Missouri’s Proposition B – Vote No.

Clients and friends have been asking me what I think about Proposition B in our upcoming election.  So, here's what I think.

Sad puppy Who doesn't want to help puppies?  I mean, everybody wants to help puppies.  The question is, does Proposition B actually do that?  A closer reading reveals that it does not.

The apparent purpose of Proposition B is to limit the number of dogs a commercial breeder may have.  There are people who believe that commercial dog-breeding should be eliminated.  That question could be debated on its own merits, but it should not be disguised as an animal welfare issue.

The smoke-screen for this is all the "warm-fuzzy" (but poorly written) stuff about housing and care.  Strict standards are already in place in our present regulations, but the USDA doesn't have the manpower and money to inspect breeders more than twice per year.

This initiative doesn't add any funding or manpower to help enforce the standards that are already in place.  It does make violations a criminal misdemeanor, rather than a cite-and-fine type situation, as it is now.  This places the burden on local law enforcement, who have no expertise, and who are already busy with "real crimes".  Will this actually help any animals?  Not so much.

So, the upshot is that the proponents of Proposition B are trying to severely curtail (if not eliminate)  commercial dog-breeding, and do not care that they are going to throw monkey wrenches far and wide in the process.

Here's another informative link.

And, no, I don't have any clientele who are commercial breeders.
Thanks for asking.

6 thoughts on “Missouri’s Proposition B – Vote No.

  1. Kristen says:

    So how would you rework it or write legislation that WOULD help animals, especially those suffering in commercial breeding operations? I’d be really interested in reading your suggestions.

  2. Doc says:

    Hello, Kristen,

    Most of the problems with mistreatment of the dogs are in unlicensed breeding operations, rather than USDA licensed and inspected kennels.

    You could increase the fines for operating without a license.

    You could increase funding for inspectors and frequency of inspection.

    I have attached some thoughts from Dr. Dave Prigel, another Missouri veterinarian who practices in an area with more commercial breeding. He was addressing a question about the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association’s position (which you can see by clicking on the link in the original post).

    Thanks for reading and writing.

    Everett Mobley, D.V.M.

    Here is Dr. Prigel:

    My understanding of MVMA’s position is that high quality, humane and compassionate care of all animals is of the utmost importance. In conjunction with MVMA I would whole heartedly support legislation that will make a positive impact on deliverance of high quality, humane and compassionate care. Proposition B does not add to existing law in such a way that it would positively impact the deliverance of high quality, humane and compassionate care. Basically Proposition B would simply be redundant to what already exists.

    The information from the Missouri Humane Society (MHS) shows that the problem is not with licensed facilities but unlicensed and out of state breeders.

    The above statement was spawned when I searched the Missouri Humane Society web site with the words “puppy mill” and found the following.

    · One licensed breeder was prosecuted under the current statutes in Newton County . The current laws were sufficient.

    · The MHS web site reported seizures of animals from three unlicensed Missouri kennels. These were carried out under current law.

    · The MHS web site reported seizures of animals from two kennels in Indiana .

    · The MHS web site reported seizures of animals from one kennel in Oklahoma .

    · The MHS web site reported seizures of animals from one Arkansas kennel.

    With this information I do not see how Proposition B will do more than current laws. It will potentially push puppy production out of Missouri but as the information clearly shows the problems the MHS is seeing are as much out of state as in our state.

  3. lisa says:

    I have read through the act that is being put forth to voters and quite frankly, I do not understand how you could vote no?? It is simply written with regards to basic standards that breeders should be living up to now. Feed and water animals. Do not breed and breed and breed without allowing an animal resting period. Provide adequate shelter without using wire cages – can you imagine living in a wire cage or some place you can not lay down or stand up in? I did not see anything about cows, pigs, live stock, etc as is being pushed by the Prop B opposers. And to be honest, I have not read one bit of information provided by the Prop B opposers that is valid, other than it will cost them money. Do you really need more than 50 dogs giving births to liters of dogs when our shelters are bursting and thousands are being put to sleep every day??? This seems like a no brainer to me.

  4. Doc says:

    Hello, Lisa,

    This is an issue that people are passionate about, and rightly so. I just do not believe that Prop B will do anything to correct the problem, and I do believe that it will create many new problems.

    I agree with you that Prop B doesn’t attack agriculture, and that opposing it as being tantamount to prohibiting livestock production is extreme.

    What does it DO?
    It does NOT really improve the standard of care significantly. You can use the link in this MVMA site to look at a side-by-side comparison of the standards of care we have now, versus what is proposed in Prop B.
    http://www.mvma.us/puppies

    It does NOT give more funding to enforcement personnel and efforts. It does bring in an obligation for local law enforcement officers with many other duties and no expertise. They’re going to love that. If they do make an inspection, the people get a fine or are shut down, same as with current rules and regulation. That is, assuming they don’t challenge the officer’s expertise in court, which they probably will. There’s a nice mess.

    It does NOT address hunting dogs. It specifically exempts hunting dogs. Why? Because hunters can get organized and put forth political opposition. There are lots of them.

    I do not see where this act does anything substantial to improve the conditions for the dogs. I do see that its main purpose is to severely curtail or eliminate the practice of commercial dog breeding.

    If that’s what Prop B supporters want to do, that’s their business. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, maybe there is some middle ground.

    At any rate, they should stand up and say so, instead of larding on a lot of redundant standards of care by way of camouflage.

    So that’s why I do vote “NO on Prop B”, and encourage others to do so. It is NOT a no-brainer, but a complex issue being presented in a deceptive manner.

    Thanks for caring and for taking the time to read and write.

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