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LETTER: Proposition B, a reasonable measure to protect dogs, won't harm reputable breeders

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | 2:04 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Dr. Alan Wessler writes about responsible dog breeders in his Aug. 27 letter. I agree there are responsible, ethical kennel owners in Missouri. Proposition B will not endanger their livelihoods or the health and welfare of their families. Proposition B provides more humane standards for dogs in large-scale puppy mills and does not change the rules for small breeders.

Proposition B would limit a commercial breeder to 50 adult breeding dogs. However, with each female breeding dog capable of producing five or more puppies per litter, a commercial breeder would still be able to sell roughly 200 to 400 puppies a year, with a potential income exceeding $100,000 — far more than the family income of most Missourians.

There is little doubt that Missouri has a problem with many of its 3,000 puppy production facilities, and it is thanks to these disreputable canine breeding operations that we are shamefully known as the Puppy Mill Capital of America.

Recent reports released by the Better Business Bureau, the USDA's Office of the Inspector General and Missouri's own state auditor all detail insufficient oversight of Missouri's puppy mill industry and the extensive suffering it causes. Clearly, current Missouri law is insufficient to prevent the abuses routinely seen at puppy mills and mere enforcement of the existing statutes would not effectively solve these problems.

Proposition B is a reasonable measure that would require all large-scale commercial breeding facilities to provide every dog with sufficient food and clean water, necessary veterinary care, adequate housing and shelter, adequate living space and exercise, and essential rest between breeding cycles. It would also prohibit the use of wire kennel flooring and stacked cages, practices which are known to cause discomfort, injuries and overcrowding.

To date, 120 Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics have already endorsed Proposition B to provide more humane treatment of dogs in our state. Voters can help us implement these changes by voting YES on Proposition B and can learn more by going to www.YesonPropB.com.

C.B. Chastain, Ph.d. in veternary medicine, is a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and a professor at MU. He lives in Columbia.


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Comments

Nancy Glick September 15, 2010 | 6:11 p.m.

The author pinpointed the problem in his article. "Recent reports released by the Better Business Bureau, the USDA's Office of the Inspector General and Missouri's own state auditor all detail insufficient oversight of Missouri's puppy industry". It isn't more laws needed, it's better oversight. If the current regulations aren't being enforced by the powers that be, why do you expect adding more laws will change that?

To state that each female produces 5 or more pups in a litter is a fallacy. I have a small kennel of mini dachshunds. Most of my litters average 3-4 pups. Some only 1-2 per litter. Very seldom 5. Yorkies are very small and usually don't have more than 1-2 pups per litter, which is common for any dog that size. The size of any given breed of bitch is what will determine litter size. Most small dogs don't whelp more than 5 very often.

I'm not sure where the 3000 number comes from for kennels in MO. You only have 1479 licensed ones (per licensing information). that number only closes in on 3000 if you are counting grooming kennels, and boarding kennels into the licensee factor for kennels.

Your $100,000.00 income figure goes down dramatically when you factor in food, vet care, supplies, utilities, employees, and other operating costs. Even the few who don't put the care and vetting into the animals they should, still pay out some operating costs and the quality of pups they sell won't garnish that kind of money.

(Report Comment)
Kara Crass September 17, 2010 | 2:42 p.m.

This article is so full of mis-leading statements that it's hard to know where to begin. First, this proposition will most definately affect and change the rules for ANY BREEDER with over 10 dogs. That means it will most certainly affect and endanger the livelihoods of those families.

As far as the figures on puppies and dollar amounts, I will just refer you to the above comment. We spend thousands and thousands of dollars on these dogs.

I am against puppy mills or sub-standard facilities 100%. But the fact of the matter is, this proposition will do nothing to stop them. They are already illegal operations that do not follow the law, why make more laws for them to ignore? We already have 23 pages of regulations that we, as responsible breeders, are required to follow. The state can't afford enough ispectors to enforce the laws we already have, where will more money come from? Who will have to foot the 1/2 million dollars a year, that it is estimated to cost, to enforce these new regulations? You guessed it, John Q. Public that's who.

