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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.

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Critters

Raise the fee $25.00—that will take care of all of the problems

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Though not yet reflected in the text of HB 131, evidently the agricultural committee that passed the bill also added an amendment to raise the fees commercial dog breeders pay a whopping $25.00! This should be enough to generate a whole $34,000 a year!

Yes, the amount of money to hire one inspector will make all the difference…except for the fact that the Missouri Department of Agriculture estimated it needed an additional seven inspectors, as well as other additional support to really do a proper job. And that’s just to enforce existing laws, such as dogs in wire cages only six inches longer than they are, getting little or no exercise, having no access to qualified vet care, being kept in plastic “dogloos” in freezing weather, and so on. Yes, another inspector to ensure this type of life for a dog—I’m just overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit on the part of these representatives. It demonstrates, so well, what kind of people they are.

Let’s scrape away the dirt from this myth: the amount of money is nothing more than a token, most likely added because several of us noted that the argument against Proposition B was that there wasn’t sufficient enforcement, but none of the new bills accounted for additional enforcement support. It’s not enough money to really make a big difference, but the representatives can pretend that they’re really trying to solve the problem—without raising the fees more than the cost for a few packs of cigarettes, so they don’t upset their agribusiness sponsors.

Again, deceitful and deceptive—can we never count on straight dealings from the agricultural committees?

update The fiscal note attached to HB 131 is egregiously deceptive. I will have more on this and the fiscal note for SB 113 in a post later in the week. I’m also planning on publishing a detailed breakdown between existing laws and the impact of Proposition B, and what it means if HB 131 and SB 113 were to succeed.

Time to stop the deceit: time for truth.