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« Memphis: More change is needed | Main | Calgary Animal Control Webinar - Tomorrow MORNING, 8/19! »

August 17, 2011

Comments

YesBiscuit!

Hmm, how many free spay-neuter vouchers could $110,000 buy?

Brent

Well yes, if your goal was to actually solve the problem.

Puppy Mills Breed nothing but Misery

Hmmn, how many spay/neuters wouldn't be neccesary if we outlawed the irresponsible breeding that puppy mills represent. Even responsible show breeders admit commericial mills cause problems with THEIR breeds.

Kudo's to the HSUS for pushing on to limit the number of breeding dogs these pathetic breeders are allowed to keep in cages their entire lives. At least HSUS is working on ending all the suffering that goes on in Missouri's shame. I got no sympathy for anyone who exploits dogs for commercial purposes.

Brent

1) Number of animals in no way equals how they're cared for. Focusing on how animals are cared for should be the main focus, not on the arbitrary numbers (in the same way that arbitrary pet limit laws don't solve problems)

2) HSUS no-compromise approach is making them less effective instead of more effective in trying to make improvements.

3) Instead of being honest about some of the improvements that are being made (and no doubt some work still needs to be done), HSUS continues to throw money at the situation with a bill that will set the voters in the state up for many more problems.

I'm not defendig the commercial breeding industry here -- but HSUS is become more of a problem than a solution here...

kmk

Good grief, "Puppy Mills Breed nothing but Misery", your comments are SO "2009".

HSUS can push for limits on numbers of breeding dogs all they want, but it's a violation of our state's consitution to limit the number of breeding dogs one can own.

"Responsible Show Breeders" do NOT admit that the commercial industry causes problems with their breed. Responsible show breeders are only 3% of the AKC registry. There is no way they can meet public demand for purebred dogs and despite what you animal rights wackos believe, dogs are not a 'one size fits all' product. The person that wants a Yorkie is not going to the shelter to get a big mixed breed dog.

It never ceases to amaze me how out of touch animal rights activists are with reality. The public wants small and Toy breeds. The commercial industry breeds (primarily) small and Toy breeds. There are no small and Toy breeds in the shelters.

Now go away. You're boring the rest of us that are trying to improve the lives of animals.

kmk

Brent - HSUS isn't becoming a problem. They ARE the problem. They've been the problem for 30 years now!

I just hope I live long enough to see them shut down by the IRS and Pacelle in stripes.


Brent

kmk - I don't disagree with you about the supply and demand issues. The reason that the commercial breeding industry sustains itself is because they breed dogs that there is demand for - -because they're not in the shelters. I know of several rescues that actively sought out a relationship with the Department of Ag in order "help" with rescued puppy mill dogs because they wanted the influx of highly adoptable dogs.

That said, the breeding industry as a whole really has themselves to blame for much of HSUS's involvement in Missouri because they consistently resisted any movement to improve the situation for the dogs -- and the situation the dogs were kept in was CLEARLY a problem. Not in all cases, but in way too many.

While it's true that it's not the breeders' job to enforce the laws, the "our laws are fine" approach was definitely leading down this road...and I do tend to agree with Bob Barker (which doesn't often happen) that the improvements that are being made now would not have happened without the passing of Prop B. So while Prop B was a disaster, it did help pave the way for a better solution, one that the breeders would have opposed had they not been forced to the table.

kmk

Please stop agreeing with Bob Baker. I just ate my lunch, LOL.

How was the way dogs were being kept CLEARLY a problem? Unless, of course, you're referring to our municipal shelters ("pounds" by definition). Now that's a problem! Anyway, that was a rhetorical question.

Although the urban media had everyone believing the situation here in Missouri was dire, it really wasn't. Most of what the public voted on in Prop B was already law. The only thing that needed to be addresed, which SB161 fixed, was allowing the Attorney General to get directly invovled in problem cases. Yes, there were a few instances under the existing ACFA law where local law enforcement wouldn't get involved in a problem kennel, but by and large the law worked quite well. There are also situations where law enforcement won't shut down a meth lab or an escort service because their cousin is running it, I'm sure. That's nothing new. Nothing's perfect.

The breeders weren't necessarily the ones resisting change. Many of the commercial kennels were already going above and beyond what was required by ACFA and the Ag rules. At the time Prop B passed there was only one licensed facility in Missouri that was using the minimum-allowed cage size - and it was a shelter, not a breeding kennel.

