively provide solutions...even if you think compromise is a "fool's dialogue".



I don't necessarily disagree with you -- but on the flip side, that isn't likely how a court will rule on it. In the court of law, how we FEEL about animals doesn't necessarily matter, and in this case, they are 'products' that are sold for profit by a licensed business. And if that is the case, then I don't think the law has any chance of holding up in court as-written, because I think limiting the number of "products" a business can sell is unprecedented government over-reach -- and I think the courts will rule it that way.

Meanwhile, I could go into a long rant about the entire process of essentially farming dogs and why the whole system needs to be changed in how animals are supplied to meet demand....but will save that for another day.


H - surely that wasn't my intent to cast the divide between rescues and breeders -- and certainly, there are a few of the folks out there that do breed who are also very active in rescue - like yourself -- and thank you.

That said, at least around here, there seems to be a huge (and growing) gap between the rescue community and anyone in the show/breeding community because breeding has somehow been associated with being evil to the point where the very idea of it makes many wretch. I once heard someone in Kansas City talk about a litter of puppies that she had confiscated from an owner here in KC because their 'pit bull' was unaltered....all of the dogs died at the shelter from disease...but it was 'ok' because the owner was a "breeder".

I certainly think there should be some middle ground between "all breeding is bad" and "we should be breeding dogs as if they are in large factories" -- and I certainly advocate for breeding dogs to be well cared for....but I kind of fear that what is going on here in Missouri is driving the two sides further apart and nowhere closer to having real solutions.

But any wording I had to further divide the two sides was certainly not intentional on my part.


Brent, there is no limit on the number of products that can be sold. But if the puppy millers want to challenge this law in court, they should. It is a better thing to do, then coerce the legislation into overriding the will of the people.

The point I was trying to make, and the point that H. made, is that dogs have been having puppies for thousands of years without the so-called "requirements" the commercial dog breeders insist on.

I have no problems at all with quality breeders. A friend of mine's parents raise champion Newfoundlands, and they're incredible people. Pretty amazing dogs, too.

But quality breeders do not breed for quantity, they breed for quality. And they love their dogs, and would never allow them to go to a pet store.

The only people driving apart the "sides" are those seeking to generate controversy--primarily to lessen support for Proposition B.


Newsflash Shelley - a lot of people that voted for prop b thought it was crap and needed improvement. They voted for it with the notion that the legislature would step in and right the agreegious wrongs in the law. This is a REPUBLIC not a Democracy so the tyranny of the majority does not trump the rights of the minority (at least in theory). My WILL is that this canned legislation be fixed.

You debate method of "its just common sense" and "how do you not get that" is annoying and childish. This law is getting changed not matter how much you protest - "how do you not get that?!?"

The other part of the equation people are missing is that there is a HIGH demand for these dogs hence why so many people are making a living at it. Just like the horse slaughter getting sent to Mexico so will the puppy mills - with NO regulation or oversight.


Rep. Tom Loehner, R-Koeltztown said in an interview afterward that he wants to "try to work with both sides and see if we can't come to some agreement and still keep our breeders in business."

*If no common ground is found, he made clear that the committee would still forward some type of change in the law to the full House.*



Again with the limit thing -- this is absolutely a limit on how many dogs they can sell. There is no rational way to think it otherwise. Going from an unlimited number of breeding dogs to a limited number is, by definition, limiting.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think it's the commercial breeders who are "insisting" on more regulations fact, it's quite the opposite.

And I hardly think trying to lessen the requirements of Prop B are "driving the two sides apart". I think the whole Prop B proposal has done just that -- drive a further wedge between the two groups - -and I think this is furthered by the "compromise is fools dialogue" approach. That doesn't sound like someone trying to bring the two sides together at all.

Like MichelleD notes, I don't think there is much appetite in the Legislature to keep Prop B as written. So falling on the sword of no compromise will give you no input at all in what stays or goes...


Meanwhile, I should also note, that one of my biggest reasons for desiring compromise is to add in the unlicensed breeder elements and the increased fees going directly to enforcement. For more than a decade, the state auditor and the Better Business Bureau, and heck, even the USDA, have noted their failings in enforcing the current guidelines.

