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LETTER: 'Puppy Mill' petition hurts professionals, families

Friday, August 27, 2010 | 1:11 p.m. CDT

The "Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act" is a ballot initiative petition that was circulated in Missouri and has been submitted to the Secretary of State's office for certification of the signatures. If the petition has enough approved signatures, which will be announced in early August, the petition will be on the ballot in November.

In Missouri, we have professional kennels whose goal is to raise happy, healthy pets for families who desire them. They are run by caring individuals who enjoy raising dogs for a living.

Responsible kennel owners know that quality animal care, including nutrition, health and comfort, are paramount to their business' long-term success. You see, well-cared for animals will produce more healthy offspring for their owners when they get the best care. Ask any companion animal or livestock raiser; this is common sense.

Every professional kennel employs a sound preventive health program for their dogs. Why? Because they care for the animals, and their reputation is at stake. They raise dogs because they enjoy working with and raising them, and because there is a market for healthy, well-adjusted pets. Professional operators are good at what they do, regardless of kennel size.

There are bad actors in any industry. But professional Missouri kennels do not want substandard, unlicensed kennels around as they are a blot on the state's kennel community's integrity. "Puppy Mill Cruelty" is a moniker crafted to incite emotion and fear. With the common sense laws already in place, we don't need an unfunded mandate from a charity. We need more enforcement of the existing statutes and more funding for the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Operation Bark Alert program to remove substandard operations.

The proposed ballot initiative will adversely affect good Missouri families, families who use the income from the sale of pets to fund family health insurance, food, shelter, clothing needs and, desiring a better life for their kids, even college educations. The initiative will put the livelihoods of Missouri families, who are good at what they do — raising healthy pets — at risk. Is that what we want?

Alan Wessler is a Columbia veterinarian.


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Comments

Danielle Engle August 29, 2010 | 2:53 p.m.

Alan Wessler is ignoring the long-term psychological, physical and behavioral impact of kennel life on dogs. Having a degree and license in veterinary medicine does not give Wessler or anyone the authority to ignore or deny the negative impact on dogs and their offspring. Dogs are pack animals, domesicated and bred to be helpers, companions and more for humans. Dogs suffer in kennels reqardless of the quality because the conditions are counter to the needs of dogs as bred and domesticated by humans. In February I adoped and began rehabilitating my second puppy mill momma rescue. It is sad and devastating to witness the challenges these dogs face. Misty has a scar on her trachea from airborn respiratory infections that will remain with her for life, causing her to cough and choke up some of each drink of water she consumes. Kennel life isn't fit for a dog.

(Report Comment)
Kara Crass September 12, 2010 | 1:38 a.m.

Finally, someone with a sensible opinion!! Dr. Wessler has very concisly put into words, the problems with Proposition B and why it won't do anything to stop Puppy Mills. Operation "Bark Alert" has already been proven successful. So why don't we give more funding to a system already working, instead of creating more unsuccessful laws? Responsible breeders, the ones already following the laws, are the only ones that will be affected by the new laws. And, in todays economy, it will be virtually impossible for most families to afford the cost of re-building. The puppy mills don't follow the laws now, why would they follow new ones? And actually,Ms.Engle, kennel dogs of responsible dog breeders are extremely healthy happy animals who love their owners. And the puppies produced by a responsible breeder, make a lot of people very happy. They are happy, playful puppies that love their new 'families' and are much loved in return. There are definately bad kennels out there and they need to be shut down. I am sorry that there are poor dogs out there that suffer in puppy mills. But don't paint all breeders with the same brush. There are responsible breeders that do take excellent care of their dogs and it is reflected in the disposition of our dogs. My dogs love me and they show no signs of any 'psychological problems'. I am told repeatedly, about the wonderful happy puppies that I send people. How they are the most wonderful dogs they have ever had. This is very personal for me and I very much take it to heart. I have raised dogs for 22 years and I know the love and work that I have put into these dogs. I know them and play with them and have cried over them, so I deeply resent anyone feeling sorry for my dogs!!

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 15, 2010 | 11:17 a.m.

Dannielle Engle, you are right on the money!

Prop B is MUCH NEEDED legislation! Puppy Millers don't employ many people... that's why the dogs are in such horrific conditions! And the one or two people they might employee make no more than minimum wage....I'm sure McDonald's would be happy to employee them:)

IMHO... I AM DISGUSTED AS A MISSOURIAN THAT WE ARE THE LEADER OF THE US IN PUPPY MILLS & METH LABS. If We shut down Puppy Mills, those poor poor puppy millers lose their jobs too... BOO HOO. If We shut down Meth labs, those poor poor meth producers lose their jobs too... BOO HOO. You Puppy millers can go cry me a river. I don't buy it & I'll be voting YES ON PROP B!
There is a special place in H*LL reserved for you with tiny little cages that are stacked on top of each other where you will be pissed & pooped on for eternity with no hope of ever being let out of your misery!

STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
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STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
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STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
-
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
-
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
-
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
-
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
-
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
-
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!
-
STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY
VOTE YES ON PROP B!

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 15, 2010 | 8:18 p.m.
(Report Comment)
Katie Sprowls March 4, 2011 | 12:12 p.m.

I'm not from Missouri, but that doesn't mean I won't give my opinion! My dog was presented to me at another house, and we weren't allowed to see the parents. In addition, my brother was holding one puppy, & he dropped it (by accidentally), it acted as though it had broken its leg!
KILL PUPPY MILLS THE SAME WAY THEY KILL PUPPIES! GET RID OF THEM! So, if I haven't made my decision clear enough for you puppy millers, I mean what I say & I say what I mean: STOP PUPPY MILL CRUELTY! I VOTE YES ON PROP B!

(Report Comment)

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