The legislators were the ones resisting change. They simply had more important things to worry about - we already had a law. ACFA was passed in 1992 and we certainly had a decent program. Brent, you know from experience with BSL that once a law is on the books legislators and public servants do NOT want to revisit it. I'm not sure why that happens, but it does. Good grief, a few years ago Missouri intended to ban disposable styrofoam coolers from the waterways but someone got fancy and instead of just calling them "disposable styrofoam coolers", or polystyrene, they put the word "polypropylene" in the statute - which means they actually banned tupperware and a lot of canoes and kayaks! I guess there wasn't a chemist in the house (nobody called me, LOL). My neighbor and our state legislator have been heavily involved in trying to get that changed and they can't get them to change THAT. You would think it would be a no-brainer. Nope. Talk about stupid!

A bigger contributing factor to the resistance to change was agriculture is our largest industry in Missouri and most of the legislators do not like animal rights activists. ARAs represent a dangerous, undesirable contingent that is out to destroy our economy and tax base. That makes them incredibly unpopular at the Capitol. If you want to make friends with people it's really a good idea that you aren't trying to destroy their very livelihood. A number of our legislators are farmers and their constituents are farmers. Most animal related legislation goes through the Ag Committee, and by "goes through" I mean "hits a brick wall" when it has any hint of animal rights attached.

According to Barb York, President of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association (MPBA) change was coming down the pike with or without Prop B. I'm sure Dr. Hagler is part of the reason. Most of the details about animal care and how the animals are kept aren't outlined in the statute - they're defined in the ag rules. The rules were going to change with or without Prop B and SB161. Due to demand from the public cage sizes were going to increase and the flooring in kennels was going to change. Many of the breeders already have larger cages and many of them are using the new flooring (like the tenderfoot flooring).

There are a lot of kennels that have closed - but there are also a number of them waiting in the wings until the rulemaking process is complete on SB161 and the rules are finalized before they apply for a license to open up shop.

Believe me, I applaud the state's efforts and you'll never find me saying anything bad about our ACFA program and our Department of Ag. Any time I've had to call them about a problem they've been nothing but helpful and they have been MORE than helpful when I was trying to help someone keep their dogs - and that's a whole lot more than I can say for most municipalities, which seem to thrive on killing people's pets.

Most commercial kennels I've seen make our municipal shelters look like torture chambers. THAT'S where we need change!

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. Just looking at it from a slightly different viewpoint.

Ty

I am amazed at some of the things I read here. I would love to see proof that 'responsible breeders only make up 3% of the AKC registry.' I think that number was pulled out of thin air. Also, there are MANY small/toy breed dogs and puppies in shelters. I know this because I run a municipal shelter. I just gave a Yorkie, a Pom and a Schnauzer to a rescue 2 weeks ago because people didn't adopt them and I did not want to put them to sleep. I still have a few small/toy breeds in here now. I know of several shelters, and rescues, that have pure bred toy and small breed dogs in them. I had 3 toy poodles last year, complete with registration papers at this shelter and this is a small shelter compared to many out there. All one needs to do is LOOK at the adoption websites like 'petfinder' or 'adoptapet'. They are easy to find. So, to say that they are not available, other than from breeders, is crap and is generally an argument made only by a breeder...they ARE available in shelters...due to breeders selling them to people who they know nothing about and not caring what happens after they get paid for that puppy. That IS an irresponsible breeder.

I am appalled at the use, (or MISUSE), of donated funds by organizations like the HSUS. So little of their funding actually goes to directly helping animals that they should be ashamed of what they have become.

Brent

K -- I don't disagree with you on the municiple shelters thing, but two wrongs don't make a right. There were problems, and not problems that go away with the deflect and "look over the there" response. Both need to be dealt with. And don't pretend that the legislators were the ones resisting change when many were doing so because of groups like your own telling them they should.

And yes, giving the Attorney General the power to close down repeated poor performers instead of relying on local law enforcement was the most important part of any of this.

Ty, there is no doubt that small dogs end up in shelters too -- but they are not the reason dogs are dying in the shelters. Show me a shelter that is killing healthy small purebreds and I'll show you a really poorly performing shelter.

kmk

Ty - I did NOT pull that number out of thin air. I resent you implying that I'm a liar. My patience is getting very thin in my old age. Arguably, I probably should have more correctly written "hobby/show breeders" because who really knows how many of them are "responsible". More correctly, 3% of the dogs in the AKC registry come from hobby/show breeders.

A few years ago I heard Bob Slay, who was then the Vice President of Compliance for AKC give a presentation to the Lawrence-Jayhawk Kennel Club in Lawrence, KS. At that time he said about 3% of the dogs registered with the AKC are from hobby/show breeders - and I'm just betting he probably knew what he was talking about!

