Dog News

Missouri Tea Party vs Basic Care for Puppies

Signs carried at the September  2nd Tea Party rally at Washington, DC, maliciously read, “By Ballot or Bullet, Restoration is Coming,” “Hey Kenya, I found your idiot” leading to Obama, and a large black image being carried with a sign reading “WANTED Barack “Imam” Hussein Obama TREASON.” They demonstrated the full intellectual core of the national Tea Party organization as its members gathered in full costume in front of the country’s White House, hoping to win control of the upcoming Presidential and political offices with their actions.

What they were not carrying signs for was in support of the Missouri puppies and breeding stock whose lives may be in jeopardy due to their actions. This is because of the Missouri Tea Party’s decision to fight against the state’s upcoming  Proposition B.

The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act battle

Missouri Proposition B
Photographer: Nancy Houser

In Missouri a conservative group is being supported by the Missouri Tea Party to fight an upcoming legislation law this coming November 2, 2010. The legislation law involved is the “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act,” also known as Proposition B. If passed, this anti-puppy mill legislation would eliminate 30% of the United State’s 10,000 puppy mills and backyard breeders who are breeding up to four million dogs annually. Organizations the Missouri Tea Party are fighting are the Better Business Bureau, the Missouri Vets Association, HSUS, and many animal rights organizations.

The Republican state of Missouri is known as the “puppy mill capital” of the United States with organizations like Hunte Corporation buying & selling over 90,000 puppies a year. By the Missouri Tea Party opposing Proposition B, it would allow dog breeders to remain providing a lesser than quality basic care system – similar to what they are doing now. Many people feel that there are lots of money being made in the puppy mill business, with dollars lining the Missouri Tea Party pockets for the purpose of preventing Proposition B from passing.

Suggestions by the Better Business Bureau regarding puppy mills in Missouri

According to a report by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) titled, “BBB Study: Lack Of Effective Law Enforcement Allows Missouri Puppy Industry To Thrive,” the state of Missouri has become so overwhelmed by puppy sellers it has lost the ability to properly regulate the puppy industry and of dog breeders as a whole. The study was done by BBB because of the massive number of complaints about Missouri puppies being purchased who were seriously ill with sellers refusing to reimburse vet fees to the buyers after their purchase. These problems have been acknowledged by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Caged Dog - proposition B
Photographer: Nancy Houser

Presently, the Missouri puppy industry is controlled by the Missouri Animal Care Facilities Act and the federal Animal Welfare Act, administrated by the USDA and Missouri Dept. of Agriculture. This includes 1,800 legally registered dog breeders, animal shelters, dealers, handlers, and pet stores – controlled by only 13 state examiners. What they are not including in the overall numbers are the numerous non-registered backyard breeders who remain hidden. The BBB has several suggestions to control the state’s puppy seller problem:

  • Both the U.S. and Missouri Department of Agriculture need to aggressively pursue serious penalties against repeat offenders.
  • Missouri should consider raising annual licensing fees that have remained the same since the program of regulating dog breeders and sellers began 17 years ago.
  • When seeking a puppy, consumers also should consider “adopting” a pet from an animal shelter.
  • Missouri should consider legislation, if necessary, to streamline the process for penalizing repeat offenders, while still allowing for due process.

Proposition B laws

Proposition B first appeared on the November 4, 2008 ballot as an initiated state statue. It focuses on dog breeders who own more than ten breeding dogs. It also provides specific guidelines for providing basic care of all puppies and breeding stock. It would be mandatory for the breeder to follow these in providing things like sufficient food and water to each animal, while also providing adequate shelter and bedding.

  • Each animal should have access to sufficient clean water at all times.
  • Veterinarian care should be provided to all dogs that are sick, disabled or in serious discomfort due to illness or disease.
  • Housing should be provided at all times to protect the animal from excessive heat and cold.
  • Every dog should be protected from the elements.
  • Every dog should be provided a cage or quarters of sufficient size:  to provide adequate space to stand up, to turn around, to stretch freely, to lie down comfortably, and to extend their limbs fully.
  • Every dog should be provided adequate exercise on a daily basis. And believe me, getting loose from a cage and running up and down the run being chased by the owner does not constitute daily exercise!
  • Female dogs should not be bred continuously, but given a rest after two consecutive breeding cycles.
  • Solid wooden floors would be required instead of wire floors for the dog to stand on for 24-hours.

Key Provisions of Missouri’s Proposition B

– Limits litters to two every 18 months per dog.
– Limits breeders to 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets.
– Prompt treatment by a veterinarian of any illnesses and yearly examinations.
– Restricts cages from being stacked or having a wire floor.
– Dogs must have “adequate space,” meaning at least 12 square feet of indoor floor space per each dog up to 25 inches long; at least 20 square feet of indoor floor space per each dog between 25 and 35 inches long; and at least 30 square feet of indoor floor space per each dog for dogs 35 inches and longer (with the length of the dog measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail).
– Requires “constant and unfettered access” to an outside exercise area.
– Requires breeders to clean cages once a day with the dog outside the cage.
– Requires access to “appropriate nutritious food” once a day and continuous access to clean, unfrozen water.
– Creates a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty.”

Those against Proposition B

APRI has flooded You Tube with videos on voting No against Missouri’s Proposition B. The American Pet Registry, Inc.(APRI)  has long been criticized by credible pet organizations like AKC as “papering” or registering dogs with questionable backgrounds and supporting substandard breeding. This could be why they are against Proposition B, which would increase the quality of care for breeding dogs and their puppies and close many of the Missouri puppy mills. Most puppy mills register with APRI as they are not stringent about the backgrounds of their canine registers. They also register hybrids as long as there are registered parents of two different breeds.

AKC is also fighting the proposition as they say it lumps all dog breeders together under the law, which we feel  it should. All dog breeders should be legally licensed under the state of Missouri and provide proper care for their animals — regardless whether it is a puppy mill or a legitimate dog breeder. The law is targeting the care of the dogs to obtain some form of control over the state’s massive onslaught of dog breeders, not the breeder itself unless they are not properly caring for their dogs.

Click here to read the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, or Proposition B


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  1. October 13, 2010 at 8:18 am — Reply

    I live in Missouri and this article is completely on target. Thank you.

    What the Tea Partiers and puppy millers aren’t telling you is is WHO is funding them and the politicians who protect them. To their shame, very few Missouri politicians have come out for Proposition B. Representative Russ Carnahan is one of the few who has but most either have dodged the question or like Carnahan’s challenger, Ed Martin, have made a point of supporting puppy mills and calling for the defeat of Proposition B.

  2. October 13, 2010 at 6:12 am — Reply

    Thanks for this…I am emailing sending to many friends and dog lovers.
    Ever onward,

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