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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

Comments

Lisa in OH

The link might be helpful http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=128_SB_95 .

Rosemary Rodd

Interesting that there seem to be two basic models for dog breeding legislation; ones that try to specify lots of detail and more broad brush ones that say things like: "Dogs must be supplied with suitable food and drink," with judgement about what's constitutes "suitable" being left to the local authority officers.

http://wales.gov.uk/docs/drah/consultation/101022dogbreedingdraftregsen.pdf

I suppose the potential downfall of the broad brush approach is that it depends entirely on the extent to which the local authority is prepared to put effort into enforcement, but the good thing would be that it leaves scope to allow (for example) the otherwise good breeder with the pen that's a few inches too short.

kmk

I went to the Capitol yesterday for the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on SB113 (which guts Prop B), SB95 (Munzlinger's bill, mentioned by Brent above), and SB4, which repeals Prop B in its entirety. SB4 was withdrawn from consideration.

This was VERY interesting. Most of us are "dog people" and view Prop B from the viewpoint of animal care and the effect on the commercial breeding industry. There was plenty of testimony about that at the hearing, some of it quite amusing, like when the HSUS's veterinarian who couldn't define "domestic animal". That brings to mind a line from the movie "Animal House", "Seven years of college down the drain". Sen. Dan Brown (R-Rolla) is a veterinarian himself and asked her where she went to vet school, LOL. He probably went home and tore up that check that was going to the endowment fund!

More interesting than the whining and hand-wringing about the poor puppies was the discussion about statutory and language problems with Prop B that us non-lawyer types don't consider. This is what happens when special interests draft legislation. I thought the HSUS, the Missouri Humane Society, and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, had better lawyers, but it's evident they do not. Perhaps their goal was to shove Prop B down everyone's throats and then worry about the details later. Their goal was to demonstrate what "the will of the people" was.

Keep in mind the current Animal Care Facilities Act (ACFA) does not provide for any criminal penalties. This is important. The goal of the law is to bring people into compliance, not to punish. If there are licensed breeders, unlicensed breeders, or hoarders with horrible conditions there are abuse, neglect, cruelty, etc. laws to deal with those problems; however, the fact that Prop B has criminal offenses in the statute and provides for statutory criminal penalties (as opposed to penalties tied to the criminal code) totally changes the law, and not in a good way. The Animal Rights activists “stepped in s*** and are still smelling it”, as my husband would say, by writing criminal violations and penalties into Prop B.

SB113 and SB95 will be combined into a new bill. Look for a similar action on the House side - that should have happened this morning.

And don't ask anyone on the animal rights side for a definition of a domestic animal, LOL.

Brent

KMK -- it's interesting that you bring up the criminal statutes. I had a conversation with someone last week about those statutes and how they were potentially problematic. I confess that I never focused a lot on that because, as you note, I'm a dog person, not a lawyer, but it did seem like was opening a can of worms that was going to be problematic.

kmk

Oh, something else I found out - there are 1390 licensed commercial breeders in Missouri.

Randy

Brent,

You don't see any difference in a breeding operation with 50 dogs as opposed to one with 1,000? The difference I see is the problems created by mass producing puppies that are shipped into other areas where there are a huge number of dogs being killed in our shelters.

The commercial dog industry could care less what happens to these puppies after they are sold. Fact is, many could care less about the breeding stock they have after "it" becomes not productive.

The people have spoken - why not give the law time before gutting it to appease groups like Mofed who only care about squeezing out profits in their breeding for misery enterprises.

KMK knows that - being he/she is a commercial breeder who could care less about the rescue community,

This is simply a blatant attempt at punishing the rescue community by a group of irresponsible breeders who are seeking our support.

Brent

Randy, of couse there is a difference between an operation with 50 dogs and one with 1,000.

However, I don't think that one is necessarily more likely to keep animals in horrible conditions than the other. I'm no fan of arbitrary pet limits -- which goes for cities that only allow people to own 4 dogs or states that want to allow only 50 breeding dogs. Some of the most horrific conditions I've ever seen for animals involved only 2 or 3 dogs. I am MUCH more concerned about how the animals are cared for than how many they have.

Not to mention I still have never gotten much of a satisfactory answer to what happens to all of the dogs that are displaced when all of these 'puppy mills' downsize -- because all of the options seem to be bad to me. That's why I continue to want to focus on how the animals are cared for, vs how many.

Meanwhile, there is a bit of a supply and demand issue here that even causes the commercial breeding industry to exist.

Whether we like to admit it or not, by and large, the majority of the dogs that are breeding in commercial operations bear very little resemblence to the dogs in our shelters. While yes, it is not uncommon for Pugs, Spaniels, toy breeds, etc to make it into our shelters, they usually aren't there very long -- and certainly aren't what are driving up shelter kill rates. And the dogs that are driving up shelter kill rates (mostly pit bull types, big black dogs and "shepherd mixes") aren't the types of dogs that are being bred in these commercial breeding operations.

These commercial breeders aren't breeding dogs they can't sell and that there isn't demand for...they're breeding to meet a demand. So there are some general population demand issues that we need to change instead of thinking shutting them all down will solve the problem.

As for KMK, and no doubt they can speak for themselves, but I happen to know them and they are not a commercial breeder and have actually been fairly supportive of the rescue community.