I doubt it has changed much, in fact, it's probably worse. There are so many hobbyists that are finding it more and more difficult to breed dogs due to mandatory spay-neuter laws, limit laws, zoning, homeowners covenants, etc. Most hobby breeders live in urban areas or suburbia. They don't live on acreage with large kennels. My own agility instrutor breeds Australian Shepherds and she's said she doesn't know how much longer she can do this because it's such a pain!

I'm not sure where you live but around here there are not a lot of small and Toy breeds in shelters. The Independence, Missouri shelter uses a lottery system to adopt out small dogs. The Kansas City, MO shelter uses a silent auction system to adopt out small dogs when more than one person wants the dog. A friend of mine went to the Independence shelter to adopt a Rat Terrier and there were 13 people in line ahead of her.

We know for a fact the small and Toy dogs in shelters here, when they turn up, are not coming from commercial kennels, as most of the commercial breeders microchip everything for inventory control. If a dog (or cat, for that matter) came from a commercial breeder it should be traceable due to the microchip. When all the shelters and rescues were pushing for Prop B because the 'puppy mills are filling the shelters', I would ask them how many of the dogs (and cats) they take in are microchipped and traceable back to a "puppy mill". the answer was always the same - zero.

I'm not saying there are NO small dogs in shelters around here, but I am a technical person, and in a metropolitan area with 1.5 million people the percentage is small enough that statistically it approaches "zero".

Some of my training club members have made the unfortunate mistake of offering to find a "responsible show breeder" to sell a friend or relative a Toy puppy. While I'm sure you have adult Toys in your shelter, buying a Toy puppy is a whole 'nuther kettle of fish. One of my club members called me in a panic and said, "I'm going to tell my brother to buy a Toy Poodle out of the *&*%%$# newspaper".

arrowhead

'1) Number of animals in no way equals how they're cared for. Focusing on how animals are cared for should be the main focus, not on the arbitrary numbers (in the same way that arbitrary pet limit laws don't solve problems)'

i agree that care is the most important aspect... but the more animals you have, the harder it is to take care of them. the feeding, the cleaning, the medical care, the stink, and the impact upon the neighborhood all adds up with each dog. when it comes to inspections, licensing, etc., the number of animals you keep SHOULD matter.

and i'm sorry, but if you have over x (arbitrary) amount of non-working dogs, you're running a rescue/shelter or you're in the dog-dealing business (hey, sometimes it's both)... or you're a hoarder.

i have no problem using numbers as part of the equation when it comes to setting inspection/care requirements for rescues, shelters and large-scale breeder (or hoarding investigations, for that matter).

'2) HSUS no-compromise approach is making them less effective instead of more effective in trying to make improvements.'

i think you're making the mistake of assuming they WANT to be effective. hsus can't sustain itself if its stated goals are met. what would they fundraise on? how would they pay their salaries? how would they keep their building? no, they have no substance. they need a heel to go up against or they're sunk.

'3) Instead of being honest about some of the improvements that are being made (and no doubt some work still needs to be done), HSUS continues to throw money at the situation with a bill that will set the voters in the state up for many more problems.'

question: can the legislature throw this new initiative out or tweak it just like prop b? now THAT would be hilarious.

'I'm not defendig the commercial breeding industry here -- but HSUS is become more of a problem than a solution here...'

i am no fan of the commercial breeding industry, but if i had the power to work with its 'good players' to improve and reform the industry or work with hsus in its supposed efforts to 'ban puppy mills,' i'd pick the commercial breeders every time. at least with them, i'd have faith that we would see positive reforms and meaningful changes. hsus, on the other hand, would do nothing, other than drive them underground, to the tune of NO inspections or standards, and worse levels of care for the dogs. which, of course, they'd immediately turn into a fundraising campaign. they really just make me want to vomit.

Brent

In some ways, economies of scale can work for breedingas well so having a lot of animals could give someone the profit needed to hire the staff needed to care for them. Like I said, I'm far more concerned about how the animals are cared for than how many. And yes, number of animals is a factor in the cost of a license for both shelters and breeders.

I would agree that HSUS may have more invested in the problem persisting (I could go on and on about their promotion of dogfighting) and agree that I'd rather work with the good players than HSUS on this type of legislation. I just wish the good players would be more proactive in dong the right thing sometimes.

kmk

Brent - I'm not pretending anything. Change for the sake of change isn't always a good idea, though. I'm not saying "look over there" - I'm merely stating the situation with our municipal shelters is 10 times worse than any problems with our commercial kennels - before or after Prop B. I would like to see MAAL and HSMO put as much time and energy into reforming our municipal shelters. I'd like to see the HSUS use their millions to help improve our public shelters (oh, HA HA HA - I almost typed that without cracking myself up).

