Categories
Legal, Laws, and Regs Political

The Reality of HB 131 – Part 2

Earlier I provided a comparison between Proposition B and the tattered results after it’s hacked apart by HB 131. Since then, several modifications were made to the original HB 131. As you’ll see, the bill is no longer about puppy mills, and really doesn’t have any new requirements, or enforceability. It does increase the upper fee limit for the larger operations…such as shelters like HSMO, which adopts out thousands of dogs a year.

Oh, and it provides funding for one whole Bark Alert inspector. Of course, Bark Alert is specific to unlicensed breeders, only. However, the representatives assure us: licensed breeders never have any problems.

First, before I get into the Prop B hackery, I’ll list the committee’s modifications of other statutes.

Section A. Sections 273.327, 273.340, and 273.345, RSMo, are repealed and four new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be known as sections 273.327, 273.340, 273.345, and 1, to read as follows:

273.327. No person shall operate an animal shelter, pound or dog pound, boarding kennel, commercial kennel, contract kennel, pet shop, or exhibition facility, other than a limited show or exhibit, or act as a dealer or commercial breeder, unless such person has obtained a license for such operations from the director. An applicant shall obtain a separate license for each separate physical facility subject to sections 273.325 to 273.357 which is operated by the applicant. Any person exempt from the licensing requirements of sections 273.325 to 273.357 may voluntarily apply for a license. Application for such license shall be made in the manner provided by the director. The license shall expire annually unless revoked. As provided by rules to be promulgated by the director, the license fee shall range from one hundred to two thousand five hundred dollars per year. Each licensee subject to sections 273.325 to 273.357 shall pay an additional fee of twenty-five dollars to be used by the department of agriculture for the purpose of promoting Operation Bark Alert. Pounds or dog pounds shall be exempt from payment of such fee. License fees shall be levied for each license issued or renewed on or after January 1, 1993.

273.340. A dealer shall only purchase animals from persons in this state who are licensed under sections 273.325 to 273.357, or who are exempt from licensure. If a dealer purchases animals from a person who is exempt from licensure, the animal shall meet the same vaccination and health requirements of those animals sold by a licensed person. Any dealer who knowingly purchases animals in violation of this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and each purchase made shall constitute a separate offense. In addition to such penalties, the director may revoke such dealer’s license.

Yes, it does look like the increased fees apply to shelters and rescues—that will teach them to support animal protection laws. There’s nothing more vindictive than a Representative scorned.

Following is the modification specific to Proposition B.

273.345. 1. This section shall be known and may be cited as the “[Puppy Mill] Dog Cruelty Prevention Act.”

2. The purpose of this act is to prohibit the cruel and inhumane treatment of dogs by requiring large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with basic food and water, adequate shelter from the elements, necessary veterinary care, adequate space to turn around and stretch his or her limbs, and regular exercise.

3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person licensed or required to obtain a license under sections 273.325 to 273.357 having custody or ownership of more than ten female covered dogs:

(1) Sufficient food and clean water;

(2) Necessary veterinary care;

(3) Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements;

(4) Sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend his or her limbs;

(5) Regular exercise; and

(6) Adequate rest between breeding cycles.

4. For purposes of this section and notwithstanding the provisions of section 273.325, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Adequate rest between breeding cycles”, at minimum, ensuring that female dogs are not bred to produce more litters in any given period than what is recommended by a licensed veterinarian as appropriate for the species, age, and health of the dog;

(2) “Covered dog”, any individual of the species of the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris, or resultant hybrids, that is over the age of six months;

(3) “Necessary veterinary care”, at least two personal visual inspections annually by a licensed veterinarian, prompt treatment of any serious illness or injury by a licensed veterinarian, and where needed, humane euthanasia using lawful techniques deemed acceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association;

(4) “Person”, any individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, limited liability company, corporation, estate, trust, receiver, or syndicate;

(5) “Pet”, any species of domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris, or resultant hybrids normally maintained in or near the household of the owner thereof;

(6) “Regular exercise”, that which is consistent with regulations promulgated by the Missouri department of agriculture;

(7) “Retail pet store”, a person or retail establishment open to the public where dogs are bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for retail sale directly to the public to be kept as pets, but that does not engage in any breeding of dogs for the purpose of selling any offspring for use as a pet;

(8) “Sufficient food and clean water” :

(a) The provision, at suitable intervals of not more than twelve hours unless the dietary requirements of the species require a longer interval, of a quantity of wholesome foodstuff suitable for the species and age and sufficient to maintain a reasonable level of nutrition in each animal. All foodstuffs shall be served in a safe receptacle, dish, or container; and

(b) The provision of a supply of potable water in a safe receptacle, dish, or container. Water shall be provided continuously or at intervals suitable to the species;

(9) “Sufficient housing, including protection from the elements” , the continuous provision of a sanitary facility, protection from the extremes of weather conditions, proper ventilation, and appropriate space depending on the species of animal, as required by the regulations of the Missouri department of agriculture;

(10) “Sufficient space to turn and stretch freely, lie down, and fully extend his or her limbs” , having:

(a) Sufficient indoor space for each dog to turn in a complete circle without any impediment (including a tether);

(b) Enough indoor space for each dog to lie down and fully extend his or her limbs and stretch freely without touching the side of an enclosure or another dog;

(c) Appropriate space depending on the species of animal, as specified in regulations by the Missouri department of agriculture, as amended.