What is your definition of a large-scale commercial breeding kennel? Because according to this regulation, it is anyone with over 10 dogs. Where does the line for humanity begin? So it's ok if someone with 9 dogs doesn't feed or water them, because they aren't large scale? But someone with 70 dogs is automatically a puppy mill, even if their dogs receive above and beyond wonderful care and attention? Who decides what number makes a person inhumane? A person can have 1 dog and be inhumane or 100 and be a responsible breeder. Unless you have personally been in every kennel in Missouri, you can not arbitrarily dismiss all breeders as puppy mills.
If this is just about the "minimum basic standard of humane care", than why are shelters, rescues and humane societies exempt? Do those dogs not also deserve the "most basic humane care"? Or do they not count?

And here's something else to ponder. In the definitions of the proposition, they have defined "Pet" as meaning ANY DOMESTICATED ANIMAL normally maintained in or near the household of the owner thereof.
What's the definition of domesticated animal? "An animal that has become tame as a result of belonging to a species which has been kept and bred by human beings, especially for use as FOOD, as an aid in work or as a pet."
Don't be fooled into thinking this is not about something other than dogs.
Just take the time to be informed, the information is out there and it is shocking.
I respectively ask you to VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION B!!

(Report Comment)
caryl freeman September 17, 2010 | 2:52 p.m.

I don't know where Dr. Wesslar got his numbers. I'm a missouri dog breeder, I am licensed by both the state of Missouri and USDA also inspected by AKC. I house almost 100 dogs 20 of these dogs are to old to breed or just not good enough quality but I figured this has always been home and there would be a place for them untill the day they died. the next 20 are intact males that leaves me with about 60 breeding females I average 3 puppies a litter and the average price ends up about 250.00 a puppy I make about 45,000. a year before expenses. 1,500 a month on dog food and treats, 1,000 on vet visits and medications, vaccinations and treatments. a month. 500.00 on miscellanus items (nails, plasctic, screws, dog doors, bolts, tools, buckets, sponges, bowels, hoses, etc.). I spend about 400.00 a month on hired help. This adds up to 3900. a month or 46,800.00 a year. You do the Math! Caryl Freeman 620-404-8599

(Report Comment)
Freedom Fighter September 22, 2010 | 5:24 p.m.

Oh boy, OK, my daughter recently ran over her own foot and did what she and her friends call a face plant while trying to perfect a new trick on her scooter. I treated her scrapes and road rash with some Bactine and she hopped around the house on one foot for a few days, but I didn't take her to a doctor. This proposed bill, Proposition B, requires breeders to seek immediate veterinary care for any injuries or illnesses to their dogs, ANY it says. Really? A scraped nose? Thorn in the paw? Diarrhea caused from snatching a cookie out of my hand? Why?

I'd also like to know why annual vet checkups would be required, because I don't take my pets to the vet, and they're all fine. Yeah I bet there are vets backing Proposition B, they have dollar signs in their eyes.

I also noticed the requirement of "constant and unfettered access to an outdoor exercise area" Even during a thunderstorm? Even when the dog has just been bathed?

I once owned a husky that refused to come inside to sleep at night during the snowy months of winter. He preferred to den down in the snow curled up with his tail over his nose, and I mean he wouldn't budge if you tried to make him get up and go in the house. If I were a breeder, under Proposition B, I could be convicted of animal cruelty for simply allowing my dog the right to live happily as it chose, because once I went to bed that was it for the night, he had no more access to the house until morning, which he couldn't care less for anyway, and the temperature was under 45 degrees.

This is a really bad proposal for the dogs. They deserve better.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 22, 2010 | 5:49 p.m.

("A Message From The Missouri Veterinary Medical Association: I quote some of what is said in this message from the MVMA concerning Prop B.
"...The ballot being proposed for this November would completely shut down our state’s properly operated, inspected and licensed facilities that have over fifty breeding dogs. We see this proposal as unfair and misguided. These properly and humanely operated facilities are providing families with pets under the guidance of extensive current regulations enforced by state government...")
Per item #9:
http://www.mofed.org/Hand-outs-Printable...

(Report Comment)
dian hardy October 13, 2010 | 3:46 p.m.

I've read that Joe the Plumber and the Tea Party have joined the breeders in opposition to this initiative. That really speaks for itself, I think. I'd like to ask the breeders who commented above if they keep their dogs on wire and stacked. If so, you WILL be impacted by passage of this proposition and if you don't keep dogs on wire and stacked, you should be supporting B. There's enough information out there - Google it - to make any reasonable person aware of Missouri's unfortunate reputation as a puppy mill center.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 13, 2010 | 4:08 p.m.