If the KCMO public shelter or the Independence public shelter were commercial kennels they would probably be shut down yesterday! And when I write "municipal shelters" I'm including the jackbooted animal control officers that go along with the deal.

I guess I harbor a bit of predjudice because I've never had a distraught pet owner call me and tell me a commercial breeder took their dog and is going to kill it. ;-)

Can you actually document something the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners resisted in relation to ACFA? Because I'm honestly struggling to remember anything. When I look back at bills that would have changed ACFA the only thing that comes to mind were the repeated efforts by (I think) MAAL years ago to change the definition of a commercial breeder from a breeder that owns more than ten intact bitches to one that owns four or more intact bitches.

That change would have affected a lot of hobby/show breeders and would have sucked up resources by requiring inspections of hobby/show breeders. Hobby/show breeders are supposed to have a "hobby/registered permit" and anyone can request an inspection if they think there's a problem, but there is no fee or inspection that goes with that designation.

I'll have to speak to a few people, but I don't recall any bills that would have radically changed ACFA. There have probably been some bills that were aimed at just shutting the industry down, period. Certainly there have been changes to the Ag rules.

Plus, a lot of people don't realize there IS an ACFA committee made up of people from different interests that review the statute on an annual basis. The statute was not completely ignored. MoFed members, MAAL members, HSMO members, animal control officers, people from different shelters, etc. have all served on the committee. If you'd like to serve I'll put your name in the hat!

As I pointed out, cage sizes, flooring, etc. could have been changed without legislation through the rules process and those changes were coming.

We both agree the best thing SB161 has done is allow the Attorney General to step in on problem cases. Unfortunately we've already seen at least one abuse of Bark Alert by someone in an urban area that, in my opinion, used the Bark Alert program to deal with a problem neighbor when they weren't getting satisfaction from their city's Codes Department. That's merely speculation on my part, based on years of experience and former employment with Psychic Hotline. :-)

But no system is perfect. I just hate to see people lose their pets.

Brent

Arrowhead, BTW, what HSUS is proposing this time is a Constitutional amendment, not a law -- that would not be easily changed by the state legislature (If at all, I can't remember).

K - not disagreeing with you on the municiple shelters, but it's also not a reason to let some of the commercial breeders get by with some of the things they've been getting by with over the years. Not all of them, but too many. But yes, I do agree that HSMO and MAAL could be more proactive in that regard also.

kmk

Here's the "Your Vote Counts" web site:

http://protectvoters.com/

Brent's correct, it's a constitutional amendment, which means it will require a 2/3 majority of the voters to pass, unlike a ballot initiative, which requires a simple majority. Remember, Prop B passed by a very slim margin (51.6%, or something like that). It wasn't the "landslide" the HSUS touted.

I'm not sure what the constitution and state statutes say regarding the legislature changing constitutional amendments.

kmk

Okay, I put some incorrect information here (I'm sure that's never happened before, LOL).

A constitutional amendment in Missouri only requires a simple majority to pass. I was thinking of the number of signatures required to get the measure on the ballot in the first place. (or, I may have been thinking of the dog training club constitution!)

A ballot initiative requires signatures equal to five percent of the votes cast for governor in the last gubenatorial race in six of the nine congressional districts to get an initiative on the ballot.

A constitutional amendment requires signatures equal to eight percent of the votes cast for governor in the last gubenatorial race in six of the nine congressional districts to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

This is funny - from "Amending the Constitution", and as God is my witness it really reads like this: "If possible, each proposed amendment shall be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in TWO NEWSPAPERS OF DIFFERENT POLITICAL FAITH IN EACH COUNTY (emphasis mine), the last publication to be not more than thirty nor less than fifteen days next preceding the election".

There haven't been "two newspapers of different political faith" ANYWHERE, in any county on the planet, since the Carter administration. That is positively hilarious. The only reason I subscribe to The Kansas City (Red) Star is there is no other option.

If I'm reading the constitution correctly I believe the legislature could pass a constitutional amendment that would modify or override a constitutional amendment that was on the ballot and passed, BUT it would have to go to the ballot for a vote of the people. I think that's what I'm reading.

Hard to believe I passed a test on all of this back in my junior year of high school! :-)


Puppy Mills Breed nothing but Misery

1) Number of animals in no way equals how they're cared for. Focusing on how animals are cared for should be the main focus, not on the arbitrary numbers (in the same way that arbitrary pet limit laws don't solve problems)

Reply: Many including myself consider it an act of animal cruelty to force dogs to live for years in cages simply to be used for commercial breeding purposes. If it was my choice the number would be less then HSUS proposed AND there would be a limitation of two years before all dogs would be found homes. We'll just have to disagree here.