5. (1) Whenever the state veterinarian or a state animal welfare official finds past violations of the state animal care facilities act, sections 273.325 to 273.357, have occurred and have not been corrected or addressed, the director may request the attorney general or the local prosecutor to bring an action in circuit court in the county where the violations have occurred for a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, permanent injunction, or a remedial order enforceable in a state circuit court to correct such violations and in addition may assess a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars for each violation under section 273.333. Each violation of this section shall constitute a separate offense.

(2) A person commits the crime of pet neglect if such person repeatedly violates sections 273.325 to 273.357 so as to pose a substantial risk to the health and welfare of animals in such person’s custody, or knowingly violates an agreed to remedial order involving the safety and welfare of animals under this section. The crime of pet neglect shall be a class C misdemeanor, unless the person has previously pled guilty or nolo contendere to or been found guilty of a violation of this section, in which case, each such violation shall be a class A misdemeanor.

(3) The attorney general or the local prosecutor shall, within ninety days, bring an action for criminal punishment under sections 273.325 to 273.357 in circuit court in the county where the crime occurred.

(4) No action under this section shall prevent or preclude action taken under section 578.012.

6. The provisions of this section are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other state and federal laws protecting animal welfare. This section shall not be construed to limit any state law or regulation protecting the welfare of animals, nor shall anything in this section prevent a local governing body from adopting and enforcing its own animal welfare laws and regulations in addition to this section. This section shall not be construed to place any numerical limits on the number of dogs a person may own or control. This section shall not apply to a dog during examination, testing, operation, recuperation, or other individual treatment for veterinary purposes, during lawful scientific research, during transportation, during cleaning of a dog’s enclosure, during supervised outdoor exercise, or during any emergency that places a dog’s life in imminent danger. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit hunting or the ability to breed, raise, or sell hunting dogs.

7. If any provision of this section, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or unconstitutional, that invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect other provisions or applications of this section that can be given effect without the invalid or unconstitutional provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.

8. The provisions herewith shall become operative January 1, 2012.

Section 1. Any breeder who houses animals in stacked cages without an impervious barrier between the levels of such cages is guilty of a class A misdemeanor; except when cleaning such cages.

I don’t know why the bill had the odd thing tacked on to the end. It’s part and parcel of the sloppiness I’ve come to expect of the representatives, in their haste to appease the agribusiness concerns.

As you can also see, the bill is about everything now, including shelters. But then the bill completely removes all Proposition B provisions.

The enforcement section is absolutely appalling. What it amounts to, if I read it correctly, is that no law enforcement people can make a move against anyone, including a breeder, without first going through a prosecutor and have a court order. This means that the confiscation of the dogs at Knee Deep Collies last week wouldn’t be allowed. Not without first going to the prosecutor and then the prosecutor going in front of a judge.

The dogs, all of them, would be dead by then.

These representatives…have they no shame?

Categories
Critters People

Fox News interviews with Jason Smith

Fox News has done an outstanding job questioning Jason Smith on his mother’s kennel and his legislative efforts—both to rip apart Proposition B, and the Constitutional amendment prohibiting any citizen initiative about animals.

Part 1 is focused primarily on Smith’s mother’s kennel and the perceived conflict of interest.

The second part is focused on the Constitutional Amendment.

Smith truly believes that only farmers can make laws about farmers. Do we then change the Constitution that only cops make laws about cops? Teachers make laws about schools? Restaurant owners for restaurants? Chemical plant owners make laws covering toxic waste? Food producers make the laws covering the safety of food?

We had an example of what happens when an industry makes it own rules last summer, with the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

The farmers of this state are someday going to have to realize that we’re their customers, not their enemies. And they’re going to need to start to work with us, not around us.

Categories
Critters

Committee text for HB 131

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The agriculture committee has published the committee version of HB 131. It differs from the introduced text, so I need to update my “reality of HB 131”.

Right now, though, I’m so peeved at the deception and the dishonesty inherent in this bill that I need to take a break.

In the meantime, you can read it yourself. Yay, your Missouri tax payer dollars at work…ensuring a miserable life for dogs in Missouri.

Categories
Critters

We need solutions before the dogs are dying

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Friday, the Humane Society of Missouri participated with the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Stone County Sheriff’s office to rescue 74 dogs from a licensed breeder.

