Critters Legal, Laws, and Regs

Why lax laws need to change

A sad reminder of why the lax laws—at both the federal and state level—need to change: The USDA has taken an Iowa breeder to court for unpaid fines. That’s about all the USDA can do, too—that and revoke the license.

This breeder has been repeatedly cited for filthy conditions and dogs that were desperately in need of care. He’s repeatedly refused to allow an inspection. He won’t pay his fines. He’s a past member of the Iowa dog breeder’s Hall of Shame. According to the article, the breeder said he’d rather kill the dogs that need care than actually give them the care they need. Yet not only is he still operating, but his last inspection shows that all is in compliance.

How do you go from being a repeat and habitual offender to everything sweet and lovely in the space of a couple of months? While being sued by the USDA for failure to pay fines? You don’t, really. The article says a judge rescinded his license, but the USDA records show it’s still active, and his neighbors say he’s still in business. And then there’s that business where the kennel owner would rather kill the dogs than trim their fur…

If the inspection report (pdf) for this Iowa breeder looks bad, I’ve seen ones for Missouri breeders that are much worse. Yet the inspectors, at either the federal or state level, rarely intercede for the dogs—in Iowa or in Missouri. Frankly, after the first surprised and pleased reaction to Governor Nixon’s proposed new budget request yesterday, I’m no longer sanguine that the budget item will pass, or that it will make any difference. More inspectors just writing up more violations that lead to non-existent actions and continued lives of misery for dogs doesn’t get me all that excited. We need laws with teeth and the people willing to use the teeth.

It’s all political smoke and mirrors, and in the meantime, we continue support for legalized cruelty to dogs while we pander to the big agribusiness interests.


I thought the name of the kennel, Black Diamond Kennels, sounded familiar. It is, but not for the same breeder.

Critters Political

Governor Nixon followed the money

KSDK has a story today on Governor Nixon proposing a budget extension of 1.1 million in funding for the Department of Agriculture. This amount should be enough to ensure there is sufficient personnel to fully regulate the dog breeding industry.

The proposed budget amendment would apply whether SB 113 passes, or Proposition B is left alone.

It’s the first time someone in the Missouri government has come out and stated, truthfully, that SB 113 does not provide sufficient money for enforcement. The amount looks to be enough to really ramp the department up to a desperately needed level of personnel—not like the faux funding in SB 113.

I hope that some of the money is used to put better systems put in place that allow for greater accountability. I’m quite alarmed at how difficult it is to access inspection reports, or even the data behind the Bark Alert page’s numbers. Receiving responses from the Department of Agriculture that the material we need is archived and will be difficult to access is no longer acceptable in the year 2011.

Regardless, this is a good move. It’s an honest move, with honest numbers. Now, let’s get rid of SB 113 and then we can finally get rid of that damn title of Puppy Mill Capital of the US.


HJR 3 is less than perfect

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

HJR 3 was perfected today. I listened to the debate on the bill’s perfection via the House audio stream. It will probably come up for a vote this week or next.

What this bill does is put a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot in November, 2012. If voted on, HJR 3 would effectively eliminate the rights of the voters of Missouri to vote on any agricultural animal legislation.

Of course, the same people that bring us HJR 3 are the same people who have told the voters of this state that we don’t matter; that we’re stupid, and ill-informed; that urban voters have no right to vote on any rural legislation; that our votes don’t count.

What they’ll do to pass this law is, well, lie to the people of this state. They’ll play on the fears of eggs costing $10.00 a dozen, or little kiddies starving in the streets because no one can afford to buy any food.

All of this is hogwash, of course. The reps said that if laws were enacted to make lives less cruel for chickens, egg farmers would go out of business, driving the cost of eggs up. Yet in California, which did enact moderate laws to ensure a better environment for the chickens, the egg industry is thriving. If the costs for eggs is higher there, so is the cost for hamburger, bread, bananas, coffee, and potatoes. Unless you think that HSUS is pushing for more humane treatment of potatoes, the higher cost of eggs is most likely more attributable to the fact that chicken feed is no longer, urh, chicken feed—the price of both corn and soy beans has increased.