Bark alert and religious bigotry

There’s a particularly nasty commenter who states he’s a dog breeder, and goes under the moniker of “getemout” or “1getemout”. He’s a real piece of work, but tonight, via comments he made to the same article as the Rep. Berry conversation, I have a good idea where some of the 300 Bark Alert calls originated.

Mr Berry- as a USDA/State licensed breeder I will tell you where to look for the Puppy Millers. We had an influx of ‘breeders’ move here religious group ‘Amish’. They hide behind their religion, no elec., running water, you get the picture, right? I have turned several of them over to my state inspector, but they are difficult to ferret out. No telephones, no vehicles (although they’ve found ways around these) no drivers licenses’ no licenses of any type

They don’t use Veterinarians they do they own vet services, they dont call vets, and they certainly don’t drive the horse to town for a dog! Tell your people, that’s where your greater concentration of bad breeders are, and they’re selling the Hell out of puppies. We don’t like them either- they don’t pay their fees/dues that we do.

This person is a piece of shit, pardon my expression, but there’s no reason not to believe his comment.

The Amish have become dog breeders—in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and here in Missouri. But not all Amish are dog breeders, and they certainly aren’t the worst breeders in Missouri.

Regardless: this breeder—and how many others?—is using Bark Alert as his/her own personal lynching rope and white sheet. So the plan is to give more money to Bark Alert?


Pet definition

I don’t have a lot of patience with the fooflah about the “pet” definition, but I don’t much care about it one way or another.

If I were going to define “pet” I would define it as an animal that is not maintained for food, fiber, fuel, or other by-product.

Critters Political

An online conversation with Representative Berry

A back and forth with Representative T. J. Berry, R-Kearney District 35. From Puppy mill issue hits House.

This is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

For one, Representative Berry’s district supported Proposition B by 57.1%. What he’s telling you, people of his district, is that your vote doesn’t count.

As for accusations about Proposition B:

No representative has been able to show in the text of Prop B where it states it’s for licensed breeders only. There are existing laws in addition to Prop B about unlicensed breeders–it’s illegal, period. But Prop B applies to both licensed and unlicensed breeders.

And believe me, if you’ve read as many USDA inspection reports on licensed breeders in this state, as I have, you would come to know that we have a lot of really bad but still licensed breeders in Missouri.

The USDA APHIS database can be accessed at:

Just enter Breeder as type and Missouri as state.

There is funding for Proposition B. Proposition B just adds some constraints to the same inspections, no new inspections. As the Dept of Agriculture stated in the fiscal note for Proposition B, it needed more inspectors for its current work load. It’s needed more inspectors for years. Yet it never asked for the budget for more inspectors.

In the SB 113 fiscal note, it did ask for more inspectors, and said the increased fee would not be sufficient. The Senate oversight department stated since they have to do the inspections anyway, they don’t need the additional inspectors. So it denied the Dept of Ag request for additional inspectors.

In addition, the new license fee cap impacts more on shelters than it does breeders. Why?

Breeders pay a $1.00 per pup sold in license fees. Even the largest breeders don’t sell a couple of thousand puppies a year. Yet a non-profit like HSMO and others can process thousands of dogs for adoption. They have to pay $1.00 per dog adopted out.

This upper limit fee is more punitive against the shelters than corrective. The agricultural community is peeved that most of the shelters and rescues supported Proposition B.

The increased fees should only be applied to breeders, but it was also applied to shelters. The only ones exempt are municipal pounds.

The note about the puppies is an especially egregious misrepresentation. For one, Proposition B is about adult dogs, only. If puppies need to have heating pads, heating lamps, or even puppy incubators, this isn’t a violation of Prop B.

Then there’s the fact that mother dogs provide most of the warmth for the puppies when newborn. Use commonsense — when you’ve seen dogs give birth in that cardboard box, do you turn the heat of the enture house up to 92 degrees? Seriously?

I’m disappointed that the reps played this kind of semantic shell game.

Bunk on the 50 dog limit and the grossly exaggerated claim on legal filings. Really Representative, is this what you think of the people in your district–that they’re dumb as bricks to believe this?

Proposition B is not the first state law to limit dogs or put stringent requirements on dog breeders. I would suggest you check to see the legal filings, because you’ll find that the reality does not match this…fantasy.