The kennel is named Knee Deep in Collies, a harmless sounding name. You can see from the kennel’s web site (static capture before site was taken down) how deceptive these puppy mills are: advertising as a sweet, small breeder, when in actuality, the dogs are living crammed into cages or allowed to run loose—starving,with little water, sick, filthy, and dying

Some would say this rescue is a demonstration of why we don’t need Proposition B; that the current laws worked, and the dogs were rescued. They are wrong—this story demonstrates exactly why we desperately need the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.

We should not have to wait until dogs are dead and dying before we can rescue them. We shouldn’t have to wait until they’re in this horrid state before acting. The current laws are too lax, with too many loopholes, too many regulations that favor the breeder over the dogs. Proposition B’s sole purpose is to allow the salvation of these dogs before the situation gets this bad.

I want to send a note about this rescue, and I hope you’ll join me, to the following state representatives for their sponsorship and co-sponsorship of bills to gut Proposition B, and/or their vote for such bill in committee. If they succeed in their endeavor, they, and those who vote for these bills, will own breeders like Knee Deep in Collies. They will own every single sick and dying dog that could have been saved if Proposition B had been left, as is.

Senator Bill Stouffer
Senator Brian Munzlinger
Senator Mike Parson
Senator Victor Callahan
Senator Chuck Purgason
Senator Ryan McKenna
Senator Dan Brown

Representative Stanley Cox
Representative Chuck Gatschenberger
Representative Wanda Brown
Representative John Cauthorn
Representative Don Wells
Representative Ward Franz
Representative Barney Fisher
Representative Jay Houghton
Representative Rodney Schad
Representative Caleb Jones
Representative Ed Scieffer
Representative Lindell Shumake
Representative Mike Kelley
Representative Sandy Crawford
Representative Craig Redmon
Representative Rick Brattin
Representative Bill Lant
Representative Bill Reiboldt
Representative Zachary Wyatt
Representative Paul Fitzwater
Representative Keith Frederick
Representative Charlie Davis
Representative Sue Entlicher
Representative Mark Parkinson
Representative Todd Richardson
Representative Tony Dugger
Representative Jason Smith
Representative Wayne Wallingford
Representative Tom Loehner
Representative Tom Shively
Representative Joe Aull
Representative Tom Long
Representative Shane Schoeller
Representative Gary Cross
Representative Charlie Denison
Representative Darrell Pollock
Representative Steve Cookson
Representative Donna Lichenegger
Representative Delus Johnson
Representative Glen Klippenstein
Representative Bob Nance
Representative Paul Quinn
Representative Terry Swinger
Representative Billy Pat Wright

Representatives Sally Faith and Chuck Gatschenberger have repudiated their co-sponsorships.

A note of thanks to the 119 Representatives and the 27 State Senators who have not co-sponsored a bill to repeal Proposition B, nor have voted for the passage of such a bill in an agricultural committee. I hope you continue to respect the will of the voters. I also hope that you keep these 74 dogs in mind when you do vote on these bills—and think about future stories about dog rescues such as this, and your name attached to each and every sick and dying dog.

The shame of Knee Deep in Collies should not be forgotten. If the Missouri legislature votes to override the will of the people and to gut Proposition B, they will be knee deep in hurt, sick, starved, dehydrated, injured, dying, and dead dogs.

update

The breeder has voluntarily given the dogs up for adoption. The Humane Society of Missouri believes many will be able for adoption in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, there are other wonderful dogs that desperately need a home at HSMO.

Categories
Critters

Proposition B: Comparing old laws to new

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

A major source of criticism of Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act—both before and after the election—is that the new laws aren’t needed, and that all we need is better enforcement. We’ve also been told that Proposition B penalizes “good breeders” who do meet current laws, and does little to punish the “bad breeders”. Some have even stated that Proposition B laws will “hurt” the dogs, rather than help them.

In the next several pages, I compare the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act with existing Missouri Department of Agriculture and USDA laws. You can then judge for yourself the veracity of the claims.

The Proposition B text.

The USDA guidelines regarding animal welfare are listed under the Animal Welfare Act. The enforcement of the guidelines is under the responsibility of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The requirements of breeders are located in the requirements for dealers in the Animal Welfare Regulations (pdf), found in the APHIS Publications and Reports page.

In order to ensure transparency in its actions, APHIS provides a database of inspection reports available to the public. APHIS also provides a reading room for decisions regarding violations of AWA.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture’s rules regarding to animal welfare in regards to dogs and cats are contained within the Animal Care Facilities Act Program (ACFA). The basis for the act is contained in Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 273: Dogs–Cats. The actual delimited rules are found in the Animal Care Facilities Regulations (pdf).

Access to inspection records can be made based on Missouri’s Sunshine Laws. However, to access the records, you must travel to Jefferson City and review paper copies of the inspection reports. In addition, there is a per page copy fee, and there are labor charges if you wish to have someone in Jefferson City copy inspection reports for you, and either mail them or send them via email.

Since USDA licensed breeders must also be Missouri licensed breeders, and since access to the Missouri records are so encumbered, any inspection material in these pages is primarily from the USDA records.