TODAY'S QUESTION: What, if any, new regulations should be placed on puppy mills?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | 9:54 a.m. CST; updated 11:19 a.m. CST, Friday, February 12, 2010

Add another No. 1 for Missouri — the most puppy mills by far of any state, surpassing the No. 2 state by about 1,000.

"Puppy mill" is a term for dog breeders who breed lots of animals and keep them in poor conditions.

Missouri's director of the Humane Society of the United States is working to gather signatures for a petition that would impose restrictions on the 3,000 such facilities in the state.

The changes would dictate conditions such as amount of food and water, limit the number of dogs a breeder could have. The penalty would be a misdemeanor.

Proponents say the current law is too vague. Critics say that because many dog breeders aren't licensed anyway, new laws won't fix the issue.

Do you think these measures are appropriate? What, if any, new regulations should be placed on puppy mills?

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Sarah Barnett January 13, 2010 | 1:03 p.m.

The Humane Society of the US is working to pass laws in order to provide dogs in puppy mills basic humane care. Industry groups fight these laws, even those that are for very basic care like ensuring veterinary care for sick or injured dogs. The only way to truly stop puppy mills for good is for anyone who buys a puppy to visit the place where their puppy was born and see all areas where the puppy was raised and how the parents live. Regulations like these would help by addressing the worst abuses in factory style breeding operations, where puppies are treated like a cash crop, and their parents live and die in these inhumane conditions. I hope all the animal advocates in Missouri will help with this effort, and help the silent victims still living in Missouri puppy mills.

(Report Comment)
Clyde Barrow January 13, 2010 | 3:10 p.m.

If the new laws have any chance of helping, I'm all for them.

I've been a breeder for about 30 years now. Very small scale, I never have more than one litter at a time. Frankly given the time I invest in just those puppies, I'm amazed anyone can even try to breed more. I'm sure, with proper facilities and enough help, people can breed many dogs at once and care for them properly (though I suspect socialization will always be an issue, given the dogs won't be living in a house and simply won't interact with as many humans).

More than anything, I'm tired the horrible reputation these bad breeders give all of the breeders in this state. If this law can help clean up their act, then all the breeders will benefit.

I just feel like any breeders who speak out against this are just doing so to protect their own profits while exploiting the dogs. If they actually cared about the animals, no way they'd oppose.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock January 13, 2010 | 7:33 p.m.

So do you plan on buying AC/Heating units for your kennels? My understanding is that will become a requirement.

(Report Comment)
Karen Strange January 13, 2010 | 10:05 p.m.

The ballot measure against dog breeders is being presented by animal rights groups led by the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), the largest and wealthiest animal rights group in the nation. They solicit charitable donations from unknowing sympathizers who think they are helping animals when in fact, excessive amounts of those donations are used for political lobbying to spread their agenda of ending the use and enjoyment of animals in our lives. They do not want clean cages, they want EMPTY cages! The word "puppy mill" is animal rights terminology used to describe anyone who breeds dogs. It is a prejudicial and offensive name with no legal definition and is no more acceptable than using slur names for those of different ethnic backgrounds. Breeding frequency should be determined between the breeder and their veterinarian and should not be based on hearsay and propaganda. Limiting breeding can and often does lead to pyometria, an infection of the uterus of the female dog that can require spaying or can cause death.
Requiring temperatures not to exceed 85 degrees or to not drop below 45 degrees will require air conditioning for dogs in facilities, something we do not require for humans, including children and the elderly. The state of Missouri will require better treatment for animals than humans, since many humans in the state of Missouri cannot afford air conditioning.
Eliminating current buildings used by breeders that have one holding area placed above another is not reasonable. Many breeders who have purchased Sundowner Buildings that have spacing between the holding areas with trays to catch waste that are cleaned daily will not be allowed to use the state-of-the-art buildings simply because they fall under the definition of "stacked". Limiting the number of intact dogs a breeder may have regardless of the quality of care is limiting free enterprise. How long will it be before the HSUS is back gathering signatures to limit the number of cattle, pigs, poultry, horses or sheep a person may have? 50 dogs today; 20 tomorrow. Soon it will be zero animals for all of us. This ballot measure does NOT target bad breeders; it targets ALL professional and show breeders with more than ten intact female dogs, with no consideration of the care or treatment of the animals. It does NOT help animals; it ELIMINATES animals. It will restrict many citizens of the state of Missouri of the constitutional right to enjoy the fruits of their labor on their own property. Those who vote in favor of this measure are taking the first step toward the elimination of agriculture in this state. Rest assured that the HSUS and their partners will be back for more if they are successful in this endeavor!

(Report Comment)
Clyde Barrow January 14, 2010 | 11:36 a.m.

Jeez Karen, relax. We're not talking about cattle or pigs. We're not talking about children or the elderly. This was a simple question about placing more regulations on the breeding of puppies. You argue slippery slope, and make inaccurate analogies (do you really think it isn't child abuse to keep a child in sub-45 degree weather?).

You argue free enterprise. All you want is to maintain your profits at the expense of the well-being of the dogs. It really comes down to you doing anything to keep making money.

As a responsible breeder who actually cares about his animals, you make me sad for the dogs in your care.

(Report Comment)
Sarah Barnett January 14, 2010 | 5:06 p.m.