In addition, I notice the House and Senate had no problems putting extreme regulations on the adult entertainment business last year–and they did have a legal standing on which to file suit and did file suit. In addition, there was excessive loss of revenue to the state for this action, as well a the loss of over 3,000 jobs — yet you all had no problems passing that law.

You’re telling the voters of this state that you want to spit on their vote, and then you’re implying we’re too stupid to know what you’re doing.

Reply back from Representative Terry:

Shelly, your letter is misleading at best. I have not made up my mind on how I will vote on the issue. When we make a law in Jefferson City it is written reviewed in committee, debated on the floor then sent to the Senate for debate then to the governor to sign. The process takes alot of time and the laws that you get are usually balanced. HSUS wrote there law put some money behind it and it was passed. The Prop was stilted to one side which makes for bad law and I don’t like that. With that said I still have a real problem overturning the vote of the people.

The only reason that I will consider voting to modify prop b. is line 9 in the proposition. It defines pet as any domesticated animal. That means some lawyer may be able to use this law to apply to other animals. I do not want to see that happen.


T.J. Berry
State Representative 35th District

My reply back:

Representative Berry

Please do not insult our intelligence.

The line before the list of definitions states that the definitions apply only to this specific bill. This is standard, and if you look at other laws, you’ll see the same language. As a representative you should be aware of how laws are formed.

It does not bode well to know that the people who supposedly spend a lot of time developing laws don’t even understand what these definition sections really mean, and why they’re included.

According to your logic, then, the only allowable type of dealer in the state is an animal dealer, because that’s how ACFA defines “dealer”.

Of course, according to people behind SB 113, the only pets in Missouri are dogs — think about how that sounds?

Your comment about HSUS writing the law, already shows you’re trying to re-frame this discussion–trying to use HSUS as a scapegoat, not only to justify your disrespect of the voters in your district, but also discredit HSUS at the same time. Must seem like a bonus to you.

That will teach any organization that actually cares about animals that the only ones who decide on animals in this state are the members of the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Cattlemen’s Association. Oh, and Forrest Lucas, and all his nice campaign contributions.

Heaven forbid that some schmuck of a dog lover will come along and tell you all that no, wire cages only 6 inches longer than the dog, are not good for dogs. Or that a drive by visual inspection is not not proper veterinarian practice. Or that it’s not OK for dogs to be sick and hurt and injured and not seen by a vet, because Billy Bob has this ointment someone gave him and it cures everything. Or that it’s not OK for dogs to be forced to lick frozen water, or stuck in a plastic “dogloo” with a bit of straw for warmth — spending most of their time shivering from the cold.

Heavens, no, we don’t want that kind of person in Missouri.

This is all nothing but political theater: smoke and mirrors. People scared to death of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Representative Terry’s reply:


Your not being rational. I had the rep for HSUS in my office Tuesday morning. He was not against what I said and understood the argument that I made. I do understand how laws are made and changed.

Obviously you don’t understand that once a prop becomes a law it can change like any other it’s no different.

If you had wanted to make it unchangeable you should have made a constitutional amendment. Then it would have been held to a different level than just an ordinary law.

I get very irritated when people will not give an inch. That attitude is caustic to our system. It has lead to the polarization of our society. So if HSUS agrees with what I am trying to do why don’t you? If you would like to talk with my contact at HSUS I would be more than happy to provide it.

If you would like to talk in person, I would be more than happy to.


My reply:

Compromise on what?

So it’s OK for dogs to get water in an algae coated rusted bucket? Or maybe to be forced to lick frozen water? Is this the compromise you want to make?

(Yes, from USDA inspection reports of existing licensed breeders)

Or do you want to compromise on access to an indoor sleeping area? Allow breeders to keep dogs in outdoor only kennels in subzero temperatures, with only a plastic barrel and a bit of straw for warmth?

(Yes, from USDA inspection reports of existing licensed breeders)

Perhaps the compromise is in keeping dogs in wire cages that are only 6 inches longer than they are. Imagine a dog in a cage where they can barely turn around–and they live there all the time. Should we compromise on that?