I'm also not a big fan of "the people have spoken" type of viewpoint. There is a reason we live in a Republic and not a true democracy -- and it's to protect people from the tyranny of the majority. So the state retains the right to fix initiatives done by citizens. And there are several serious flaws with Prop B that the authors of it were, imo, completely neglegent in including (or excluding) and I'm more interested in solving the problem with a good law vs 'the people have spoken'. Heck, I've talked to a lot of people who voted yes on Prop B that realized it had flaws and they hoped the legislature would fix it.

My concern is that the "no compromise" stance on both sides will leave us with nothing in the middle -- and most likely with none of the fixes that do need to be made.

MichelleD

Randy, you're missing the point - whether or not Brent sees the difference between a 50 dog operation or a 1000 dog operation is mute. Its what the legislature and courts see that counts. And there is a LONG way between 50 and a 1000 dogs so why not 100? Why not 40? Why not 500?

"The people have spoken" - if we waited for the tyranny of the majority to have a change of heart I'd still be riding in the back of the bus without the ability to vote.

kmk

Oh Randy, Randy, Randy .... I'm not a commercial breeder, I've never bred a litter of dogs or anything else in my life, I've owned three rescues myself that meant the world to me, and yes, I support rescue.

Self-righteous animal rights activists do more to harm animals than help them. How does supporting Prop B, a ballot initiative that would in fact displace animals that have care, help anything?

Laura Shenk

When all is said and done, even if all the dogs have "adequate" care and housing, aren't we all still going to have a problem w/ the lack of socialization dogs in commercial operations have? Any dog lover appreciates that they are highly social animals, who need to have regular contact w/ their own kind, or people, preferably both. No operation that is motivated by making money is ever going to willingly meet that need, and no true dog lover can be satisfied until they do. The only legislation that could come close to meeting this need, would mandate a ratio between dogs and staff hours spent caring for them. Of course, if we could actually pass and enforce legislation like that, breeding puppies would become considerably less profitable and most commercial breeders would probably give it up. This would be perfectly okay with me, because I'd much prefer to see dogs bred in home enviroments only. Enforcement of any laws passed, I'm told, is pretty weak. PA spent a great deal of time hashing out a law everyone could live with,but from what I'm hearing, there are still quite a few puppy mills, and people are still buying puppies that have terrible health problems, sometimes due to illness, and sometimes due to genetics. These puppies are now usually being sold out of peoples homes, they are acting as "brokers" for the puppy millers. These "brokers" can be found all over our region, many are down in MD, where I live. They mostly will lie about where the puppies were bred and raised. Ultimately, I think any laws hashed out are only going to be broken. The real solution to this problem will probably be found in educating consumers, so that the puppy millers "product" will lose value, and eventually they will stop turning a large enough profit to support their business.

Michelle

Good points, Randy.

KMK, aren't you a member of MO Fed (Missouri Federation of Animal Owners) and a registered lobbyist in the state of MO? What exactly does a lobbyist do?

Brent, as to "What happens to all of the dogs that are displaced when all of these 'puppy mills' downsize" - a question I've read a lot. If these breeders truly love their dogs, why won't they just FIND all of those breeding stock dogs good homes? Get them all vetted, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, wormed (etc) and FIND. THEM. HOMES. Be responsible for the animals that have provided them with income for many months or years.

Brent

Michelle,

You should note that I'm not here defending the breeders. I'm actually proposing changes to the ordinance that I think addresses real problems with how we're dealing with commercial breeders in the state (primarily around lack of enforcement - which Prop B doesn't begin to address) while also eliminating elements that a) I don't feel like address the major issues and b) cause unintended negative consequences for the animals.

Being snarky isn't going to make the plight for these dogs any better (or better for the ones in the shelter now that will be killed to make room for them). So again, let me ask the question, what is going to happen to the dogs? Hiding from this being a real issue is not satisfactory (and again, one of my biggest issues with the law).

I think all but the most biased person can look at the law and the enforcement issues and realize that some tweaks could really make it beter...yet all anyone wants to discuss is an all or nothing approach. And if that is the approach, the law is flawed enough that the animals will get nothing.

Wiserthansome

Brent-

What I find interesting is that the compromises that you suggest are already the current ACFA law care standards! The temp requirements that are in Prop B are copies of the current law, but without the ability of the Attending Vet of the Kennel to ask for a veterinary exemption for the whelping area.

What people like Shelley don't know about whelping pups would fill volumes. Many times, Dams who have freshly whelped experience chills, especially in winter. They NEED an additional heat source to help them keep the pups warm. And some don't. That's the point- Prop B doesn't allow Kennel Owners to provide for the needs of their dogs if those needs are outside the understanding of the drafters of the bill.

Missouri has a committee comprised of 13 bona fide experts in the field of small animal husbandry who are charged with the maintenance of the ACFA law. They are Vets, Vet Specialists, shelter personnel, show breeders, AC personnel, Commercial Breeders, etc. One person from each of 13 different aspects of small animal husbandry represents the interests of their group and is charged with reviewing the ACFA law on a regular basis. After their periodic review, they report back to the legislature with their findings and results of their panel discussion, and the legislature acts on this committee's recomendations. This is knowledge that has escaped the likes of Shelley Powers, that the Animal Rights agenda has not mentioned in their attempt to hijack Missouri's legislative process. They haven't mentioned it because they were completely unaware of it, and didn't care to look. Instead, people have believed the propaganda of the HSUS hook, line, and sinker, rather than look to see for themselves what really exists. Now we have a law that is detrimental to the health of dogs on the books because of their ignorance.

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