("Groups remain divided over Va.'s puppy-mill law
posted by jim on December 14, 2009

in Dogs,Laws

STUARTS DRAFT, Va. (AP) — Almost a year after Virginia's puppy-mill bill became law, restricting the size of breeding operations and stiffening inspection and record-keeping practices, canine advocacy and breeding groups remain divided on its impact.

Fueled by a Humane Society investigation into Virginia breeders, last year the state became the first to limit kennel operators to no more than 50 dogs older than 1 unless approved under local ordinance.

The law made it a Class 1 misdemeanor for breeders to fall short of business license, veterinarian certification and record-keeping requirements.

The Humane Society and the Virginia Animal Control Association backed the bill. The Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders, the American Kennel Club and other hunting-dog groups opposed it.

Leaders of many of those groups say puppy-mill raids have not increased in number or scope since passage of the bill and that investigations continue as before.")
http://pets.ohio.com/tag/puppy-mills/
Quebec battles reputation as puppy mill capital:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/...

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 15, 2010 | 11:03 a.m.

The "So called Alliance for Truth" is full of it & should really be called "Alliance for LIARS!" Want some REAL Facts about animal welfare in Missouri? Visit www.MAAL.org
(The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation website)

There is a reason why Missouri has 3 times more commercial breeders than any other state in the union. Our laws are the weakest & we are the CESS POOL OF THE WORST BREEDERS in the United States. The Opposition to Prop B is just trying to scare you. Prop B won't take away your cattle, chicken horses, pets, etc. It only adds & clears up regulations already on the books. This regulation is IN ADDITION TO and does not replace the current laws. It makes the current laws easier to enforce & adds penalties besides just fines to offenders.

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!

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 | 8:16 p.m.

Some good reading...
http://saova.org/MissouriBallot.html
Vote No on Prop B.

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 16, 2010 | 3:04 p.m.

Ray.... I will give you a blow by blow of what I think about your link tommorrow. I'm at work right now & can't type that much that fast! But i have a rebuttal for each & every point. Actually, I might post it online on as a static page so i can send a link for it!
_____________________________
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The opposition here to Prop B is just spouting off a bunch of SCARE TACTICS from people with vested money interests in skimping as much as possible to make a buck.
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Prop B calls for the following:
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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?
_____________________________

GOOD breeders shouldn't have any issue with Prop B. It's just the ones that don't want to treat their dogs well & skimp on them that do. I'm sorry, but as a breeder if you can't do these simple things, then IMO You are a puppy miller! And i could Care Less what you think!

MISSOURIANS.... WE LIVE IN THE SHOW ME STATE....
HOW ABOUT SHOWING SOME COMPASSION!
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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!

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 17, 2010 | 2:54 p.m.

HEY.... RAY! You asked for it... here it is!
(I created a BLOG just to post this rebuttal online for you!:)
It's over 11,000 characters, so I can't copy & paste it in one post!
.
Here's the link to my rebuttal:
http://marinashanelewis.wordpress.com/i-...
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VOTE YES! PROP B
Stop Puppy Mill Cruelty!

(Report Comment)
jake carter October 17, 2010 | 6:18 p.m.
(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 17, 2010 | 6:29 p.m.

YES! ON PROP B! The real Scenerio????? Funny there's nothing there but a BAD LINK!

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

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro October 22, 2010 | 6:23 p.m.

Protect Missouri's economy.
Don't force more black market operations onto the industry.
Better enforcement of existing laws.
Stop H$U$ from putting more strain on local nonprofit shelters.
Save the Dogs which will be destroyed if this Proposition passes.
Save jobs.
Vote No on Proposition B.

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 22, 2010 | 6:25 p.m.

The Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have both endorsed a YES vote on Prop B.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/col......

http://voices.kansascity.com/entries/vot......

Vote YES! Prop B
Prevent Puppy Mill Cruelty!

(Report Comment)
Anne Belley October 25, 2010 | 4:07 p.m.

