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March 11, 2011


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state’s dog-breeding industry is riddled with problems. Raids turn up starved, mangy and tormented animals. Pet stores and consumers across the country have complained about problems with Missouri-bred puppies. The state legislature, held hostage to interests that regard dogs as just another form of livestock, has ignored the problems for years.


There are a lot of reasons that Missouri's puppy breeding indsutry has thrived the way it has. Interestingly, the pet store and consumer complaints are taken into account by the Better Business Bureau -- which, last year, offered their recommendations. Interestingly, the state Senate's recommendation follows the BBB recommendations fairly well. They're not getting credit for it, because the original Prop B didn't match the recommendations at all, but they are following recommendations fairly well.

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I was amazed to know senators would do such things.


As many of you know, MAAL (MO Alliance for Animal Legislation) and HSMO (Humane Society of MO) entered into a compromise with the opposition to Prop B, MoDA and Governor Nixon.
The licensing fees for rescues and shelters are increased in SB113 thanks to our friend, Rep. Jason Smith (whose mom is a miller on the MO Dirty Dozen list) who has made it clear his goal is to make shelters and rescues subject to the same rules as the millers. Yes, the shelters and rescues who provide a community service and do not breed dogs for profit are supposed to pay the same amount as the millers who burden our rescues and shelters and make a living pumping out puppies. Surely, any compromise MAAL and HSMO would agree to would remove that provision, right? NO--the compromise contains the exact same provision on that issue as SB113 so ultimately punishes rescues and shelters. The provisions provided by Prop B that are eliminated in the compromise include

the 50 breeding dog limit (no limit)
the required rest between breeding cycles
the prohibition on stacked cages
enforceable protections on extreme heat and cold
the requirement illness and injury be treated only by vet
the requirement dogs be given a minimum amount of headroom to stand up straight
the minimum space requirement for outdoor exercise (could be 1' x 1')

With all those concessions you would think the increased fees on rescues and shelters would at least be eliminated, but they are not.

The "compromise" is going to be offered as an amendment to SB161 which will most likely be voted on by the MO House this week. MAAL has sent emails out to its list asking you to contact your representatives and ask them to vote yes on SB161; no mention of the increased fees on shelters and rescues is mentioned. Additionally, the compromise includes an emergency clause which will prevent us from bringing this issue back to the voters. Our ability to get Prop B back on the ballot is eliminated with this compromise so we cannot let it pass.

Please call your MO House representatives and ask them to vote NO ON SB161. It is not anywhere close to Prop B and doesn't sufficiently protect the dogs or protect the peoples' vote. It also punishes rescues and shelters and prevents us from taking the issue back to the ballot.

Note: many of the improvements for the dogs MAAL claims the compromise provides are subject to regulations by a committee that includes Jason Smith. You know he will do everything in his power to water down any improvements for the dogs and stick it to the rescues and shelters again.

This link below will give you the name of your senator and representative. Contact only your representative with the message VOTE NO on SB161 and share with everyone. Also, continue contacting Governor Nixon to VETO SB113. The dogs suffering in the puppy mills are depending on us.




Until recently, shelters and rescues were exempt from fees. That changed last year.

Meanwhile, SB 113 (and now, 161) raised fees for shelters, rescues AND breeders. It was, honestly, less "sticking to the rescues" than it was "we really need more enforcement and need money to do it". Frankly, I think most rescues should be thrilled to help pay for more enforcement.

Also, it is important to note that the compromise solution (that is supported by MAAL) includes an additional $1.1 million in state funds for more enforcement (which will allow the state to double the number of inspecters), set funding for Operation Bark Alert (which has closed down nearly 500 breeding operations in two years) and more power for the State Attorney General to close down repeat poorly performing kennels instead of relying on local officials that often operate in a very good 'ol boys network sort of way and never shut these kennels down.

It's easy to think you got screwed with the compromise when you don't recognize what you actually got in return..and in this case, dog advocates got a MUCH more powerful law with the ability to enforce it...if only they'd pay enough attention to notice like MAAL and HSMO did.

Dog Lover

After reading this story, my heart was saddened for these animals and can't image people being proud of this sick profession with all the inhumane practices. The state of Missouri is proud of this? Shame on you. Please find a way to stop this practice.


Dog lover -- actualy, the replacement law by the state has already had a positive impact. Since the new law was passed last month, at least 2 large-scale commercial breeders have been shut down because of their poor business practices. It's a good start...

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