(Ditto on the inspection reports)

Dogs with hair so matted, they can’t move and their skin develops sores. Dogs that can barely stand up, they’re so sick. Dogs with bloodied eyes partially poked out by a loose wire in their cages. Dogs with twisted injured legs because their foot fell through the wire floor and got caught.

Cages with dead puppies. A dead calf between kennels. A yorkie with a collar so tight, it became embedded in her neck leaving open sores. Dogs shivering from the cold. Dogs emaciated from parasites. Dogs desperately licking at frozen water, because that’s the only water they have.

Dogs never getting fresh air. Or dogs never out of the elements, even for a little bit.

Dogs never getting out of their cages…there day after day after day. Never a kind word, never a gentle hand — not even the impersonal handling of a vet once a year.

Breeders with so many dogs, lined up by the hundreds–either desperately barking, or silent because the breeder shoved a steel pipe down their throats to debark them.

The smell of ammonia in the kennel so strong, it makes the inspectors eyes water. Waste feet high underneath the cages. Flies everywhere.

So exactly what compromise do you want to make? Which of these is acceptable to you?

Compromise is a political term. I’m not in this for the politics, I’m in this for the dogs.

If you want to spend some time, I can send you some USDA inspection reports. Grab some of your peers and go visit the breeders. See who you are defending.

As for your HSUS rep: Proposition B isn’t about HSUS. Wasn’t in the past, isn’t now.

So tell me: where should we compromise?

update Futher:

I want line 9 changed that is what I want. You are wrong about what can be used to define the possible law suit HSUS has agreed to the new language. So again I ask you what problem do you have with that!

My reply back:

I have no problem with line 9 being changed. This isn’t HSUS’s call, though. But I have no problems with line 9 being changed.

I also have no problems with clarifying the language on the breeding cycle restriction so that it states the restriction is for female dogs, either.

So can we assume that if anything else but line 9, or the addition of gender in the breeding cycle restriction, is changed, you won’t vote for the bill?

Rep. Berry replied:


So whose call is it that we change line nine in the law?


My last:

One of the downsides to modifying or repealing a citizen initiative is you’re accountable to everyone who voted for it. You’re also accountable to everyone who believes in the importance of the individual vote, regardless of their view on the particular issue. Most representatives from other states consider repealing or modifying a citizen initiative, especially right after it was voted on, tantamount to drunk waltzing in a mine field. Missouri representatives must like living on the edge.

What you can be reasonably confident about is that the Proposition B community you have chatted with doesn’t particularly care one way or another about the change to the definition of pet. This change doesn’t impact on either the care or the environment of the dogs, and that’s what is important for us–not semantics on definitions for the word “pet”. If you wanted to keep the pet definition that’s shown in HB 131 or SB 113, but throw away all the other changes, I don’t believe you’ll get any push back from any of us.

I don’t think you would have any push back if you wanted to modify the regulation about breeding cycles to be about females only. I also don’t think you’ll have any push back on the increased ceiling fee, though this does impact on non-profit shelters and rescues more than the breeders–and the rescues and shelters are having a real hard time right now. Donations are down.

I probably will quibble about the Bark Alert fee, because frankly the program lacks transparency and we know from comments elsewhere in this thread that some people are using the program to enforce their own religious bigotry. The concept is good, but just like the Blue Ribbon kennel campaign, how effective is it, really?

Also, it’s important that people are fully aware that the fees from the ceiling change only provide enough money for one inspector. I believe that misinformation on this has been give out in House meetings on these bills.

Regardless, I can only speak for myself on these issues.


House Meeting on SB 113 and Proposition B Today

The House is holding a public meeting on SB 113 today, at 12pm in HR 6. I’m sure there will be great political theater today, but very little in the way of substance. Those representatives who listen more to the Missouri Farm Bureau than the voters of the state will not be swayed by anything said today.

The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation put together a FAQ on SB 113 are compared to Proposition B. Good stuff, no hyperbole, just plain facts. No one knows the laws relating to animals better than MAAL.

Note the comment about funding. As I showed with a recent post, even the funding talk is so much smoke and mirrors. The additional funding that SB 113 provides is a veritable drop in the bucket, and will have little impact on inspections.