Of course everyone should want to protect puppies from puppy mill cruelty. This proposition, however, is only a harbinger of the beginning of a series of propositions we can expect to hear about in the future! PETA is an extremist group, advocating that "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment." In desiring liberation for all animals, PETA desires the elimination of meat and dairy products for human consumption, aquariums, hunting, fishing, and...SEEING-EYE DOGS! If Missouri animal rights activists are propelled forward by groups such as PETA and the HSUS, Missouri citizens will witness an eventual tightening on laws governing personal preferences in lifestyle as they pertain to animal breeding, hunting, pet ownership, and even eating! HSUS President Wayne Pacelle has publicly stated, "We have no problem with the extinciton of domestic animals...In fact, I don't want to see another dog or cat born." He also puts forth, "Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting. We are going to use the 'ballot box' and the 'democratic process' to stop all hunting in the United States." Bit by bit we will see more and more control pertaining to these issues. It is NOT all about puppy mills. VOTE NO on PROPOSITION B!

(Report Comment)
M Schott October 25, 2010 | 7:29 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Lisa Thompson October 30, 2010 | 9:39 a.m.

"...The ballot being proposed for this November would completely shut down our state’s properly operated, inspected and licensed facilities that have over fifty breeding dogs. We see this proposal as unfair and misguided."
Yep, that says it all. The objection isn't that the regulations are bad for dogs - it's that they're bad for BUSINESS.

(Report Comment)
Hollie Weber October 31, 2010 | 12:28 a.m.

i have 5 dogs and 4 of them are mill rescues. i take them to the vet and feed and house them. i'll take some government help on an issue like this. protest and don't vote yes on prop b. to me, if you vote no, you must have something to hide...
any reasonable human being would like to see these jerks get a little jail time for the horrors that they put these dogs through. we're talking DOGS people, not sacks of potatoes as they are commonly treated. you give me a good argument to vote otherwise and i'll show you the pics of my dogs when they were first rescued...scab ridden, uterine infections, missing hair...
go ahead, tell me why i shouldn't want to vote for it. i've read the proposed law, what seems to be the problem!? people need to stop worrying about having their "designer pets." go ahead, pay 1000 bucks for a cute puppy...we all know where it came from and who's pocket the money goes to. i give applause and much appreciation for the breeders who know what they are doing! they will have nothing to worry about...

(Report Comment)
Jessica Bryand October 31, 2010 | 1:31 a.m.

Hollie, I as a tax payer do not want to pay for all the unemployment, law suits, settlements, and increased taxes due to all of the above causing budget cuts to things like education when in fact (I can't get too many of my questions answered in facts) the current Bark Alert has made changes in one year and if it has made changes in one year then it will probably continue to improve over the next several years. You will see postings about DNR and dead dogs and how they are just tossed aside like no one cared, when in fact (yes again I said fact) Prop B would have done NOTHING except put people out of business and work resulting in taxpayers footing the HSUSBS legislation ending costs. That is what I have gotten out of all of this debate over the last few days!

(Report Comment)
Ruth Keezer October 31, 2010 | 1:11 p.m.

3000 breeding kennels in Missouri? There are almost 1500 breeders licensed with the state of Missouri. About 1100 of those are also licensed with the USDA. If ANYONE knows where those other 1500 unlicensed breeders are, they need to contact Operation Bark Alert and turn them in! Any breeder with ten breeding females is required to be licensed.
Why is Prop B targeting those legal, licensed breeders? This 'reasonable' measure WILL destroy many legal, licensed law-abiding dog breeding kennels. I have been doing things legally for 40 years, and now HSUS, hiding behind Prop B, is forcing me to give up my dogs because I can't afford to throw away my kennel and buy a new one! My $35,000 comfortable, top-of-the-line, clean, well-maintained, vet-approved, USDA-approved, MODA-approved, AKC-approved and DOG-approved kennel will be obsolete because it is not HSUS-approved! Crazy!
Vote NO on Prop B. Save our puppies and our state from the ravages of HSUS!!!

(Report Comment)
Marina Shane October 31, 2010 | 2:28 p.m.