2) HSUS no-compromise approach is making them less effective instead of more effective in trying to make improvements. -

Reply that's an opinion - it's really up to HSUS to choose it's strategy. Based on results in other states I would give them high marks of effectiveness - isn't that the reason the breeder support groups have targeted HSUS with such hostility?

3) Instead of being honest about some of the improvements that are being made (and no doubt some work still needs to be done), HSUS continues to throw money at the situation with a bill that will set the voters in the state up for many more problems.

Reply: Again, an opinion

I'm not defending the commercial breeding industry here -- but HSUS is become more of a problem than a solution here... and another not shared here

Puppy Mills Breed nothing but Misery

KMK "Now go away. You're boring the rest of us that are trying to improve the lives of animals."

I'm sorry the conversation is so boring for you - you seem to be less bored in trying to point the issues towards reforming public shelters while giving the equally abusive practices in puppy mills a free pass. I'm bored with the excuses mass volume breeders give "to improve the lives of animals" - since this is a conversation on dogs the best thing you could do to improve their lives is to STOP forcing them to live their entire lives in a cage so YOU breeders can improve your lives with fancy houses, hummers and whatever other material goods you trade for your conscience.

arrowhead

'Reply: Many including myself consider it an act of animal cruelty to force dogs to live for years in cages simply to be used for commercial breeding purposes.'

that's an issue of care, not of volume. you can own one single dog, lock it away in a cage, and generally treat her like crap. you can have ten dogs and be a wonderful owner, providing your dogs with happy, fulfilling lives.

i'm not sure the dogs really mind breeding. it's what they're made for, after all (this goes for all species, really). i do agree with you on being locked in cages all the time, but again, that's a level of care issue. if you have 99 dogs and treat them well, and breed them for profit, i really don't have a problem with it.

MichelleD

Let's get back on topic...what H$U$ is proposing would be DISASTEROUS for MO. They are a national org that has NO business meddling with our state's Constitution. This means any group of people could get a ballot inititative together to say - ban cars that get less than 20 mpg - and there would be nothing the legislature could do to stop it. It would have to go to court to battle it out - that would bankrupt our state or leave most individuals without money (meaning most everyone) with no recourse. (In this case the car industry would step in but I digress...)

This bill officially add the "tyrany of the majority" to our Constitution. Like its not a big enough problem already...

kmk

Hey, "Puppy Mills Breed nothing but Misery"........*yawn*....oh, did you write something? Oh, you did indeed - you referred to "you breeders", which is dangerously similar to "you people", and I've learned it's never good when someone calls you "you people". I've never bred a litter in my life. Not that it's any of your business. But perhaps I'll start, just because I can!


MichelleD is correct - the constitutional amendment has the potential to be disastrous. Throughout the years it's been quite normal for the legislature to modify the language and content of ballot initiatives. Whenever special interests groups promote legislaton it's almost always problematic and requires some "cleaning up". Prop B had some major legal problems and Barb Schmitz with HSUS, who helped draft the thing, is an attorney!

Missourians have passed initiatives that were even more ridiculous than Prop B, and by larger margins. If the proposed constitutional amendment were to render the House and Senate unable to modify Prop C, the renewable energy ballot initiative, people will be hopping mad when that piece of stupidity kicks in. Even the guy that sponsored it finally admitted it's a turkey, but about 65% of the population said "yes".

Just wait until a bunch of post-menopausal women turn on their air conditioners on a hot summer day and nothing comes out because the electric companies haven't developed/purchased/traded for/stolen the required percentage of "renewable energy"! It will make the riots in England look like a Sunday School picnic.

By the way, MichelleD, "Tyranny of the majority"...I like that!

If I'm interpreting the constitution correctly the legislature can pass a constitutional amendement that would modify an amendment that had passed via the ballot route, but whatever the legislature passed would also have to go to the ballot and be passed by the people (simple majority). I'll have to check and see if my interpretation is correct.

If HSUS gets this passed look for all sorts of crazy ballot initiatives that sound warm and fuzzy but have the intent of shutting down our entire agriculture industry. We'll be freezing in the winter, we'll be sweating in the summer, we'll be driving golf carts, and we'll be eating tofu and potato chips.

Veronica

Sorry, I couldnt keep track of all the comments above and the back and forth. I do not look at this issue as a legal one and more of an ethical one. This issue is complicated but cruelty to animals should not be tolerated. How we get there is not straightforward.

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