More importantly, MAAL notes how the organizations who are really going to get hit by the new fee ceiling are the shelters and rescues—the ones who operate on donations and who take in the dogs abandoned into the rescue infrastructure by commercial dog breeders indifferent to their welfare. The shelters/rescues have to pay a fee for every dog they process. This means they have to pay a fee for every dog they take in. As MAAL notes, it’s like charging a homeless shelter the same hotel tax as the Hilton.

That the rescues and shelters are being especially hard hit I chalk up to just plain meanness and vindictiveness.

I also find it disturbing that the breeders of this state have filed a complaint to the FBI, accusing the HSUS of terrorism, just because it made FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests of the USDA. The information requested is from form 7003, which breeders have to file every year. Form 7003 is the USDA license renewal form. It does not ask for “personal” information. It asks how many dogs were bought, and how many sold, and how much the breeder made doing so. A reasonable request to make, considering how the commercial dog breeders have been making wild claims about losses of millions of dollars of state revenue, at the same time they portray themselves as poor, Mom-and-Pop operations barely squeaking by. This is information the Missouri General Assembly should, itself, be demanding—if the body actually worked on logic and fact, rather than lobbyist demands and hyperbole.

We, who support Proposition B, have also been called terrorists—Representative Riddle actually called us this on the Floor of the Missouri House of Representatives. Unbelievable.

I have to ask the representatives: is it really worth having the Missouri Farm Bureau on your side to align yourselves with such hysterical crackpots? To align yourselves with people who deny others their Constitutional rights? Who call those of us who support a citizen initiative terrorists? Because make no mistake: for all your words of “But we really know what you want”, this is who you’re siding with, and we know why you’re doing so.

Contrary to what you keep saying, we’re not stupid.


Morality tales: Stripping yes, cruelty yes

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Those concerned about the law predicted the loss of 3.000 jobs and millions in state revenue. They said the provisions of the bill would be enough to decimate an entire industry. They challenged the Constitutionality of the law.

No, I’m not talking about Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention act. I’m talking about SS SCS SBs 586 & 617 passed in 2010, otherwise known as the Adult Entertainment Law. The law has since been challenged in court and is expected to eventually make its way to the Missouri Supreme Court.

We’re told that Proposition B would cost jobs and that’s why the legislature can’t allow it to proceed. We’re told it will cost revenue for the state, and that’s why we can’t allow it to proceed. We’re also told that it would decimate an entire industry, and that’s why it can’t proceed. Most importantly, we’re told that Proposition B is somehow Unconstitutional, and that it is the legislators obligation to not allow the bill to proceed.

But the representatives heard the same thing about the Adult Entertainment Law.

  • That it would cost jobs, but they allowed it to proceed
  • That it would cost the state revenue, but they allowed it to proceed
  • That it would decimate an industry, but they allowed it to proceed
  • That the law is Unconstitutional, but they allowed it to proceed.

People were told that the Adult Entertainment Law was necessary because the adult entertainment industry is responsible for crime and divorce and broken families, but the facts do not prove out the statements.

We’re told that Proposition B isn’t necessary because most breeders are really terrific, providing a wonderful home for the dogs, but the facts don’t prove this out, either.

So why is is OK to apply strict new business regulations for one industry, but not another? Why is it OK for the state to add stringent new laws for adult entertainment venues, when no regulations are being broken, but it’s not OK for the state to add stringent new laws for an industry notorious for violating existing laws?

I have some guesses to share.

For one, the adult entertainment group didn’t get the Missouri Farm Bureau or Cattlemen’s Association on its side. It didn’t get Forrest Lucas of Lucas oil to brag about how he wants to “bloody the nose” of the prudes.

The adult entertainment group didn’t build their strip clubs in former hog barns, or in the middle of corn fields.

The strip clubs didn’t feature acts with dogs crammed into wire cages 6 inches longer than they are, desperately licking frozen water. Or dogs in plastic igloos, huddled in straw, shivering—with artfully matted fur, bloodied raw wounds, or dead puppies scattered about. No, the strip clubs wouldn’t feature such acts.

They have standards, you know.

I think the real reason, though, is that the Adult Entertainment Law wasn’t passed by the people of the state. If it had been, the legislators would have sneered at our gullibility, as they happily ripped it apart.