My Letter with commentary on new commercial dog breeder rules

Following is the letter I sent to Drs. Woods and Hickam.

Subject: Commentary on proposed commercial dog breeding regulations

Dear Doctor Woods and Hickam:

I appreciate this opportunity to provide commentary on the proposed new rules to be added to the Animal Care Facilities Act (related to Senate Bill 161.1). Following are my requested clarifications and modifications for these rules.

1. In the section defining “Necessary veterinary care”, please provide further clarification that the once a year examination be a hands-on physical examination, and not a visual inspection. A visual inspection is not sufficient in order to determine the dog’s health.

2. In addition to the inspection, please provide some form of clarification about what a “serious illness or injury” is. I believe that we’ll find that a non-breeder’s idea of “serious illness and injury” differs significantly from a breeder’s. The rules are far too vague in this regard.

3. You provide a definition for Pet, and limit it to dogs, but ACFA applies to dogs and cats. How will you reconcile this seeming conflict?

4. I find it disconcerting that you would charge the same fee to a non-profit shelter that you charge a for profit commercial breeder. Though you don’t have as much discretion about charging the fee, due to a law passed as an amendment to another law last year, you do have some discretion about how the fee is calculated. I hope that you consider formulating an algorithm that doesn’t harm legitimate nonprofit shelters and rescue organizations, or, at a minimum, provide for an exemption.

5. The new rules should ensure that existing wire floors grandfathered in should still be sufficient to prevent dogs paws from falling through holes, or dog claws from being caught, and the dogs getting injured.

Again, I appreciate this opportunity to provide commentary on the proposed rules.


Shelley Powers

See? I can be polite when so moved.

I also cc’d the letter to Jon Hagler, Director of the MDA.


Breeders Pressuring Missouri Dept of Agriculture into weakening “The Solution”


This is an alert that was put out by the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation (MAAL) and the Humane Society of Missouri. We’ll get into “I told you so”s at some later time. Right now, we all have to pull together to prevent this abominable action.

One of the regulations agreed to with the “Missouri Solution” was that each dog at a breeder must be physically examined annually by a veterinarian. The Proposition B rules that would have required that injuries and illnesses be treated by a veterinarian were removed, but at least this one minimal requirement was left.

The dog breeders agreed to this. Their representatives signed on to this.

Now, they’ve changed their mind. They’re pressuring the Missouri Department of Agriculture to drop this requirement and return it to the much weaker “visual inspection” that we had before Proposition B or the Missouri Solution. This means that all a vet needs to do is visit the breeder, have a cup of coffee, maybe glance into the cages (if the dogs are lucky), and then be on his or her merry way.

After all, it costs so much money to actually physically care for the dogs.

The commercial dog breeders are now trying to pressure the Missouri Department of Agriculture to weaken this provision to require only a “visual inspection” of the dogs rather than a complete hands-on physical examination. Many breeders are even insisting that the dogs do not need to be removed from their cages for this required annual examination. Predictably, one of their main concerns appears to be the added expense of a hands-on exam vs. a visual inspection of their dogs.

This is what comes from expecting honorable behavior from dishonorable people. However, for Nixon and Hagler to even contemplate this weakening of a law they touted as a “wonderful compromise” just a few short months ago…well, so much for respecting the voters of the state of Missouri.

Right now, you need to send a letter. No, not an email. No, not a phone call—a letter.

You need to send a letter expressing your outrage of this underhanded move. However, don’t write like I do at this site. HSMO and MAAL are asking that you be “polite”. So be polite. Feel free to bitch on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, but be polite in the letter.

The “official comment period”, which the Department of Agriculture didn’t deign to let the public know about, ends September 30th, so you need to hustle. You can express your opinion of this move, as well as provide other comments on the new rules.

Send letters to both Jon Hagler, Director of the Department of Agriculture, and Dr. Taylor Woods, State veterinarian. The addresses are:

Dr. Taylor H. Woods (now Dr. Linda Hickam)
State Veterinarian
PO Box 630
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0630

Dr. Jon Hagler
Director of Agriculture
Missouri Department of Agriculture
1616 Missouri Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO 65102

The only required letter is to the State Veterinarian, but I’d send a letter to both.

If you want me to publish your letter, please email me a copy.

Please also email all your Missouri friends and family, and ask them to write a letter, too.

The dogs need us.


A new State Veterinarian has just been chosen: Linda Hickam. Address your letter to her directly.


No, I don’t want to buy that puppy

A poem has been appearing on several puppy rescue and shelter sites and Facebook pages. According to one site, the poem was a “letter to a roadside vendor by Harriet Rankin”.

No, I don’t want to buy that puppy.
I am a rescuer.
I’ll see him later.

After the fool you sold him to realizes how much work a puppy is.

After he digs out of the boring backyard he was banished to, for the heinous crime of being untrained.

After he roams blistering hot streets, hungry and lonely and confused.

After he picks up parasites and loses weight from throwing up garbage that he eats.

After he gets bitten for wandering into the wrong dog’s territory (and it gets infected).

After a car clips him and breaks his leg, adding pain to the thirst, hunger and loneliness.

Then I’ll find him.

I’ll pay five times what you were asking for him to get him cleaned up and vetted.
I’ll spend fifty times the hours you spent with him, teaching him what he needs to know.
I’ll take a hundred times as long as you did to find him a forever home that loves him.

So no, I don’t want to buy your puppy.
I don’t have to.
He’ll be mine soon enough anyway.