Friday, October 15, 2010

Missouri, Proposition B, and Puppy Mills

Dog Paw Keychain by TS Beading

There's been a lot of talk in Missouri about the upcoming ballot containing Proposition B, also known as the Puppy Mill Initiative, an Initiative State Statute, that would help stop puppy mill cruelty.  Of the seven states that are known as "puppy mill states" due to having the largest number of puppy mills in the Country, Missouri is the leader.  Earlier this year a petition was submitted to the Secretary of State with 190,000 signatures requesting tougher laws on puppy mills.  This proposition is now known as Proposition B, and will be on voter's ballots in Missouri on November 2, 2010.  While this doesn't pertain to many of us who do not live in Missouri, it is a step in the right direction.  Hopefully with the successful passage of Proposition B, other states will follow. 

What is Proposition B?
 According to Ballotpedia, the ballot will ask, "Shall Missouri law be amended to:
  • require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles;
  • prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets; and
  • create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations?"
These seem like basic things that any domesticated animal should have, yet there are many puppy mills that don't give their breeding animals or puppies even the basics listed above.  I know this because there is a lot of opposition to this proposition, and from what I've read, the opposition's largest complaint is the money that it would take to get their facilities up to the new standard. One comment that I read even said something along the lines of, "it would cost our facility $50,000 USD to get our facility up to that standard," and then, "whoever wrote up this proposition apparently never owned an animal."  What I have to say is this, if they complain about the costs of providing the basics for their animals, then apparently there is a huge problem going on, further, if they can't afford the basics, then they don't need the amount of animals that they have in their care.  Plus, I've had many animals in my life and I agree with the above being the absolute minimum that any domesticated animal should have.

Another argument is along the lines of law enforcement.  Right now the law won't get involved unless there is a claim of animal cruelty that could take a long time to get the animal the basics, but with the new state initiated statute, it would be a crime involving local law enforcement.  Specifically, it would be a Misdemeanor B.  It is said that the government is trying to get a foothold in the agriculture business "where it doesn't belong," but I say it does belong. I've read enough articles, seen enough photos, and have read reports by the US Humane Society, including their report entitled, "Missouri's Dirty Dozen," to know that these dogs and puppies are being abused, and since so many breeders are being that irresponsible, it's time that the law does step in.  

Written by Tsilos Schoener


El at Tantalizing Stitches said...

The law is made to regulate areas that is better for the welfare of society. When the person hurting the whole continues his actions because he does not internalize the damage he causes then the law is needed to place the burden on the party involved.

In short, when a person is not motivated to do something for the betterment of society we need laws to do so.

However, this law is very wishy washy. What is "sufficient food" or "clean water" or "necessary veterinary care" etc. The only thing I can see that can really be enforced is the 50 breeding dogs. However, the law states "any breeder" - that suggests one person so could you hire an employee and double it to 100?

Also it says "for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets". This will cause lots of problems because you have to now prove intent and prove that they intend to sell the puppies as pets. I personally don't know why they would limit it to that. I mean any person who has 50 breeding dogs should be assumed to be selling them for profit.

This also goes to what is a pet? I know I am being picky but the law must be constructed to be useful.

I like the idea but the suggested law is not written well.

TS Beading said...

I completely agree, but at the same time if they use strict definitions then there is room for loopholes on all of the excluded variables. If the law does end up stating exactly as it does above, then it will be left to the judiciary branch of government to interpret exactly what is "sufficient" food etc.

Sometimes legislation leaves laws open like that on purpose because there are far too many variables for them to possibly define, especially in a whole new area of law. If they narrow it down too far, then they could exclude variables that they didn't think about, but if they leave it open to interpretation of the judiciary, then the judiciary has more leeway to decide if it indeed was sufficient food etc. on a case by case basis.

barleecreations said...

I don't know if I will become unpopular after saying this but I have
to be true to me. Let me just say this up front that I am all for
regulating puppy-mills I would actually like to see them stopped. No
one should just be spiting out puppies and selling them to who ever
has the cash just to make money. It's insane! This is where I insert
the "but...". I used to (and hope again one day) show my Springers and
did have a few litters. Any time a law or regulation like this gets
set up all us show folks get a bit nervous because it can get real
tricky to separate use good guys from the puppy mills. All you need is
one loop hole or idiot in charge of enforcing the law to pervert it
and it can be used to go after any one with a dog both show and pet
people. I am not saying that dogs or any animal for that fact
shouldn't be adequately taken care of I am just saying that wording
can be tricky. It can open doors to more and stricter law for all of
us, even if you are one of the good guys. You also need to be aware of
who is behind a suggested law or regulation its not always animal
lovers trying to make the world a better place.

I love the saying my mother says:
When they came for the communists,
I didn't care.

When they came for the social democrats,
I didn't care.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I didn't care.

When they came for the Jews,
I didn't care.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to care.

I am sorry if I may have offended or disgusted any
one that wasn't my intention and I apologize. I love dogs and want to
preserve the right to be able to own and care for them.

HauntedWillow/PCS said...

Your article is very informative. Thank you for sharing!

JLynnPro said...

Tsilos, excellent post. I fully support this law, EXCEPT that I think making it a misdemeanor is wrong. It should be a felony.

Barleecreations, I see where you are coming from, but don't legitimate breeders have ways of proving they are not a puppy mill? I know they have higher standards of care of their animals, and I also know most limit breeding cycles and take great care to ensure their animals are healthy. Wouldn't a legitimate breeder be able to produce records to show consistent care and quality of their litters?

If we are talking "back yard breeders," well, I have no sympathy at all. (Yes. There is a difference, folks.)

I understand your concerns, but I feel it is important to put bad people out of business.

Astrid Nicole Etcetera said...

Puppies are not products to be mass produced. Nice article!