Show dog breeder Jon Kimes and other hobby breeders should not fear tougher regulations of large-scale puppy mills, but should join us in supporting a ballot measure to turn around Missouri's reputation as the puppy mill capital of America. The proposed Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act only targets large-scale commercial puppy mills—it does not affect any breeder with ten or fewer unspayed female dogs or any breeder with any number of animals who is breeding for show purposes and not intending to sell the offspring as pets. In other words, if the dogs are kept primarily for purposes other than breeding pets for profit, the breeder would not be impacted by the measure at all.
Even for purely commercial puppy mills, the measure's proposed standards are reasonable and will simply require that dogs receive basic standards of humane care, such as food, water, space and exercise. State regulations already require that dogs be kept in temperatures no cooler than 45 degrees or hotter than 85 degrees, and the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act simply codifies this standard into state law. In addition, the other standards in the measure related to food, water, space, veterinary care, and exercise provide law enforcement with more tools to crack down on abusive puppy mills in the state.
The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act is a reasonable measure that will provide more humane treatment of dogs in large-scale puppy mills, and it is consistent with laws that have been enacted in other states to crack down on puppy mill abuses. It will prevent the suffering of dogs in Missouri's notorious puppy mills, and humane dog breeders should swing behind this policy reform. For more information, including the language of the proposed measure, please visit missourifordogs.com.
Barbara Schmitz is campaign manager for Missourians for the Protection of Dogs.