Thanks Clyde, I hope you'll contact our puppy mill department at, as we would love to work with you and any other responsible breeders who are really in it for the animals. It's great to see and hear from those that understand the importance of being humane to their animals.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock January 15, 2010 | 6:45 a.m.

I have a few questions Sara.

Is it the goal of the humane society to ensure that all animals are kept indoors?

Would you like every pet owner to have to registor their pets?

Do you think that if chickens are dropped off at the shelter they should be given to a farmer for food?

Do you eat meat?

(Report Comment)
Cal Bailey January 17, 2010 | 6:00 p.m.

Dogs are not an agriculture crop and should not be treated as such.

Prices of puppies going up? Shelters and Rescues have them for almost free! Over 5 million are killed as unwanted a year!

Wake up and smell the carcasses and start asking people to treat animals humanely.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock January 18, 2010 | 8:50 a.m.

Free? Here are the prices CMHS charges for donations for each pet.

(Report Comment)
Karen Bell January 20, 2010 | 11:38 a.m.

Why are the Humane Societies and Shelters exempt from this proposed law? They house dogs in a kennel type environment. I've been in some that were less than desirable.

Yes, Clyde there are more than you care to know about child abuse in this state but I don't hear near the uproar about that as I'm hearing about dog breeders. I was a child advocate and only wish half as many people took interest in these children as they are in these animals.

I've seen people that have 1 or 2 breeding dogs raising puppies in their kitchen that I wouldn't dare consider buying a puppy from. Yes, filthy and in a little cage.

People with 10 intact females are exempt as well - why if you are so concerned about the dogs? 1, 10, 50 or 100 can be mistreated.

The Humane Society and Shelters charge for every single dog they place and it is not a cheap fee. They are full from irresponsible dog owners, dog owners whose circumstances have changed or no longer want the dog, as well as, dogs from these sub standard kennels that were seized.

There are laws currently in place. We don't need any more laws. It will not stop with the dog breeders and anyone is a fool to believe it will. This was carry on to all the agriculture community.

I would definitely look at all sides before signing this petition. My vote is NO.

(Report Comment)
Hillary Twining January 21, 2010 | 10:37 a.m.

Although animal shelters typically charge adoption fees, they often lose money and, in effect, subsidize the cost of the adoption. Consider the Central Missouri Humane Society. Their adoption fees include spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, deworming, microchipping, Felv/FIV testing for cats, and heartworm tests for dogs. That's a lot of value, in addition to the medical and/or behavioral rehabilitation that some animals require.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock January 21, 2010 | 3:38 p.m.

Do they do all that stuff before they are adopted? I mean some of the animals have to be put down I would hate to see all that money go into a animal and then 5 weeks later they euthanize it.

(Report Comment)
mark McConell February 8, 2010 | 2:30 p.m.

I work with several USDA licensed kennels in Missouri and Illinois. The USDA standards are more than adequate for both states. I have been involved in the closing of kennels that refuse to meet these standards. I have also been involved with rescue groups. I have been alarmed to find that these enlightened people who are so critical violate their own set of standards. Numerous dogs that were brought to me for lameness exams were found to be crated all day for as long as up to 12 hrs. while these people were at work. We have been told that there are nearly 400 pitbulls being crated by the "society" in a warehouse in St. Louis.
This bill is the first step. The next step will be Missouri agriculture. They stopped horse slaughter. Would you people like to see my photos of all the horses that have died from starvation this winter? Humane? Too many generations have been away from the farm. Common sense has gone out the door.

(Report Comment)
mark McConell February 8, 2010 | 2:37 p.m.

Now you know why the Central Humane Society has been in major financial trouble. Overzealous individuals with no background in animal husbandry. Too many animal planet wannabes. These people often break themselves financially trying to be the hero. Many of them are socially inept and use animals. We see alot of these individuals who in fact are collectors and hoarders of animals. It is a sickness.

(Report Comment)
mark McConell February 8, 2010 | 5:22 p.m.

We had a client "adopt" a puppy from the shelter in St. Louis. The fee was $400.00 Yes folks! If that isn't profit, I don't know what is. After 3 days the pup became ill with giardia. She took it back. They told her that she was at fault and took the pup back. Did she get a refund? No folks!
Be careful who you support with your signatures.

(Report Comment)
Doctor m Rosset February 12, 2010 | 1:16 p.m.

The true intention is that expressed by Patrick Kwan, HSUS director in New York State, at a workshop for volunteer lobbyists in February of 2009. An attendee at that training reports some of Kwan's remarks:

"The initial HSUS bill will set a cap of 50 intact animals per location, but once this cap is in place, HSUS will strengthen this in the future by lowering the cap each year. He likened it to getting something criminalized as a misdemeanor at first and then increasing it to a felony … HSUS will "crack down in later sessions." The goal is clear to end all animal breeding, once people are use to having these rules for pets they will expect them for livestock. So we can end all animal use with the next ten or less years.

"Kwan noted that last year 91 animal related bills were introduced (although only 18 were voted on) while this year it will be 120. He said that HSUS drafts bills for legislators, and that he himself has written many of them."

Keep pushing numbers for all bills because they can be lowered each year as people will lose interest in fighting us. Remember we pay you to keep pushing these laws that is your job and your only job. Our next goal is ending livestock breeding in all states and we are making headway in several states already to end the eating of meat.

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