The whole arguement from the Opposition to Prop B is simply this.... "Hey, we are only interested in money & how much money we can make off dogs in puppy mills... so in order to get people to vote no...let's scare them by saying that HSUS is the big bad wolf at your door and spread a bunch of mis-information & scare the crap out of people so they will vote no & we can keep doing business as usual."
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Missourians won't buy it. On Tuesday, Missourians will overwhelmingly support Prop B. Our dogs shouldn't be kept in tiny, filthy stacked cages their entire lives.
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See what a puppy mill looks like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60LiJE-Cm.........
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhbp7Jz0l.........
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According to the Department of Agriculture, A Blue Ribbon Kennel has exceeded industry standardswhen it comes to the care & welfare of animals. They are held to a higher standard than any other kennel in Missouri.
See what a Blue Ribbon Kennel looks like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdI2U6dgA.........
A picture says a thousands words.
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More info about Missouri Puppy Mills & Animal welfare Law in Missouri can be found at: http://www.maal.org/Puppy-Mills.asp
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Join the Campaign at: www.yesonpropb.com
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I honestly believe that anyone who understands the horrific impact PUPPY MILLS have in the state of Missouri can only come to one conclusion . This is why Missouri needs better commercial dog breeding laws. Our weak laws are the reason that Missouri is the puppy mill capitol of the United States.
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Please join me in voting YES on Prop B!
November 2, 2010
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YOU CAN HELP STOP THE CRUELTY!
VOTE YES on PROP B!

(Report Comment)
Jessica Bryand October 31, 2010 | 2:40 p.m.

Marina, please tell us then how Prop B is going to STOP all that you just posted! If you could give us facts to ALL the questions we have answered, we would LOVE to stop puppy mills! FACT is, every piece of documented fact you have shown, would NOT have been stopped by PROP B!!!!

(Report Comment)
Hollie Weber November 2, 2010 | 10:25 a.m.

Jessica, I support your opinion. Vote as you please. Those of us who have dealt with dogs from filthy and inhumane breeders are sick of these people just getting a slap on the hand. I am voting mainly to get these people charged with a misdemeanor. I in no way want to go after the responsible breeders. However, if you have no care or regard for the animals you keep and are desensitized to their suffering....what else are you desensitized to??? I know all about education. I am an educator myself. I told students just today, vote for what you feel is right, not for what someone tells you. I just know first hand the horrors of puppymills and would like to see these people get a fair punishment. There will still be puppy millers that hide and don't get caught. The ones that do get caught will FINALLY get penalized as they should be.

(Report Comment)
Hollie Weber November 2, 2010 | 10:36 a.m.

I'd also like to point out that the wording of Prop B is specific to DOGS!!! If a cow, chicken or pig "prop" ever gets put on the ballot, vote for that as you see fit. Don't vote no just because you are worried about the farming industry. I certainly hope that dogs are not compared to responsible cattle farming. I don't see how raising dogs for pets can be considered agriculture in the same way that a dairy or cattle farm is. It's 2 different birds so to speak. I'm all in support of farming....puppymills are not farming!!!

(Report Comment)
lacinda florez November 3, 2010 | 12:03 p.m.

HAHAHAHAHAHA IT PASSED WHAT NOW YOU MONEY HUNGRY DOG ABUSERS?????

(Report Comment)
Brittani Mitchell November 3, 2010 | 2:16 p.m.

Nancy Glick
My mom is manager of a non profit animal shelter. We have had a few pregnant dogs. One was a dachshund just like yours. She had seven babies. We had another small dog. She had 8 babies. So just because your dogs have small litters doesnt mean all dogs do and its dependent on their size.

Caryl Freeman
Im sure in your math of food, vet, care, etc etc, you added the dogs that dont breed. So that is your problem that you own more than you can afford.

Freedom Fighter
Youre daughter can talk right? Im sure she could tell you her pain, where it was, if its really bad or what. Dogs cant talk. So if they have diarrhea or are bleeding, you dont know if it is a serious injury or not. Just like if someone is throwing up all the time you dont know if its the flu or cancer.

To everyone,
Here is how I feel about puppy mills. When they cant sell all of their puppies, what do they do? they try to dump them at a shelter. My mom is manager of a non profit, no kill, survives on donations, animal shelter. Here is what happens when puppy mills try to dump their puppies at the shelter. One, we dont have the space because we have over 300 dogs already. two, we dont have the money to expand because it is non profit. three to drop off a puppy at the shelter it is 50 bucks. this is just a fee for caring for the puppy and getting it ready to be adopted. want to know what happens next? the damn hillbilly puppy breeders dont want to pay the damn 50 bucks so they go dump the puppies on the side of the road or shoot them.

Another thing, what is so wrong about making a regulation that states that a puppy should be able to live in a comfortable environment? would you guys want to sleep on wire and get cut all the time? no. and neither do they. you all care about your precious money and stuff more than hurting others. and others includes people and animals!

(Report Comment)

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