While a lot of progress has been made very recently with Operation Bark, I would trade the whole thing for the enforcement measures I've outlined above -- which would solve the biggest problem with the worst of the puppy mills in the state. Compromise, if we're willing to have it, could really improve things for the animals...but ruining our political clout will not.


So Brent, you're telling me that Proposition B limits breeders to selling only so many puppies?

The regulations from Proposition B are little different than other regulations for other businesses. The state legislator passed an Adult Entertainment Act last year that severely limited operation for adult entertainment venues. There is now a lawsuit about the act, and the owners have stated that it has forced many out of business.

So it is fair to enact strict legislation for adult entertainment venues, but not commercial dog breeders?

Then a few years back, the same state legislature enacted legislation that impacted on businesses involved with stem cell research, to the point where we lost most of an entire industry.

So we can enact string legislation for bio-research that makes use of stem cells, but not commercial dog breeding?

Existing EPA and DNR regulations control how much manure can be spread over a field attached to a CAFO (confined animal operation). This indirectly limits the number of animals the CAFO have.

This is an agricultural restriction, yet it's OK, but it's not OK to limit commercial dog breeders?

I can go on, and on, with regulations that have been enacted in Missouri that have economically impacted on business.

What makes commercial dog breeders exempt? And this is important question, too, because one allowable Constitutional challenge against a business regulation is if the state shows discrimination based on the type of industry in its regulations.

No MichelleD, we did not vote for Proposition B so that the legislators could muck with it. We voted for it, as is.

As for Representative Loehner, doesn't matter what he says--any bill has to go to the floor, and agribusiness doesn't control all of the state legislature.


Let me repeat: I'm not saying we should not regulate the industry, I'm simply saying that it would be unprecedented to directly limit the number of anything someone can sell. None of your examples do that.

And even your CAFO example doesn't hold up because it controls how many they can have in a particular area (this wouldn't be unprecedented) but doesn't prevent them from having more animals than that if they have more space. Prop B does.

And just because YOU voted for Prop B because you apparently think it's a perfect ordinance doesn't mean everyone did. And fortunately the majority of animal welfare advocates are a bit more rational. And if the animal rights groups had so much support on the house floor, there never would have been a need for a citizens initiative.


Just a quick note of clarification: I have spent time pouring through comments from veterinarians who are considered reproductive specialists and they all agree that "biologically speaking, there is no reason to skip a cycle" when breeding.

The 6-7 month period in between cycles in dogs allows for more than enough rest time for the majority of pets. Now, having said that, you have to look at the individual animal as well. A female who loses body condition during the pregnancy and lactation periods should, be all means, be rested. But, a young healthy dam who bounces back can certainly be bred again.

I don't have a link to any specific study yet that "proves" this, but I am sending a note to one of the directors for the Society of Theriogenology to see if I can get a position statement or citations.


Again, you spend most of your time in your commentary back to me indulging in hyperbole and accusations of radicalism and what not, just because I want a bill I voted on left alone.

Seriously, you don't want dialog, you want agreement.

Lisa in OH

I feel your pain Brent. We are facing a "puppy mill bill" here in Ohio that also regulates rescues. Most rescues in the state would end up having to close if this bill passes. It would make it illegal for a rescue to place a dog in a standard sized dog crate, among other silly requirements


Thanks VNN -- as I was writing this post I wished that I had reached out to you on this topic to get some expertise in the area and would love to hear back. It really is an area that I don't understand well enough to have a strong opinion but have heard from enough sources I trust that it might be -- so I put it in as something that should be looked at.

Lisa, it's interesting that Ohio is struggling with this also and may face a law that would cripple the rescue community -- as it is another area where HSUS is 'helping'....

Shelley, I'm the one that has opened this up for the conversation of compromise. You have called compromise "fools dialogue". That seems like a pretty radical stance from someone who is not in a position of power in the state legislature. I'm the one asking for creative compromise solutions. You're the one saying there are none (along with stating that limits aren't limits) - -and who is just wanting agreement?

Lisa in OH

Brent if you ever have spare time, here is the proposed Ohio bill, pay attention to Sec. 956.08 (Standards of Care) Also note Sec. 956.10 (earlier in the document it states that rescues are not held to the same standard of care but that changes in 956.10)

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